Blakely is often asked how we have such a great corporate culture, and what do we do to keep it alive. The short answer is A LOT! But, now more than ever, keeping the focus on a great culture and a motivated and supported team, is of the greatest importance!
This situation is constantly evolving and we’re trying to continually adapt to keep up with it. But in order to do so, the team needs to feel connected and supported, so; here are some of the things we’ve done.
Physical Set up
On Monday, March 16, we made the quick decision to move the entire company to mandatory work from home – overnight. This was not without challenges, as some of our colleagues rarely worked from home before now, but we quickly ensured that all staff members had a Blakely laptop or home computer in place to connect remotely. We even went so far as to provide the opportunity for staff to sign out monitors and printers to ensure they had everything they needed to work effectively. Next, we looked at our processes – there are many at Blakely, all to ensure collaboration, quality control, and the best creative product we can deliver. All processes were quickly adjusted to ensure they could happen efficiently even when remote working, making sure business could continue for our clients.
It took a few days to work through some bugs, but with constant open communication, the entire company was up and running within 3 days. We actually found we were able to be far more efficient and agile!
Communication is the ABSOLUTE key to maintaining a great culture and motivated team while you are working apart.
Technology-wise, we were already using Microsoft Teams and Yammer at Blakely, but to keep everyone up to date we’ve started using these platforms differently. For example, we added a number of Teams channels to help organize all of our interactions, and the usage increased significantly.
We have a special COVID-19 Response Channel in our All Staff communications to keep everyone up to date on the latest news and any resulting changes we are making to how we do things.
We also have a channel set up where team members can share any technological challenges they have faced and the solutions they’ve come up with to overcome these. This was crucial to our success in getting the team fully functional within the first 3 days of our work from home reality.
Yammer is a platform that operates much like Facebook for your company. It is a great tool to keep people connected and share some humor while working remotely. We share fun updates, celebrate clients’ successes, as well as give shout outs to team members who have gone above and beyond.
In terms of messaging with our team, we are ensuring full transparency – the good, the bad and the ugly. As scenarios unfold we are keeping our team completely up to date.
We are making sure that connecting online is not just about work, but checking in to see how people are doing; we are made up of all sorts of personalities – lots of introverts and lots of extroverts – and we want to make sure everyone is managing both their work and their mental health, and feel supported. We are all about #physicaldistancenotsocial. Some of the fun things we’re doing include:
- The Blakely Blab – a Virtual Happy Hour at the end of the week, to talk about anything (except work and COVID-19 – those are off limits)
- Coffee Chats – setting up smaller group chats with a theme that makes things comfortable for everyone, and a little more intimate for those who don’t like to speak up as much in the big group chats
- Games Night – we’re playing games virtually on platforms like JackBox to create some energizing non-work-related interaction
- We launched the Blakely Awards – fun little virtual badges for things like: ‘Put Pants On Today’ or ‘Remembered to Turn Audio On Before Trying to Speak During My Video Call’
We are lucky enough to be partners with some of the most amazing organizations in the world! To that end, our team plays an important part in all of their work, so keeping everyone motivated and feeling supported is essential to our success and that of our clients.