Discover how Something Familiar prioritises mental wellbeing in the workplace during Mental Health Awareness Week. From exciting activities like cold-water swimming and rock climbing to encouraging open conversations, they share their journey towards building a supportive and mentally healthy team.

How are you feeling? Really.

Wellbeing, and particularly mental wellbeing is something that’s come into focus since the pandemic. With people being much more aware of it, supported by things like Mental Health Awareness Week (this year May 15th to 21st), there are now far more conversations and articles about it than ever before. And most positively, there are lots of businesses putting energy into it.

We’re one of those businesses, and perhaps because Something Familiar was formed just before the pandemic, the wellbeing of everyone here has always been something we’ve tracked and worked on. It’s an ongoing focus for us, and we’ve consciously put lots of activities and measures into place to ensure that we can all maintain a healthy mental outlook.

In our previous post, Kris briefly talked about his interest in mental health, and his positive experience doing a mental health first aid course. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things we’ve been doing to help maintain our team’s mental wellbeing in the potentially stressful agency environment.

We’re fortunate in that the ‘young’ agency environment has always been a fairly relaxed one. So things that other businesses are introducing to help employees feel better about being in the office, are ideas that we’ve always embraced. Who hasn’t been in agency with a dog or three wandering about (ours is a Romanian rescue dog called Moon)? Been buzzed by someone on a skateboard? Or nodded along to the agency’s playlist?

More exciting than you think!

As great as those things are though, we’ve reached the stage where the approach needs to be considered and evaluated. Which admittedly, doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world. But although it does demand initial focus, the benefits, the activities and the rewards of it all are certainly worth it.

We’re going to talk about some of the things we do, and how they all feed into the wellbeing of all of us here.

But before we do this, we’re sharing in case what we do inspires you to try similar things. This isn’t to highlight how amazing we are, but to show how fairly simple things work really well for us.  The idea is just to start having conversations about mental wellbeing and help to ‘normalise’ it in the workplace.

So what do we actually do?

There are two main strands to our approach. The first is the activities we do (often, but not always together), where the wellbeing element is below the surface. It’s all about bonding, or challenging ourselves and just having/sharing experiences.

So we have cold-water swimming, rock climbing and a running club, but we also have a trip each year (Bruges last year), plenty of casual socials, training and in the summer months we have shorter working hours so everyone has more time to do these kinds of things.

The whole team is encouraged to get out of its comfort zone so none of us feels in a rut. If someone loves hitting the half pipe on their BMX, or risking their vitals with Taekwondo, then we don’t want to get in their way. Literally or metaphorically. Why? Because that’s what makes them feel good.

Talking it out

The second strand is more formal (but not entirely, as you’ll see), but it wouldn’t work without the looser activities above. By ‘formal’, we simply mean that we’re addressing mental wellbeing directly. Everything here relies on people being comfortable enough to truthfully talk about how they’re feeling, and to open up to others. And that’s exactly why the activities we do are important – they build those bonds of friendship and trust that open the doors to the kind of conversations which could make somebody feel vulnerable in front of others.

These take many forms, and have evolved over the time we’ve been working on this. For example, for a long time we’d been having a beer of the month – just a simple sit-down beer once a month to talk about the projects we’d been working on. It then became more focused, with ‘thank yous’, encouraging the team to talk about people who’d made the work possible. It then evolved further to include feedback and to actively reflect on projects; the good, the bad and yes, the ugly too. It can be awkward of course, especially at first, but now everyone realises why we’re doing it.

We also make it a priority to ask people how they’re feeling, but with the aim of actually finding out! If someone asks, we need to answer truthfully, and out of 10! If someone’s feeling low, or angry, we want to know so we can leave them alone, make them a cup of tea, or give them whatever support they need.

This kind of thing doesn’t work unless people are willing to tell the truth, and we have a culture here in which everyone feels comfortable enough to do that. We all understand that it’s not prying, it’s looking out for each other. That’s actually one of the best things that can come out of this higher level of awareness: recognising the signs in others (and yourself) and not being afraid to flag them up.

Getting started…

There’s no denying, it can be a leap to go from saying ‘good morning’ to someone to asking them how they feel, how they really feel, and it can’t be done overnight. But it’s important that we’re all on that journey. For anyone looking to start the process, we created a Wellbeing Workshop for Miro which will give you a framework to talk about wellbeing, and help you to put a plan of action together with the rest of your team. It’s a good first step, and ignoring the fact that we created it, it’s a great starting point if you’re looking to develop your business’ wellbeing plan.

