The New Normal: Building Team Culture Remotely

Airkit Team Meeting

Written by Alice Meyer

Airkit, like all companies today, is navigating unprecedented challenges in the wake of the global health crisis. We’re learning how to maintain and support our culture while transforming into a fully remote team almost overnight. 

We didn’t have a roadmap for this transition, but our core values of Team, Impact, Moments and Excellence helped us stay productive and united. Here are some of the steps we took and lessons we learned:

Creating Moments

As a team, we continue to invest time and energy in our culture. For example, teammates have started sharing their cooking expertise in our #cooking slack channel (we have some seriously talented chefs). We’ve also transitioned birthday celebrations to remote singing and treat deliveries, while our monthly team events have become virtual game nights. 

The one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our team and work. We trust each other to prioritize our families and well-being during this time while staying engaged with our peers. We share photos of family game nights, holiday dinners, and creative quarantine entertainment. 

Most recently, we hosted our first virtual Hackday (usually a quarterly office event). The challenge was to recreate our favorite elements of Hackday with a remote twist, while celebrating our “prehistoric” theme. 

This meant Doordash gift cards so that teammates could order their favorite foods and movie gift cards so everyone could watch their favorite dinosaur-themed movie, and gift boxes filled with dinosaur masks and fruity pebbles. The virtual setting allowed families to get involved, and as always, our team created some incredible work. 

These moments keep us connected from a distance. They have become a valuable part of our journey and will serve as a reminder of the Airkit team’s resiliency.

Here are some highlights from our #cooking Slack channel.

Offering Support

As we transitioned to working remotely, the ways we support each other had to change too.

We’re discovering new ways to keep in touch even though we can’t sit together at lunch or walk with a teammate to grab coffee. Now, those informal conversations happen during our daily “Culture Corner Check-Ins” or lunchtime “Chit Chats” on Zoom. We also organize a weekly “Lunch and Learn” session that showcases projects from different departments. This commitment to communication is an ongoing team effort. 

When it comes to more tangible resources, we were fortunate to be able to offer each Airkit employee a stipend to set up their home office. We recognize that everyone is working under different circumstances. While it doesn’t solve everything, a good monitor and chair can go a long way in making sure teammates are comfortable and can stay productive while at home. 

We’ve also been able to provide a daily lunch stipend and send out snack boxes to replicate our delicious office snack selection. These offerings aren’t “perks” in our eyes, but rather a way to relieve just a bit of stress during this already overwhelming time.

Embracing New Opportunities

We pride ourselves on providing an excellent interview experience, and this new virtual world doesn’t change that. Our team’s patience, flexibility, and thoughtfulness have made it possible for us to keep giving each candidate focused attention. 

Our founders, Adam and Stephen meet with every candidate as part of our interviews. Meanwhile, job applicants also meet with a large number of teammates to ensure they can make the best decision about whether our team is the right fit. Of course, organizing remote interviews is a constant challenge, from the logistical nightmare of scheduling to adjusting our interview process as needed in each situation. We keep going by prioritizing the candidate experience above all else. 

As we’ve changed our work style and interview process, we’ve recognized our ability to be remote and stay productive and focused. So, we decided to open up completely remote roles. We know there are so many talented people out there and we’re excited to continue developing our remote work culture as we bring on new teammates … wherever in the world they may be. 

We hope that other teams also find unique ways to create moments, continue supporting each other and embrace new opportunities as we all navigate the new normal.