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An Employee’s Perspective On How to Maintain Company Culture While Apart

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Mike Rivera

Even when a global pandemic isn’t in full swing, company culture and workplace relationships can be difficult to build and maintain

While 15Five has created a close-knit crew of employees, I recognize how hard it can be to stay connected with your co-workers when you aren’t periodically bumping into them in the kitchen or joining them on coffee runs when you need a quick break. So I’ve made it my mission to keep those relationships strong, regardless of where we’re working.

Here are four ways I’ve been able to keep work pals close and make sure our team stays together, even while apart:

1. Say “what’s up” to your teammates regularly

When working from home, it’s very easy to go straight into work without skipping a beat. So every morning I try to remember to ask my immediate team and my work-friends “how’s it hangin’?” For me, it’s a great way to start the day and learn how everyone is doing. This also communicates that I’m thinking about them and lets them know I’m always here to support. Sometimes being a good teammate means being a good friend.

2. Celebrate people when they have a win 

When something positive happens, like a big sale or completing an important project, celebrate it. Whenever someone wins in the company, we all win, so why not send over a heart emoji, shooting star, or a Broadcity “Yas queen” gif? And if you’re a 15Five user, you can send a High Five (with a “Yas Queen” gif)

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like being given validation for doing something well, and it feels great to celebrate people when you see them using their strengths.

3. Listen to them when they have a loss

On the flip side, losses do happen. And that’s your opportunity to show support by actively listening, and if your co-worker asks for it, providing helpful feedback. Most of the time I find that it’s beneficial to simply listen and help the person find a positive solution, or at least the silver lining. 

And remember, if someone is confiding in you, it’s an opportunity to deepen your trust with one another by showing you care about them and allowing them to be vulnerable.

4. Get involved in your team’s interest

Slack channels are one of my favorite mediums to connect. Because I’m a member of most groups, I’m able to see a personal side of people that wouldn’t normally come out in our non-work related, #watercooler channel.

For example, our channel #now-watching is entirely based on what shows we are watching during this time when most activities involve a couch. You’ll find conversations ranging from what our favorite Will Smith movie is, to an entire 50 comment thread on “Love is Blind.” Although some of the shows or movies we discuss are admittedly ridiculous, these conversations have created close relationships with people I really care about and have regularly scheduled Zoom happy hours with.

Company culture, I feel, is a broad concept and could mean different things to different people. But as an employee, I believe creating a culture that others are proud to be apart of means genuinely caring for the business, and the way I do that is directly correlated to how much I care about the people I work with. It’s about developing relationships, not simply metrics.

Image credit: Shutterstock