As more businesses gradually reopen their physical workplaces, we’re beginning to see a clearer picture of how a business will operate in a post-pandemic world. It’s a challenging time, but we’ve been speaking with leading company culture experts about their adaptive strategies, and a lot of encouraging insights are coming to light. Our latest roundtable discussion included some varied perspectives on what a thriving workplace will look like in the months ahead of us, and they’re worth sharing.
“Teams are uniting more than usual.”
Martin Hauck is Head of Talent at Coinsquare, Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. In just over two years, Martin helped Coinsquare scale from 40 to 150 employees. He’s also the founder of The People People Group, a community of passionate HR and Talent professionals working to improve the experience of employees everywhere.
Martin says the company has been pushed into a more team-focused effort, and that groups of employees who wouldn’t normally interact are coming together for these unexpected initiatives. One example is their Customer Success team becoming swamped because of an increased interest in cryptocurrency, and rather than hire new people, they’ve had other employees in the organization volunteer to assist where they can.
“People are raising their hands to help in a different capacity and these champions are blossoming out of nowhere. It’s really helping to solidify our culture.“
What we took from Martin’s perspective is that adapting to physical separation is causing the company as a whole to feel more closely bonded. Beyond a collective effort to adapt, what else are culture leaders doing to keep their teams engaged?
“We’re getting as creative as possible.”
Kayla Crooks is Director of US Operations at Wix, the world-leading website builder. Wix has built a reputation for being a highly familial organization that invests heavily in employee happiness.
Since the world went into lockdown, Kayla and her operations team have been focused on transferring as many elements of their company culture as possible to a virtual arena. This includes a company-wide happy hour over Zoom, and fun WFH challenges that get people sharing and engaging over Slack (like the ones we offer through the Thriver app). They also planned Spirit Week, featuring a different theme of challenges each day, and prizes delivered directly to the winners’ homes.
Kayla’s team has also been considering which day-to-day perks can be transitioned to an employee’s home life. Right now they’re offering their remote employees a daily budget for breakfast, lunch, and a snack (this is the kind of program you can customize with our Thriver Card). As for engaging their remote employees AND in-office employees once people start returning, Kayla’s seeing opportunities to make it work.
Their goal is to utilize virtual engagement opportunities that bridge that physical gap between remote employees and those in-office. This could mean teaming people up from different departments or work environments, and also considering workspaces that allow people to work collaboratively at a distance.
“We just want to do whatever we can to keep our employees happy, healthy, and working.”
One primary element of keeping a team healthy, happy, and working is food. With the threat of a virus still present, how will companies and caterers be able to feed people in-office with minimal risk to their health and safety?
“Nothing prepares you for this type of thing.”
Christine Chebli is the owner of Toum, a family-run Lebanese caterer that grew from a food truck to a popup to a full-blown catering business with bricks & mortar in Manhattan. Forced to shut down operations as usual, they’ve been able to stay afloat by firing up the food truck and serving hot meals to frontline workers around the city.
Toum earns much of its business by catering offices with large groups of employees. As companies everywhere are trying to determine the safest way to feed their in-office teams, Christine highlighted specific steps caterers should be taking to step up their food handling and food safety protocol.
When it comes to serving hot catered food to employees in an office post-covid, Christine sees lots of potential for making it possible. The setup would need to involve a couple of six foot tables, with maximum one to two attendants. The setup would look much like a buffet but only one person would serve the food, and employees would be on a staggered schedule to prevent crowding. They’ve also considered repurposing unused conference rooms to set up permanent stations for food service.
They’ve also got a new system for safely packaging and delivering food to an office. The restaurant now has two prep areas, one of which is specifically dedicated to prepping catered orders. The same two to three people will be in charge of preparing each order, bagging it, sanitizing all packaging, and bringing the order to the driver, who will resanitize the packages prior to drop off.
The ultimate goal, Christine says, is “limiting the number of people in the restaurant, and the number of hands on the orders.”
We’re grateful to our panelists for giving us a glimpse of what their post-pandemic operations might look like, but the conversation isn’t over yet. Stay tuned for our next roundtable where we’ll be talking more about designing food programs post-pandemic. In the meantime if you’d like to learn more about how to support your remote employees and keep them engaged, get in touch and we’ll book a consultation for you.