‘How jams, dogs and virtual walks preserved our company culture’
“Since mid-March 2020, 80% of our people were working from home,” she told Human Resource Development, “As such, everything from getting the right IT infrastructure to investing in virtual learning programs to focusing on wellbeing had to shift remotely. Frankly, it was really a radical change – one that tested our resilience. However, we also saw that some benefits emerged from the disruption. Well-being, in particular, came to the fore. Working from home blurs the lines between personal and professional life, it breaks boundaries with the risk of creating digital exhaustion. There are challenges around social interaction, which is an important part of building an organization and from the standpoint of engagement. ,
From 15-minute ab training to tai chi and yoga classes, ING Bank was quick to roll out extensive remote perks for WFH teams. While, as McGill told us, making sure employees are physically fit is all well and good, it’s the difficult part to look after their psychological wellbeing.
“One of the important things for us right now is how to normalize talking about mental health and personal challenges,” McGill said. “This is something we are focusing a lot on in terms of our leaders. We want our leaders to show their vulnerability – this is very important in encouraging people to speak up and ask for help when they need it. After all, some of the most confident and resilient people, when tested with something as powerful as a pandemic, found it hard. Remember, your employees have lost loved ones. People struggled to home-school or Family members have lost their jobs.”
McGill knows all too well the challenges that the pandemic brought – some of the health problems in her immediate family were faced.
“It’s all about normalizing everything, enabling employees to share and encouraging managers to have that dialogue. One of the positive benefits of COVID was that we all got a glimpse of each other’s lives.” Millie. When I meet with my CEO, I see his dog in the background. It’s the little things that bring us all together — even in remote work.”