At Tulip Media, we’re extremely lucky to have amazing team culture. It’s something we’re proud of and that we’ve been fortunate to transplant into the digital workplace.
As a fairly small office, getting to know all of the fabulous people that make up our team isn’t challenging, and we recognize the importance of maintaining a workplace culture that is engaging for everyone. We are always striving to promote this aspect of our business to all of our Client-Partners and onboarding team members.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve learned a lot about maintaining cohesion while working apart. Integral to maintaining this tight culture have been the roots of empathy and understanding that run deep throughout our team.
The more you can put yourself in each other’s shoes and be aware of all the external factors affecting performance on the day-to-day, the more willingly the team will flex to accommodate and overcome. We’ve learned to go with the flow, picking up a few extra tasks here or working a couple odd hours there, to compensate for colleagues giving their all yet still struggling to balance work and life at home.
Think about that for a second. Reflect on how a lack of understanding in this situation could make or break a team.
Something that’s caught my attention during this pandemic is the abundance of webinars available from some spectacular thought leaders. The support of these amazing speakers is incredibly valuable right now for both workers and business leaders. So many thoughtful speakers are making it possible for management to access motivational support digitally.
One of these speakers is Patrick Lencioni, a phenomenal author that I’ve followed for quite a few years. He’s written 11 quality books around leadership, teamwork, and organizational health, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, with over six million copies sold. In the midst of all this, he is offering a series of webinars I’ve had the pleasure of sampling.
During a recent webinar, Lencioni talked about how everybody is on a roller coaster right now. Everybody is struggling to balance home and work, doing their best to just get by.
In terms of office culture, we need to understand that everybody’s roller coaster is different because this reminds us we really have to be patient with each other. We have to acknowledge that just because today is a high point for us doesn’t mean it’s a high point for everybody else, and vice versa.
With so many struggling to strike a balance between work and other top priorities, it can’t be reasonably expected at a time like this that your whole team be working a standard 8 am to 5 pm.
Because everybody’s roller coaster is different, the rate and frequency of strain for each person is going to be different. Some colleagues stuck at home entirely alone may be happy to continue working their usual hours, while others may be providing care for loved ones or taking part in “home schooling” and unable to commit to an eight hour work day every day.
Check in with your team often to see where everyone is at and assess how the day might look based on this. Plan accordingly and be prepared to adapt as needed. Remind everyone constantly that you are all in this together and that you are there to support them.
Take advantage of digital platforms such as Zoom for online meetings. Don’t underestimate the value of tuning in just to say hello, to see how everyone is doing and where they’re at. Visually experiencing each other’s situation will also help colleagues and management feel more empathetic towards those who might be shuffling work-life hats.
Be mindful that some of us are simply struggling to navigate life without face-to-face contact, and that’s okay too.
A strong office culture requires having an aligned set of values that is shared by the entire team. There should be a standard for how colleagues interact with each other that is upheld by everyone in the workplace.
Translating these values into digital communication may require some creativity using the unlimited online tools at your disposal. Ask for team input on which software would be most effective in your team and industry setting.
The key to Team Tulip culture is our daily huddle. This is where we all check in to take the temperature of the day and figure out what everyone is working on. Where these used to take place in the office, we now hold them every morning on Zoom.
We also have a Beer O’Clock on Fridays at 4 pm, which was formerly in the office and now taking place via Zoom. This is where we do a relaxing debrief of the week and find out everybody’s plans for the weekend. It’s a great way to send everyone off.
Our team has experienced firsthand the shuffling of jobs between people, in our case accommodating colleagues having to care for children during certain times. Some work is going on in the morning and some in the evening instead of just during regular working hours. Everyone has been really understanding of that and made adjustments as needed.
When everybody knows they are valued, it makes a massive difference. We all trust each other and believe that each one of us is giving all that we can at this time. We just need to be a bit more flexible with our hours and our attitudes.
We’re really proud of how everyone has handled the situation and had each other’s back. All of us have gone above and beyond to support one another and our clients during this time, and we cherish that.
Even though we’re apart, we are excited to share our secrets of success with you from home. Get in touch with one of our trusted experts to learn how to keep your team cohesive in a digital setting. You’ll find everything you need to get started at www.tm.media.