Another great source of info on wellbeing is, which gave us a lot of insight when we were building the workshop.

…and keeping going

One thing to note is that the things we need to remain happily mindful change over time, so our support should continually evolve. What worked last year may not be as effective this year. We’re always looking to bring in new ideas to keep those conversations going, whether they are silly social events like a charity-shop tracksuit-a-thon (which we’re seriously considering, see below), to different ways to share the mental tools we’ve all developed, such as our workshop.

And that could be where you come in. We’ve mentioned getting out of our comfort zones, and we’re looking for something new this summer. We’ve shortlisted some ideas, and are committed to doing the one that gets the most votes. So just take a second to head to LinkedIn and click on the one you think we should be doing. Whichever one we end up doing, the experience will benefit us… even if it isn’t at the time! If you have an idea you think we should be considering, then please let us know and we’ll add it to the poll.

World-renowned, Bristol-based product development consultancy Kinneir Dufort are proud to be running the Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme (EDE) for a third year running.

To tackle the visible lack of diversity within the UK design industry, Kinneir Dufort’s EDE Programme offers an opportunity for three students from minority ethnic and heritage communities entering their third year of university to take part in a funded 8-week internship. 

Supported by an industry-wide EDE Council, with distinguished council members of minoritised ethnic backgrounds from AstraZenecaLettUs GrowNo7 CompanyFluoretiQ, Unilever and Reckitt, the programme offers three students in their final year an immersive opportunity to learn and develop within an industry environment. The successful applicants will also take part in school outreach programmes to help increase awareness of the design sector to help boost diversity in future generations of designers.

Along with 8 weeks of hands-on experience, mentoring and advice, the individuals will receive a £2,000 sponsorship along with £1,000 travel and accommodation expenses. This opportunity is open to all universities in the UK.

The driving force behind the programme, Sunny Panesar, Head of Portfolio Management at KD, is driven by the lack of ethnic diversity in the product development industry, and the need for change. Sunny says: “Having often been the only person of colour in the room throughout my career, the lack of ethnic diversity is striking, if we’re truly going to design a better world, we need to reflect the people we’re designing for.

“I understand how important it is for ethnic minority students to have this opportunity, firstly to make them aware of this incredible industry as a career option and then to help them overcome complex systemic barriers holding them back when trying to break into industry. Our goal is to level-up and give minoritised ethnic students an equal playing field. We want to offer interns a high-quality experience which is immersive and potentially life-changing; they will learn and develop within an exciting and unique environment with external mentoring from industry experts.

“The last two years have been a resounding success for KD, we have taken on full-time employees from the scheme and have a seen a vast improvement in all areas of diversity throughout the team. This year, we’re excited to launch the programme again and encourage students from around the UK to watch our webinar and submit their applications.”

Kinneir Dufort believe that they, and the wider innovation, design and product development industry need to do more to mirror the diversity of who we are designing for within the UK, and beyond.

Learn more about the application criteria, how to apply and the deadline here. If you would still like to learn more and see if this programme is for you, you can watch our recorded live Q&A with our EDE Council.

Launched in 2018, Studio Floc is the brainchild of our founder Florence Cassell. Armed with a loyal iMac and a vision to design for good, she started the journey that we’re now on as a growing (and currently fully female) team – supporting great people doing great things in the world through effective and beautiful design. 

We’ve taken the time out of our regular routine to learn from her experience and be encouraged by a real life, real time example of a female business owner.

What inspired you to set up your own agency? 

Hello everyone – Florence here! Great question – two key things come to mind. Firstly, my experience of starting out as a designer was a tough one. Most of the agencies I worked in created harsh and very isolating environments. I’m grateful because I did learn a lot in those early days but I believed it was possible to have an encouraging and honouring studio culture whilst still achieving excellence. This inspired me to start Studio Floc. My aim is to create a place where my team and I work hard and efficiently whilst also encouraging and supporting one another.

And then secondly, I’m passionate about playing my part in making the world a better place and love to use design as a tool to do that. Last year we had the privilege of rebranding Love Your Neighbour, an incredible charity who are committed to helping people overcome pressing social challenges by tackling the root causes of poverty through crisis support, debt advice, employment training and community care. We’ve been able to give them a visual language to communicate their message effectively in order to impact more lives. So good. I appreciate that we’re only one agency empowering a select handful of clients but imagine the world we’d live in if everyone played their part. 

