Maintaining Team Culture
Back in December, we made the decision as a team to move to a 100% remote work force. Our team had always had several days a week that we worked from home, and we already had several team members that worked remotely from other cities, but we did hold on to in-office days as a normal schedule for most of our employees. Looking forward at what was to come for our team, we decided to transition to completely remote work. Read more about some of the benefits here.
Fast forward six months, we have added two additional team members, and now have employees in five different cities throughout the country. While the move to remote work has largely been successful, we have been extremely mindful of the potential lack of casual interaction between our teammates throughout the week. Especially for team members who don’t directly work together in their daily work, it was important to us to be intentional about fostering relationships between all members of our team. This includes catching up about personal lives, hearing funny stories, jokes and other water cooler talk that is imperative for a feeling of belonging and rapport among friends and colleagues.
What are some ways we support this, regardless of our locations throughout the country?
Each day we encourage every employee to share something they are grateful for. Could be your cup of coffee, your son learning to ride his bike, or your recent trip to Hawaii!
We also encourage employees to share what they did each weekend. We learn more about what they do in their time off and keep up with what they are up to.
For fun, we have a monthly challenge where we share photos, recipes, play games or have a friendly competition in some other way. Read about our most ambitious challenge, Add It Up April, here.
When we were all Chicago based, we made an effort to grab dinner, have a training, go to lunch or participate in an activity as a team about once a quarter. It is much more difficult to do these impromptu get togethers when so many flights would need to be booked! For that reason, we are evolving our in person get togethers and trying out some new ideas.
A couple weeks ago we tried our first Virtual Cocktail Party. Might sound dorky, but we had a lot of fun with it! We utilized Zoom to get everyone in the same “place” at the same time. We started our cocktail party a little early, giving our employees an afternoon break from work. Our theme was Summer Luau and we encouraged costumes and decorations. Festive cocktails and mocktails were also encouraged!
Here are a couple pictures of our fun:
We went around and shared some favorite tropical destinations, vacation memories and other great stories. It was so interesting to hear all the places our team members have been and what they loved about these places. Spoiler Alert: Hawaii was a favorite for most and was quickly added to the bucket list for the rest.
At the very least we saw each persons face and heard them each share something about themselves, which in itself is a great way to build a little trust and communication between people.
We wrapped up our time together in a better mood and feeling just a little more connected to our colleagues on the other side of our computers. We are planning to add this to our normal rotation of light hearted team activities.
Look at all these happy squares!!