Communication, culture and isolation

Lady working from home in front of her desk during corona virus lockdown – (c) Tina Witherspoon/Unsplash

As lockdown and Tiers, in their various guises, trundle on, we are getting the work done but what’s happening to our corporate identity, our shared values and our culture? If we are not careful, we’ll be harking back to the 1980’s where work was functional, communication was one-way and values were imposed top down. I know, I was there. We’ve come a long way since then, but continued remote working is threatening to undermine the culture and values we share, simply because we are not there to share.

In recent weeks businesses are reporting, and I’m picking this up through social media, webinars and meetings, that as their people continue to work from home where they can, that staff are feeling disconnected and not part of anything. Being ‘on your own’ even if surrounded by dogs, toddlers and the general chaos of home life, isn’t easy and has an effect on both quality of work and productivity, we’re getting stuff done, but have we lost the edge and if so, how can we put this back?


Recreate ‘water cooler conversations’

As humans, we’re social animals and collectively our teams are always greater than the sum of the parts. Without the energy created by team interaction and the proverbial ‘water cooler conversation’ creativity and productivity are likely to be in decline.

What can we do re-kindle that creativity and re-energise our business? Communication is key. Making time to communicate is vital to ensuring you and your teams don’t lose sight of who you are, what you stand for and how you are different. Any old Joe can churn out work but only you can do it in this unique way. When you are not meeting face to face, you have to work harder to make sure everyone is understood, everyone is heard and everyone has the opportunity to interact. Make time for differentiated communication tactics, building in work focused meetings, benchmarking meetings, regular social chat sessions and one to ones cascading through the organisation and feeding back. Leave no one behind – it’s the quiet ones you really need to listen to.


Top tips for effective team communications:

  • Daily team visual meetings on Zoom, Teams etc
  • Timetable benchmarking/catch up meetings to ensure progress is being made
  • Daily team social chats – leave the work aside and just talk – clocking where extra support may be needed
  • Regular one to ones – a business and personal health check – mental health is taking a real bettering in this pandemic
  • Top down – regular note from the boss on how the business is doing, recognising achievement
  • 360 feedback – encourage feedback and make sure it’s listened to
  • Mix it up for pastoral care – sometimes change of leader and change of reporter can help identify something that otherwise might have been missed
  • Recreate the water cooler moments through hangouts and social time – start a team gaming league or online forums/challenges to keep up motivation
  • Sense of community – what can you do collectively? Continue your charity support in creative ways and give back where you can


Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

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