Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, our employees are working from home like every other company across America. We already had a flexible work environment with employees working from home a couple days a week, so the transition wasn’t very difficult for us. However, as this continues, our team is growing apart and I fear our work product will suffer from it. I want to make sure we keep a focus on our culture and promote teambuilding from afar. Do you have any suggestions for us?
Concerned Founder and Business Owner
Dear Concerned Founder and Business Owner,
Many business owners and team managers are asking these same questions right now so you are not alone in this challenge. We are going to make some assumptions about your core values based on what you told us:
- You really care about your employees and want to support them.
- You really care about your clients and their businesses and you want to be sure they are receiving the quality of work they have come to know and expect.
- You want work to continue being fun and challenging for your employees.
We are also going to assume there were no major culture challenges or issues before COVID-19 hit. Given those assumptions, here are 3 things we strongly recommend.
- Encourage Personal Connections
Ask each employee (managers and non managers) to end every phone call with a “get to know you” (GTKY) question and an ask of how you can help them. Set a GTKY question or theme of the week.
- Focus on Physical and Emotional Wellbeing
You and your HR team or managers should review any benefits the company offers around physical and emotional wellbeing so you are clear on what the company provides. Encourage employees to use these benefits and speak with HR and/or managers if they are facing any challenges to getting their work done. This is a time for empathy, understanding and working together for the good of one another.
- Recognize Your Employees
Every company is in a different situation financially at this time but it doesn’t take a lot of money to make employees feel good. Send a small gift or gift card as a token of thanks for being such a great employee. A simple handwritten note it also a great way to show gratitude. A phone call or even a social media post is also a great way to say thank you. Get creative. There are so many ways to genuinely say “thanks” and show you care.
Everyone loves a good game or competition. This can be done anytime during the week and does not have to be done at night. Your team can play against one another or they can play against other teams or groups across the office. You can find an online games to play, do a scavenger hunt via Zoom or another video conferencing platform, have a fitness competition to encourage healthy movement, etc.
These ideas are great ways to encourage teamwork in your organization. Each company is different and you won’t see changes overnight. But, through consistent, intentional support and actions, you will begin seeing a shift on your team.
If you would like more ideas or a customized plan for your company, please contact us.