The Lighter Side of Working from Home

Elissa PateNetgain

Most of us across the country have been working from home or working away from the office for about 3 months. As businesses have transitioned to this temporary work-from-home state, many employers are considering making this a permanent arrangement. For employers, they have less real estate expense and arguably more productivity thanks to limited water-cooler-type conversations and office visits.

One of the concerns from both employer and employee, though, is how to maintain an engaging corporate culture with the new work-from-home arrangement. And, with more and more employees rating corporate culture among their top job satisfaction criteria, engagement has never been more important.

Netgain has also transitioned to a work-from-home arrangement in the last 3 months, but even before that, we’ve had many employees spread across the country. We’ve put together this list of tips and tricks we’ve used to maintain a corporate culture that engages employees while still maintaining the utmost level of security and productivity.

  1. Virtual Happy Hours. This seems to be a crowd favorite. Gather your team on a Friday afternoon (or really any afternoon, we’re not judging) and enjoy a video call that’s NOT about work! Share your weekend plans and just enjoy some time together getting to know each other and connecting after a week of hard work!
  2. Trivia Sessions. Along the same lines of the virtual happy hours, we’ve been incorporating trivia games into some virtual happy hours. There are many apps that will help you facilitate trivia sessions remotely or, grab a traditional trivia board game and have some fun.
  3. Continual Conversations. While we thought effective communication would decrease as we spread out to our homes, we’ve seen quite the opposite. Thanks to messaging tools like Slack and Teams, we’re finding that our teams are extra intentional about communicating project details and updates.
  4. Showing Appreciation. Showing appreciation has always been at the top of the “job satisfaction” list. People want to know that their work and their efforts are being appreciated. In our new work-from-home world, little gifts like having lunch delivered to your employees or co-workers home or sending them a gift card from a grocery store or food delivery service really goes a long ways. Plus, then you can have “lunch together!”
  5. Activity Contests. A downfall of working from home can be a lack of physical activity. When people aren’t walking from their car to the office, needing to get up and move to get to meetings, or engaged in a more social environment, they can tend to be more stagnant. You can combat this with activity contests. Do so by having contests using wearable technology or just tracking and reporting physical activities. Send resources out to your teams of ways they can stay physically active during this time. Plus, keeping people physically active will reflect positively not only on their physical health but their mental health as well!
  6. Care packages. We’ve seen some really great work-from-home care packages lately. Everything from comfy blankets and slippers to a nice branded mug and snacks galore. Get creative – think about what your team is in to. This can be as customized as you make it!
  7. BONUS:: Get your kids learning code…the fun way. We’re seeing technology affect our every day lives at a whole new level. It only re-enforces the importance that technology will play well into our future and the future of our kiddos. Now might be a good time to introduce coding to your kids! Coding with Kids offers a ton of programs for all age levels.

The new wave of remote work doesn’t have to be the end of corporate culture, connectedness, and engagement. But maintaining that culture will take effort, work, and buy-in from the leadership team.

How will you be intentional about maintaining your corporate culture now and in the future?