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How to Foster Company Culture While Working from Home

Establishing an inclusive, strong company culture has become a priority in recent years for many companies. When the job market was scorching hot a few years back, employers looked for ways to reshape their culture to retain their best team players and attract new job seekers. But as millions of people are working from home, it’s become even more challenging to nurture culture. And as many remote workers begin to feel burnt out and isolated, it’s crucial to confront this issue head-on. Here is how your team can foster a strong company culture while your staff is working from home.

Virtual activities

When everyone is in the office, synergy and teamwork are more natural. Your team can plan office parties, go to happy hours after work, and do other exercises that cultivate culture. But just because the bulk of your team is working remotely, it doesn’t mean that you can’t organize similar activities. You can schedule virtual activities to give your team a break from work and have a little fun. A recent article from the New York Times illustrated that some smaller businesses were doing virtual movie nights, online games, and some in-person outdoor events. These virtual activities are a fun way for your staff to have a little fun, build chemistry with one another, and feel like they are part of a team.

Zoom fatigue is real, and it’s causing some remote workers anxiety. Another excellent strategy some employers are endorsing is meeting-free days. Blocking out one day a week where no meetings are allowed so your team can focus on their work without constant interruptions is a great way to ease the pressure off your staff and improve your company’s culture.

Share stories and pictures

At this point, most of you probably have your cameras turned off during video calls. You probably haven’t seen some of your coworkers for months (or even longer). When you are not physically together, you can miss out on some water cooler conversations. As a result, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on with your colleagues outside of work. An easy strategy to remedy this is to encourage your staff to share pictures and stories. Did someone just have a baby? What were your pandemic projects that you proudly finished? Developed any new hobbies over the last 18+ months? These are all things that are fun to share with each other virtually! So, whether it’s a staff newsletter or a fun Slack channel, sharing stories and pictures with your colleagues is a great way to cultivate culture.

Our team at JSG all submitted our work from home pictures at the beginning of the pandemic. Check them out here!

Friendly competitions

Who doesn’t love a friendly competition? These competitions can be work-related or just for fun. Football season is coming up, so creating a company fantasy football league is a great way to have a little fun and bond with your coworkers. Your programming team can do a virtual hackathon, or you can host a trivia night with some fun questions about your company, industry, or products. You can even do costume competitions for Halloween (which is spookily just around the corner). Whatever your team decides, creating some friendly competitions is an excellent way to build company culture while your team is working from home.

Regular check-ins

Last but not least, your team can schedule regular check-ins with your staff to gauge how they are doing. When working from home, it can sometimes be more challenging to have one-on-one conversations with your team. Regularly checking in to see how they are doing and understand what you and the company can do to support them will go a long way. Your staff will ultimately be better-taken care of and appreciated. Plus, you will learn new ways to help them do their jobs better and provide a healthier work-life balance.

Those are four ways you can foster a more robust company culture while working from home. If you are looking for more ways to support your staff and offer a better experience, check out our Client Resources!

5 Ways To Have Fun At Work

The reasons for wanting to have fun in the workplace are kind of obvious. However, having a bit of fun at work makes your team happier, more productive, and it creates a company culture that others want to join. Employee satisfaction is essential to establishing a good company culture that you can brag about! A study from CIPHR, researchers found that, on average, happier employees range between 12-20 percent more productive. This means you can be happier AND do your job better simultaneously! Here are five ways to start incorporating fun into the workplace.  

Communal Lunches 

Nothing brings people together more than food. Support your favorite local restaurant by ordering takeout to the office. Your employees will leave these team lunches with fuller bellies and hearts after socializing over some delicious food!  

Furry Coworkers 

Working in an office full of furry coworkers sounds like a dream come true. Puppies around the office are fun and a great way not to leave your pup at home all day when you’re working 9-5 pm. Besides, dogs are yet another sly and fun way to increase employee productivity. A new study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that dogs in the workplace reduce employee stress levels and improve productivity!  

