The last 12 months have seen us all move away from the office to work in a range of random locations – spare bedrooms, dining rooms – even under the stairs! As we returned to the office, then left again, then returned in staggered shifts to maintain social distancing, one thing was clear: we missed each other.
The culture of a company is vital to its success. It attracts and retains talent, it ensures the happiness of its team – and an unhappy team is quite simply not successful. If your culture doesn’t enable your employees to bring their true selves to work, they will not enjoy their work – and they will not stay.
And a culture is not just a company’s mission statement. It’s defined by the daily detail; the coffee runs, the afternoon brainstorms, the favourite playlists, the regular social events. The question is, how do we maintain that team culture throughout 2021, when we are all periodically working remotely? Kate Rodway, the co-owner and director of First Internet gives us some valid pointers.
Keep Teams on
Have it on all day, on mute, so anyone can shout up at any time for any member of the team. It’s not a set meeting, it keeps us connected and it means we know that someone is there at all times.
Co-ordinate your schedules
Be all for flexible working, it’s essential to most businesses. But where possible, it’s helpful to coordinate your diaries: block out a section of the day for meetings, a section for research, a section for a walk. It helps you feel aligned with one another.
Keep communicating to the group
Especially the good news, like client wins or great client feedback. An ongoing drip feed of this boosts the team and helps everyone keep sight of how well they are doing.
At the same time, don’t always be a group. Make sure you schedule one on one time with each employee, on a regular basis, just to check in and chat. You can use this time to go through actions, you may find it’s helpful to just catch up on things in general. A lot can be revealed in an informal conversation, it’s not just a case of replicating the ‘office banter’. It’s a good way to keep an eye on someone’s mental health.
Send staff Zoom boxes filled with treats and goodies, to show your appreciation and to keep motivation up. Everyone likes a surprise delivery!
It’s a cliché but we do this over Teams, and we do little quizzes and hold games – and we dressed up together when we were nominated for awards recently. This should be encouraged, even if it’s just for 15 minutes or so, as it means everyone is winding down together and ending the week on a bit of a high.
Like most people missing the real-life stuff, the novelty of working remotely has almost worn off! But by using these pointers you can learn to stay connected throughout the day, and supplementing them with real life touch-points and treats, your team culture can continue and even thrive, making your team even stronger than before.