What has been your biggest challenge as a female founder?

When I was about to start Studio Floc back in 2018, only 16% of founders in the UK were female. I was surrounded by and learned from men. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from those guys and many of which I still turn to for advice and are supportive in all I do. The presence of men has never been the issue, it has been the lack of women to encourage, trail-blaze and to be inspired by that has made the journey more difficult.

What has been your biggest learning point as a female founder?

I continue to lead the business that I feel called to run even though historically (and sometimes discouragingly) the odds aren’t stacked in my favour. Oh and the other thing is that Imposter Syndrome is a bitch. It has taken me a while but I’m still improving my ability to differentiate the helpful, guiding voice in my head from the unhelpful, self-doubting one. If you’ve got the tools there in front of you but need that extra push of confidence, just be bold and go for it. 

I would highly recommend checking out Craig Groeschel’s book ‘Winning the war in your mind’ if this is something you struggle with.

Do you have any advice for women starting out in business?

Three key things – firstly, surround yourself with a support network of friends/mentors who will encourage you on the journey. Secondly, never stop learning. And thirdly, in my experience, more often than not, people respond to expertise delivered with confidence, not gender. 

‬Driven by purpose‭, ‬we use creativity to enable the makers‭, ‬equip the innovators and empower the world-changers‭. ‬We specialise in branding‭, ‬print and digital design‭.‬

Have questions for our founder? Looking for help with branding, print or digital design work? Let’s chat! Get in touch at [email protected]

Each year P+S hosts the South West Design + Digital Student Awards.

The Design Awards were launched by Roger Proctor MBE, Founder and Chairman of Proctor + Stevenson, as part of an ongoing campaign to tackle the way institutions approach design education. Roger wanted to give students the opportunity to stretch their creative talents beyond academia. He recognised the need for hands-on industry experience and commercial briefs. But he also noticed a frustrating lack of creative recognition outside of London, which is why he chose to celebrate talent specifically in the South West of England.

For final-year university students, the SWDDS Awards offer unparalleled opportunities – industry exposure, advice from an expert panel of judges, and valuable creative connections.

Last year Jessica Stiddard, a graphic design student from the University of Gloucestershire, was one of our top 10 finalists with 24 Karat Coffee – a sustainable and ethically sourced coffee branding project.

Jess has gone on to become Junior Creative at Dyson. We sat down with Jess to find out what she’s been up to since the South West Design + Digital Student Awards 2022.

So, how did you find out about the South West Design + Digital Student Awards?

As part of our course, one module included submitting our work to a design award. Our lecturer presented a selection of opportunities to choose from, and she had mentioned the South West Design + Digital Student Awards.

I had also heard about a previous graphic design student from the University of Gloucestershire who had won the SWDDS Awards and the opportunities that followed for her.

What project did you enter, and what category did that fall under?

I entered my third-year brand identity and packaging project for an ethical coffee brand 24 Karat Coffee, which was on a mission to make coffee better. The brief was set by Bulletproof – a design agency in London.

I entered it into the Graphic Design category, and the fact there is no brief meant I was able to enter work I had already completed, which made it a lot easier for me to enter the Design Awards alongside my university deadlines.

Since entering the Design Awards, what have you been up to?

After the awards, I graduated with a First Class Honours and had a one-month apprenticeship with Bristol agency Outlaw, where I worked alongside Emma Proven, winner of the 2019 South West Design + Digital Student Awards.

“…I have now been working at Dyson in Malmesbury for 4 months and I’m loving every minute…”

I then went on to work at Dyson as a Junior Creative. I had been in contact with Chris Roberts, Creative Director at Dyson and judge at the SWDDS Awards, who offered me the role. I have now been working at Dyson in Malmesbury for 4 months and I’m loving every minute.

That’s fantastic! Knowing what you know now, do you have any advice for people thinking about entering the South West Design + Digital Student Awards themselves?

My advice to someone entering the awards would be: just throw yourself into every opportunity you’re given. It can lead to amazing opportunities and achievements! If I hadn’t entered the awards, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It has opened many doors for me, including my internship with Outlaw and my full-time role at Dyson.

“…if I hadn’t entered the awards, I wouldn’t be where I am today…”

What was your overall experience with the Design Awards like?

