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How to keep your culture while working remotely

This is the fourth post in a blog series about keeping the work efficient while working remote.

So maybe you have managed by now to find the routines you need to work properly from home and accomplish the tasks you need to have done. But what about all those other things you do on a daily basis when at the office? What about the lunches spent talking and laughing with your colleagues and those ping-pong matches you used to have to get some extra energy? It does get boring to be alone at home all day pretty quickly. But what if I told you that just because you are working from home you do not need to sacrifice the culture and relationships that you have at work? Yes, that is right. You just have to find new ways to connect and interact.

Walk and talk

Depending on where in the world you work it might differ how strict the new rules are about seeing other people, but if it is possible and you live close to your colleagues, why not go for a walk together? You get out of your home, get some air, exercise and energy, and at the same time you can socialize with your friend from work, but at a safer distance than indoors. So take a walk before work, during lunch or even as a meeting. And if it is not possible in your country to meet other people, go on a walk on your own but call the person you miss or have a planned meeting with, and pretend that you are walking together. I promise that it will make you both feel better.

Coffee breaks and lunches

Who says you can’t take coffee breaks and have lunch with your colleagues just because you are not at the same place? Of course you can! Just start a video meeting (which I’m sure you are pretty used to by now) and have a virtual lunch with your friends from work. It is important to socialize and talk to people about other things than work, and it is also very important for your team spirit. It is not at all as awkward as you might think, and you can even do it dressed as you want with your unwashed hair hidden in a bun or ponytail. Nobody will judge you since they are probably doing the same. Laugh about it instead!

Play a game

There is a lot of ways that you can play games with your friends remotely instead of having that ping-pong match at the office. You can do it the simple way and use the drawing tool in your video conference tool and play ”Hangman” or ”Pictionary”, or both can download the same game to your computer or smartphone. If several of you have the same gaming console, make use of it! It does not have to be a game that takes longer than a few minutes, but try to do something fun together every once in a while to make sure that you get that well needed break from work that you usually would have gotten at the office.

After work drinks

One of the best ways to connect with your colleagues is in my opinion over some beers or a glass of sparkling wine. Then you can forget about work for a little while and just get to know each other better instead. And think about how easy that is now! You don’t have to worry about getting home too late, or not being able to drink a beer because you took the car to work. You are already home! Grab your favorite drink from the fridge (it does not have to be something with alcohol in it) and get cozy on the couch while hanging out with your friends. It is extra important in these times that you don’t only talk about work or the virus that is haunting the world. Make it a corona free time and enjoy being able to hang with your friends from the safety of your own home.

Keep it together, together.

In these strange times it is especially important to keep the culture alive. People need to have others that they can talk to and share their worries and day to day life with, otherwise it might easily feel overpowering. A strong culture is also of great significance to be able to stay strong as a team to make sure that you accomplish the work that you are still expected to do while working from home. So find your ways to make it possible. Be creative and have fun while taking on this challenge together.

Christine Skoglycke

Consultant at Digitalent

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