COVID-19’s silver lining for workplace culture

Our virtual office

At Suntrix we follow the ‘pub rule’ – i.e. if you wouldn’t have a beer (or soft drink) together, you probably shouldn’t be working together. This applies not only to our in-house Suntrix team, but also our contractors, suppliers and customers.  It doesn’t mean you need to be besties, but we want a cohesive group of people who respect each other and will support each other through both the fun and tough times of running a complex business.

In reality sometimes we, like all business teams, don’t get together for an actual beer often enough. While I like to think our work culture was doing well before the onset of COVID-19, the crisis has had some unexpected upsides (amidst the obvious and substantial difficulties we, like many businesses, have had to face).

Convening daily online morning and afternoon meetings has meant that we are actually communicating more often and better than in the past. Using virtual meeting tools we’re all just a click away from chatting with each other, and keeping a portal open all day means we’re able to keep up the workplace chat which is such an important part of our work lives.

We’ve also been getting to know each other better. To keep things light our conversation topics include “what’s something we don’t know about you”, “what was your favourite TV series growing up”, or  – particularly relevant at the moment – “what’s your dream holiday”. This has allowed us to bond more strongly as a team, at a time when we can’t actually get together for a beer.

Sometimes there’s too much information (why aren’t you wearing pants in your home office) and seeing oneself up on the screen takes a bit to get used to (I really need to colour my hair again as the overhead light is showing off my greys). But it helps to keep things light and to ensure we feel like we’re at work, while we’re at home.

Maintaining this positive outcome as we, at some stage, transition back into the office will be key. Our office, like virtually every office around the world, will not be what it was before COVID-19.

I’m optimistic that it will be better – Jenny Paradiso, Managing Director

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