Company Culture and Attitude in a Time of Uncertainty

Date: March 30, 2020

A cluttered desk featured plants, coffee, a tablet, notebook, pencils, glasses and binders, one of which is labeled Company Culture.

The coronavirus has thrown a wrench in everyone’s plans. No matter how you guessed your company’s first quarter of 2020 would end, it’s unlikely you predicted an international pandemic with state-wide curfews. Businesses across the tri-state area, and the nation at large, have moved to remote work from home policies in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

If you’re a business leader whose company recently implemented a work from home policy, you might be worried about how this newfound distance will affect your company’s culture. Does a remote work policy automatically ruin your business’s culture? 

No. If your company was able to cultivate and foster a strong culture when working internally, you can expect that a similar culture will yield prevalent even as the workforce moves to remote locations. As the business leader, it’s on you to set standards and expectations for your entire team. In addition to setting expectations, there are some things any business leader can do to keep their team positive without sacrificing company culture. 

Honesty is the Best Policy

You’re not the only person who’s worried right now. It’s extremely likely that the entirety of your workforce is facing similar anxiety.. Between the seemingly constant news updates, school closures, business restrictions, and the general aura of uncertainty permeating throughout the globe, everyone has a lot on their minds. 

You can help to combat everyone’s increased apprehension by being as upfront and honest as possible. Everyone’s facing so much uncertainty, so you should try your best to make sure that your team is privy to all pertinent information. 


If costs are being cut and elements of the job are being eliminated, this is something you’ll want to alert your team of sooner, rather than later. As your remote employees work, they’re likely to notice the changes on their own, but you being upfront about it will help ease their anxiety. Furthermore, honest communication with your team could prove beneficial to you, as they may have helpful cost saving ideas. Since they’re closer to the day-to-day responsibilities, they may see something you overlooked. 

If the economic whirlwind has put you in the uncomfortable position of furloughing an employee, you’ll want to alert the other team members of this. If appropriate, let them know that their jobs are safe and secure. Otherwise, it’s likely they’ll spend a good portion of their workday wondering if they’re next to be let go.

The importance of honesty and transparency cannot be underscored, especially during a time of extreme uncertainty, like we find ourselves in. Tell the truth to your employees and keep them informed; this will yield a strong company culture. 

Keep Everyone Actively Engaged

If you work with or for one of the countless businesses who suddenly find themselves working from home, you’re likely still getting used to the adjustment. Instead of commuting to work and having the flexibility to adapt to the day’s needs, everyone is spending the majority of their day at home. As you enter this working from home period of your business,  you’ll want to make sure your employees are actively engaged throughout their day to day operations, but how do you do this? How do you keep everyone engaged in an environment that includes factors far beyond those of an office?

A flowchart shows that all signs point towards "Employee Engagement."

There are so many ways that you, as a business leader, can make sure your employees are staying on task and committed. As they begin working  from their home, you’ll need to remember that in this current coronavirus crisis, they’re likely not at home alone. With so many schools closed, some of your employees might be dealing with children or elderly family members. Also, some employees are probably not used to the increased distractions remote workers face. From things like televisions and home phones to deliveries and messes that need to be cleaned, there’s a lot fighting for their attention. As their boss, you need to make sure that they’re staying engaged with their work. 

A great, actionable way to make sure your remote team of workers are continuing to fulfill their daily responsibilities is the implementation of an “Ongoing Tasks” sheet. You can work with your employees to create sheets of the individual jobs they need to complete, leaving a space for them to write when it was completed. Saving these in a universal drive where both you and your employees have access to it is a great way to keep your team accountable. 

These sheets will allow you to perform oversight without being in the same working space as your team members, and it also gives each employee a level of accountability. By having their tasks listed out, your employees can understand what’s expected of them as they work from home. With those expectations clearly listed out, you can expect to see your entire team of remote workers staying actively engaged. 

Utilize Internal Communication Channels 

A person types away on their laptop, able to communicate with their coworkers despite working remotely.

Social distancing seems to be the term of 2020. Staying at least 6 feet away from others has quickly become commonplace as COVID-19 continues to spread. With social distancing and your employees working from home, you obviously won’t be able to have face-to-face meetings. If your company is not currently, this would be a great time to utilize a communication channel like Slack.

These communication platforms not only allow employees to talk one-on-one, but they also allow for group conversations. If you want to speak to one employee directly, you have the chance to, but if you want to speak to your entire team, you can do that as well. 

Utilizing these internal communication channels allows for your entire team to stay connected, despite no longer sharing an office space. They simultaneously make employees feel as though they’re still at work (despite sitting on their couch with their laptop) and it gives everyone the opportunity to communicate with one another. By doing so, you’ll not only foster a stronger work environment, but a better organizational culture as well. 

Your Company’s Core Values Remain the Same, Whether You’re In an Office or Working From Home 

A street sign reads "Your Culture is Your Brand."

Your company values are not only for within the physical office space. They need to remain in place and on your team’s mind, from no matter where they’re working. For example, the 9Sail Team’s core values are Make Dad Proud, Extreme Ownership, Always Learn,, and Raise the Bar. Our entire team knows and understands this. Despite working from home, we’re still actively working with these fundamental beliefs in our mind. 

If you haven’t clearly explained and outlined your company’s core values to your employees, this would be the perfect time to do so. Send them a message through Slack as a friendly reminder. If you have yet to set your business’s core values in place, you’ll want to do so immediately. Your core values should go a long way towards keeping your employees engaged, as these values can yield a deeper understanding of the company’s goals and future. 


Make It As Fun As Possible 

There’s increased anxiety all around. Why not combat this by trying to make your employee’s remote work as fun as possible? This can help boost morale and your company culture. 

An employee leans back and smiles happily.

With bars closed, of course, there can be no more Happy Hours for the foreseeable future, but have you considered a virtual happy hour? Set a time with your team to have a  drink and video chat with an application like Zoom. This will give everyone the chance to catch up, discuss their week, and unwind together. Since beginning our work from home policy, the 9Sail team has implemented weekly virtual Happy Hours, and they’ve proved successful! We all enjoyed getting to unwind and casually converse with each other, much like we would if we were back in the office. A virtual Happy Hour, or a group coffee meeting in the morning, can help combat the potential isolation of remote work. 

Another great idea is to implement a special communication channel for non-work-related conversations. If your business is using Slack, you can create a channel for discussions not pertaining to work. This is the perfect spot for your employees to share Netflix recommendations, recipes, memes, jokes, and whatever else they find interesting. This can help continue to elevate your company culture, despite an empty office building. 

At 9Sail, we’re fully aware that we are currently in unprecedented times. With many people suddenly without work and the vast majority of those still employed working from home, search engines are getting more use now than ever before. If you’d like to get your company’s website to rank higher on the SERPS, consider reaching out to the team at 9Sail today!

9Sail is a search marketing firm that combines search engine optimization and pay-per-click management to help businesses solve their issues with lead generation, brand awareness, reputation building and management, and more. Give us a call today!