Friday Afternoon Games 

When Friday afternoon rolls around, most employees feel that TGIF mood, so why not use these positive spirits to better your team? Conduct some office games to boost energy, introduce some friendly competition, improve relationships, and develop team harmony. There are so many office games to choose from! To start, you can race around the office, bring in a basketball and mini hoop, or play office Olympic tournaments. Office games are the perfect ending to a Friday workday and a great start to the weekend.  

Happy Hour 

It’s essential for your team to connect outside of the workplace. When you’re outside a work environment, you can establish meaningful relationships and bonds with your coworkers. These relationships are easily transferrable to the workplace as well. Going out to happy hour is a great way to bring people together!  

Check Your Attitude at the Door 

Lastly, you need to check your attitude and mood when you enter the workplace. No one wants to work with someone that is always glooming around. Try to leave your personal life and emotions at the door so that you don’t affect those around you. Afterall, moods are contagious, and there’s even a scientific name for it! It’s called ‘emotional contagion,’ which psychologists at Scientific American define as “a three-step process through which one person’s feelings transfer to another.” Affect your coworkers with positive energy instead! 

Get your coworkers on board with some of these fun suggestions and watch your team’s happiness, productivity, and energy boost! If you’re having fun, that’s a sign that you are comfortable enough to let you guard down, which is the perfect storm for creative ideation. Build your team in the right direction by allowing some major fun in the workplace.

Interested in more management and hiring advice? Visit our client resources!

4 Simple Steps to Hiring for Culture Fit

Hiring for Culture Fit

4 Simple Stpes to Hire for Culture Fit

As a company, we have been putting more and more emphasis on hiring for culture fit both internally and for our clients. “Culture fit” is more than just a buzzword, it is rapidly becoming a standard in business around the world. But… what exactly is it and how the heck do you hire for it? At its core, cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture. (Business News Daily) And as important as it is for us to define culture fit, it’s just as important to define what culture fit is NOT.

It is not a way to hire all of your best friends, it is not a strategy to hire people who are all the same. You still need to hire a diverse team that brings different experiences, different points of view, and even different goals. So how do you sort through the thousands of candidates on the market to find the one or two people who are not only going to be a great fit but also make an immediate impact on the growth of your team?

1. Have a strong and clearly defined culture

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but please take a moment to step outside your shoes and look at your company through the eyes of a candidate. Is your company culture obvious right off the bat? Does what you read online align with what you’ll see in the office and hear when you talk to current employees? If the answers to these questions aren’t clear, it’s time to make some adjustments. Simply, make your brand known. Or, more complicated, define your culture and get everyone on board.

2. Don’t be so strict when reviewing resumes

So often, we put candidates in rigid boxes because they do or don’t check off every box on our desired skills list. This is resulting in so much missed value! Just because someone doesn’t have every skill doesn’t mean they can’t come into your open job and make a huge impact. Remember, skills can be taught but culture fit cannot. If you’re intrigued by someone’s background, or they fit some criteria but not all, put them in the “yes” pile. You will be amazed at how much you learn and gain just by talking to these candidates.

3. Think outside the box during the interview process

We’ve all seen the standard list of questions that everyone asks during an interview. “What are your weaknesses?” “Tell us about yourself…” By changing the way you ask questions, you change the type of talent you bring on board. I love this list of culture-fit specific questions from Harvard Business Review. And don’t stop at just changing the questions you ask! Maybe ask the candidate to sit in on a meeting and give their thoughts on a current project. Or give them a homework assignment very similar to what they would be doing day to day. You could even take them out to a team lunch to see how they interact with everyone. By taking candidates out of the “typical” interview process, you will be able to uncover outstanding talent.

4. Give the power to the candidate

Something that I love to say when I’m interviewing someone is “this interview is a two-way street.” I like to put the power in the candidate’s hands by asking them to tell me what they are looking for in a job or career. Trust your candidates. Make them feel like they can open up to you. By doing this you’ll be able to get to know their true selves. This alone will determine if they will truly be a culture fit on your team.