Despite the challenges that come with weathering a global pandemic, we’ve made it to May — and all of us here at Onna have settled into our home offices for the time being. Although we all wish we could be together, we’ve learned isolation has a unique way of inspiring creativity. From drive-by parades for birthdays to virtual happy hours, we’ve seen human ingenuity at its finest. At Onna, we’ve come up with a few clever improvisations of our own. Here are five ways remote work has sparked creative solutions and positively impacted our culture.
1. Built-in wellness breaks
During times of high-stress and anxiety, it’s easy to get sucked into the screen, especially while working from home. To ensure our people are taking the breaks they (may not even know) they need, we’ve built time into everyone’s schedules to take a breather. Holding each other accountable has actually done wonders for our productivity. Here are just a few ways we’ve kept each other feeling good during our day-to-day:
- Wellness Webinar Series – Every Wednesday at 12 PM, you can find us practicing gratitude, doing some chair yoga, or even learning how to make a new drink from a mixologist. It’s our weekly virtual sanity break.
- Weekly “water-cooler chats” – Since we’re not in the office, we find ourselves missing the small talk in between coffee and water breaks. We block off 20 minutes twice a week to catch up at the water-cooler (a.k.a. The zoom link!) and pick new themes to chat about like our favorite restaurants or our first car.
- Fun, collaborative Slack channels – Whether we’re sharing banana bread recipes in #you-can-sit-with-us or some inventive home office solutions in #home-workstation, some really great Slack channels have been born out of quarantine that we’ll likely hang on to for the long-haul.
- Friday dance parties – To celebrate making it through another week, the team is welcome to jump on a Zoom call and dance it out. Family members and quarantine buddies can join too.
- Themed happy hours and potlucks – Every once in a while we’ll get everyone together for a “crazy hat” happy hour, or international potluck. It’s a great way to bond after-hours and feel connected.
2. Intentional spaces for celebration
At Onna, we believe every person’s success has an impact — so we’re big on celebrating wins. However, working from home makes it easy for good news and ‘thank yous’ to get lost in the mix. We decided to fix this by creating a Slack channel, #Kudos, where team members can publicly give shout outs to colleagues for a job well done. Our team also acknowledges personal accomplishments like engagements, marriages, a new baby, and work anniversaries or “Onnaversaries” as we like to call them. Recognition translates into appreciation and helps boost morale during a time where it’s easy to feel unseen and out of touch.
3. Personalized virtual hiring and onboarding
Although we’re operating remotely, we’re still hiring — and striving to give our candidates the full Onna experience. This can be hard when a company’s culture is so closely tied to an office space, but here at Onna, our culture is defined by our people. As a global team, we want our candidates and new hires to feel the same sense of culture regardless of their location. But this is easier said than done, and our current circumstances have only made us hyper-aware of this.
To make sure our candidates and new employees are getting the most out of their experience, we’ve doubled down on our welcome efforts. For our candidates in interviews, we’ve employed virtual “social hangs” so that they can get to know some of their future team members. Once hired, we send their laptops directly to their homes with new Onna swag to sport around the house. We’ve also set up a personalized “Welcome to Onna” onboarding kit. From employee handbooks to intro sessions with different departments, this kit includes everything our new Onners need to set themselves up for success.
4. Leading with empathy
As obvious as it may sound, practicing empathy is crucial right now. Whether our employees are doubling as homeschool teachers for their kids, taking care of elderly family members, or simply adjusting to an isolated environment, we know the only way to make it through this is by leading with empathy. This has prompted the question, “How can we establish more empathetic policies?”
Luckily, Onna already has flexible WFH and paid time off policies. However, this doesn’t mean these policies don’t need to be emphasized. When there’s no separation of work and play in our environment and there’s “nothing else to do” but work, it can be hard to log off. Even on our best days, anxiety and fear can creep in, so encouraging mental health days and mid-day breaks have made a world of a difference for our team. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves (even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic) so we’ve learned to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
5. Gratitude is everything
At the end of the day, no amount of Zoom gloom can distract us from acknowledging how lucky we are. We’re incredibly grateful to still have work to lean into and feel a compelling responsibility to help others.
From offering free access to our platform for organizations carrying out critical COVID-19 relief efforts to setting up funds to support independent contractors and small businesses, the team has rallied together with solutions. Right now, alleviating some of our community’s burdens is our priority, and our team is committed to helping out however we can in the months and years to come.
If there’s any silver lining in this whole ordeal, it’s a time of forced perspective and a reminder of what truly matters: our wellbeing as a team and a global community. Now more than ever, we’ve been able to gain a greater understanding of our people’s needs and what brings us closer together.