Company Culture can become a victim of Coronavirus
For better or for worse, every organization has a distinct company culture. The most successful companies are those that have a strong company culture based on shared core values where people support one another. Establishing a strong culture begins with creating codes of conduct, either written or unwritten, which are lived by the owner and the leadership team. Once this takes hold, it spreads to every level throughout the organization and attracts more people with similar core values. Positive company cultures attract great people whereas negative cultures attract the opposite. Albeit necessary these prolonged social distancing measures, to guard against the spread of COVID-19, have the potential to negatively affect a company culture over time. Every spring we take a group photo of all the team members at Puryear Farms. Over the years, as the company has grown, we have had to lean in closer in order to all fit everyone into the picture. The photo posted in this BLOG is our Spring 2020 company group picture. Due to social distancing measures, we had to get a little creative and spread out in order to maintain 6’ distance. This required a panoramic view of the nursery.
How social distancing could weaken a company culture over time
The dictionary defines the word company as; “a number of individuals gathered together for a particular purpose”. There are certainly situations where people accomplish great things without being in close physical proximity to one another. However physical connection is very important. We are social creatures and need interaction with others. We need to guard against how Coronavirus can affect company culture. Work from home arrangements have the potential to create a level of separation which diminishes the cohesiveness of a team. I miss some of the things that social distancing has taken from us during these unusual times. I miss the sight of people shaking hands and giving hugs at the beginning of each workday. Sometimes, I even miss the smell of the burnt coffee in the coffee pot, which currently is packed away. I look forward to a time when I will hear the laughter and voices of employees, and their families, as they gather together in the evening after work to play soccer on the recreation field here at the nursery. We have a wealth of training materials which we will get to use when we can once again gather our employees in our new training facility to demonstrate new products and sharpen their skills. The front porch of our office has been swept in anticipation of the day when we will be able to resume our monthly employee appreciation events where we can grill hot dogs and share a cooler of soft drinks after work. These trappings do not create company culture by themselves, but they are the natural outlet for people who enjoy working together as an extended family.
How Coronavirus will make our company culture even stronger
A couple of weekends ago, we experienced the most beautiful weather we have had all year. There was a light breeze and the temperature was just above seventy degrees. A friend of mine stated, “I wish it could be like this year-round”. I disagreed with him and stated that if it were, then we would fail to fully appreciate it. We forge through the cold of winter in eager anticipation of the first signs of daffodils bathed in warm sunlight. We endure the heat and humidity of Summer knowing that cool crisp days of Autumn lay ahead filled with tailgate parties and football games. Although the Coronavirus has disrupted our lives in many ways, we all know that “This too, shall pass”. When it does, I will have an even deeper appreciation for all those things we regain. I may even enjoy a cup of burnt coffee while cheering for our employees on the soccer field after work.