Keeping Culture Healthy When COVID-19 Could Be Your Coworker

Keeping Culture Healthy When COVID-19 Could Be Your Coworker

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By: Chelsea Stonerock

March 19, 2020

Happiness and The Workplace

When most of us are going to work, as usual, our 9 hour days are a balance between heads-down work, problem-solving meetings, creative brainstorming, and a bit of fun. In our agency, that fun looks like 3pm Cafecito time where one of our designers whips up Cuban espressos; Monthly staff meetings where we read off employee-submitted accolades for our coworkers; Chats about our favorite streaming show at the lunch table; Or the creatives huddled on large bean bags to sketch. 

Each of these interactions is an opportunity for happiness, and happiness has been a proven enhancer of productivity and creativity in the workplace. 

“Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than at negative, neutral or stressed…. When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it. ” – Shawn Achor The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor has made it his life’s mission to reshape our understanding of happiness, and his research says the greatest predictor of long term happiness is social connection. So how do we maintain a social connection with mandatory social distancing? 

The Challenge

The attempt to flatten the curve of COVID-19 “Coronavirus” has created some very real challenges for those companies unfamiliar with remote work. But even for those of us with experience in this wave of the future, keeping our teams engaged and connected to one another for an extended period of time is a challenge. A challenge that makes this Culture Nerd say, “Oooooo let’s make it… A CHALLENGE.”

So that’s exactly what I did. On Monday of this week, I split our entire company up into teams on Slack. In our company of only 30, that turned into 5 teams of 5 or 6. Then I’ve tasked them with daily photo challenges:

Day 3 Bonus – Submit a photo or video of you getting in some mental health exercise.

Each challenge submission can win 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th place (yes, ties are allowed!) and they earn points. The team with the most points at the end of the week wins all the bragging rights and a team lunch when we’re back in office. So far, the teams have jumped on these quick, gotten creative and have submitted some real laugh-inducing photos! We end each day with a big reveal of each team’s submissions and the winners on our all-agency Slack channel. 

In this small way, we’ve kept spirits high and reminded ourselves that we’re all here to support one another’s happiness with a good laugh and some creativity. 

Written By

+ Chelsea Stonerock

Director of People + Culture

Starting her career out on the creative side of an agency, Chelsea found her true calling when she shifted to the operations lane and became a leader in people and culture in the agency world. A graduate of Rollins College and Savannah College of Art and Design, Chelsea is a continuous learner, discovering how genuine empathy and radically candid communication can help shape a modern workplace. She currently gets out of bed every day to help make 321 The Agency in downtown Orlando the place for people to create the best experiences and work of their lives.

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