How To Keep Your Culture Thriving Outside The Office During COVID

How To Keep Your Culture Thriving Outside The Office During COVID
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Despite the economic havoc COVID-19 caused, the work culture of some companies has stayed solid. But amid big changes and continuing uncertainties, that foundational element of business is an ongoing concern for many heading into 2021.

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Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The massive shift to remote work on a regular basis dramatically changed how companies interact internally, and some have adjusted better than others.

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Work relationships, processes and production are vulnerable to slippage, so businesses with remote workforces must deal with the challenge of preventing their culture from fraying while at the same time making it stronger, says Mark McClain, CEO and co-founder of SailPoint and the ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People).

“Crisis doesn’t build character; it reveals character and it reveals culture,” McClain says. “As leaders, we have to determine how our culture works from home and works from anywhere.

“The pandemic has introduced significant challenges around how we work together, and how to keep teamwork and company culture intact. The events of 2020 have given business leaders a critical opportunity to step back and take a hard look at all aspects of their business, starting with their culture.”

Tips To Keep Work Culture Alive During COVID

McClain offers five ways business leaders can keep their work culture alive and make it stronger as the COVID pandemic puts them to a prolonged test:

Lead with intention

Hybrid workforces – some working from home, others from the office – have been implemented and could be the new normal for many companies post-COVID. Keeping everyone on the same page requires clarity of message from the top, and a detailed review of how success is defined in these different times. This pandemic has made it crystal clear that operating in unity does not require us to physically be near one another, but it does require us to be clear about our culture and our shared business goals,” McClain says. “Leaders and managers need to be more intentional about how they structure meetings involving remote workers and those in an office.”

Don’t micromanage

“There can be a tendency to micromanage when everybody’s working from home,” McClain says. “But then what kind of culture do you have without self-starters and people whom you trust? Never micromanage a competent professional. Treat them like adults. To have them working hard and confidently in pressure times, they don’t need managers on top of them or constantly checking on them.”

Embrace your core values

“This is where a solid culture starts,” McClain says, “and in crisis times, core values gain meaning if you emphasize them to the team. There’s pride in everyone pulling in the same direction and being proud of what they’ve accomplished based on those values. Repeated from time to time, core values serve to encourage and strengthen.”

Provide a forum for expression

“The pandemic far transcends the workplace into the home,” McClain says. “People have been experiencing many emotions. As a leader, if you haven’t done so already, reach out to your people individually or in groups and let them get out their feelings about this difficult year and anything they want to discuss. When the workforce knows everyone, including their leaders, truly care, your culture is stronger.”

Host virtual socials

People in a good work culture get along well, and as the pandemic spirals into months and months, people miss seeing each other in person. “Loneliness is a factor, even for the busiest person,” McClain says. “Set aside some virtual team happy-hour meetings just for fun and non-work conversation, no-pressure contests, music, etc.”

“Each company has a unique culture, a reason why people like working there and why it’s successful,” McClain says. “The best companies are very intentional about their culture, and it’s more important than ever.”

About Mark McClain

Mark McClain, ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People), is CEO of SailPoint, a leader in the enterprise identity management market. McClain has led the company from its beginnings in 2005, when it started as a three-person team, to today where SailPoint has grown to more than 1,200 employees who serve customers in 35 countries.

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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