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Has your culture taken a hit?

Picture this pandemic as the enemy at the gates of your organisation. It’s throwing challenge after challenge your way. You’ve gone from working in an office, in close proximity to your team members, to working from home. You’ve swapped face-to-face interactions for virtual communication. You’ve had to adjust the way that you lead and manage your team members.

And just when you thought things were returning to some resemblance of normal...bang! Bojo announces lockdown number two. The war rages on.

A second lockdown presents even more changes for UK businesses, but while you’re busy keeping the enemy at bay, you might not have noticed the subtle cracks beginning to form elsewhere - in this case, we’re talking about your culture.

Here are some of the warning signs that your culture is beginning to crumble - and how to patch things up before it’s too late.

Low morale

The problem: In this current climate, motivation is a struggle. But it’s more than occasional bad days; it’s a general lack of energy inside your organisation. It’ll obviously be harder to spot working from home, but you might notice a lack of communication, subdued responses on video calls, negativity or increased resistance.

The solution: Be flexible for those who are struggling to juggle work and take care of children. Keep communication flowing with regular meetings and virtual bonding sessions. Make sure everyone has access to the resources they need. Take the time to celebrate milestones - even the small accomplishments.

Decreased productivity

The problem: Often stemming from low morale, a lack of productivity will show through a lack of efficiency - work completed to a low standard, missed deadlines, inconsistency, poor results and poor communication. Not only can unproductive teammates affect your bottom line, they can drag their colleagues down with them.

The solution: Employers need to explore new ways to lead, collaborate with and motivate employees to ensure everyone is working effectively. If you haven’t already, establish a routine, including daily check ins. Introduce some general guidelines for remote working, such as dedicated workspaces and dressing appropriately for the working day. Equip your team with project management tools to keep everyone on the same page. And provide support for those who might be struggling with negative emotions.

Bad habits

The problem: Working from home does have its benefits, but it can also cause a number of bad habits; tardiness, procrastination, negative attitudes, distractions, failure to ‘switch off’, a lack of routine. Even something as small as not turning cameras on during video calls. These things are easily overlooked, and can creep it without you even realising, but they have a big impact on performance.

The solution: It’s important to firstly be aware of the bad habits you could pick up while working remotely. Start a discussion with your team about recognising the signs, and how to tackle them. Encourage employees to establish a schedule and stick to it as best they can, communicate regularly and make time for social conversations.

Burnout

The problem: Your team is facing a lot of uncertainty. They may be struggling to achieve a good work/life balance, struggling to relax or switch off from work easily. The lifestyle changes we’re all facing can lead to burnout. This presents itself in a number of ways, such as lack of focus, irritability, fatigue and more time spent working with less accomplished.

The solution: It’s important for everyone working from home - for yourself and for your employees - to take regular breaks away from screens, such as a lunchtime walk. Encourage your staff to implement a routine that works for them, giving themselves time to relax and recuperate, and remind them to take holiday days as and when they need them.

Lack of social interaction

The problem: One of the biggest changes brought about by this pandemic has been the loss of face time with colleagues. Your team has lost the opportunity to socialise over a quick coffee break or grab lunch together and as a result, colleagues may have become distant or irritable with one another.

The solution: Communication, communication, communication. It’s important to let employees know what social interaction is okay - that it’s encouraged. It’s vital for the health of your culture to keep those relationships going, whether that’s through a regular team building activity online, such as a virtual cooking class, or spending an hour at the end of the week being open and vulnerable with one another.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: your culture is the thing that’ll make the difference between whether your business simply survives or really thrives during this crisis. It’s time to be vigilant and spot the cracks before they create irreversible damage inside your organisation.

Don't let your culture fall by the wayside - you have a unique opportunity, right now, to determine what your culture can and should be going forward.

Want to find out more? Let's connect.

While you’re busy keeping the enemy at bay, you might not have noticed the subtle cracks beginning to form.