Top tips for keeping your culture when working remotely
The majority of people enjoy going into the office. Catching up with colleagues, having office banter and bonding over weekend plans or what you’re eating for lunch. When this was all taken away from us pretty quickly last year, the transition to remote working was worrying for many businesses as they began to question how they can keep employees engaged from the comfort of their homes.
Neo PR’s Remote Culture
At Neo PR, we’ve built a really strong workplace culture over the years. Everyone calls their workforces a ‘family,’ and not meaning to be cliche, but we really are. Especially when we had the office, I looked forward to our hourly walks, catching up as we stroll around the business park about anything and everything, as well as our sushi lunches and Pub Fridays.
Not being able to see the team physically was definitely strange at first, and as the months went by, it slowly became the new normal. The business then made the decision to shut the office down and transition to working remotely full time, building a ‘touch-down space’ for meetings and catch-ups, which was shortly utilised before we headed into lockdown part two.
However, it’s important not to get too used to working alone in your own world at home. We are still a team, even when we are dispersed. Pressures come from working from home, with an installed need in our mindsets to work harder and faster, proving that we’re engaged and motivated without being in the office. But, it’s more crucial than ever before for everyone in the workforce to know they are not alone, especially as COVID-19 continues to challenge many people’s mental health.
The Importance of Catch-Ups and Socials
In order to continue our fun and family-like culture, we catch up as a business twice a week on a video call, one to discuss any business updates, and the second to speak about our personal and work life – how our weeks are going, what the team can help with and how many walks we’re planning on doing this weekend. These calls definitely help the team to take a break from work for 30 minutes and is an opportunity to see everyone’s faces – particularly those who we may not work closely with.
We also try to have individual catch-ups as much as we can with those in the team, which can be about anything from client work, to reaching out for help on specific tasks, or even to simply ask how the other person is doing. At Neo PR, we’ve learnt how important communication is, and is a vital part of keeping our culture when working from home.
Just because we’re working from home doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. We still continue our monthly Pub Fridays – virtually of course – which includes team and individual shout outs to recognise everyone for their continuous hard work.
Our Christmas social was just as entertaining last year, where each member of the team was delivered a cocktail making box ahead of the virtual event, with which we made our own cocktails and had, in true Neo style, a VERY competitive quiz. It’s not the case of having to delay or stop social events, it’s adjusting to the current situation we find ourselves in, but still making the best out of it and enjoying the time we have together as a team.
As an overview, we’ve put together our top tips for keeping culture well and truly alive in a remote world:
- Communication is key – Whether it’s personal or work-related, sharing is caring. It can often be harder to interpret the way someone is feeling over the computer, so ensuring you have an open culture to talk about anything is vital, whether this is through video chats or dropping your colleague a message.
- Have fun with it – We’re in really challenging times at the moment, and people will have good and bad days. It’s important to keep a smile on everyone’s face, whether this is through monthly games, quizzes or socials. Virtual doesn’t mean we have to be distant from one another!
- It’s ok not to be ok – Some people will find being locked in their house really tough, which can have a negative effect on their mental health. Reinforcing the message that it’s okay to have bad days, and managing expectations is necessary so that employees don’t feel under pressure. Teamwork has never been more important.
- Recognising successes – From client wins to national coverage, any success, no matter how small or big should be celebrated. This recognition helps to build employee satisfaction during times that workforces are working harder than ever.
Nonetheless, we can’t wait to be able to give each person a huge hug once we return to our touchdown space post-lockdown. But once you build a culture that is ingrained within the business and each member of the team, irrespective of location, the bonds don’t break. Communication, engagement and support are fundamental to keep everyone positive, and even when someone is having a bad day, they know the team is only a phone call away.
If you’re looking to take your first steps into the Public Relations world, we’re currently recruiting for a Junior Account Executive / Account Executive role. Get in touch with your CV at email@example.com if this sounds of interest.