I think everyone can agree that Coronavirus has made work culture reimagine itself overnight.
I was only just talking to friends the other day and they happened to mention how many more work conversations they have been having over Zoom, and how it is keeping morale up. In fact, they are finding themselves looking forward to their work calls!
As an eternal optimist, I take this to be a good thing for team culture. After all, we now have the tools at our disposal to work collaboratively; so why not take advantage of this situation and make something better of it?
Saviom has not been averse to shake-ups like the one going on. The financial crisis of 2008 meant us having to completely change how we do things and how to better serve the companies that were using our products. We used the opportunity to put the emphasis on collaboration and used the technology we had to problem solve as one large team. It meant getting to know one another better, and cultivating a culture of ‘together is better’ in the future.
These are some of the steps we took as a team to re-brand our team culture.
1. Ramp up collaboration
Collaboration is key and the key to collaboration is by doing something fun.
The working week definitely goes a lot smoother when employees are in the right frame of mind. You absolutely do not want to pile the pressure on in terms of forcing collaboration without actually connecting first. It starts with taking a closer look at team dynamics.
Ease them into it slowly with icebreaker sessions. We, for example, had our staff convene in a room and circulate until everyone had a chance to talk to each other. In a similar vein, doing activities together that sets the tone, and keeps the spirit light can encourage a free flow of ideas that are in line with your brands’ core values. Obviously, with the current shake up-what, you do for fun has become curtailed, but there are still many options out there.
Why not get together as a team on Zoom for one of the many virtual pub quizzes available? Spectacular pub quizzes has some great themed evenings to choose from. Similarly, if growth and research are part of your core values, there is no reason why you cannot bring the experts to you, via Zoom.
Capitalize on the opportunity working from home presents; with colleagues receiving the information from the comfort of their own homes: they are in the position to better collaborate. Make it fun by doing it over virtual drinks, and/or perhaps dressing up for the evening. Lightening the tone is crucial when making big changes, and will help support the re-branding of your team culture.
2. Rethink the brand tone
Strong communication skills are crucial at this time to make a smooth transition into the new reality. Lay it out from the start. The tone that is used in daily communication is now louder than ever and needs to be supportive of the new set up.
‘How’ you address employees, will be different and although should not lose the core essence of the brand, will perhaps need to be more informal. Remember, the tone is changing and not the voice.
Primarily, the focus needs to be upon support, so as to reassure them at a time of uncertainty.
Of course, striking the right balance is important; no one wants their team to think that less is expected of them. However, getting the tone right from the start, even in the way of providing information such as: accessing support networks; will address a balance.
3. Be clear from the outset
With confusion rife, now is the time to set expectations straight and communicate with your employees in a clear, timely, and concise manner. Leave no room to be misunderstood or get complicated. You have to make sure everyone is all on the same page because they all need to feel confident to ‘get the work done’ when the parameters have changed.
Bring everyone into the same teleconferencing session and walk them through these changes. Remember to ask for feedback or clarifications then and there so that everyone in the audience is a witness to your response. And who knows? Someone from the team can even bring a forgotten impediment to your attention, ensuring you can compromise where compulsory. Keeping communication as simple as possible will help to manage expectations, and avoid undue pressure.
And ultimately, it makes for more efficiency.
4. Make flexibility a priority
Keeping the pressure off, being supportive, and keeping things simple; all warrant flexibility. You cannot expect to re-brand team culture without this. When the way we work has changed, everyone needs the space to maneuver them, and find their flow.
Flexibility goes hand in hand with being supportive and also in keeping things simple. Don’t mistake it for relaxing rules, rather, make new ones that measure results over the hours. An employee is more than just their work, it’s about recognizing their potential and making arrangements to tap into it fully.
It is a good idea to plan with the bigger picture in mind, time being constrained when the infrastructure is not yet in place.
Set weekly goals initially to find a routine. Your employees will thank you for it, and ultimately respect you as someone who can work with the times, and perhaps make something of it.