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What’s the impact of Covid-19 on company culture?

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March 25, 2020 | Topic: Corporate  
What’s the impact of Covid-19 on company culture?

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations are having to rapidly adjust their way of working. It’s forcing a digitalization that many companies had spoken about, and perhaps mentioned in their marketing, but are now having to implement at breakneck speed.

Fortunately today, the technical aspects of remote work are much easier. Everything from Google docs, Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype for communication, as well as cloud-based process management tools such as Jira, make life significantly easier. However, there is a difference between being technically ready, and being culturally and emotionally ready for this new world.

Maintaining your company culture during a time of tremendous change

I’ve previously written about some of the steps that we’ve taken at Belatrix to build a great company culture. I’ve highlighted how a great culture doesn’t just happen, but is rather the result of specific actions and steps that you can take.

During times of change, and when almost from one day to the next, your workforce needs to shift how it works, your culture will come under strain. You may have individuals and teams working for the first time both at home, and physically separated.

While your initial focus will of course be on maintaining your customer relationships and ensuring your business can successfully navigate this new world, it’s also critically important to consider the impact on your employees and on your culture.

Sanja Licina, Ph.D., together with other leaders of Globant’s (our parent company) Future of Organizations Studio has examined how technology can help keep us close to our colleagues. Their research for instance has demonstrated just how important personal relationships are in a work environment – for example 83% of people in one survey stated that knowing their co-workers better would make them more engaged.

The Future of Organizations studio is focused on helping companies with both their internal digital transformation as well how to digitalize their corporate culture. For many businesses, this has suddenly become a top priority in the current environment.

For example, one of the tools we use is called StarMeUp. It’s an online platform that individuals use to recognize colleagues who have been helpful, or perhaps have delivered excellent quality work, or perhaps demonstrated their commitment to their team. For any one of a number of reasons, people can recognize someone. This is the sort of tool that perhaps organizations may not yet have implemented in their rapid move to having distributed teams, but can help maintain your company culture.

We also use tools such as “BeThere”, which is a sort of Instagram-style application, where people can share photos, just for an internal audience. Such applications are great in normal circumstances when there are events or conferences that people want to share, but actually become ever more important in times when 100% of your workforce needs to work from home. It makes it possible to keep your brand ambassadors and culture teams active in their efforts to build your culture.

Technology is enabling many businesses to continue to function. We can use that same technology to stay close to one another. Meanwhile for those businesses that are not looking to implement a tool such as the two I have mentioned, emailing and video calls can still generate a similar positive impact when used effectively to maintain a positive spirit.

Some personal tips for working from home

Meanwhile, as a final note, I recognize that many people will now be working from home for a longer period of time than they are used to. So I wanted to share some core tips I’ve found useful over the years. It’s not rocket science, but I hope these will be helpful:

 

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  1. Keep a normal work routine. This means “preparing” yourself for work, just as you would when going to the office. Put on regular work clothes, and take lunch breaks.
  2. Set real working hours. Similar to the above point, make sure to log on to your computer at the same time as you would at the office. Log off at the end of your day.
  3. Use video calls to connect to your workmates. Video is great to connect with colleagues, but these calls should not just strictly be for work purposes – it’s important to also just have a chat with your colleagues, find out how they are doing, and simply catch up on news.
  4. Track your work process with tools like Trello or Jira. This ensures you maintain (or even increase) your productivity.
  5. Respect your rest breaks. Take a regular lunch break, stretch regularly, and enjoy a good cup of tea or coffee.

I’d love to hear from you about your advice for maintaining company culture and working from home during these difficult times.

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