COVID-19 has forced everyone indoors – and away from each other. And while your entire team may be working apart, your organisational culture is as vital as ever.
Company culture is the backbone of any organisation, influencing every aspect of how you work, whether that’s remotely or in the office. An easy way to define company culture is to liken it to the user experience: it’s the experience your employees have while working at your company or in your team. It’s also a combination of your organisation’s values, mission and goals, and can only be achieved if everyone, from employees and human resources to leadership, participates, says Lucid Chart.
If your company culture is what encourages innovation, accountability, performance and teamwork, will the new norm of work-from-home (WFH) kill off what is essentially the DNA of your organisation? Without effort from all sides, it may. These five tips will guide you on how to maintain the culture at your company while tackling the new rules of social distancing.
1. Define your purpose
Whether your company’s purpose is to drive more sales, “Make A Difference” à la King Price Insurance or “Live Happily Ever Active” like Virgin Active, stating your purpose and having buy-in from everyone in the company will provide your team with motivation towards a common goal. Make sure you continuously go back to this purpose in every aspect of communications and decision-making. It needs to be spoken about frequently to really take root.
2. Outline your values
Values are the core pillars that guide your organisation. These could include emphasising productivity over actual hours worked, advises business.com. If your values are aligned to those of your employees, it will also increase your team’s loyalty and dedication and they will be more likely to contribute to the overall growth of the organisation.
Again, it’s imperative to entrench values through visual cues, training and constant communication. You can also build your values around your staff… if certain employees exemplify traits you admire, take these traits and build them into your values, using the team member as an example.
3. Communicate using the right tools
Now that your team is working remotely, it’s important that you schedule time once or twice a week for everyone to connect with each other. Emails are great but can often lead to a lot of miscommunication. Instead, leverage the right technological tools to make communication a breeze – these can include the appropriate hardware, project management software and real-time chat applications.
4. Stay connected
A lot of company culture is reliant on the human interactions that take place in the working environment. It can be difficult to achieve the same level of camaraderie when you can’t catch up at the water cooler or over a coffee. Instead, harness the power of Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom to set up virtual socials such as a game night, lunch, happy hour or wellness activities that everyone can participate in without the pressure of work.
5. Think long-term
Although we may continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future, it’s important to think beyond lockdown. This could mean considering WFH options for certain employees once everyone returns to the office and how to maintain the company culture that’s developed over this time. AnswerFirst, a company that provides a customer care answering service, has virtual events throughout the year while remote project management tool company Blossom fosters a culture of continuous improvement, allowing all employees to identify areas within the business that can be improved upon.
As with any company culture built over time, your remote culture is a continuous process. Even if a physical office does not exist, providing your employees with a sense of empowerment and trust as well as an open forum will keep your company culture intact for the long haul.
USB-ED believes that a strong company culture begins with a strong leader. Our Project Management course is designed to provide middle to senior managers with an invaluable understanding to respond to the needs of a modern workspace, including the virtual one we now all find ourselves working in. Click here to learn more.