By: Anthony Chadwick-Founder and CVO, The Webinar Vet
With restrictions being lifted and many offices re-opening their doors around the UK, many have chosen to not go back to office life. Even large banks and multinationals have ditched the office in favour of a flexible work from home arrangement meaning their staff can, literally, be anywhere.
Throughout the pandemic we became used to the certain luxuries working from home brings. From being able to do the school run, avoiding the long commute on public transport, to even having your favourite coffee on tap. We’ve all also adapted and picked up the work from home baton at a rapid pace. Some would say our culture and our priorities evolved, and most would say, for the better.
So, if you’re choosing to keep your workforce at home, how do you maintain your company culture and ensure that office or no office, culture, commitment and creativity remain?
- Define your culture
The first step in developing a work from home culture is to actually have a culture to define. For many, the office routine was just that, a routine. Culture seemed to be something that the larger, cooler brands had, be that a negative culture or a positive one. However, whatever the size of your business, you need to define what you want your culture to be. Some will call this your brand values, the things you stand for.
- Get the teams buy in
In order to make a culture work, everyone needs to be on board. By working with your team to ascertain what culture means to them what makes them and their team members feel valued, appreciated and an integral part of the company, is the basis for your culture. Be sure to get this step right and take the time to ask your team what matters to them. Is it an early finish on a Friday, flexible hours, regular interaction and updates from their line manager? Be aware that what works for one, may not work for another, the culture needs to reflect and support everyone and ultimately, benefit everyone.
- Be clear with what the culture is
Once you’re clear with what you want your culture to ‘look like’ now think about how it feels and how you will share this culture with your company and team. For culture to work, everyone needs to buy in to it, be supportive of it, feel listened to and ultimately, know exactly what is expected from them to fulfil it.
- Ensure it translates to working from home
Being in the office means everyone can all sit around together, well, it used to. Now it means everyone on a zoom or teams. The barriers of old where people would sit at the back, let the other vivacious team members take centre stage and the usual suspects give their thoughts have changed. Now, everyone can have a voice with break out rooms with the ability to put people on mute and run through member by member. Digital has many connotations and one of which is it lacks personal contact, yet for many, being in a large room was intimidating and unwelcome. Being in a smaller group or having the digital floor can allow for all team members to be heard.
- Check in
Once you’re happy with your culture, you feel it’s translated to work from home and the team have bought in, that’s when the hard work starts. That’s when you need to maintain it, check in, make sure it’s actually working. Having regular meetings with team leaders purely on culture, checking that lunchbreaks are being taken, people are finishing when asked, their mental health is being supported and any technical problems addressed keeps culture strong. It isn’t a tick box, it’s a company lifelong commitment.
- Culture involves feeling
When you’re sat across from someone you can instantly pick up on their vibe. Their tone of voice, the way they sit, even where they place their coffee or pad. Moving to work from home means you need to pay closer attention, have the camera on for meetings, see your team and concentrate on any little changes. If you start to feel that your team is feeling pressured, check in with line managers and assess where work can be delegated and managed.
The important thing to remember with a work from home culture is that it will change, it will evolve and grow and that’s great. Culture shouldn’t stand still as we all grow as people and as leaders and it’s important that we’re flexible. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how adaptable we all really are.
Founder and CVO, The Webinar Vet
Anthony Chadwick, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CVO of The Webinar Vet, a world leader in online veterinary education. He is one of the most recognised and respected thought leaders in the UK veterinary sector. Anthony is famous for disrupting the veterinary profession with new and innovative ideas to make life easier for vets and nurses. He is very passionate about providing high quality education and services to veterinary professionals in a very accessible and affordable manner which is also sustainable for the environment.
Anthony founded The Webinar Vet in 2010, when the word webinar was not in the veterinary dictionary. A vet by trade, whilst at an internet conference he spotted a gap in the market to make veterinary education and training more accessible and affordable, via the medium of webinars. Trailblazers in the industry, the company grew very quickly and now has over 75,000 veterinary professionals accessing the training in over 120 countries. Students currently spend a combined annual total of over 200,000 a year training on the site. The Webinar Vet training has reduced travel mileage by several million miles since starting in 2010 with concomitant carbon reduction.