My experience at the awards was great. I had an interview where I had to present my project and my portfolio to a judging panel, which meant my work was seen by some utterly amazing judges. Even though it could have been a nerve-wracking experience, they made me feel so comfortable.

The ceremony was also great. I got the opportunity to meet other creative students who had entered their work, as well as industry professionals that Proctor + Stevenson had invited. They gave me good advice for my first steps into the creative industry.

The South West Design + Digital Student Awards is back for 2023

Think you could be one of this year’s finalists?

If Jessica’s experience has inspired you to enter, what are you waiting for?

If you’re a third-year university student in the South West of England, get your best projects in Graphic Design, Digital Design and Motion and AR (Augmented Reality) ready.

Whether it is a bold new app, a dynamic branding campaign, or an artistic animation, we want to see it.

Find out more and enter now.

We all know that the shorter working week has had proven success in other countries. 86% of Iceland’s workforce, for example, have either moved to a shorter working week or have the right to request shorter hours. So as Bristol tentatively dips its toe into the sea of change with a pilot scheme rolling out across businesses in the city, here we are five years into our four-day working week with some (hopefully) helpful reflections. 

Why did we do it?

Life is short and we want it to be excellent. Every bit of it. We’ve found that since allowing more space for our brains to process, stray, absorb and even rest (what a thought, we know) this has enabled better ideas to flow, calmer attitudes to influence the team and ultimately a higher level of productivity during the time spent at our desks. Don’t get us wrong, we believe in working hard to deliver excellent, refined work – the only difference is that we think it can be achieved successfully within four days. No extra hours, just four normal days.

How does it work for our clients? 

From a client’s perspective, you wouldn’t know any different. At the start of every project we create a timeline that our clients are happy with and that’s the timeline that we work to. Emails are answered from Monday to Thursday and we’re here to chat over the phone on any of those days too!

How does it work for the team? 

Every team member works the same four days which allows for collaboration and efficiency. What each team member does on Fridays is completely up to them. And then after a year of working for Studio Floc, all staff get paid the equivalent of a five-day working week for just four days. It’s our way of saying thank you for the hard work that everyone puts in.

A win-win

Excellence can be achieved in so many ways. For us, a four-day working week helps us accomplish this – and we don’t just mean in the workplace – but in every aspect of our lives. we would consider that a win-win. 

‬Driven by purpose‭, ‬we use creativity to enable the makers‭, ‬equip the innovators and empower the world-changers‭. ‬We specialise in branding‭, ‬print and digital design‭.‬

Have questions about our four-day working week? Looking for help with branding, print or digital design work? Let’s chat! Get in touch at [email protected]

The iconic free family event of the summer, Bristol Harbour Festival returns from 14th – 16th July 2023, with newly imagined entertainment zones, Circus Playground moving to College Green and an inclusive water programme that celebrates the city’s harbour.  

On Wednesday morning, organisers launched the return of the 2023 event with Mayor Marvin Rees and aspiring artists from Access Creative College. 

For the launch, 18-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Madara Plusa performed Massive Attack’s Teardrop, accompanied by 17-year-old guitarist, Jack Isgrove.  

The performers were also joined by fellow students 21-year-old Shaye Stewart, a gospel musician, pianist, and producer currently studying Access’ Artist Development course, and 18-year-old DJ Fitz, a music producer and DJ studying Music Production.  

Attracting over 250,000 visitors to enjoy over one mile of entertainment, the festival will feature a huge range of local talent, world-class circus, music acts and on the water activity from cardboard boat races to high octane jetpack stunts.  

With five areas filled with music and entertainment, Bristol Harbour Festival fans can look forward to five performance platforms, bringing beats, boats and backflips to the summer extravaganza. Cirque Bijou will once again be bringing tricks and trapeze, children’s entertainment and pop-up performances at the Circus Playground which will now take pride of place at a brand-new city green space, College Green 

The Jelli Shack will take over Millenium Square, providing chill-out beach-bar vibes with an acoustic programme brought to you by the team at Jelli Records. Featuring an abundance of Bristol talent, the Jelli Shack will also have dodgems and refreshments, making this a ultimate spot to bask in the sunshine.  

The Amphitheatre will become a great spot to enjoy a bite from the Food Court with music from Access Creative College, Ujima Radio and BCFM Radio as it becomes Harbour View. The perfect place to promenade alongside moored vessels and look out onto the stunning setting of Bristol’s floating harbour. It’s time to pull up a picnic bench and soak up the summer vibes. 

