The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way brands build cultures, but also changed the idea of what company culture in general represents. An unprecedented number of Americans, 42%, are now working from home full-time as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, according to Stanford researchers. Only 26% of Americans are working on their actual business premises full-time. The latter are mostly essential workers in retail, medicine, and transportation. The most ominous number is the 33% of Americans not working at all due to recession layoffs and closures.
Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, citing studies from the Atlanta Federal Reserve and University of Chicago, said that work from home days will increase from 5% to 20% for most workers even once the pandemic is considered under control via vaccine and other mitigating factors. Companies are realizing the many benefits of telecommuting workforces that outweigh any potential drawbacks. The Stanford study also indicated that only 51% of professionals are able to work efficiently from home, with the rest unable to work from home at all.
Dispersed workforces make it difficult for personnel to feel like they are part of a team. Many companies in the last decade embraced open office layouts to encourage collaboration and eliminate barriers between workers. Granted these layouts are still possible with strategically-placed office partitions and plexiglass barriers. But the 40-hour in-office workweek is likely a thing of the past even when things get back to normal.
It's essential to maintain camaraderie whether the workforce is telecommuting, working in-office, or both. Here are three ideas to ensure all workers feel like valued members of the team.
Hawaiian shirt day is possible for everyone on a company-wide Zoom (up to 100 participants for the default plan) or Skype (up to 50 participants) call. Ugly sweater day during the holiday season gets everyone in the spirit. Let workers show off their coffee/tea mugs and crown a winner for the best one based on votes.
Gyms are one of the most hard-hit industries in the Bay Area. The San Francisco Independent Fitness Studio Coalition pleaded with health officials last month to reopen their businesses and maintain their livelihoods. Some gyms are operating outdoors. But even those are few and far between. Residents have to get creative to stay in shape and show off their curves.
Allow employees to showcase their fitness progress and results. Create separate areas in Slack, Asana or whatever communications tool you're using for workers to post their home gym ideas, workout routines, etc. Reward workers for setting and hitting goal, and for sharing ideas that others use for home gyms and exercise plans.
Potlucks are out of the question for dispersed workforces. The best substitute is creating a company cookbook based on recipe ideas and displays. Create parameters for how workers can participate. A bakeoff can be one week. Entrees and main dishes can be the following week. The key lies in the video production skills of the respective worker. Other employees will judge the dishes based solely on looks and the taste-tests given by the participants. Thus acting and embellishing in one's own culinary creations will also determine winners.
Eco Office is the premier provider of all plexiglass solutions in the Bay Area. We have been providing this essential service throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety and well-being of workers, customers, students and others in public spaces. Turnaround times range from 5-7 days depending on the job scope and size. 408-437-1700 to discuss your plexiglass and other office design needs.