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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 3/37: How A Best Place to Work is Maintaining its Culture Remotely 

Updated 3/27/2020

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 three 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! 

 

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... :) 

 

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!



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.



For more information regarding Coronavirus and its impact on the workplace, click here.

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