On the Water entertainment will return to the Harbour Festival, bringing the water at the heart of our city to life with activities showcasing maritime magic from jet ski stunts to the iconic Pyrounaut showing off its skills.  

Bristol’s Georgian Queen Square will transform into the Music Quarter; curated by Harbour Festival programming legend, Tony Benjamin. This space will kick start the festival on Friday night and will also feature the brightest talent from Access Creative College alongside established acts. 

The festival has opened its annual Expression of Interest for those wanting to perform and get involved with the festival this year, hoping to attract the newest and coolest into the festival from all over corners of the city once again. With a large number of performers coming through the EOI form last year, applications are open to everyone and anyone looking to share their talent.  

Access Ceative College has been providing creative education in Bristol for more than 20 years, offering full-time vocational courses in music, events, games design, computing, Esports, graphic design, film, and photography. 

The college has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, ensuring students, irrespective of background, successfully develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to thrive in the creative and sporting sectors.    

Achievement rates are above national benchmarks and progression to higher education from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are double the nation average.   

Bristol Harbour Festival’s new and reformed festival is brought to the city by Bristol City Council. The Circus Playground is supported and funded by the High Street Recovery Fund. 

To keep up to date with all Harbour Festival news and updates, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit the website 


JonesMillbank, Bristol-based video production company, has successfully won a contract with foodora, who are part of Delivery Hero, the world’s leading local delivery platform.

The project is focused on the foodora brand, promoting their culture, history and future through the stories of over a dozen long standing employees.

Filming is taking place across eight European countries including Finland, Norway, Slovakia and Austria.

“International travel was off the cards for so long and it’s fantastic to be given the opportunity to get back in the air again with a new client, exposing our productions and our team to other cultures” said Adam Millbank, Director at JonesMillbank.

“The project is benefiting from us doing what we do best; telling the individual stories of people from different walks of life, heritages and backgrounds with authenticity.”

Russell Jones, Director at JonesMillbank added: “We’re conscious of the environmental impact of all our productions, let alone ones that require multiple flights and cross-border trains. The nature of this project needed a travelling crew and we’ll be offsetting our impact via our friends at Ecologi.”

Delivery Hero operates its service in over 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. 

The company started as a food delivery service in 2011 and today runs its own delivery platform on four continents. Additionally, Delivery Hero is pioneering quick commerce, the next generation of e-commerce, aiming to bring groceries and household goods to customers in under one hour and often in 20 to 30 minutes. 

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Delivery Hero has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 2017 and is now part of the MDAX stock market index. 

For more information, please visit


JonesMillbank are a full-service video production company.

They work in-house with a talented team of multi-disciplined creatives, telling authentic stories for a range of clients such as University of Bristol, IDLES, NHS England, The Royal Mint and Battersea.
[email protected]

Teamwork is a dance, engrossing to perform and exciting to watch”. (Christopher Peterson in “Character Strengths and Virtues” )

“Okay, go.”

It’s dark, apart from a single bulb lighting the space in front of me. A well thumbed collection of pages, different coloured highlights everywhere. The voice in my ear gives another instruction. There’s a whirling sound, and a rush of adrenaline. Buttons click, controls slide and spin and the darkness is driven out. The next 90 minutes tumble with words and pages turning. More whispered instructions until the whirling repeats, darkness wins its battle, and the adrenaline subsides.

After hours of ladder climbing, cable connecting, spot pointing, and rehearsal upon rehearsal upon rehearsal (usually duller than dull, after the first one!); when the lights finally came up each night, the actors, sound engineers, follow spots, make up, greenroom, and director played a beautiful dance together. One where no-one thought of themselves for a change.

Theatre lighting was pretty much my highest high at school. Well, there was the secret beer-brewing too, but that’s a secret.

It was as exciting for me driving the lighting desk as it was for someone in the audience. Only I could barely sleep afterwards (and not because of the beer…)

We all knew we made it really happen. And when it went well – lines not forgotten, cues not missed, there was a sense of creating something otherworldly. No wonder we couldn’t sleep afterwards.

It’s the same on some teams.

Think of those team challenge videos of a basketball thrown from the top window of a house down to someone on the patio across to someone one side of the pool, bounced from hand to hand to hand to hand across the pool and ending up in the net at the end. Everyone cheers and goes a bit nuts. I bet you couldn’t sit still at the end either.

Because we love to see teams at play who succeed. We love to see the dance.

