Maintaining Corporate Culture Amidst COVID-19 Chaos
March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020

There’s no denying that for most of us, “normal” has taken on a whole new meaning. Established routines, habits and old ways of working aren’t going to cut it—for businesses or individuals—as we collectively grapple with COVID-19 and the uncertainty that comes with it. If you're currently building an IKEA desk at home or shushing your kids during a conference call, you know what I mean.

Like many of my fellow consultants, I consider myself part of two teams. There’s Navigate, my “home” team, and then there are my client teams. Client work is a consultant’s bread and butter, and when we embed ourselves in these teams we become part of them. We show up, every day, to immerse ourselves in their culture and, in many cases, help shape it. We bring our own personalities and perspectives to the table, too, in the hopes that our support impacts our clients’ culture in positive ways.

While it’s impossible to know what tomorrow will bring, it is possible to adapt, even thrive, amidst constantly evolving circumstances. One way to stay grounded is to remain connected to your colleagues while you work remotely, using your organization’s culture to keep everyone energized and unified.

As we all get used to video conferencing in our slippers, here are a few ways to maintain your company’s culture (and some semblance of normalcy) in the days and weeks ahead:

Explore New Ways to Stay Connected

Video calls are really having a moment right now, and for good reason: 98% of participants in a recent workplace survey report that video conferencing helps with relationship-building inside and outside their company, and 89% agree that it helps them feel more connected. If social distancing has taught us anything, it’s that staying virtually connected to our colleagues is paramount to productivity and mental wellbeing.

Take any opportunity you can to chat with your coworkers throughout the day. At Navigate, we’ve been hosting virtual lunches via video conference to stay connected and engaged—even if we aren’t breaking bread around the same table.

Keep the Conversation Going

In times of crisis, even seasoned business leaders struggle to communicate effectively. But when communication breaks down, so does your team’s sense of camaraderie. Keep an “open door” approach to communicating, even when you don’t have all the answers. It’s crucial during times of sweeping change to communicate with candor, sharing what you know, what you don’t know and what to expect. Committing to transparent communication is particularly helpful when it comes to building trust and keeping morale high.

Find the Silver Lining

There are no two ways about it: COVID-19 is a serious situation that requires a serious response, and we must all be diligent in preventing its spread. But when the doom and gloom start weighing you down, a little levity can go a long way.

In addition to our virtual lunch, the Navigate team discovered that a friendly competition is a great remedy for cabin fever. Consider engaging your team in a fitness challenge to see who can log the most steps, or get everyone to share photos of their pets or children “helping” them while they work remotely from home.

These small acts of social engagement will help you and your team keep your company culture (and your sanity) intact as we all find new ways of working together.