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Keeping company culture alive in a time of coronavirus

For many companies, the coronavirus outbreak has been their first real experience of remote working. Some people love it because they get to avoid their daily commute and some like it because they get to work in their pyjamas. But while it's relatively easy to keep teams on track work-wise, the bigger challenge is to keep your organisational culture alive when everyone's suddenly no longer together under one roof.
Marno Boshoff, head of culture at King Price Insurance
I’m often asked why culture is so important. It’s simple: it’s the one thing that truly makes you stand out as a company. It’s what gets your people bouncing out of bed in the mornings; it gets them to embrace innovation and get them closer to your clients.

In times of crisis, maintaining that special culture is more critical than ever.

There are two things that make a culture: external drivers, like your office building and physical environment; and internal drivers, like values and purpose.

Now that we’ve taken away the external drivers, how do we keep our culture alive and thriving?

It starts with purpose


All great cultures are built on a clear, powerful purpose. For example, our entire company is built around our purpose "Making A Difference" and changing people’s lives.

Just because you’re working from home, the purpose of your business hasn’t changed. This should be a major motivator for our staff.

Double down on your values


One of our core values is that the customer is king.

This is a driver that you should continue to live out each and every day, no matter where you’re sitting. Right now, it’s even more important for you to show your clients that they are top priority, and to go the extra mile for them.

Another value is to be real. When you’re working remotely, you’ve got to stay authentic and trustworthy. If people can’t see each other physically, they have to be able to trust each other implicitly. You must trust your team, and your team must be able to trust you.

Take the time to connect


In times of uncertainty, we all want to know we’re not alone. It’s something that humans crave. So, it’s vital that we make sure that we stay connected.

Remember, sending out lots of mails doesn’t mean you’re communicating. Set a standard check-in time for your team every day, and stick to it.

One of the things that make teams special is the human connection, and seeing a familiar face and touching base can often make all the difference.

Get some sun every day


Sitting at home alone for 21 days can be depressing for some people, especially the extroverts among us. That’s why it’s vital to get out into the garden and get some sun every day. Get your body moving. It’s vital that you stay in a good space emotionally, and to look after your physical and mental health.

Don’t waste a good crisis


King Price CEO Gideon Galloway’s favourite sayings is: don’t waste a good crisis.

Instead of focusing on the things you can’t control, focus on what you can, and use your time effectively. This is a great opportunity to think about life after coronavirus and to emerge re-energised and with fresh ideas and thinking of how you can show more value.

We don’t know yet what life after coronavirus will look like. One thing is for sure: it’s going to be different. The moment the lockdown ends, the companies and people who have kept their culture intact, and hit the ground running, will be the ones that stand out.

About the author

Marno Boshoff, head of culture at King Price Insurance
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