Maintaining Corporate Culture in a Virtual World
The massive changes sparked by the coronavirus pandemic might be a culture shock for employees not used to working from home, but they don’t have to shake your corporate culture. After all, corporate culture has more to do with a firm’s values than its physical office space. It may require more creativity and effort, but it’s possible to not only maintain, but strengthen, corporate culture with a virtual workforce.
Now is the time to rally around your firm’s mission statement. This is why your firm exists, and it can unify a disparate workforce by reminding staff of the greater purpose of their work. Use it to inspire your team as part of a renewed focus on communication. In addition to regular firmwide meetings that keep everyone abreast of the latest news, meet with direct reports at least weekly and institute virtual open office hours when employees can engage in one-on-one conversations. Set up virtual suggestions boxes through which employees can give ideas for improvement anonymously.
Ray of sunshine
Since physical separation can make it easier for employees to feel emotionally disconnected from the firm, be generous with your praise and thank yous. Encourage employees to share items that are amusing or inspire joy. Set aside time for team members to share good news, such as projects landed and problems solved.
Virtual water cooler
Social events and informal encounters around the water cooler or over lunch are vital for building bonds among employees and forging a corporate culture. In a virtual work environment, employers are using online tools to facilitate these vital team-building moments. Some companies are dedicating Slack channels for employees to discuss favorite music or movies. Others are hosting virtual coffee breaks, lunches, game nights, and book clubs. Technology company Workboard awards prizes for the best Zoom background, gives stipends to employees to upgrade chairs and desks in their home offices, and sends flowers to its employees to spruce up their remote workspaces. Those companies that invest time and resources in virtual teambuilding are more likely to find themselves with an even stronger corporate culture on the other side of the pandemic.
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