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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 5/21: How A Best Place to Work is Maintaining its Culture Remotely 

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As many organizations implement mandatory work from home amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many leaders are asking, how can we keep our staff engaged, and maintain our culture through this turbulent time.

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 "100 Best Companies to Work For," a two time winner of Inc. Magazine's "Best Workplace," and a six time winner of Crain's Chicago Business' "Best Companies to Work For" we thought we'd share what we have been doing during our first week of quarantine in the hopes that it sparks some ideas for other organizations. We will continue to add to this blog as the weeks go on - so come back for more inspiration! 

Updated May 21, 2020

How Well Do You Know your Vice Presidents?




LaSallians tuned in for a virtual happy hour and game night to see who knows their vice presidents best. VPs shared fun facts about themselves and we guessed whose surprising fact was whose. One of our VP's started their professional career shucking corn...do you know which one? Next week, we're playing how well do you know your Executives!




Positive Affirmations:


Encouraging another person is often beneficial for your own mental heath, as well! After a Zoom meeting, LaSallians each sent an encouraging note to the person whose face was on the screen below them. This was a fun way to reconnect with coworkers and provided an uplifting message to relieve stress.


Pay it Forward: 

Encouraging another person is often beneficial for your own mental heath, as well! After a Zoom meeting, LaSallians each sent an encouraging note to the person whose face was on the screen below them. This was a fun way to reconnect with coworkers and provided an uplifting message to relieve stress.



Virtual Onboarding Happy Hour:

 Onboarding remotely can be tough, but we've found ways to get our new hires involved in our company culture right off the bat! We celebrated our newest LaSallian, Christian Canas, with a virtual happy hour.

Book Club:

Working from home couldn't keep our book club from meeting! LaBookClub met virtually to discuss 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz.'



Updated May 14

Virtual Baby Shower

We celebrated our LaSallian moms-to-be with a virtual tea party. While we typically would have thrown them a baby shower in the office, we were still able to play games and "shower" them with our support via Zoom.


Charity Events


While in-person events have been put on hold, LaSalle is accepting the #moveforthekids challenge from afar! May 15 - 17 Lurie Children's Hospital is hosting a virtual workout challenge with live classes, an independent 5k run and a toast to our healthcare heroes. To join in and support the cause, visit Move for the Kids here.


Mental Health Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and we're sharing our favorite ways to reduce stress and anxiety. By sharing resources and mental health tips, LaSallians are supporting one another from afar. Some LaSalle favorites: getting outside, being active, learning a new skill and relaxing with a face mask.


Peloton Challenge

We have more than a few competitive LaSallians in our midst, and what better way to get active than by starting a friendly competition? Those in the office with a Peloton bike have kept each other accountable for getting their exercise in by starting a monthly cycling challenge.


Start a Meeting with a Stretch

We brought energy back to a gloomy morning by starting our company wide Zoom call with a group stretch


Updated May 8, 2020




Mixology Class: 




We hosted a virtual cocktail making class straight from the kitchen of one of LaSalle’s favorite mixologists, Lisa Mosher! The menu included margaritas, mojitos and her signature Sunset Martini. Cheers!  




Cooking Class: 




LaSalle’s resident “chef” Claire Challenger gave us a virtual cooking class for lunch on Tuesday. On the menu was chicken tacos with her signature garlic-herb crema.  




Team bonding:




Teams hosted trivia game nights or guessing whose baby picture is whoseOthers have used Microsoft Teams polls throughout the day for fun “Would You Rather” or “Who’s Most Likely to...” questions. Some popular polls included “Would you rather give up pizza or ice cream?” and Who on this team would be most likely to get a face tattoo?” 




Dance Class: 




We broke a sweat while breaking it down in a virtual hip-hop dance class! Thanks to the LaSallian with the smoothest moves, Jess Rico, for teaching us a few of her signature steps.  



Mother’s Day Celebration: 




CEO Tom Gimbel typically sends a letter in the mail to thank the mothers of LaSallians on Mother’s Day, but this year he did so over Zoom. We hosted a virtual Mother’s Day Zoom call for employees and their moms to say thank you for their guidance and support during this challenging time. 






