Creating a positive company culture is no easy task, and it’s something Sourcetoad takes very seriously. We have worked hard to develop the culture we have today, especially over the last couple of years of growth when the number of employees has doubled. I can confidently say that we all like each other and enjoy spending time at the office. So much so that even after a full day of work, we still stick around for hours playing Trivia Murder Party or watching Neil Breen movies. (In fact, we dedicated an entire month to watching his movies called Neilvemeber.)
Considering this, you can imagine the disappointment when Greg, our CEO, announced on March 13th that we would all be working from home remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the first questions a team member asked was, “Will Movie Night be broadcasted over Zoom?”
Because working remotely was already a benefit offered to employees, we did have general guidelines for it. But we had never considered how we would translate our culture from being primarily office-based to being entirely virtual. So how is Sourcetoad keeping its company culture alive virtually?
The Sourcetoad team during an all-hands meeting via Zoom.
1. We’re still holding Game Nights, Movie Nights, and happy hours.
Our weekly events are no different from what they were in the office, but now they are being held virtually. We still hop on Zoom at the same time, on the same days. We host our weekly Game Nights via Zoom by using a separate account to stream multiplayer games like JackBox. New faces that would not normally attend after-work events are participating in our virtual ones.
2. We’re creating WFH challenges.
Another way we’re staying connected is by having work-from-home challenges. We set up a Slack channel called #wfh-challenge where someone will post a task for us to complete. Some of the challenges we’ve done so far include:
- Post a picture of your at-home workspace
- Post a picture of your lunch
- Post how many steps you’ve taken today
- Choose the best Zoom background contest
- Show us your most played songs
Not only are these challenges fun, but they are a great way to break up the day and give us something to smile about. I’ve learned a lot about my co-workers just by getting a glimpse into their lives that I would not have otherwise. It also makes for some great social media posts.
3. We’re communicating over Slack — a lot.
Slack is a great tool to communicate business ideas and discuss projects, but we also use it to talk about things other than work. Our desire to connect over non-related work topics still exists like it would if we were in the office. There’s no shame if a discussion pops off in one of our Slack channels and we spend 5 minutes talking about which type of penguin is the best penguin. (It’s the Adélie penguin, by the way.) Some of my favorite non-work related channels are:
- #bread – A channel where we discuss all things bread-related.
- #music_nerds – A channel to post what songs we’ve been listening to lately and discover new ones.
- #pets – It’s exactly what it sounds like: a channel to post pictures of pets!
- #positivity – I may be biased with this one because I created the channel to spread some much-needed positivity.
- #quotes – A channel where we post the funny things people on the team have said.
- #scrapbook – A channel where we post pictures usually taken at the office or during outings so we can keep little reminders of all the fun times we’ve had.
4. We’re still meeting in the breakroom virtually.
We have a standing Google Calendar event that has a link to our Google hangouts, known as our virtual breakroom. People usually join in the morning or during lunchtime to chat. It’s great for talking to people outside of your immediate team who you normally wouldn’t talk to on a day-to-day basis.
For a lot of us, coworkers are our main source of daily communication. Humans are social creatures, and we need social interaction to thrive. Prolonged isolation can impact our bodies and minds. It can make you lethargic and, in turn, impact your ability to work. That’s why it’s so important to keep your employees engaged. Having a good company culture is just as important as making sure work is getting done, so don’t skimp on it. I hope this has given you some insight into how Sourcetoad is keeping its company culture alive and maybe even given you some ideas to take away and make your own.