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Working remotely: 5 ways to maintain a positive company culture during Coronavirus

by Redweb, 6 April 2020

Read Time: 5 minutes

COVID-19 has brought about rapid change to the way many of us are working, whether that’s becoming entirely remote or implementing social distancing.

As a digital agency, we’re fortunate to have the infrastructure in place to allow safe working – but other than a solid setup, there are a few other things that go an especially long way while we navigate these uncertain times.

1. Keep your values front and centre

Your values are what make your company unique to work for – so it’s important that, as much as possible, you try to keep those in your mind.

Doing so will help keep your communications consistent, and be a useful reference point for anyone whose day job might have shifted as a result of staff being furloughed, a reduction of productivity or increase in ‘downtime’. In turbulent times, a sense of familiarity is often welcomed.

2. Be kind

It’s only natural to see a dip in productivity. Recent weeks have seen an onslaught of tough news and major changes, so we’ve all had to adjust to a new ‘normal’. And while the commute is much easier going, working from home won’t be an easy adjustment for everyone.

If you’re holding meetings, take the time to ask how your colleagues are doing while people join, before you get to talking shop. Thank people for their time and efforts – many people are working harder than ever and their mental health may have taken a hit. Small gestures make a big difference.

3. Use digital tools to their full potential

Whether it’s using video conferencing software such as Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts, or exploring collaborative tools like Miro and Ideahunt, there are a multitude of tools out there to help with productivity and keeping things going.

Here at Redweb, the first week we all started working remotely coincided with our monthly agency-wide meeting. We ran it on Teams without a hitch, meaning everyone stayed informed, and the world kept turning despite us all being at home.

4. Check in regularly

This applies to everyone, but is especially significant for managers. Without face-to-face time, there’s less opportunity for serendipitous conversations to happen like they do in an office.

Don’t hold meetings for meetings’ sake, but establish a regular window to give reports the opportunity to ask any questions, request help or guidance, or notify you of anything. Regular check-ins can also help with maintaining productivity and accountability, so you know what work is being progressed.

Some of us have even been going for virtual tea breaks, so we don’t miss out on a valuable moment to unwind and chat, just as we would in the office.

5. Remember to have fun

There’s a good reason why pub quizzes, virtual happy hours and online games have shot up in popularity – social distancing is hard. The news can be difficult to digest on some days, so online opportunities to socialise can provide some much-needed relief.

We’ve had our first pub quiz and have our second in the diary already – not to mention daily jokes and a positive affirmation generator to tide us over in the meantime. Regardless of whether you’re in a leadership position or not, everyone can make contributions to a positive culture.

Of course, much of this may read as common sense – some of you may have been embracing remote working long before COVID-19. Even so, an ongoing global pandemic can see anxiety levels spike and uncertainty become the order of the day, so it becomes even more important to stay connected, mindful and positive.