Charitable giving and team building—this winning combination is the glue that binds remote team members to corporate culture and to each other.
Behold: a strange new nostalgia!
Be it ev-er so demanding,
There’s no-oo place like work!
Of course, nobody EVER sang that before the pandemic struck, but now a lot of us are thinking it, even humming it subliminally.
New virtual and home-based work norms have produced a strange nostalgia for the comforting chaos of brick-and-mortar. Cluttered cubicles. Gridlock around water coolers. Ghastly office coffee. Interminable lines at Starbucks.
Crowded elevators. Rush hour traffic. These ingredients were the grist in the mill of relationship building; the fodder upon which organizational culture was grown and nurtured.
Crammed together in an environment rife with challenges and changes and the cultural friction they generate—this is where the magic happens! Human synergy can make room for subordinates and superiors to co-create and even recreate culture.
Creativity is often a contact-sport that feeds off of the adrenaline fumes of close proximity. Computer processors aside, there’s nothing like our five senses, body language, facial expressions, emotions, and our interpersonal experiences for processing the adventure we call being human.
Humanizing virtual corporate culture
So what to do with all the stuff that makes us human when there are no other humans or their stuff to feed on? And for those called to return to the workplace, the space itself will be reconfigured. Alas, distance from other earthlings is now mandatory because it’s safer.
Recently MIT/SLOAN Review interviewed Dr. Ann Swidler, cultural sociologist and professor at University of California, Berkeley. Swidler shared this about corporate culture in virtual environments:
A time of disruption presents an opportunity to remind employees of aspects of an organization’s past — founding ideals, stories, and commitments — that have shaped both its culture (how we get work done and think about our work) and are central to its identity (who we are as a company). Building up these core elements of culture can remind employees of an organization’s strengths and help them navigate tough times….managers and leaders with a firm sense of what their organizational culture is — a common tool kit that enables their employees to act, and the beliefs and commitments brought forward by acting in certain ways — can help their employees navigate the current environment in a way that is authentic to the organization’s history yet flexible to the realities we all face.
Corporate culture, charitable giving, and team building
Two things haven’t changed in Corporate America. First, of course, every company’s need to turn a profit. And secondly, every CEO’s desire to dominate their market. Metaphorically speaking, the ladder of success is no longer a slippery slope carved in stone. It has to be more flexible—like the tightrope of fiber optics and digital technology upon which it hangs.
Agility, innovation, and a more organic connection to clients and customers—these are now the holy grail of industry. And yet the key to the ivory tower at the top of the castle, as well as the foundation that upholds this lofty edifice is still the people that make it run.
Indeed employees are the cogs that make the wheels of industry go round. And that’s not a bad thing, because charitable giving and team bonding grease the cogs and glue the works together.
Profitability, charitable giving, and team building
The fact is corporate social responsibility or CSR is no longer “the headline of the day.” Successful businesses, big and small, know it is good business because CSR boosts profits. The continually breaking news flash is just how crucial charitable giving is right now for remote workers. Virtual charity team building workshops can literally become lifelines for employees who feel isolated and anxious. These virtual events make it possible for lonely workers to come together while they’re apart.
Assembling bikes for needy kids is a great way for team members to learn how to collaborate. Preparing bounteous donations of canned veggies, fruits, and other non-perishable goods for local food banks—nothing improves team morale like filling the bellies of needy families.
Packages of snacks, gloves, scarves, and love for overseas military personnel. Bundles of pens, paper, notebooks, and well-wishes for home-schooled kids. Baskets of toiletries, books, and tenderness for hospital patients.
Every gesture of kindness and support offered to members of the community will create personal and professional bonds among employees. And this will bring them together at a time when the spirit of unity is most desperately needed.