Workplace Culture Can Thrive From Home
Wonderful, just as many businesses, have moved to working from home. Many changes we’ve implemented are similar to the processes businesses have been going through to enable this transition, and continue ‘business as usual’. We’ve adopted additional ways of communicating, introduced extra scrums to catch up on projects’ status, made sure we all have access to programs and suitable hardware, and included the all-important regular Friday crazy-hat socials. We’re in fact, 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 blessed to be in, the fact that we can operate the business through web interaction – meetings, webinars, and all our digital work, but what I want to highlight is the value that has been placed on workplace culture. Having worked here for just under 3 months, I’ve noticed how this value has been carefully weaved through and promoted on a day-to-day basis, and has helped our move to remote working relatively smooth.
With a team of 11, 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. I’ve seen with what level of enthusiasm they approach their given tasks, 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 equally love good banter and game of ping-pong in between.
Dan Maudhub MD and Phil Hansen CD have always been upfront about Wonderful being a Christian business. They even have an 8:30am prayer meeting logged in the shared calendar. This is not all for show though. The way that they operate carries purpose – to work as if unto the Lord, to improve, and ultimately serve those around us (as a company). To create a workplace where every person is valued, appreciated, and given the opportunity to collaborate and contribute. Wonderful culture recognises the individual as a living breathing person that is of worth, not as a robot, or just as a role to complete a function. The aim is to see each individual find their place in the team, and to see them grow, and as a team, grow, and not be stagnant. Love (although many do cringe in our client services meeting when mentioned) is the bedrock from which we endeavor to ‘do’ – a genuine motive to see the best outcome for all those who work with and come into contact with ‘Wonderful’ people. You wouldn’t think based on the above that the majority of our team are not Christian. The ability to work together, overcome problems and see things through I believe reflects the ethos as above stated.
Andy Brough referenced a fantastic quote by businessman and academic, Bill George the other day,
“Authentic leaders are genuine, moral, character-based and full of integrity they build enduring organisations that have a deep sense of purpose, that are true to their values. They have the courage to build companies to meet the needs of all stakeholders and they recognise the impact of their service to society.” – Bill George, “Discover Your True North”.
WOW. Can I say that Wonderful reflects this in the heart of its meaning and existence? From what I have experienced, I really do think that the authenticity with which our management leads the business, shines through in this respect. Let’s take a closer look at what workplace culture involves, and how I have observed it to be implemented in Wonderful’s fabric.
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 in the below.
How do we cultivate a good workplace culture?
Argarwal summed it up perfectly into these four points:
- Establish clear ethos and values for the organization
- Foster collaboration and communication
- Create an inclusive work environment
- 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. We are empowered to make a difference, to take initiative with the blessing of management.
- 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 the 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, 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!
Agapao Love & The Overlap
Andy Brough recently went live with Dan for our very first discussion on “The Impact of Covid-19 On Business And Leaders” (Join our closed group to watch back). He talked about agapao love which translates to ‘moral love’.
“This idea that actually I’m reasoning from the virtue of what’s best for my team.” He went on to say that we need to “cut through that sacred-secular divide. This idea where I do something on the weekend which is ‘church’ and then Monday to Saturday is work and never the two will meet. There needs to be an integration of what we believe and who we are and where we work. It actually needs to overlap and integrate because if it does then you’re far more authentic.” In light of this, I really believe that including this kind of love in workplace culture…works. Management is working hard to make sure that there’s continued work for us as a business, creating plans for future work, putting shoulder to grind for lead gen. (You can watch Andy’s webinar on “Remote working: Helping Your Employees Succeed” here, and pdf supplement here) Colleagues have mentioned how they can truly see the value in the Christian standards that have been in place to make Wonderful a unique business in comparison to those they have worked in before. People are changing, hearts are softening.
It will have become clear as day over these last weeks while in lockdown how well established each work culture is and the commitment of each individual, 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, customer support, ability to collaborate, and effectively ‘get the job done’. On a deeper level, it reflects management’s ability to lead in spite of potential ‘crisis’, and for individuals, their attitude to their work, and their loyalty to the cause of the company, based on their personal take of what this company ‘means’. I want to leave you with this. How do you let Christ work through you, bringing His Kingdom into your workplace, your business decisions, how staff and clients are treated, and even daily interactions? Never before have we needed to have our work cultures feel more grounded, as safe and secure places. What we can offer as Christians in the workplace is that place of safety, in the authenticity of our leadership; genuine care for our colleagues, employees, and clients. Workplace culture, hand in hand with kingdom culture, will play a key part in determining how teams will weather the storm, and potentially shake up the spiritual atmosphere long awaiting Jesus’s rule and reign to be established. “Jesus take your place!”
– Hui Doggett, EA