As hundreds of businesses make the transition to working remotely, what has struck me the most about the move, is how natural it was for us here at Wonderful. I’ve sat this week pondering about what changes we’ve implemented which are similar to many businesses. We’ve adopted additional ways of communicating (via Zoom), introduced an extra scrum per day to catch up on projects’ status and made sure we all have access to programs and suitable hardware. We’ve effectively carried on business as usual with no problems. In fact, we’re probably busier than we normally are! So…why has it worked so well? 

I believe that there are a number of answers to that question, including the field of work we’re in, the fact that we can operate the business through the web, but what I want to highlight is the value placed on workplace culture. Having worked here for a grand total of 44 days, I’ve noticed how this value has been carefully weaved through and promoted on a day-to-day basis, and has helped the move to remote working relatively smooth. 

With a team of 18, we have what could be considered a little micro-community. From the get-go, I have been observing how my fellow employees and management interact. How they value their workspaces, each other, and their personal health. With what level of enthusiasm they approach their given task, how they problem-solve, creatively contribute, celebrate each other’s wins, and have included me – the newbie. It truly has been quite a harmonious experience because of the core values that have been instilled and followed through by each individual (despite feeling like I was flailing at the beginning as most people do when adjusting to a new job). I have found it to be a community of genuine people, who want to get on with their work, do a good job and feel the sense of reward at the end of a project, but love good banter and a game of ping-pong in between.

A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce. Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. And, most importantly, a positive workplace environment reduces stress in employees.- Argarwal

To try and narrow down what actually makes up our “workplace culture” as it is, I did a quick search on Google and found that there are a plethora of definitions for the term ‘culture’. My personal favourite, ‘the cultivation of plants’, but that aside, the truest definition I could find to fit the workplace as context, was “ the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” We could exchange these terms for:
Ideas = shared goals, collaboration and the communications of these goals/collaborative efforts. Customs = ethos & core values. Social behaviour = inclusivity, acceptance, and camaraderie. 

All these things, I can say are reflected below. 

How Do We Cultivate A Good Workplace Culture?

Argarwal summed it up perfectly into these four points:

  1. Establish clear ethos and values for the organization
  2. Foster collaboration and communication
  3. Create an inclusive work environment
  4. Create clear goals and rewards for the employees

So what do these cultural traits look like at Wonderful? Our set of ethos and core values, encompass the aforementioned points. 

Ethos & Core Values

Effective Creativity: We believe in creative solutions that resonate with audiences, but as individuals, we take responsibility in making creative possibilities in challenging circumstances. Our management encourages us to show our personality and flair to achieve the best possible results. 

Collaborative Partners: Without inspiration and collaboration, partnerships cannot hope to succeed. In helping clients and each other to overcome challenges and doubts, we push for success with an aim for genuine partnerships, based on mutual understanding, goals and business needs. 

Courageous Leadership: Giving an opportunity to develop courageous leadership, to drive positive, innovative change internally and externally, Wonderful pursues a culture of empowerment, insight and expertise. A Wonderful person is a leader, able to contribute substantially to the development of a strategy or campaign based on their own extensive knowledge and experience.

Learning and Growth: Through learning and growth, Wonderful aims for the cutting edge both professionally and personally. Every new experience drives us forward to confront the next challenge and promote change in others. We recognise that growth comes from more than just increased sales; a Wonderful person is a catalyst; a revolutionary spark who achieves lasting, meaningful change for our clients – enabling them and us to reach our full potential. 

Communication: Communication is key. We pride ourselves in making the best of our communication streams, to make sure we deliver solutions to spec, and above and beyond. Our internal communications reflect our freedom and personality (gifs included). Wonderful team members are invited to bring their unique ideas to the table, as we recognise that one way may not always be the best way. 

Inclusivity: This is best summed up by our team’s weekly habits. Monday is for half the team, Kokoro (sushi chain) day. For the health-conscious, early morning runs and gyming routinely binds them together. General banter is allowed by management encouraging camaraderie. We make a point of gathering for lunch together, and attending planned socials. A ping pong table (when not working remotely) sits in our open-plan office for a bit of healthy competition. Opportunities are presented to be included all the time! 

It will have become clear as day over these last few weeks how well established each work culture is and the commitment to it as individuals, right from the top to the bottom, to uphold company values. How it’s translated across to remote working will reflect starkly on internal and external communication systems, teamwork, ongoing customer support, ability to collaborate, and effectively ‘get the job done’. Never before have we needed to have our work cultures feel more grounded. Seen as safe and secure places providing some consistency, as social isolation looms in the distance, and possible furloughs due to the nature and produce/services of different businesses. Workplace culture will play a key part in determining how teams will weather the storm together.

Practicals

Establishing that cultural network is so important, and so is maintaining it. To promote workplace culture why not pose these questions to your employees:

  1. When was the last time you effectively communicated on a project deliverable?
  2. When was the last time morale-boosting occurred in your workplace setting?
  3. How can we encourage employees to engage and pioneer inclusive activities for all to take part in? 
  4. And whilst working apart, why not: Host weekly Slack/Google hangout meetings to catch up and give space for individuals to voice how their day went and set aside time to host socials – like a pub quiz!

Have a beautiful day and a fabulous rest of the week!

– Hui Doggett, EA

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