Better still is to be part of one. How can you make your team work? Make it more of a dance and less of a drudge?

Watch Amy Edmonson on this here: 

An outstanding achievement and something we are very proud of.
Back in 2019, ADLIB Recruitment was one of the first recruitment businesses to certify as a B Corp with a score of 82.8. Our belief is that B Corp provides a structure and measurement to improve, certification is the start of the journey. We set out our intentions publicly through annual impact reports and set the bar high. This approach ensured we maintained the focus and accountability needed to make change happen.

Since our initial certification, we’ve held ourselves accountable to improve year on year. We’ve become a 100% employee-owned business, created a Trust Board, Employee Council and gifted each of our existing employees share options with a clear route to realisation.

We’ve donated many thousands of £ to charities and NFPs, including Feeding Bristol, Grassroots Activation Project, St Mungo’s, Julian Trust and Forest of Avon Trust to name a few brilliant organisations.

Internally, we have created MotherBoard, a business charter, community and event series that drives tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We’ve also vastly improved our maternity leave policy and delivered D,E&I training, lived out through a healthily balanced team. The team have played lead roles in advancing GreenTech South West and Tech Ethics meet up groups. And that’s just for starters.

Today we celebrate the hard work that has gone into achieving our recertification. Focus will soon turn to our next recertification and setting the standards to a whole new level.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: retaining and attracting talent in difficult times.

In unpredictable times it’s more important than ever to look after your team.

A change in economic climate will inevitably lead to some businesses downsizing to stabilise, some recruiting to take advantage of new opportunities, and others taking stock with their current team.

Wherever you fall, it’s really important to create an environment where your current team and future recruits can thrive.

But when the world is in a state of flux, when individuals are naturally distracted by external factors, how can you keep your team motivated and producing their best work?

Workplace benefits are a great way to keep engagement high but with new ways of working it’s harder to offer the usual perks like remote or flexible working and increased holidays.

Increased salaries and extra holidays are motivating factors, but only to a point as Dan Pink shows us, it’s companies who can keep their culture alive, despite a distant and physically separate workforce that will prosper.

Organisations that invest in ways to get their teams face-to-face safely, to foster a feeling of togetherness, and make employees feel united by a common cause will thrive, rather than just survive.

Finding innovative ways to connect your team to your vision and values will help to nurture a sense of connection and alignment behind your purpose.

Strategies like these can help:

Send vision boxes

Your team aren’t in the office, so why not send them tangible reminders of your organisation and vision? Send vision boxes to each team member and make it personal if you can – tools to help them complete their work, their favourite food or wine and little reminders of past projects and successes. Consider including gifts for family members, like LEGO for kids and vouchers for family days out too. This shows you care about their quality of life beyond the office. Vision boxes help your team stay connected to your brand and what you stand for in a meaningful way.

Have safe in-person gatherings

It might not be the right time to have everyone working in an office but don’t give up on in-person meetings altogether. Instead, when you can, have regular, small, and safe in-person gatherings so people can socialise, catch up, and bond as a team. We’re social creatures and while connecting via video conference is useful zoom-fatigue has definitely kicked in and it doesn’t give us the same boost a face-to-face gathering does. Consider hosting outdoor happy hours where people can move around and talk with plenty of room to be healthy and safe. These can include organised activities and structured team bonding or just provide a safe space for socialising and touching base

Host virtual lunches or study halls

If online is the only option, don’t just gather everyone virtually for company meetings or to discuss upcoming projects. Think about creating a virtual space where people can spend time together in informal social or work gatherings.

Consider hosting a Friday lunch each week, where everyone logs onto a video conferencing platform and enjoys lunch together while catching up on the past week. Or try setting up a weekly or bi-weekly study hall where people can hop in a video conference room and keep the video open for casual chat while they work.

There is no pressure or need to communicate but this can create the feeling of a communal workspace and a sense togetherness. Study halls can also boost productivity and get problems solved more quickly than using email or waiting for set meeting times.

Keep offering your perks

Even when the office is remote, you can still offer ‘workplace’ perks. Consider keeping things in place like childcare support, health and wellness classes, or training and development opportunities. This shows an authentic commitment to the welfare of your team, that your values remain important regardless of outside factors, and that company culture goes beyond the office walls.

In short, working on keeping your culture alive might not seem like top priority in tough times but it’s more important than ever. A strong and distinctive culture is key to helping your current team stay engaged and motivated and attracting the right people to join your team.