Pivoting the corporate culture model

Article by Victoria Jenkins of Mighty Social

group of diverse people in corporate environment, women in financeMighty Social has always prided itself on a strong sense of community, so when COVID-19 hit, it was fundamental for us to maintain our company culture that we’d worked so hard to build.

But ensuring regular collaboration and high morale as we transitioned to remote working meant going above and beyond transforming our physical work experiences into digital ones. Certainly, there was a greater sense that we all needed to band together if we were going to make this work; in truth we were already coming from a point of strength!

We wanted to establish a work culture that was as similar to our office environment working life as possible, which meant re-creating and sharing the types of experiences that our team had valued before the pandemic started.

We started with recommended reading to share with the whole team; and for those with children, inventing fun and engaging ideas to keep parents sane during lockdown. A real sense of community was derived from the shared communication and helping others stay positive during dark and uncertain times.

Of course, the word ‘unprecedented’ quickly got worn out, but these were such unusual times that we agreed to help each other get through the lockdowns regardless of the personal challenges we were facing. We became even more of a team as we helped colleagues navigate their own personal traumas, anxieties and challenges.

We got to see each other’s living rooms, bedrooms, garden sheds and we met their own extended families and pets flitting around in the background! Our team even had a virtual baby shower for a colleague who was in Romania. A pandemic wasn’t going to stop us from celebrating our valuable team members and wishing them luck for their new arrival!

Perhaps most importantly though, the continued prioritising of everyone’s wellbeing was incredible. Everyone was supported, regardless of their situation, level at the company or start date. A company subscription to the Calm app was offered (take up was definitely high!) and group exercise classes arranged. Many team members left their webcams on throughout the day while working so it felt like they were still together in the office.

Sometimes, surprise care packages appeared in the post such as flowers or personalised water bottles to brighten our desks at home. In the office, we called them Office Angels where a small budget was set for an anonymous surprise to brighten a teammate’s day. This was recreated virtually. We’ve had plenty of new starters as well whom we’ve never met in person – they’ve all said how much a part of the team they already feel.

Our ‘fun committee’ is still in full force, ensuring we are never without some form of excitement, challenge or activity to keep our mind off the pandemic. Our brand new virtual coffee club and zoom pub have been a huge success, where we meet weekly for a chat to replace our water cooler conversations, and ensure that stress levels don’t get too high. We have a monthly ideas board where the winner gets a £25 gift voucher of their choice, and we consistently trade industry insights at our bi-monthly virtual breakfast club to keep team members both connected and informed.

Recently, we have been promoting the importance of Mental Health Awareness Week, with inspiring talks for the team to listen to, guided meditation classes offered and  step count challenges issued to encourage people to go outside. We feel it’s important to open up the conversation and let colleagues have space to share their experiences, regardless of what they may be.

We have been involved in a network wide Innovation competition, getting team members collaborating before having to present to the Dragons if successful. We had two Mighty Social teams make it through to the final round and one even win, which has kept our creative and strategic juices flowing throughout the stay-at-home period. Many team members have kept up their workplace training, taking part in Digital Conferences, Pinterest webinars, LinkedIn seminars and gaining Facebook accreditation to add to their skill sets – all done virtually of course.

We’ve welcomed five new team members virtually, making them feel right at home with interactive activities like our Christmas murder mystery party, our virtual escape room extravaganza and remote afternoon tea goodies. We regularly have virtual activities – including sunflower growing competitions and pancake day feasts, with an impressive three course pancake meal delivered by one of our newest team members.

Whilst our internal relationships were strengthened, so too were our relationships with our clients. As all interactions were confined to virtual meetings regardless of location, we developed stronger bonds with overseas clients who once seemed so far away – making it feel like we were all that much closer. Staff productivity actually increased 15% since 2019 and many of our clients have increased their size of their retainer during the pandemic.

We are a young team, many of us are first time home workers, but we have all kept each other motivated, involved and engaged. Our company culture has not been lost even though we’re all so far apart – things have been kept fun, interactive, collaborative and MIGHTY during turbulent times. We felt so buoyed by our resilience we decided to enter the 2021 Company Culture Awards and were over the moon when we found we had won the award for Best Working Environment – Remote! We are extremely proud of this achievement that shows our strength through adversity and ability to be agile and quickly pivot.

The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we work. Although our offices are now accessible, we will maintain a high level of remote working and flexibility as we all found we were in fact more productive. It will be interesting to see what hybrid working model will emerge as we adapt to meshing remote with office work. One thing is for sure, we are keen to keep finding innovative ways to ensure our team thrives!

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