The Office Cornucopia by Megan Murphy
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I can already smell my aunt’s apple pie, my mom’s cornbread stuffing, and my grandpa’s famous honey-glazed carrots. Each family member who comes to our Thanksgiving table brings their best dish and gratitude for all that has happened over the past year.
My favorite part isn’t my aunt’s apple pie (although let’s be honest, it’s a close second!) but her stories from traveling the country over the years. Grandpa’s carrots are a hit, but I’d much rather hear about the harmless hijinks he gets into with his friends at their monthly book club. My cousin reminds us of what it’s like to be young and “figuring it out” since she’s currently a sophomore in college.
The point is that the best part of sitting at the table with my family is hearing about what makes them unique, and honestly, it’s a lot like being at an EVA team meeting.
Our monthly team meeting is a moment for the entire internal staff to reflect and catch up before going over numbers and ideas.
Positive Work Culture
Just like my own family, there’s room at the table for everyone at EVA. And that’s because our team culture is strong. If I need help with anything, someone on our team is always ready to jump in and help. But more than that, our team is friendly, kind, and supportive about matters professional and personal. It’s part of our team culture.
Positive work culture is one of the most important things for your business to build outside of a loyal client base. MIT Sloane found when they “analyzed a total of 1.4 million employee reviews” that there were ten crucial points that matter most to employees.
- Support from leaders
- Leaders core values
- Management style
- Ethical behavior from teammates and managers
- Learning opportunities
- Job security
What that means to most is that the behavior of those around them matters more than any other aspect of the job. Beware of what you say and how you act. Align yourself with the company values – and more importantly, hire only those who also align. You’ll find yourself with passionate, loyal teammates who only want the best for the company!
Aligning with existing employees
You might be wondering how you can align the employees you already have. If so, some fun, quick team-building exercises can help to connect with them and allow them to connect with each other.
A few ideas for an in-person staff could include word games, strategy games, art contests, and storytelling!
While virtual teams could have coffee breaks, Zoom rooms (set a zoom meeting for 10 minutes a few times a day to act as a “water cooler” in your virtual office), office trivia, or collective online gaming to connect virtually.
Thinking of remote teams, if you have a schedule that includes more frequent meetings, it might be fun to have weekly themes – think casual Fridays, crazy hair day, or bring your pet to a meeting! The best way to connect is through a smile or a good laugh.
Aligning with New Employees
When you’re thinking about expanding your team, then finding the right fit is another piece of the pie that adds to a positive work environment.
Hiring can be challenging when you’re doing it remotely, but asking the right questions is always your best bet. Consider asking about their work-life balance and remote work experiences. These questions can offer insight into the candidate’s background and, based on their answers, tell you about their communication skills. Pay attention to their personality and reactions, they’ll give you more insight than a resume ever could
If you sense it’s not right, trust your gut. Don’t hire unless you’re sure they will benefit your company and team with their unique skill set. And don’t be afraid to work with those who challenge you. Everyone has strengths, and finding someone who aligns with your weaknesses may be the most valuable skill you learn!
Align Yourself with Company Values
Another equally important part of having a successful team is being a good leader, just like you’d want to be a devoted host if Thanksgiving dinner is at your house! Leading a team, whether remote or in person, is a delicate position that requires patience and empathy for your team. A good leader looks for commitment, not compliance, and builds a team that can further the company’s vision. A good leader should be fair but firm, enforcing rules and keeping the peace while listening and encouraging their team. Another thing to consider, whether you’re leading a team through Zoom or in an office, is your body language.
Body language and facial expression is a broad topic that would require their own blog, but you should always consider how you’re expressing your physical form while speaking to those around you. Looking interested or excited while discussing goals is important, just as much as it would be during a tricky conversation with a teammate. As we discovered, those working with you are also looking to you. Make sure you’re presenting your best self!
As we said, your team is your greatest asset; you can’t do it alone! Finding proper support is one of the best ways to ensure you and your team are aligned with success instead of being stretched too thin. Hiring a VA can be the game-changer your team needs this holiday season!