Daily Town Hall Meetings: 

We have a standing company-wide Town Hall meeting every morning, where all employees, we call ourselves LaSallians, log on via Zoom (a video meeting for those who aren't familiar with Zoom). All employees are asked to join via video not just audio so we really feel a sense of connection seeing one another face to face. The Town Hall is led by our CEO, Tom Gimbel. He shares pertinent information and updates, and gives employees an opportunity to ask questions.  Tom talks about these town halls with Inc. Magazine here. 

Morning Stand Ups & Wraps:  

At the start of each workday, each team meets for a Stand Up, they use Zoom to see one another via video, and discuss each person's priorities for the day, and any roadblocks they're facing. This updates the rest of the team on what each person is working on. It not only encourages collaboration and can streamline projects, it also gives the team a sense of who needs help. At the end of the day, the crew gets together again for a Wrap via Zoom video, and shares what they achieved. Stand up and wraps help keep everyone accountable to one another.

Virtual Happy Hours: 

While in office, we typically host several celebrations weekly for employee’s work anniversaries or accomplishments. Whave kept this tradition going by joining one another virtually, beverage of choice in hand.  

Theme Days: 

This week was going to be our 11th annual March Madness party, where we host clients and contacts at our headquarters to watch basketball, have hotdogs and nachos, and eat endless chili from our chili cook off contest. Since this year both the NCAA tournament, and our party was canceled, we’re keeping the spirit alive by each repping our teams from afar. Theme days like these give people something to look forward to and definitely encourages a little trash talking... :) 


Hats off to our fifth week of working from home! We're keeping Town Hall interesting with theme days.


While Wrigley Field may be closed, we’re still celebrating. We surprised CEO Tom Gimbel for his birthday by all sporting his favorite team: The Cubs! 

Virtual Lunches:



For those of us missing our group Chipotle runs, a video call lunch has been a unique alternative. Some LaSallians have posted their lunch times on our all company Microsoft Teams chat to include whomever wants to join!

 

Communication Channels: 



Communication is key while working at a distance, especially across multiple teams, states and time zones as many people ventured back to their hometowns to be with family. Besides our daily Zoom video meetings, we have incorporated our company-wide Microsoft Teams chat to share pertinent information and a channel specifically for "Work from home" to share tips on working from home successfully. This doesn't only include work talk or current events...we also have a Teams channels featuring the dogs of LaSalle and the cats of LaSalle.

 

Sunrise Yoga: 


We started Work From Home Week Two with a virtual sunrise yoga class, led by our very own, instructor certified LaSallian, Kristin Dozier! Greeting the new week refreshed and re-energized was the perfect start to a Monday morning and reinforced the importance of a morning routine.


Ice Cream Social: 






LaSallians love their treats! While we haven't been able to celebrate in the office with our regular snack days commemorating a ReBirthday or holiday, on Tuesday night LaSallians tuned into a group Zoom with their favorite treats in hand. Ranging from Chicago's favorite ice cream, Jenni's, to Ben & Jerry's, dairy-free, and plant based treats, we snacked together and shared stories. Casual connection like this keeps the LaSalle culture and camaraderie alive!


Virtual Piano Bar



We had our bi-weekly virtual happy hour with a twist on Thursday night, featuring a musically talented friend of LaSalle, Jim Schiffer, performing our favorite songs. LaSallians gathered their cooped ups kids, spouses, roommates and pets to join in the fun and dance and sing along. The crowd favorite? Billy Joel's Piano Man, of course!



Celebrating our Interns:

We have been blessed with a small but mighty crew of college interns from various colleges. When our office decided to go remote, all of them chose to stay on with us and continue their work from home, as well. With school closures and graduations postponed for the time being, we hopped on a video call to celebrate them virtually.


Trivia Night:


Week three of quarantine has us WIGGING out! We have a few trivia fiends here at LaSalle, so what better way to celebrate the start of April than a LaSalle themed virtual trivia night? Throw in a few costumes and your beverage of choice for the perfect mid-week morale boost.


