Keep Connected to your Company Culture with Technology

Keep Connected to your Company Culture with Technology 1332 1012 Timewade
Zoom Meeting

Every company has had to adapt during this strange and challenging year. Whilst the jury is still out on which of these changes will be permanent, it is undeniable that 2020 has impacted not just the way we work but also the way we view company culture. 

At the latest Technology for Success business group, leaders across the South West explored the current challenges they face when it comes to maintaining a supportive and dynamic company culture while working remotely. 

Timewade’s Julian Wills and Founder and Director of Shift Consultancy, Jane Ginnever, were joined by business leaders from a range of industries. These included Dan Pritchard from Astley Media, Andrew Horton of Exmoor Trim, Tristan Courtney from Stamp James, Sky Randall of Sarah West Recruitment, Bishop Fleming’s Ben Herbert and Teri Allerton of Silvalea. We’re pleased to say Christmas jumpers were in abundance for the final meeting of the year!

Jane, whose business specialises in maximising organisations’ ability to thrive in complex environments, facilitated the discussion on how business leaders can maintain company culture through the changes we now face. 

The lockdown has spurred a massive shift in the way all of us operate and catalysed the process of tech transitions. The pace and scale of the change from March has been phenomenal, with one business group attendee completing a 3-year technology plan in a matter of days after lockdown was announced. Tech has not only allowed us to stay connected, but also helped to alleviate the pressure and conflict between home and work. One attendee noted that small interruptions in work have become normalised, and signing off for 30 minutes to let the electrician in is now accepted and practical. Employees no longer need to take time off for such interruptions, as would previously have been required. The group discussed that the physical shift of working from home has led to a cultural shift where there is increased trust in an employee’s abilities to work autonomously and productively. Ultimately this has led to significantly less conflict between managing life and work. 

Less positively, the group noted that the move to home working has made it harder to draw distinctions between home and work, with many saying that they have found it harder to know when to stop checking emails. To combat this, measures were discussed to help avoid employee burnout, such as not emailing colleagues in the evening and setting strict personal boundaries regarding working hours and routines.

This sparked a discussion of how people’s relationship with their employer had changed during the past year, to something that feels more like a partnership. Attendees felt that their employees now have more ownership over the way they work and have more of a stake in the business. Lockdown and the move to homeworking has changed the traditional top-down cascade of performance measures, and workers are more able to be directly involved in their workflow management. This change in company culture has proven to be incredibly positive and Teri Allerton from Silvalea commented that attendance has been at nearly 100% through 2020. 

One of the big questions asked was whether you can truly access the culture of a company with long term home working. And – crucially – is a ‘work from home’ culture sustainable as we emerge from the pandemic? Tristan Courtney, of Stamp James Solicitors, noted that whilst his colleagues were benefiting in terms of mental wellbeing from more flexible working hours, the team is still “keen to get back to working all together”. Andrew Horton, from Exmoor Trim, has maintained his sales team in a socially distanced office as “their work relies on dynamic and instant interaction”. These anecdotes go to show that working from home isn’t necessarily here to stay, but that being flexible and trusting your employees to get the job done has been a positive learning from lockdown. 

Jane Ginnever summed up the session with three key learnings to take into 2021:

  1. Borrow traits of good practice
  2. Invest in tech as an enabler and experiment with what could work
  3. Ensure you are intentional about the business strides you take into the new year so you’re ready to adapt to any future challenges 

The discussion gave attendees the chance to reflect on how they have adapted over the past year and to consider their plans for 2021.

The next Technology for Success Business group is planned for January 20 and will provide another chance for attendees to ask questions, share learnings and look for ideas to make the best use of technology in 2021.

Find out more and book your place here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIuce-gqzIjG9w_wsxC1zUhiqHw5RemfU1D 

About the author

Timewade

Helping organisations use technology to boost performance and deliver brilliant results. Timewade are the founders of the Technology for Success initiative.

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