How We've Kept Our Team Tight During Lockdown
One of the best things about Mint Design is our team. We love working together for a common goal and we love seeing each other everyday. Our team are handpicked bunch of good buggars and while we have a diverse range of personalities, we don't have clashes, politics or dramas. Instead, we've got a culture of support and us all winning together. Here's how we kept up our team spirit during the Covid-19 lockdown.
1. We have team chats every morning
We kick off our working day with a team-wide video call. We have two rules for these meetings.
1) We have a time limit (because productivity really counts right now)
2) We have no work chat
Instead of work chat, we crack jokes, we have good banter and sometimes, someone wears a costume. Our team have said that these daily catch-ups have fulfilled our intention to keep the team connected, with some even saying that they've had their morning anxiety relieved.
As I write this on Easter Monday, I'm missing my usual catch-up with everyone!
2. We communicated our Covid-related plans frequently and transparently
We started forecasting the impact of Covid in January and then ramped our up business continuity planning in February. During our team meetings, we had special segments related to Covid, along with dedicated team meetings to communicate the anticipated impact. Looking back, as the owners of the business, we probably seemed like doomsdayers or highly pessimistic because we were talking about significant impacts fairly early on. However, our predictions became reality and this set a foundation for our team trusting our approach that would soon be fully implemented. We've talked openly with our team about how Covid-19 will affect our growth, our spending as well as which of our clients' sectors we think will thrive or be most affected.
Overall, we've made the time to help our team understand the tough calls we've had to make and we've had incredibly heart-warming feedback from them about how we've gone about this.
3. We kept our meeting rhythms the same
Routine counts more than ever when you're working from home so we've kept all our meeting rhythms the same: Daily, weekly, monthly and all the ad-hoc stuff in between. These touchpoints are critical for us in keeping the team up to date and in-touch. It also helps to keep our internal communications robust which is especially important for us as most of our clients are using multiple services that we offer, so consistent collaboration is critical.
4. We kept up Friday Happy Hour (virtually, of course)
Nothing brings together a team like a good yarn, a debrief, or a pub quiz, especially when a couple of drinks are involved! Friday after-work drinks are an institution at Mint, pandemic be damned.
5. We've been realistic about expectations
Working from home is easier for some than others. Some of our team have busy kids at home and are trying to juggle that with work, shopping for elderly dependents and other stuff that makes life perfectly imperfect. For that reason, we've coached our team to talk to us if they are struggling to work from home and to avoid self-imposing feelings of shame. For us, leadership with empathy at the forefront is exactly what we all need right now. Under the same breath, we've been open with the team about the fact that right now, productivity really counts and for Mint to continue thriving, we all need to make it a focus. I've got the job of delivering these messages to the team and when I do it, I always make sure that it's never a firm conversation, it's instead a reminder of what we're working towards and the conditions we're operating in.
We're sending great strength to everyone who is working and leading remotely. Let's hope we get to level 1 - and get our teams together again - ASAP.