We are living in unusual times with unforeseen personal and organisational challenges. COVID-19 has forced us to be more collaborative and innovative than ever before. During these times, as we embrace a remote working world, maintaining a great company culture is critical both for our people and our business.
We are aware that a lot of our people are adjusting to remote working as the norm as opposed to the exception. Parents and those taking care of the most vulnerable in our community may feel the strain of both workloads. We recognise how challenging this is for these people and for everyone within the Cpl Group.
Earlier this year Cpl was recognised as one of the best places to work in Ireland for the sixth year in a row. We’re proud of our company culture and have developed our ‘Stay Connected’ campaign to be deliberate in maintaining it.
Within this, we have come up with several initiatives & activities to maintain our social connections and bring our remote company culture to life.
In a previous article, we’ve highlighted the importance of company culture, but how can we keep a great culture while if we’re all working apart? Below are a few of our active ideas which I hope can inspire you and your teams.
First and foremost, our peoples’ health and wellbeing are top priority. We understand it’s ok, not to be ok – especially during these unusual times.
Our wellbeing programmes are there to help people be at their best or identify when they may not be feeling themselves and to give them techniques and resources to overcome challenges.
Some initiatives and ideas on the area of wellbeing that have worked well for Cpl during this time are the following:
- Relaunching & Rebranding our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – This is a very challenging time for all of us and some people may be struggling more than others. In order to help these people, we decided to relaunch the EAP to be the Cpl Support Hub and continuously remind our people of the valuable services that can be availed of through this. People dealing with mental health challenges, relationship issues, stress, etc have the additional burden of COVID-19. It’s so important to destigmatise this service for employees.
- Weekly Opt-In Steps Challenges – These are a great way to encourage people to keep moving (within the 2km radius) whilst also generating some friendly inter-company rivalry.
- Virtual Pilates – We host Virtual Pilates classes twice a week at lunchtime, facilitated through Microsoft Teams. This is instructed by Arlene French, who works on our Cpl Technology team and is also a qualified instructor. These classes have been a huge success and we hope to expand this offering to include HITT classes also.
- Meaningful & Relevant Wellbeing Content – We are fortunate to have a strong wellness provider Zevo Health. Through this partnership we are able to provide content, webinars, tips and courses on topics such as working remotely, resilience, quarantine activities, how to speak to your children about COVID-19 to mention a few. There is lots of content out there but to have it from accredited professionals and experts really helps.
Social Connection & Camaraderie
We are all missing our corridor encounters, coffee catch-ups and desk drops. As humans, we all know that we crave contact and connection.
Social connection is so important when it comes to sustaining a strong culture. We are striving to facilitate the same social connection as we would when present in the office and it is hard. It takes leadership buy-in and intentional initiatives to really work.
Some initiatives and ideas that have worked well for Cpl during this time are the following:
- Cpl Virtual Café – Simply put, anyone who signs up to take part are randomly partnered with a colleague once a week on a Wednesday from 10:15 -10:30. You and your partner have a cup of coffee from the comfort of your kitchen! We have people from across the business taking part from all positions including our CEO and wider Leadership team.
- Competitions – We really believe that work should be fun. We are continuing to host a range of competitions that cater for all the household from family to flatmates. Competitions that we have hosted include our Virtual Bake-off where people shared pictures of their baked masterpieces, our TIKTOK Competition which saw people posting videos of their renditions of “Working 9-5”, “Blinding Lights”, “We’re all in this together” to mention a few. More recently we have decided to get the kids involved by launch our first ever Kids Art Competition themed “The Future of Work”.
To maintain a great company culture when working remotely, communication needs to be clear, frequent, timely & consistent both organisation wide and locally within teams. The only danger with communication at the moment is under communication which feeds the beast of uncertainty and anxiety.
Some initiatives and ideas for communication that have worked well for Cpl during this time are the following:
- Live Business Updates – we have begun to host live bi-weekly updates from our wonderful CEO & Leader Anne Heraty live from her home. The updates are very honest and transparent and address the successes and challenges that we face in light of COVID-19. We afford everyone the opportunity to have their questions asked and their voices heard. Our CEO is accompanied live by our CFO Lorna Conn and HRD, Sharon Vize, each time ensuring that people can get an update on our people offerings, business and strategy.
- Champions – We are very fortunate to have ‘Great Place To Work Champions’ across the business for all 22 Cpl brands across all our locations. These people are the brains and driving forces around many of the ideas mentioned. We have a WhatsApp group where we continuously share important updates, ideas, get options and collaborate with one another.
Overall, the best way to maintain a great culture is by staying connected. Listen to your employees, find out how they are feeling, what they are missing and look for ways to substitute that with virtual solutions.