Once upon a time when Ben, our CEO started Cone he had a vision.
A vision that one day he would create something that would have a collective of team members that created a lifestyle, a community, something with purpose.
A group of people, all working towards the common goal, I know that is such a cliché thing to say, but it’s true.
Of course, the day came when the first hires were required, and we were faced with the question of whether to get an office or not?
I remember chatting with him; was an office the ONLY way to grow?
Our lifestyle, our ethos, and our brand is of the belief that you can have everything you want within your life; as long as you make decisions based on what is right for you, not what you think is the stereotypical way of doing things.
So with this strong value in our minds, how could we expect our new staff members to work from a physical office when it was not their first choice to do so? What's more, how could we claim that everyone can live a lifestyle blend without enforcing that company-wide?
So, although we almost fell into the trap of what we ‘should’ do, I am grateful to this day that Ben decided to question the status quo and went with his gut.
That’s how values and beliefs can help you make crucial life decisions.
But that was only the start of creating a community within our Cone family; in this post, I am going to explore the ways you can offer perks to build a community culture within your company.
Like we spoke about in the employee package post; the holiday is a big part of a lifestyle. Holiday does not always mean going away either; sometimes it's about recharging or taking time to do a hobby. Holiday time helps people reset and refresh so that they can be the strongest version of themselves.
We do a workation every year, for the last two times it has been Barcelona and Mexico. When you travel with someone, you build a more significant connection. Our workation is very much about inclusion, we look at the business and see how we can improve, we look at the bigger picture, we have team building activites. Our workation is a vital part of the culture.
Something that we had wanted to implement for a while was charity days. Days outside of holiday time where the member of staff gets to go and do something that will help the less fortunate. For example, Olivia, a Client Manager here at Cone will be spending two days in the Philippines building a community centre. Other ideas that have been talked about are creating and giving away 'help bags' to the homeless, which include things like food vouchers, and socks.
If you have any ideas or know any specific charities that are looking for help, please do reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Different to remote working, flexible working is where you are flexible on hours, as long as the core hours are done and you are in for a certain amount of time each day. Flexible working empowers each team member to own their day.
Then there is, of course, remote working. Which we have covered a lot, but it had to be included in the list as it is a fundamental part of our culture here at Cone, it offers physical freedom and requires high levels of trust.
Like I have said repeatedly, our entire team is remote, so having time in which we connect and have fun together is an excellent way of building that relationship.
Every time it is someone's birthday we do something. At the moment, our team is not too spread about over the UK, so this is not too hard to do. We typically go to the person's restaurant of choice.
Our team also has a stationary allowance. With this, they can get the resources they need in the style that they want. Again, this is about freedom, even something so tiny as stationary gives team members the freedom to choose what is right for them.
Self-development as a whole is so necessary for not only happiness but fulfilment. We have self-development sessions on our workations, we talk about it constantly, and we give each team member a self-development allowance. This is a way we like to say to the team: we believe in you.
We use Slack for business communication, but everyone likes to stay in contact via Whatsapp too. From things like logistics on Workations, or sharing each other's life wins. Whatsapp allows us to create that ‘workplace chatter’ in a remote way. A side note benefit of this, is people get to choose when you want to enter that conversation, which means no focus state of work is interrupted.
So how do these little perks create a community? Well on their own, not too much, but put together they are a winning combination.
We grow together.
We celebrate together.
We laugh together.
We travel together.
The trust, the learning, the freedom, the gratitude it all creates a culture that is wonderful to be a part of. So today, ask yourself: how can you create a community culture within your company? What are your next steps and what can you implement next?