Virtual Surprise Bachelorette: 




While some major life events have had to be put on hold due to quarantine, LaSallians can’t let anyone get away with NOT celebrating. Our marketing team was able to host a surprise Zoom bachelorette party to cheers our bride-to-be; champagne, sashes and all.




Chalk the Walk: 




A few LaSallians living in nearby neighborhoods left notes in sidewalk chalk outside the homes of coworkers. Bonus tip? Bring your kids along to leave a picture, as well!




Bingo: 






We hosted a virtual Bingo night featuring quarantine themed squares. How many have you completed?


Pen Pals:


We teamed up with several nearby nursing homes to forge new friendships and start a pen pal program. While seniors are isolated in their rooms, we found a way to spread joy with notes, crossword puzzles and a few crayon drawings from our LaSallians in Training.




Dance Party:


How do you start your days while working from home? To keep our energy up, we're sharing a pump up song of the day. It's surprising what a few shoulder shimmies can do to start the day off right.


Messages:


This week LaSallians each came to Town Hall with a message written to hold up to the camera and read as a group. Ranging from humor to heart felt, this was the perfect way to check in and take pulse of how the group was feeling.



Virtual Training:  


Training doesn’t stop just because we’re working remotely! LaSallians tuned in to virtual trainings this week to continue to sharpen our skills while working from home.  


HIIT Class:


A team that is active together is stronger together! Personal trainer and friend of LaSalle, John Schrieffer, hosted a virtual Orange Theory style HIIT workout.  


Would You Rather? Virtual Game Night:


Would you rather work from home in your BATHTUB or OUTSIDE (rain or shine!)? We hosted a quarantine themed Would You Rather game night and happy hour. 




Administrative Professionals’ Day: 

Administrative Professionals' Day was April 22. We surprised our amazing administrative team with thank you notes, virtual zoom backgrounds and a big round of applause at our daily town hall.




Step Challenge: 

One of our teams started a friendly competition to see who can get the most steps in per day. Whether that means a quick jog outside or pacing around the living room, we’re staying active and holding one another accountable.


ReBirthday Celebrations: 

Each year on the anniversary of an employee’s start date, we celebrate their “ReBirthday” with snacks, decorations and a night out. While quarantined, teams have still found ways to make their celebrations special. LaSallian Jim Halpin was celebrated with a surprise Zoom happy hour and a $1000 donation to Misericorida, a local community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities. 

Supporting Local Businesses: 

From hole-in-the-wall pizza places, to local breweries and even a neighborhood animal shelter, LaSallians showed their support of their favorite local businesses by shopping small this weekend. 

 

Superhero Day:

April 29th was national superhero day and we celebrated our favorite first responder superheroes and friends of LaSalle. Thank you to all on the front line! 

Spa Night: 

What’s better than a virtual happy hour? How about a virtual happy hour...in your bathrobe? We were in full support of self-care this week by hosting a virtual spa and sip night. 

Day Off: 


After 7 long weeks of working from home, our CEO, Tom Gimbel, decided to give everyone a well-deserved day off. To keep business operations running, LaSallians are alternating the days they take off. His one condition? Everyone spends some time reading, meditating and getting refreshed for the weeks to come.  


Inspiration from Other Companies


 We've been hearing from our clients about the things they are doing to keep their staff engaged. Here are some of our favorites:


  • Wellness Checks: The HR team rotates through their list of employees, deciding who talks to whom each week to check in and see how each employee is doing.

  • Virtual Buddy System: Some companies have paired up employees to check in or connect with one another via phone or video chat each day. Each employee has a buddy

  • Wellness Inspiration: Some companies have instituted 'step challenges' to get employees moving by sharing their step count for the day and competing with their peers to reach a goal. Employees also share recipes or their favorite home workouts in an email chain or chat.

  • Wellness Wednesday & Fitness Friday: Keep each other accountable & healthy.



Are you hiring or looking for work? Let's get connected! Contact us here.

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