This article in its original form first appeared on the LaSalle Network blog in March 2020.
As many organizations implement mandatory work from home amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leaders are asking, “How can we keep our staff engaged, and maintain our culture through this turbulent time?”
At LaSalle Network, we definitely don’t have all the answers – and we are continuing to figure out what works for us – however, as one of Fortune Magazine’s and Crain’s Chicago Business’s “Best Companies to Work For,” we thought we’d share what we have been doing during quarantine in the hopes that it sparks some ideas for other organizations. We will continue to add to these ideas as the weeks go on!
We have a standing, companywide Town Hall meeting every morning, during which all employees (we call ourselves LaSallians) log on via Zoom, a video meeting software. Employees are asked to join via video – not just audio – so that we really feel a sense of connection by seeing one another face-to-face. The Town Hall is led by our CEO Tom Gimbel, and during it he shares pertinent information, company updates and gives employees the opportunity to ask questions. Tom shared more about these town halls in this article from Inc. Magazine.
At the start of each workday, teams meet for a “Stand Up.” They use Zoom to see one another via video, discuss each person’s priorities for the day and share any roadblocks they’re facing. This updates the rest of the team on what everyone is working on. It not only encourages collaboration and can streamline projects, but it gives the teams a sense of who needs help. At the end of the day, the crew gets together again for a “Wrap” via Zoom, where they share what they achieved. The “Stand Up” and “Wrap” structure helps to keep everyone accountable to one another.
While in-office, we typically host several celebrations weekly for employees’ work anniversaries or accomplishments. We have kept this tradition going by joining one another virtually, beverage of choice in hand.
Communication is key while working at a distance, especially across multiple teams, states and time zones (especially if many employees ventured back to their hometowns to be with family). Besides our daily Zoom video meetings, we have incorporated companywide Microsoft Teams chat to share pertinent information. There is even a channel specifically for “Work from Home” where employees can share tips on working from home successfully. This doesn’t only include work talk or current events … we also have Teams channels featuring the dogs of LaSalle and the cats of LaSalle.