Many companies are facing huge challenges in the context of the coronavirus worldwide epidemic. Some companies are getting used to working from home, while to others it is not new at all. And while there are changes that come with the different working arrangements there are ways to maintain company culture through it.
For us, in Dreamix, company culture has always been of great importance, and we strongly believe that the people in the company make our community what it is. In this article, I will share how we maintain company culture during the quarantine.
Getting prepared to work in a home environment
For everyone to be up to date on what should be expected the most important thing is open communication. Those are some of the practices we encourage:
- Talk openly about what’s next. What will happen to the work process, how the company will carry on with production to meet deadlines, etc.
- Share with them any resources that you think would help them make their home office more effective. This can be in the form of articles, online courses, videos and live meetings.
- Share best practices from your senior staff or team leaders on how to work from home effectively. You can encourage them to write articles to share with others, or create a simple document laying out their personal experience. Some tips can be as simple as turning on the camera during a call with clients or colleagues to making the surrounding environment more welcoming to the other person.
For us at Dreamix, communication with the team about the upcoming changes is extremely important. As a precaution for COVID-19, we are following the recommended safety measures, social distancing and also are aware of all changes as they come and go. All important information is given to all members of our team in regular meetings and in official emails. Doing so encourages trust within the team as well as responsible behaviour from all.
Lead by example and help the work process
Being a part of the work process does not mean to micromanage your team remotely. Constant supervision and control will only stress out your colleagues. As a leader, trying to control the process can also negatively affect your own work.
The best way for that work can continue and thrive is to trust everyone to do their part. Openly address the team and let them know that right now the company relies on them to continue operating. And so do their clients. Continue having in-house meetings as needed, business as usual.
Let your team know that if they experience any difficulty they can seek help or give feedback. This way, your colleagues know that the only change in the work process will be the different office arrangements.
The confidence with which the management staff approaches the team, as well as effectively communicating any changes in the situation, is one of the most important things to make them feel at ease.
Maintain activities at a distance
While we are all in the comfort of our own homes, maintaining group activities is still important. We make an attempt to implement all our usual team activities online. In addition to being part of the team they work with daily, your people should also feel like part of the company:
- Have weekly or monthly meetings where each team shares their work. This can be done very easily online. Firstly, it adds a level of transparency to your company and the people in it have an idea of what to expect. This also allows for employees to communicate and exchange experience when faced with similar challenges.
- Set up presentations within the company or invite public speakers from different fields to present on a topic. Exploring different topics is helpful; it may even spark further interest and discussion. If you do not have such a practice in your company, now is a good time to start. Anything that you think will be a benefit to your employees in any way, you can encourage it.
- If you have in-house courses and training, start doing them online. Do not put on hold these activities while quarantined. You can take your courses or training through convenient online platforms such as ZOOM, for example, and then record them. This will remain a useful resource for all to use at a later date as well.
- Offer them other free online courses you have stumbled upon or share an account to a learning platform. During quarantine, many online courses offer their services free of charge for a fixed period or at a much lower cost. If you offer your employees this option, there will be people who take the time to learn something during their free time at home.
Thоse are some of the activities that we maintain at Dreamix. If you have different ones in your company, find ways to adapt them online.
Keep up the team spirit
It is important for your company to keep up the team spirit with different traditions during the quarantine.
- Celebrate a colleague’s birthday. During quarantine, many people cannot celebrate their birthdays with friends and family. To add on to that, it is not an option to appreciate the occasion in the office with everyone safe at home. We get in touch with our team members on their yearly anniversaries working for us, despite not being able to get people in the office together and celebrate normally.
- Have an online breakfast with the team. Many companies offer this benefit to their employees. Breakfast time is one that brings people together. Adapt the practice as an online tradition and you may be pleasantly surprised.
- Make a newsletter with the latest news from the team. The newsletter is a great way to keep everyone informed on the latest news, within the company. You can look at different highlights with set output periods – weekly, biweekly, monthly or more. Include important things the team was a part of – birthdays, new colleagues, presentations, business development, etc. Our newsletter comes out every three months.
- Organize a social afternoon call. We have a tradition, to meet up in the office on Fridays at the end of the day. It’s always good to be able to get in touch with colleagues at the end of the week and discuss various topics to share a little more about the last week. You can have these meetings online during the quarantine. Simply link to a conference call in a shared chat so your colleagues can join.
You can introduce those or similar activities to keep up the team spirit. There are so many more new things that you can introduce as the ideas come up – all helping to make your team stronger than ever before.
Help society as a team
A crisis such as this one affects everyone but mostly the groups of people who are directly fighting the epidemic. While we are a part of a company, we are also a part of a bigger community and if we have the opportunity to help people in need, now is the right time. Involve your company and team with the fight. For the last month, this is what our team was able to achieve:
- We donated funds to the biggest initiative in the fight against COVID-19.
- Collected funds for medical supplies and protective gear at the initiative of one of our developers.
- We initiated and helped organize the largest hackathon in Bulgaria so far – Hack the Crisis @Bulgaria.
- We are directing our focus toward healthcare and pharmaceutical technology.
And we are not stopping there.
Health is the most important thing right now
The COVID-19 epidemic has made all people think more about their own health and the wellbeing of their loved ones. And so does our team. The week before the national emergency state was officially declared in Bulgaria, at Dreamix everyone had the green light to start working remotely immediately. We also cancelled all business trips, and anyone was free to take their computer and other necessary equipment to work from their homes comfortably.
During the current crisis, most companies are met with various difficulties that they have to deal with. It is important at this point that you present your team with a calm and responsible attitude. At times like this, the company has to be a source of strength as much as possible and maintain the company culture.
You can read more about our culture in our previous article. Feel free to share your own practices in the comment section below!