In her next column for TheLatch—, career woman and CMO Michelle Battersby shares her advice to maintaining company culture within a team working from home. Formerly the APAC marketing director at Bumble and now CMO for Keep it Cleaner, Michelle is a skilled manager, and like many, is currently managing her team remotely.
Company culture is something that I feel really passionate about. There is nothing more satisfying, in a professional sense, than when you are part of a cohesive team — a team that shares the same work values and ethics, and one that is committed to achieving the business objectives of your company.
I count myself as really lucky that my career has brought me many great friends. After all, when you work hard you can spend an incredible amount of time with your co-workers, so getting along with them is really important, both professionally and personally.
There is no doubt we are facing a unique set of challenges when it comes to maintaining culture in the age of COVID-19. No longer can you swivel your chair around to share last night’s recipe or dissect the events from an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but I believe connection and culture is more important than ever right now.
At Keep It Cleaner, just like the rest of the world, it has been a really steep learning curve, but we are learning fast to adjust to these new challenges. Here are some of my suggestions to keep company culture thriving at this totally unprecedented time.
1. Video meetings are everything
There is nothing like a face-to-face connection, so try and maintain this at least once a week with your team. At Keep It Cleaner, we have been using Zoom regularly for our meetings. It means we can say hello and remember that we are part of a team that is working towards the same goals.
2. Accept your different home working styles
You probably already know your colleagues’ work styles in the office, but working remotely adds an entirely new dimension to teamwork and productivity. Some people will be highly efficient and finish their tasks in record time, while others might be distracted throughout the day and work longer hours to get the tasks done.
Respect this process and remember transparency is key to ensure you avoid frustration. After all, as long as the work gets done, then different styles and processes are absolutely OK.
3. Maintain trust, ownership and responsibility
Micromanagement isn’t conducive to a great culture at the best of times, but when your team is working from different locations, a barrage of emails, calls and messages isn’t going to foster a productive playing field. Be clear on the tasks that need to be done and the timeline for delivery and trust in your colleagues on the outcomes.
4. Keep talking
Internal communication channels like Slack mean you can keep in constant communication without the never-ending stream of phone calls or emails. We’re big fans of Slack to share updates and ask questions and to save our inboxes.
5. Connect over more than just work
Even though Friday night drinks (or team workouts in the case of us at Keep it Cleaner) might be a thing of the past, it doesn’t mean you still can’t connect. Share a group workout via video call or a virtual wine, where discussing work is totally off the agenda.
6. Be empathetic towards one another
It’s important to remember that each one of us will be impacted by COVID-19 differently. Some people may have friends or family members experiencing the disease first-hand. Others may be experiencing employment or financial hurdles. Be extra considerate of what may be occurring to your team outside of the workplace.
At the end of the day, we are all learning. No one has been here before so there is certainly no rule book on what’s right or wrong right now. Above all else, lean in, stay open and seek constant feedback from your colleagues.
At the very least you will foster a workplace of transparency, which I believe is a key ingredient to a positive business culture.
Check in once a month for Michelle Battersby’s column with TheLatch— for advice and tips to help you build the career you want.