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Developing a corporate culture and working remotely: How to achieve results while doing both
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the job market forever. After having to limit social ties in 2020, most businesses in developing countries were able to transition their workplaces to a completely remote environment. Doing so allowed every employee to work from home. What’s more, 98% of those remote workers want to continue working remotely for a majority of the time until the end of their careers. Despite the overwhelming percentage of companies and employees now preferring to work remotely, 20% of respondents complain about communication problems and another 20% say they feel lonely.
What does all this mean for business leadership? In short, that success will belong to those companies able to provide conditions for remote work that address the issues of communication and are able to maintain a feeling of connection between employees.
The shared consciousness problem
People are social beings. Thus, whenever we’re in a group, it is important for us to feel in touch with what is happening around us, with regards to our peers. Whether a collective is for social or working purposes, the needs are the same. When working remotely, people will unconsciously seek out ways to remedy their lack of social connections through standard work applications. Zoom and Slack, who excel at organising working communications between teams (most of whom work with each other in an office) could not bring teammates together for strictly social interactions.
Thus, more and more HR and EX departments began to realise that the problem was deeper than simple messaging or videoconferencing. Slowly by surely, the corporate cultures of companies were beginning to fade away.
Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact. It is a long-held belief that corporate culture can be communicated through a formal set of rules. 2020 finally dispelled this illusion. If half of a company’s culture can be codified, the other half is transmitted in the form of direct communication between employees. The latter does not imply formal business meetings or video calls. On the contrary, we are talking about informal interaction between employees, not directly related to the completion of work-related tasks.
51% of US employees report feeling less connected to their company’s culture while working from home and 57% miss small talk and informal interactions with colleagues.
Neither Slack nor Zoom or Google Meet can remedy these problems. This is because these solutions were never conceived as a complete replacement for in-person communications. Another reason is that people strongly associate them with their work. Ultimately, employees are deprived of space for happy hours, informal communications, and team-building events.
Corporate events are a must when working remotely
In the past, corporate events were optional. But in a world that is operating with 100% remote-centric environments, corporate events are obligatory. The problem with virtual events and corporate celebrations is the issue of social organization. Traditional video conferencing and video calling services limit the experience and scope of the user experience. They make it impossible for any single group of employees to self-organize during an event. At the user experience level, this is evidenced by extremely low engagement. Most participants end up sitting around with their cameras turned off and remain silent. Let’s face it, a “party” on Zoom is almost no different from a business meeting.
While plenty of new virtual event solutions have popped up, they still miss out on a few crucial engagement mechanics:
- They all rely on a model where visitors are passive listeners, even though most attendees arrive intending to interact both with speakers and other visitors. Platforms copy Zoom features with some minor tweaks.
- Virtual HQ platforms (like Teamflow) try to recreate the working environment with a couple of informal points of contact and gamification but are still too geeky for regular users.
- Virtual 3D platforms (like Virbella) are trying to reproduce the real-life experience, but they lack empathetic connections – they look more like a Sims video game with soulless virtual avatars.
- Oversimplified networking mechanics relying mostly on shuffle features similar to speed dating.
- Visitors come for event content, networking, and an afterparty. Existing solutions are not capable of addressing the “fun” aspect of these activities.
Fuel corporate culture and causal team interactions with the right solution
At Party.Space we have created a virtual event platform that addresses all the issues mentioned above.
First, we focus on integrating the two core mechanics of real communications. You can chat with your friends while watching an event together. Imagine that you are at a concert of your favorite jazz band in a club. Your favorite song is playing from the stage, you turn to your friend and comment on it, and they respond to you. At the same time, your conversation does not bother anyone around or the musicians on stage. And you can chat in groups without leaving or disrupting the main activity.
Secondly, unlike traditional video conferencing services, we have created virtual spaces with a topology that closely resembles reality. This means that you have a lobby, a main stage, and separate rooms with different activities. Event participants can freely move between rooms and take part in the activities that interest them most.
When combined, these two mechanics allow for virtually any format of traditional celebrations or cocktail parties to be taken online.
For an average Party.Space event, our clients report a 75% user engagement which means that 75% of attendees actively take part in a party’s activities and chat for more than 30% of the overall span of an event. At the same time, the organizers have access to complete event analytics. This means that managers can assess the success of certain activities and their impact on the microclimate of a team. 60% of all surveyed Party.Space users report that they would like to continue using the platform’s capabilities even after the end of the pandemic.
Published Mar 29, 2021
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