How to create a corporate culture in a distant world

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In March 2020, businesses around the world were forced to move quickly to remote operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. And while the pandemic has taken its toll on life as we know it, one bright spot that seems poised to become our new normal is the shift from the corporate world to remote and hybrid work models.

It’s clear – and many large companies around the world have taken note – that remote and hybrid working can work as long as employers are prepared to rethink long-held assumptions. If done right, employees and employers can reap the benefits. The ways in which businesses foster a collaborative environment in remote and virtual environments are key to success.

My Startup Crockd, a creative mindfulness brand that harnesses creative experiences as a catalyst for connection and conversation, has been fortunate enough to host over 800 virtual team building events with over 300 companies over the past 18 years. month. We have witnessed some amazing corporate cultures that have thrived in the shift to remote working, and also those that are struggling.

Here are the top tips for successfully building a corporate culture in a remote and hybrid world.

Related: Why Remote Working Improves Teams (and Leaders)

Things not to do

  • Mics cut off during virtual events – Virtual team-building events must not allow the microphone to be muted. It can make sense during business meetings and presentations, but during social events the subtle sounds everyone hears build connection and morale. For example, a child shouting in the background or walking into the room helps develop empathy and understanding. The same happens when you hear dogs barking, cats meowing, or a lawn mower buzzing outside. Mics cut off at social events make it increasingly difficult for people to find common ground.

  • Friday afternoon events – The best companies know that after a week of virtual meetings, the last thing teams want to do is make another virtual call that fuels their free time just on the cusp of their weekend. The most progressive companies organize virtual events, workshops and midweek sessions to break the grind and bring teams together, without impatience or resentment.

  • Alcohol-related events – At Crockd, our corporate clients have told us time and time again that teams don’t want to drink virtually online. In fact, many have noted that virtual happy hours lead to fewer people attending virtual events. Employers should keep in mind that employees often log into virtual events from their homes, where there are distractions and responsibilities. Employees can have their kids with them and often don’t want to end a drunken call.

  • Faceless moments – It goes without saying that when the cameras are off, no one feels engaged. “Cameras off” creates a domino effect and a vicious cycle where fewer people engage. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to each other, and being able to see people’s faces and how they’re reacting to your ideas and what you’re saying is often the key to truly connecting.

  • ” Voluntary ” – When people are “volunteers” to host or organize events, it is unpleasant and it should not be confused with proactive volunteering. These are often the same people who have to organize virtual events, and these employees usually have enough on their plate that they end up choosing the least demanding options, which are often not the most engaging. Hire an external person to organize and run your virtual events and sessions – your employees will thank you.

Related: 4 Reasons Smart Businesses Are Moving Away

The back

  • Invest in offsite and team building events – While small virtual team building events will continue to grow as a trend, in-person off-sites allow businesses to bring people together without hampering the freedom that comes with remote and hybrid working models and will become more and more more important for employee engagement.

  • Practical and physical experiences – Providing everyone with the same physical experience makes it easy for teams to connect around a shared experience. The physical element where employees focus on using their hands to create something helps break down the virtual fatigue that comes with staring at a screen all day and allows people to enjoy moments of silence with good people. laughs and a conversation. It’s good to give your employees opportunities to relax, not to take themselves too seriously, and to get out of their heads. Plus, they can be a great way to put teams in a better “flow” state to encourage creative collaboration before strategy meetings.

  • Create Hype – Whether it’s playing some hyped opening music before a team meeting or virtual event or hiring a dedicated “hyped woman” for MC or cheering people on, a little bit of hype goes a long way. path. Recently, at a financial team event hosted by Crockd, a former cheerleading coach cheered on everyone including people celebrating the small wins. It was strange at first, but it really kept the mood going. Make it fun, exciting, different and empower your employees.

  • Sub-committee rooms – Instead of having several small virtual team-building events, the best option is to have everyone in one room before they randomly split into small groups. The random part is incredibly important. It allows people to network with people from different areas of the business, enabling those cooler moments and stimulating creative collaboration.

  • Avoid sudden stops – For social team building events, avoid bringing teams to a screeching halt. Give employees the freedom to stay longer than the scheduled 60 minutes.

  • Encourage open conversations – According to Microsoft’s recent Work Trends Index, the remote working model has made work more human – and that’s a good thing. Of the 31,000 people polled in 31 countries, 40% said they felt more comfortable now than they were before the pandemic, being fully themselves at work. We are all human, we all have emotions and we all go through hardships in our personal and professional lives. Openness and compassion go a long way in building bonds between employer and employee.

  • Team gestures – We have seen teams create their own “Zoomisms” that are incredibly unique to them. For example, when everyone is muted, to celebrate something, teams can raise their arms above their heads and dance. It’s fun and helps ease the virtual monotony of constant Zoom meetings.

  • Branded care packages – Tangible and tactile objects are a real treat and a way to connect in this virtual world. Building useful, high-quality branded employee care packages is one way to thoughtfully integrate elements of your company culture into their remote work environment.

  • The remote control can be anywhere – Working remotely does not necessarily mean working from home and employers should reinforce this point with employees. Encourage your employees to find the best remote working environment for them – or even to make a difference.

Overall, the shift to remote and hybrid working has been overwhelmingly positive, as long as employers and employees remember their “why”. Businesses need to be purposeful to remind people of their mission and vision. On exhausting days, people need to know why they are doing what they are doing. It’s not enough to rely on great job perks and great people – employers need to be proactive in re-energizing employees, rewriting standards, and creating remote and hybrid work environments that complement employees’ human needs to fill the divide between the physical and digital worlds.

Related: The Importance of Returning to the Office After Remote Working

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