You’ve spent months pivoting your business week-to-week to cope with the changing landscape of the world amidst the global pandemic. Now that the dust has settled and your team has likely settled into a new normal of telecommuting, there is a new challenge to overcome: keeping your company culture intact despite the changes to your day-to-day operations.

Company culture, or the attitude and behaviors that contribute to the emotional and psychological landscape of your work environment, is one of the most important factors in employee retention. When you have an upbeat, supportive, and motivating company culture, your employees are happier and more productive. However, if you don’t focus concerted effort
on curating it, your staff’s morale may suffer. Even if you had a great organizational culture prior to the pandemic, the move away from the office and isolation amongst your workers may have taken their toll on your team. Below are a few ways you can reverse this and encourage meaningful connections within your workplace.

Host Virtual Events

While you may not be able to host your usual birthday celebrations in the break room, happy hours, and company lunches in person, you can create virtual versions of these get-togethers for your staff. Have lunch delivered for everyone to eat together on Zoom or encourage everybody to bring their favorite adult or non-alcoholic beverage to an after-work Zoom hangout on a Friday evening.

Make Space to Bond

You can dictate a portion of your regular meeting time to unstructured chatting amongst your staff. Help them build connections and engage with one another by starting with an icebreaker or encouraging talk around a certain topic, such as a current event or favorite music.

Leverage Technology

Chances are that you’re utilizing project management software to keep track of work tasks and ensure that everyone knows the status of important projects. Don’t stop there! Create a section within your program dedicated to non-work-related chat. According to Accounting Web, it’s a great idea to create a space where employees can share recipes, post GIFs, or post their current favorite playlists. Another great idea is to start a thread where each person posts one thing they’re grateful for that day. Not only does this help get your employees talking about the current things they’re experiencing in their lives, it can also lead to more positive mindsets both in and out of work!

Encourage Connection with New Hires

If you’re hiring new employees to cope with an increased workload during the pandemic, make sure you are properly introducing them to your existing team members and helping them form connections with their coworkers. Your staff may have already been tight-knit before the switch
to telecommuting, and it can be intimidating for new-hires to break into the existing culture. Help them out by hosting a virtual new-hire lunch and sending food to team members in their department to enjoy together on Zoom while getting to know their new colleague.

Actively working on your company culture during this challenging time is incredibly important. Not only does it encourage employee retention and help avoid disruptions in your operations that can occur if staff members jump ship in favor of another organization, it also improves the lives of those working for you. While your staff is already dealing with so much amidst the pandemic, between coping with social distancing guidelines, potential financial stresses, and helping transition their kids to virtual learning, you have the power to make coming to work (even virtually) something they look forward to every day.

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