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3 Things Cultura is Addressing to Get Everyone Back in the Office

  • 2021-04-26
  • Author: Maria Arriviello

*Article written by Briana Wilson, Director of Brand & Culture

As a company that designs, furnishes, and creates places where people love to work – we are pro-office and are a living example of what we set out to do every day; we all love where we work. Pre-pandemic we boasted a 99% employee engagement rate compared to the national average of 30%. Everyone worked in the office 5 days a week and at the time we really didn’t know any different. Yes, we were flexible and encouraged working from anywhere but really between everyday reality and technology limitations we didn’t really work “anywhere.” As a company that is people driven and not dollar driven, we have worked hard to keep every single person engaged and contributing to the team each and every day while being miles apart and reduced to little boxes on a screen. Communication and transparency played an even bigger role in keeping Cultura moving forward even in rough, uncharted waters. So now that we’ve weathered the storm (being strategic, lucky, blessed or a combination of all three) coming out the other side better than before, how do we start the engines again back in the office?

It’s like riding a bike…

We eased back into our office once before, late last summer, and it was really nice, but it wasn’t everyone and it wasn’t every day. As a Best in Class Haworth Dealer we have access to some of the best knowledge and research available when it comes to offices, well-being and returning to work. Our design team is able to take the info provided by Haworth along with the knowledge of how we want to work in our own office to create safe and effective spaces. Fresh air, natural light, biophilia and snacks also contribute to our great office life. So, when you have the “perfect” office what are the other things you have to think about in order to get your entire team back post pandemic?

COMMUTES

The thought of jumping in the car to sit in traffic to come into the office and then getting back in the car to go home sounds daunting to some. Of the 32 people we surveyed half said this was a reason why they were not excited to come back to the office. Commutes are just part of work life and it might be unpredictable for a while as we are part of the bigger community around us trying to do the same.

Things We’re Doing:

  • Encouraging Flexible Schedules – start your day at home / finish your day at home
  • Offering Intentional Work from Home Days
  • Starting Up a Podcast Club
  • Starting Up a Book Club
  • Suggesting carpool opportunities as they present themselves

Result We’re Aiming For: Stronger connections with co-workers while broadening our knowledge in topics that are interesting to those, we spend so much time with.

MASKS

Our co-workers are like family and so it’s really hard to keep our distance, the natural reaction when we first started encountering each other in person again was to go in for a hug or get close and have a lively conversation. As the majority of us get our vaccinations, comfort levels start to increase, and anxiety starts to decrease so what happens with the extensive mask collections we have?

Things We’re Doing:

  • Being respectful of city, state, county guidelines when it comes to mask policies and reopening tiers.
  • Physical distancing is here to stay for a while at least. At this point everyone knows the drill and if they don’t, someone will be sure to let them know, or they’ll do the slow back up and end up 50 feet from where the conversation started.
  • Focusing on ourselves and doing what we can to keep ourselves and those we encounter safe

Result We’re Aiming For: Everyone that steps foot into our office feels safe and respected. We are individuals and difference in opinions, comfort levels and personal reasons should play a role in the ecosystem we’ve created.

NOISE

Let’s face it, speaker phones have always been a problem and now with working from home, people actually staying home when they don’t feel well and accommodating those that can’t physically make it into the office, we are looking at a noisy time ahead. On the other hand, if the majority of people are in the office does the need for speakerphone go away?

Things We’re Doing:

  • Investing in technology options like the Owl Labs Meeting Owl addresses the group video/speaker needs but can still be disruptive especially when meetings have to expand outside the conference room walls to encourage physical distancing
  • Allowance for headphones – you do have to remember to bring them, charge them and hope that they connect correctly the first time
  • Access to a shared visitor calendar so everyone can be aware of headcount throughout the day/week and plan for optimal performance.
  • Defining the purpose of meetings and working on sharing agendas ahead of time so that everyone can come prepared and get the most out of them

Result We’re Aiming For: A real purpose to be in the office together and use the space for what it was intended for, supporting our culture through collaboration. In person meetings are not only quieter but also lend themselves to quicker solutions and better connections.

For Cultura the office is fun, energetic place where we collaborate, connect, and get stuff done. We have built an inclusive culture that welcomes clients, industry partners, family, and friends into our space. Everyone wants to get back to “normal” and in an office environment that’s the culture that being together creates. The need for community and social interaction is stronger than ever. The need for mentoring, developing soft skills for the next generation, office etiquette, time management, learning by osmosis and all the other things that come with being together day in and day out is also stronger than ever. There will definitely be speed bumps along the way as well as a few detours but if we continue to listen to the employees and adapt, everything will work itself out and hopefully even turn out better.

Cultura can support you getting back into your office. We know the value being together brings to not only your culture but ultimately the community around you. We’re here to help you #LoveWhereYouWork!

Website: www.wearecultura.com | Instagram: @wearecultura | Email: [email protected]