Remote work is quickly becoming the new standard as the current pandemic continues to unfold. At BRD, we are fortunate to be in a position where remote culture is the norm. We’ve always been a remote working company with employees all over the world. With that said, we understand that it’s a tough transition for companies and employees to go from in-office work to remote work.
At BRD, we pride ourselves on being remote work veterans, and in this piece, we distill down to three main tips to keeping an entire company organization motivated, healthy, and highly connected through the virtual world.
Tip #1: Host Company-Wide Virtual Retreats
Yes, host virtual retreats. At BRD, we host in-person retreats every year to bring the company together, since we do value person-to-person interaction. This year, we couldn’t do that, so we had to adapt and flex our strongest muscle: remote culture. Our virtual retreat lasted three days.
To do this right, we had to not only set up events but also personalize this in some way to emulate in-person retreats.
One way we personalized the event was with accommodated food:
- Snack boxes. We sent each employee around the world a snack box of their choosing.
- Free meals. Send UberEats, DoorDash, or other food delivery service coupons for employees to eat each day.
At a physical retreat, this would all be accommodated, so why not virtually?
Note: If you have employees who live all over the world, set aside the proper amount of time so everyone receives snack boxes on time for the retreat.
Another method to personalize the event was with a list of workshops to choose from. We had events like:
- Magic show and lessons
- Sandwich making class
- Taco making class
- Escape the room competition
- Poker night
- Virtual “LAN” gaming party
- Group fitness
- And much more…
Different employees were able to choose different events that suited them best.
Third, we had breakout sessions and games, pairing up employees across teams that don’t normally interact with one another.
The results? Amazing.
- More connection. After sending a company-wide survey we learned that employees who haven’t spoken much in the past now chat over common interests (i.e: video games from the LAN party or sandwiches from the sandwich workshop). We even made some of these events a regular thing, like poker nights and game nights.
- Easier on the budget. Ultimately, the company saved a significant amount by not needing to pay for hotel rooms, transportation, rooms for meetings, and more.
Here’s some of us having an awesome time during the taco making workshop:
We really strived to make this virtual retreat feel the same as an in-person event, with intimate interactions and events. Members of the team did make sure to hype up the virtual retreat internally and influence the entire company to go into this with an open and excited mindset, which paid off in the end.
Tip #2: Get Everyone to Talk
Unfortunately, every day can’t be an all-inclusive retreat in the sense that there are hangouts and events each day. We do have to work... But still, even on the regular, it’s very important to hold company-wide meetings and have everyone do small ice breakers. Being totally realistic here, it may feel cringe at first, but believe it or not, it feels really good after speaking in front of the company, be heard, and hear comments from fellow employees you don’t interface with on the daily. (yes, even get your engineers to talk...)
We also hold regular monthly events like:
- Yoga, health, and wellness sessions
- Leadership training sessions with outside consultants
- Virtual game nights
- Poker nights
- Virtual happy hours
The most important thing is to encourage employees to talk and encourage an open mindset. This is an ongoing task that needs to be drilled in.
On a monthly basis, we also hold company-wide meetups where we hear from the CEO, team leads, and encourage employees to voice their questions, comments, and criticisms, just like in a real meeting room.
Lastly, it’s vital to encourage everyone to turn on their video cameras!
Tip #3: Invest in your employees’ home office
This is self-explanatory, but it’s crucial to set aside budgets to enable employees to have a more comfortable home office.
Set aside a budget for things like:
- Computer monitors
- Cameras for video conferences
- Microphones for web conferences
- Quality lighting
- And more per the employee’s request...
The better a home office, the better employee output, and commitment. It also doesn’t hurt to send branded company shirts, hats, jackets, pens, and desk ornaments to employees.
To end, here are some more pictures from the virtual retreat we mentioned from Tip #1. You’ll gain a good sense of the energy:
Shivangi Gandhi, our Sr Director of Engineering making her delicious sandwich
A few of us just chillin’ out. This has lots of cross-team employees.
COO Adam Zadikoff getting embarrassed by his wife. Many events were family-friendly and had children and spouses involved!
Our escape the room mission, super fun!
Oh, and to put the cherry on top - if you want to work for a great virtual crypto company, we are hiring! Here are the open roles: https://brd.com/careers/
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