How to maintain office culture in an empty officePosted about 4 years ago by Nick Boulton

We’re heading towards our third week of Client Server working from home – and guess what? We’re still here. In fact, there are four things we’ve achieved that I would’ve thought impossible a month ago:

  • Managing a recruitment company while working full time at home - tick
  • Consultants achieving the same level of productivity and efficiency – tick
  • Keeping team spirit and individual motivations high - tick
  • Maintaining company culture - tick

I’ve learned over the last three weeks about how resilient people are and how important company culture, team spirit and general staff morale is to a successful business.

I wrote a blog last year disagreeing with data taken from millennials about culture and work environment not being important. It was all about technology, work life balance, office break out space, flexible working, supposedly.

Guess what? I stand by that blog. Clearly that data was collected from people who had never worked through a financial crisis, never worked at a company that has had to make mass redundancies or gone into administration and certainly never worked through a pandemic!

Never has culture, morale, team spirt and togetherness been as important as it is today. Suffice to say, if you don’t have an incredibly strong company culture, you don’t have a business.

With that in mind, there are a three big questions that need answering:

  • 1) How the hell do you keep morale up?

Communication, communication, communication!

It’s all about keeping the lines of communication open, clear and regular. That means regular messages from the top down and back from the bottom up. Google Hang out, Zoom, Google Duo and Facetime have become my new best friends.

Make sure you are checking in with every team member and tell them the truth . Everyone is worried about jobs, future prospects and what lies ahead. I don’t have all the answer but I do know we are all in this together.

  • 2) How do you ensure culture doesn’t shift?

The foundations of culture should have been architected years ago‑this is now a test of strength and endurance.

If you have a clear values and a company culture that you have preached about on a regular basis, now is the time to reinforce that message and stay strong.

If you do notice a shift, you need to lean on your management team to reinforce the values you hold as a company. Reminding everyone of what you are trying to achieve as a business and how this experience will make you stronger is a good starting point.

Luckily, we have a fantastic management team, individuals who have bonded and gelled, many having grown through the ranks together and some we have hire more recently, who have made outstanding additions to that team.

  • 3) How do you recognise when things start to change, so you can see it off?

This is a harder one to answer, I think you know deep down when things really start to change, you feel it in your gut.

Everything is changing at the moment and nothing is ‘normal’ so you can’t panic at every small change that happens.

Recognising when the fight and drive of your employees is ebbing away is vital. When they start sounding flat on the phone, enthusiasm is dropping or negativity is creeping in, that is the time to jump on it. You have to nip it in the bud!

This is the time to reengage and rejuvenate your team, short term survival can’t be the only thing to think about.

No one knows how long this is going to last or what we will be faced with when things do pass. What I do know is you need strength and unity to get through it and be in the best possible position to capitalise on the other side.