To say that the Covid pandemic has disrupted the world of business would be an enormous understatement. Its fallout has affected nearly every aspect of the way business is carried out around the world.
Integrate Your Personality
Some of the impacts of the pandemic, like supply chain interruptions and workforce reductions, have been obvious. Others have been harder to identify. The disruptions that Covid has brought to company cultures are among those that are easy to miss. However, for businesses that want to stay productive and successful while navigating the new normal, valuing and maintaining a healthy culture is essential.
Generally, company culture is understood to be the collective goals, values, and practices that a business puts forth. It extends to the way that leaders communicate with their employees and the way in which decisions are made. Culture is often thought of as the personality of a business. When well established and understood, it sets the tone for what leadership expects from employees and what employees can expect from leadership.
In my experience as a business leader, an important element of culture that is often overlooked is the way employees feel about the work they do for the business. Covid brought many new feelings to the workplace. Initially, uncertainty and fear were the norm as businesses struggled to stay open. As businesses adapted, many employees found themselves in new and sometimes unusual roles, where anxiety and a lack of confidence were the norm. As the pandemic lingers, it can be difficult for employees to stay optimistic and positive about the future.
For business leaders navigating the pandemic, keeping a healthy company culture requires helping their teams to navigate those feelings. Setting a tone of positivity is important. I try to always have an optimistic attitude in the workplace and strive to establish an overall mood of optimism for any meeting or task.
Attitude of Appreciation
While Covid has brought unique challenges to the workplace, the foundational needs of employees have remained the same. They need to feel their work is being valued and appreciated. Covid has not changed that. If an employee feels heard, valued, and appreciated, they are much happier. And helping employees to be happy and satisfied is critical for productivity and success, especially during a pandemic.
The increase in remote work is another development prompted by covid that has had an impact on corporate cultures. Prior to the pandemic, 20 percent of employees worked from home. As a result of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, that number jumped to more than 70 percent. Adopting a more flexible culture has been essential to keeping employees safe and businesses productive.
My business has been much more flexible with employees regarding remote work. In fact, when our entire office had a covid outbreak a few months back, we were able to continue our work from home with very little negative impact on the business.
Shifting our culture to be more flexible communicated to our employees that we valued their health as well as their work while allowing us to stay productive and profitable. We have implemented a hybrid model that is designed to cater to our employee’s needs. Since we made the change, productivity for many of our employees increased, as did overall happiness, which led to better work ethic and results.
For business leaders already struggling to address the new demands brought on by the pandemic, I understand that caring for company culture can seem like one more thing on a to-do list that is already too long. If that describes you, keep in mind that a healthy culture does not require a huge budget or a huge time commitment.
A simple step that our company has taken is hosting game nights for our employees and their friends and families. We found them to be a great way to boost morale and an opportunity for employees to show off their workplace and feel good about their job. Their success illustrates that one of the best ways to cultivate a healthy culture is to remember that employees are people, too. Praise and encourage them as often as possible. And find ways to show them that you value them for more than their work.