Guesty posted on 11 Jun 2020
I have been on the management team of global tech companies for the past 20 years and always felt that the following experience is a big part of what I bring to the table: how to build an effective global organization; how to scale company culture to multiple locations; and how to create synergies and human connections that transform a company into a stronger, more successful leader in its given field.
Along the way, one thing I have always told my team is that nothing replaces face-to-face interactions. Case in point: I make it a priority to travel to remote office locations and understand how employees there spend their day to day, get to know them, as well as hear about their challenges and goals first hand. In fact at Guesty, a software platform for short-term rental property managers with offices in 4 continents, we bring all of our remote teams for training at headquarters, not just because it’s an effective way to train, but because it allows them to absorb the company culture, create friendships, and understand how to respect and accept differences in local culture and communication styles. We also invest in team gatherings, company trips and office parties to create stronger bonds and closer relationships around shared experiences.
Investing in collaborative spaces
Much like our customers, who are hospitality brands investing in the designs of their properties for comfort and usability, we take pride in creating a warm, family-like environment and believe the way our offices are designed is meant to reflect a culture of openness and transparency. Teams are seated in groups to enable close collaboration, we have different meeting spaces to facilitate formal meetings and casual conversations, a large cafeteria for everyone to dine in, and a game room and gym for our employees’ well being.
But with COVID-19 having an immense impact on company culture, acting as the catalyst to organizations across the globe largely working from home, the Guesty work spaces we called a second home in early 2020 are going largely unused.
The new normal in company culture
This global pandemic brought with it lockdowns, isolation and social distancing. From one day to the next, everything we learned about creating and scaling our culture became irrelevant. You cannot meet in person, cannot travel abroad, cannot come into the office. And after figuring out how to navigate the challenges of moving everyone to work remotely while maintaining a structure around team meetings and collaboration, we began thinking about our culture, and how COVID-19 impacts it.
What we found: despite the disadvantages of remote work and distancing, there are some advantages to this new way of working that we can celebrate:
Celebrating the wins of this unique situation
At Guesty, we began finding special ways to interact online, with virtual happy hours, cocktail making and cake baking, lectures and workshops, and lots of smiles and virtual hugs over video. Invite people to a party and many may not show up. But invite them to a virtual party and they will show up, even if it’s on their mobile phone. The ease of “meeting” virtually has resulted in many of us spending more time “together”.
Are we doing a better job at scaling global culture virtually? Not necessarily, but there are positives and negatives to both the old way of doing things, and the Corona-era way of doing things.
Originally published in Linkedin
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"COVID-19 has changed everything we know about scaling company culture - and that's not necessarily a bad thing." Vered Raviv Schwarz, President & COO at Guesty writes about the evolution of work environments in the “new normal”.