As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to shift our understanding of what is normal, we now look to a new way of managing work and interoffice culture. Before the coronavirus introduced itself earlier this year, you would often hear lots of laughter and plenty of snacking, coming from WM HQ. (Is it time for popcorn yet?) Together, our team had created a fun and engaging workplace. As employers, Allison and Marjorie are navigating how to keep the camaraderie going in this new, remote setting. Our team has successfully pivoted to a WFH status and gracefully responds to the continuously shifting government ordered health and safety protocols that change our plans regularly. We all understand that there are no quick answers, and our team has been fantastic in adapting to this new norm. Still, it is important to continue building and maintaining our office culture and bridge the community feeling that helps a creative office thrive.
We know we aren’t alone in navigating this situation. The effect of constant change leaves companies uncertain as to how to keep morale and camaraderie thriving while working in a virtual world. Maintaining this camaraderie is crucial for a positive, productive, and healthy environment. WitMark has placed special attention on what allows our team to flourish. We find fun by sharing old photos of our team (check our social for some amazing throwbacks), rocking matching masks (thanks for sourcing these, Allison!), and taking time to chat about life, rather than work, on our regular Google Meet video calls. While we aren’t technically experts in building a culture that lasts in a workplace, we think that we’ve got going is working well and hope these tips may help you too!
Define What A Strong Virtual Work Culture Means For Your Company
Start with leadership and determine their vision for the company. What kind of environment do you hope to achieve and what is it your company stands for? Beyond the work product, how do you hope your team interacts and engages with each other, the community, and clients? WitMark built a very collaborative culture, involving our staff in many parts of our brand and investing time in talking through what that means. We also prioritize having fun. If the work is not fun, then it is not worth doing. Open dialogue and flexibility are key to our culture. We regularly check in and ask our employees what they need, and offer many options to accommodate those needs. This requires great communication so that our team can assess where everyone is and see how we can better support productivity. In the current WFH status, we know that simple, fun activities, like sharing old photos or doing balloon-filled birthday drive bys, allow us to keep our culture thriving.
Embrace The New Environment Of Remote Work
Your co-workers are like your teammates. To be a successful team, you need to be able to work together, bolster one another, and be ready to improvise as new information and situations arise. While regular communication with our entire team is fun and gives everyone an opportunity for engagement, we encourage our staff to video chat if questions come up, to make everyone feel more connected.
Change Your Mindset
The best thing companies can do is find ways to keep the spirit up and make the most out of the current situation. This can be done by creating fun habits at home that promote positive self care and conversations around feelings. The work place, even virtually, should be a place where individuals feel welcomed and comfortable expressing what is going on for them or how they feel. This greatly improves interoffice relationships and helps everyone feel whole and connected to the company.
Remember That This Too Shall Pass
This challenge is not eternal. It will come to an end. When it does, there will be new processes, new ways of communicating, and new tools discovered during COVID-19 that might even support a better workplace in the long run.
Keep communicating. Find time to have fun. Engage and thrive.