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 June 18, 2020
As Chicago begins to reopen, we are finding ways to safely see one another. This week, our leadership team hosted a drive-in cookout for LaSallians to grab lunch and catch up with coworkers...6-ft. apart, of course!
On everyone’s work anniversary, which we call ReBirthdays, the company gets together to celebrate the employee’s hard work over the last 365 days with in-office celebrations that include speeches, decorations, and catered in snacks. While we work remotely, some families have taken the tradition on themselves!
One of our teams spiced up a virtual happy hour with a game of Pictionary! You can do so by utilizing the ‘white board’ function on Zoom or with an app called HouseParty. Could you guess this is a pinata?
Updated June 11, 2020
Diversity & Inclusion Discussion
LaSalle is built on a caring and compassionate culture where we are encouraged to speak openly and embrace difficult conversations. In a companywide Townhall, our CEO Tom Gimbel and CHRO Sirmara Campbell addressed questions submitted by LaSallians regarding the social unrest in our country.
While working remotely, it is even more important to share successes and celebrate one another’s hard work. A few of our teams here at LaSalle have started a daily email chain sharing successes with one another. Another team starts their weekly meetings by each sharing something non-work related that they are excited about or looking forward to.
Have you ever wondered what Friends character your boss is? One of our teams started their weekly meeting with a Buzzfeed quiz to find out!
Virtual House Party
One close-knit team found a way to enjoy one another’s company virtually through the HouseParty app. This app allows the team to video chat and play games like Heads Up, Trivia or Pictionary.
LaSalle's company trip to Vegas may have gotten canceled, but we're bringing the poker table to the dining room with a virtual game night.
Updated June 4, 2020
Country Western Night
While we can't visit our favorite bars and restaurants right now, we brought the ambiance of a LaSalle favorite, Bub City, to a virtual happy hour!
Share your Station
After 12 weeks of working from home, we shared photos of different, creative workstations LaSallians have set up for themselves. By moving off the couch and away from the kitchen table, we’re getting a much-needed change of scenery.
Summer Bucket List for Kids
LaSallian parents swapped ideas with one another for keeping their kids entertained and enjoying their summer. Balloon tennis or outdoor camping, anyone? View the full list here!
Updated May 8, 2020
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!
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.
Teams hosted trivia game nights or guessing whose baby picture is whose. Others 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?”
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. We have kept this tradition going by joining one another virtually, beverage of choice in hand.
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... :)
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 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.
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!
We hosted a virtual Bingo night featuring quarantine themed squares. How many have you completed?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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.
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