How to Create Office Culture During COVID

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If you're one of the American workers who's successfully transferred your work life to your home office during the pandemic, you can count yourself lucky for the foreseeable future. You might still miss some of the things that made your workplace worth commuting for, though. Office culture is a huge part of what retains and motivates employees, and something about living on Zoom and Slack just doesn't translate most of the time.

One entrepreneur has started instituting a workaround that he thinks can address this, especially for new employees who haven't had a chance to integrate into the team yet. Tim Su founded the startup Tandem to help remote teams connect, and he recently spoke to Stanford University's alumni magazine about what he's learned that can help the rest of us. After all, he points out, "[t]he work is the same, but it's no longer as energizing because you're not having those little moments of human connection."

Su's solution is to create spaces that replicate those in-person connections that forge relationships on the job. It sounds simple and obvious, but his trick goes a step farther than free-for-all chat channels. "We used to have a coffee machine — well, we still have a coffee machine in the office, but no one can use it," he tells Stanford Magazine. "Now everyone makes coffee on their own. So we kind of hooked into that and said, 'Hey, join this call if you want to while you're making coffee.'"

It's a natural extension of something we'd do no matter what the state of the world. For more ideas and thoughts on remote work, check out Su's full interview.