How to maintain company culture during COVID-19 crisis

March 25, 2020

KORNELIA JUCHNIEWICZ

Isn’t it bizarre when suddenly terms like ‘quarantine’ and ‘self-isolation’ become common dialect?

Yet here we are – a global fight against a common enemy. For the first time for many of us, we are not only experiencing new ways of living, but we are all facing new ways of working.

JDX is a firm that prides itself on its energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm. JDXers are renowned for their ‘can-do’ attitude, sporting abilities and entrepreneurship – we are a firm that thrives on social interaction. The very concept of removing the nation’s ability to interact, have fun or play sport is unprecedented, and there are obvious concerns amongst businesses to keep morale high. Many businesses will be lucky enough to have a workforce that is willing to meet this challenge face-on, understanding that staying connected and keeping culture high is a vital part of successfully transitioning through the COVID-19 crisis. Even more importantly, it is a vital part of staying happy whilst working in isolation!

What does ‘working from home’ mean for JDX’s culture? A few weeks ago, our diaries were full of charity events, pub quizzes, team dinners and celebrations and it wouldn’t be long before we had our Summer Event in place… but now what? We’ve decided that self-isolation and social distancing doesn’t have to mean an empty diary. Our Wellbeing, Learning and Development and Events teams have decided to come together to ensure we have initiatives in place to make working at JDX as fun as ever! Here’s a few things we suggest implementing over the next few months to successfully transition through COVID-19 as a united workforce.

Team meetings

Team calls and team meetings should still take place, perhaps now more than ever. There are plenty of Apps which allow us to communicate face-to-face, including Teams, Bluejeans, Houseparty and Zoom. It is no secret that text-heavy communication is ineffective, so firms should avoid relying on email or messaging to speak to one another. Communication is one of JDX’s core values, so our teams are ensuring daily video calls to encourage idea sharing, stimulate creativity, teamwork and keep energy and enthusiasm high. As Professor Mehrabian famously said, communication is only 7% verbal![1] Checking in with your teams first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon is also a great way to feel connected and make your workforce feel valued – don’t underestimate the power of checking in informally with a cup of coffee!

Get creative!

Set up a weekly ‘dress up’ call with your team. We’ve got weekly competitions in place for best team outfits and we’re constantly posting our photos and videos on our internal communication sites. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Breakfast Club

Cooking and baking is another fun and creative way to feel connected. Get yourself in the kitchen and cook up a storm! The JDX Charity Committee are known to be the best bakers in the firm, so there’s some real competitiveness beginning to show…

Play Games!

Apps like Houseparty provide a simple alternative to our weekly networking events. Knowing our quiz nights and games nights would need to be postponed was tough to accept, but Houseparty is just one of the ways we’re managing to fill the gap!

Virtual Drinks Trolley

The JDX drinks trolley has been a Friday tradition since its inception. This is a time where we come together over a drink to relax as we finish our work for the week – starting and ending the week on a positive is extremely important to us and was not something that we were prepared to let slip during the COVID-19 crisis. It is no surprise then, that our JDXers have found a way to maintain our tradition with Friday ‘Vrinks’. Workers can now simply tune into a videocall with a drink in hand to reflect on the week and have some fun! It’s a simple yet effective way for employees to feel some sense of continuity and reward for the hard work we’re all putting in. Don’t let the small things slip.

Exercise

How can a firm continue to utilise team sport as a means of team bonding and strengthening? Sport is a huge part of JDX’s culture. From our sports teams to our internal events, our workforce is full of energy and competitive spirit, and a healthy lifestyle is encouraged in all that we do. Our Summer Event each year takes the form of a mass sports day, and we take part as a firm in all kinds of charity runs and obstacle courses throughout the year. Trying to ensure we kept this side of our culture alive was one of the primary concerns of our workforce, especially with the restrictions placed on outdoor activities this week. Our JDXers have risen to the challenge – we are posting our runs and workouts wearing our merch proudly as we exercise outdoors, challenging others to do the same. Apps like Strava and Runkeeper allow users to compete with one another in a community-like environment. Many teams are tuning in to virtual gym classes or taking part in virtual Yoga sessions each morning – businesses will be able to keep energy and spirits high through sport with determination and discipline.

Wellbeing

The JDX wellbeing society is providing materials and suggestions for making working from home as positive as possible. From exercise to self-development to mindfulness, the society are on hand with all kinds of initiatives each week which will help to better our workforce.

Can Do!

Of course, underpinning all these initiatives is our #JDXCanDo attitude. This is a fight that we are all in, and we need to remain positive and united as we embrace new ways of working and find new ways to succeed.

 

[1] Is Nonverbal Communication a Numbers Game?, Sep 2011 https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/beyond-words/201109/is-nonverbal-communication-numbers-game

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