Here’s how Burst SMS is building a strong WFH culture (Part 1)

Work-From-Home-Blog-Series-Article

Working from home is not a new or revolutionary concept for a lot of us. In fact, many people have developed their entire career from the comfort of their own home. It isn’t for everyone. Through this pandemic, however, many businesses have opted to do so.

It can come off as a strange feeling working from home, but we prefer to think of it as a new way to grow. As a business which offers flexibility, we have a steady WFH model in place. Throughout the years we have gained a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building a strong WFH foundation. Since this is quite an intricate topic, we will be launching this in a four-part series. We hope you find this helpful, and that the bonds within your teams will become stronger.

How to build a strong WFH culture

From company-wide tips to cautionary warnings, we will be giving you an insider look at our company culture and general processes. Learn how to not only adapt to your new situation but to excel in it.

If you know anything about us, our mission is to eliminate misunderstandings through clear and thoughtful communications. This mantra sticks with us even from the comfort of our own homes.

The issue here is that clear and concise communication becomes an obstacle in itself to achieve. This is a real problem and something that you should be concerned about when starting a new WFH lifestyle. But for us at Burst SMS, we have a plan, and we don’t mind sharing. Here are our top 5 tips to encourage communication and company unity from your new home office.

1) Our recommendation is over-communication

Over-communication, to clarify, is more of a work philosophy than a strict guideline to follow. Here’s our take on it: without the luxury of having other people within our workspace to communicate with, there is a gap when it comes to sharing ideas and constructive feedback.

In order to alleviate this issue, ask why not go the extra mile and take charge of communicating more frequently? This can be in any form; schedule more face-to-face meetings, share ideas with different teams and try to be as inclusive as possible. Starting a dialogue, even a casual conversation, can have a positive impact on someone else’s day. Our advice: keep nurturing conversations, ask questions, give answers, and keep the dialogue going in an organic way.

2) Set an agenda, and then follow it

This might seem obvious, but hear us out. Working from home offers its own challenges when it comes to focusing on your own tasks. Some people struggle to disassociate their office surroundings from their home, and that’s natural. There is no real solution that can completely solve this problem, but it’s important to develop a process which helps keep track of your work. Consider using tools like Slack, Asana or Jira to help stay on top of your workload by organizing your ideas and work process.

3) Celebrate more wins, even the small ones

When working in the office, it’s always nice to feel appreciated by your fellow workers, even if it’s a small win. That feeling doesn’t need to disappear because you’re working from home. For Burst SMS, we encourage our teams to be more active with each other. It’s through this encouragement that we adopted a system which credits people for doing a good job, or for helping others in one way or another. It’s called Hey Taco.

This system, working in conjunction with Slack, gives everyone at Burst SMS an additional incentive to support one another while also being recognised. You can then exchange your virtual tacos for real tacos, or choose from a list of other epic incentives. It’s small things like this which elevate the WFH experience into something more engaging and fun, while more importantly - encouraging interaction with fellow workers. Consider developing a system like this for your own team, you’ll be surprised by the results.

4) Maintain the company culture as much as possible

Working from home naturally puts a damper on how things would usually happen in an office. It’s no wonder that continuing to develop the culture of your business is more important now than ever.

For us at Burst SMS, we take things as they come, but keeping with office traditions means making several adjustments. Have a birthday? We will send you a cake (Fig. 3). Missing out on Friday drinks after work? Open a video channel so we can all unwind with a drink in hand. Don’t forgo the office traditions and culture you have worked so hard to develop. Now is the time to be flexible.

5) Challenge yourself and your team

Nothing aids in unifying a team like some competition! It’s important to break up the monotony of work, especially when working alone at home. We take team-building exercises seriously (who doesn’t want to prove they’re the best?). Whether it’s a daily work-out challenge, playing a virtual bingo game, or just making a one-off hashtag challenge, we enjoy friendly a little competition now and then. Even offering tips on staying productive or having random talks goes a long way to make working from home feel more like the office.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a company culture in these uncertain times is not easy, but it shouldn’t be considered an afterthought. Developing and adapting your company culture is possible and can still work wonders for your business. We at Burst SMS are a people-driven company, we take care of our own, and supporting a culture we have cultivated from the beginning is needed now more than ever. To help your own business ease into their own WFH process, consider these ideas to help guide your company. Who knows, maybe a new kind of company culture will develop that will benefit you, your team, and your company in the long run.