Is your “new normal” normal?
Agencies do all kinds of things to distinguish their culture – but during the pandemic we’ve learned that dogs at work and yoga don’t matter so much when we’re all apart.
In this session we’ll find out how agencies are coping with their team spirit, culture and general motivation as we head into what could be another few months of working from home.
When those who joined the call were asked, on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the worse, and 5 the best), how their agencies were fairing and how employees were feeling, most considered themselves a 3.
James Smith, who graded his agency a 4, a response at the better end of the spectrum, suggests that his agency has always had a strong sense of culture. The team ‘are very motivated and enjoy working together, when they could no longer work from the office this bought some challenges’. He does note that the ‘team are upbeat regardless of pay cuts and the confusion over working from home.’ Currently James explains how they are working at around 20% capacity in the office to support those who have poor internet connections or who cannot work from home.
Melanie Parry-Graham mentions that having ‘a lot of space in the office and being able to have small teams in on the same day has been a really good way to communicate.’ She also emphasises how important ‘empathy has been for everyone. Personal circumstances have always been taken into account and communication about furlough has always been really open and clear.’
Nadia Ali asked how to keep staff motivated and moving forward when they are so fatigued with the lockdown and the situation ahead. In response, Kavita Shergill mentioned that for her team, a high level of flexibility has prevented another dip in morale. She suggests, at the start her team ‘tried to keep meetings at the same time as usual and working in the same way. We kept the office open for all of those who wished to be there safely. But on the other hand, if anyone wanted to stay at home, that was more than fine, too. We have since decided to flip the meeting schedules on their head and have instead devised house teams that create community and competition.’ Kativa also explains how effective rewards and incentives have been when holding parties or giving pay rises is inappropriate.
When discussing the changes in how people are feeling now compared with how they felt at the beginning of lockdown in March, one group on the call suggested that the inability to have a real holiday or rest away from work seems to be really affecting the mood of employees. The same group looked at solutions for these issues, such as creating different workspaces within the home and ensuring that each employee has a good working from home set-up and in addition has a place away from this where they still feel that their home is a place to rest.
When exploring the topic of a good work from home set-up, Sarah Wyatt suggests her team sent out a DSE Assessment to gauge how practical and effective work from home environments were across the company. Many of those on the call suggests they encouraged team members to take chairs, stands and equipment from the office to ensure they could do their jobs well from home.
Another group noted that after conducting a survey among employees, one responded that they feel they could be working for any company at the moment, proving perhaps now more than ever that culture is fundamental to morality.