● By Nadia Syafiq
Now that remote work has become the norm, companies are beginning to roll out new and fresh virtual cultures to keep everyone in the workforce connected.
The way we work is completely changing, starting with #WFH. Now with MCO 2.0, it looks like we will be spending even more time at home! One of the things many of us miss about our old ways of working is the physical social interaction with colleagues – going out for lunch, celebrating birthdays, or just hanging out in the pantry for a quick five-minute chat.
So how do we recreate this camaraderie when everyone is at home?
Many companies now have a vested interest in helping their employees continue to connect and at the same time keep their company culture instilled and maintained from afar. Which is why they are going beyond the normal Zoom calls and turning them into a host of virtual activities. The goal? To keep workers connected, fend off mental exhaustion from working remotely, and to ensure a sense of stability and balance in the workforce.
Here’s a look at what some of your favourite companies are doing.
“To stay connected with #teamGRADUAN, we organised monthly virtual games competition, which is a simple and fun way to engage with our employees other than work. It fosters better relations and as a way, relieves work stress,” shares Nabil Marie, Director.
#teamGRADUAN also hopped on new platforms to make communication more interactive such as having our team Discord channel where we have virtual meeting rooms for our weekly team huddle and virtual mini discussion rooms for team-sharing sessions. One of our favorite session so far, is the Netflix Party with #teamGRADUAN. We 'Netflix and Chill' while sharing our reactions in the chat room. Depending on the movie selection on that day, the sessions can be really insightful and fun at the same time. Other than that, we also create videos virtually where we work together in coming up with content and realising it remotely to continuously grow our platforms. Every month, a cake is a must for special celebrations, even if it’s virtual.
Maybank introduced its #WorkFromHomeChallenge where Maybankers across the world embarked on a social media challenge to showcase their productivity and achievements while working from home. “We curated this challenge to keep our employees fit – mentally, physically, emotionally, and performance-wise, while encouraging them to adopt and adapt to new ways of living, foster resilience, and continue to be productive,” shares Sophia Ang, Head, Talent Attraction and Workplace Futurisation
Other fun stuff includes organising virtual get-togethers from virtual lunch dates to virtual department-wide festive celebrations.
In order to counter the problem of jobs becoming irrelevant and to ensure a future-proofed workforce, team Maybank rolled out #LearningNeverStops! where Maybankers are given access to some of the most sought-after capability-building programmes with online courses from Harvard ManageMentor, webinar series, FutureReady programmes, Excel, and social marketing courses.
Image above: Dedicated 'Maxis Positive' Website to Support Maxis Employees
Maxis rolled out Maxis POSITIVE, a programme that combines personalised, multidisciplinary coaching, and science-backed digital tools to help employees develop healthy mental and physical wellbeing practices. The programme provides rich content, personal advice, coaching, and counselling services through various touchpoints including a mobile application so employees can access these services anytime and anywhere.
“Through Maxis POSITIVE, employees are supported by coaches, counsellors, nutritionists, and even fitness experts to improve all facets of health and wellbeing. In addition, we organised virtual talks on topics of interest to assist employees during these unprecedented times. During the MCO last year, we organised a virtual talk on personal finance to equip employees with knowledge on money management, government financial moratoriums, and understanding financial terminologies to strengthen financial literacy,” says Tricia Lim, Head of Organizational Development, Culture and Employee Experience.
Image above: 'Maxis Health Week 2020' Virtual Event Line-Up
In conjunction with Maxis’ annual Health Week in 2020, interactive virtual talks were organised, covering relevant topics such as preparing healthy meals for young children to support young families, as work transitioned from the office to the home. Besides that, Maxis also invited a psychologist from the national sports team to share methods and advice on goal setting and persevering during challenging times.
Image above: The Toastmasters Club - KPMG's like-minded colleagues came together to bond over their passions, share ideas and fine-tune their skills.
“Our people are the heartbeat of the firm. Ensuring connectivity means our people are present and can deliver their best selves to whatever scenario they are in,” says Siew Monsy, Executive Director, People, Performance & Culture.
Image above: Managing Partner of KPMG Malaysia, Datuk Johan Idris, explained the road towards recovery to the Firm’s management team via webcast.
With this in mind, some of KPMG’s virtual engagement initiatives included their very first firmwide townhall last year across Malaysia where the whole EXCO line-up engaged with their workforce of about 2,300 people on the firm and people matters. “Management Group Conference” was also another channel to engage with their Managers and above.
At a more intimate level, “Virtual Coffee” sessions hosted by their Managing Partner & senior partner were also held, to chat about things that matter to KPMG's people. Many virtual activities and games were held to help the people of KPMG balance their mental health which also implemented their “MyLife” pillar focusing on the welfare of their people. All these strategies aim to safeguard KPMG’s promise of having a ‘Family’ culture that they take pride in.
Image above: Working out can be a chore, but KPMG-ians got together virtually to motivate each other to hold that plank just a little longer!
“Being a family means we support and motivate each other through ups and downs; so it is paramount that we put measures in place to give that platform for our people to thrive in,” Monsy adds.
“We organised more virtual events than we ever have through the years,” says Zaeem Chan, HR Director. Activities like online Zumba sessions, virtual yoga sessions, mental wellbeing talks by experts, beauty and wellness workshops, vitality challenges, most creative work from home video competitions, and many more kept employees connected.
“Our leaders also take the time to catch up virtually after working hours to relax and have a chilled-out session, just to stay in touch with each other. We miss seeing each other physically and working together and having routine lunches together physically. Nevertheless, we have worked hard to keep that relationship strong. Our culture remains the same that comes with hard work and the initiative we make as individuals to stay together as a family. We continue with activities, programmes, and celebrations together virtually,” adds Chan.
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