Ahead of the Covid curve
6 Oct 2021
By design we were able to have a longer-term outlook, and when brands started to spend again, because we hadn’t let anyone go or stopped building the product, we were able to rebound.”
In a virtual world
How do you give your WFH workforce a sense of community? Arrange video meet-ups to talk about hobbies? Or ensure your culture is embodied by leaders at every touchpoint?
Maintaining company culture during a pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges for businesses across the country. Working from home has in many cases created a more productive workforce. But not having the ability to see each other and take part in face-to-face activities (even if it’s a pint in the pub after work) has meant teams feel disconnected and diffuse, and welcoming new team members with usual gusto is tricky.
Dundee-headquartered Waracle, one of the UK’s largest mobile app and digital product developers, has doubled staffing levels to 300 and brought on more than 115 new employees since January. Its CEO, Chris Martin, says one of his top priorities has been creating an inclusive company culture. “I spend a great deal of time considering how a company like ours, which has a positive culture, can create a new culture in this hybrid environment.”
Martin’s answer was to create a new culture platform, where people can gather digitally and meet. “I want people to connect with each other and share videos – I might make a video about how I love campervans and surfing. We’re even trying to set up a TV station at Waracle so you can tune in and catch up on what you’ve missed.”
For Josh Gill, the founder of water company Everflow, creating a powerful culture is about choosing people who lead by example. “The best part of running the company for me is creating jobs and hearing how satisfied our teams are,” Gill says. “To create a good culture, you’ve got to have good values. If leaders in our business aren’t displaying the right values, they aren’t right for us – they all have to model what it looks like to care for people and do the right thing for staff and customers.”
Having experienced working for other utility providers where teams were unhappy, Gill is determined to build something different. “In utilities, people spend a lot of time on the phone and it can become repetitive. We wanted to treat people well and make it fun.”