Your team may be physically apart right now, but given the stress and uncertainty we're all living with, they still need to feel connected, both to one another and to a sense of the value of their work. That's where a strong company culture is important, but how do you maintain one at a distance?
The answer to this question will be different for each company depending on their values and resources. But it certainly can't hurt to see what other small businesses are doing in search for inspiration.
Which is why a recent Medium post by Mathilde Collin, the co-founder and CEO of app Front, is so useful. In it, Collin lays out in detail 25 ways her company has translated their strong in-person culture to their new remote reality. It's packed with ideas that can help you figure out how to keep your team psychologically knitted together during this challenging time, including:
A companywide AMA: "I host a weekly AMA (ask me anything) on Wednesday mornings. We use the app Slido so the team can submit and upvote questions from the whole company before and during this session."
A #life-wfh Slack channel: "We created a #life-wfh Slack channel for employees to continue to connect socially and for people to post resources about working remotely, articles with ideas of fun things to do indoors, etc."
Midweek meditation: "We typically have a guided meditation session every Wednesday through Journey Meditation. Now we hold it virtually over Zoom."
Employee assistance program: "We have a program to provide confidential counseling service to help the team with challenges relating to work, family, stress, finances, and other personal issues."
Books for parents: "We shipped age-appropriate books to Fronteers who are parents so they can read to their children while working from home. They were vetted by a master librarian: Real Friends by Shannon Hale, New Kid by Jerry Craft, The Hero Next Door by Various, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora, and Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet."
Bonusly cookies for charity: "We use Bonusly, a tool that allows us to award each other with virtual cookies for living out our company values. You can then buy things on the Bonusly marketplace, like Starbucks or Amazon gift cards. Now the team can donate to the WHO Covid-19 response fund using their cookies if they want to give back."
Virtual game night: "Normally, we hold a monthly game night where we play games or build with LEGOs. Now that we're remote, we play virtual versions of Codenames, Werewolf, Mario Kart, Settlers of Catan, and more using Board Game Arena, Colonist, Netflix Party, and Nintendo Switch Online."
Lunch for five: "We usually have a randomizer that selects five people from across the company each week to get a stipend and go out to lunch together. The goal is to encourage cross-functional bonding with people you might not work with day to day. This continues to run, but instead people can order delivery and hop on a Zoom call to eat and chat."
Birthday shout-outs: "Usually we love to celebrate birthdays in the office, and we'll order treats once a month to honor all the birthdays that month. Now we're giving virtual shout-outs in our #random Slack channel."
Cards for loved ones: "Usually the end of the quarter is particularly busy for our sales team. We mailed them a letter reminding them of how much their work means to us and included blank cards for them to send to their loved ones during this tough time."
What is your company doing to keep your culture going in the midst of the crisis?