BOCA may be based in San Francisco with our office in Union Square, but we have always had a #WorkFromAnywhere mindset with half of our colleagues distributed around the country. When COVID-19 hit, we became a totally remote company, like so many others. Most of us know the benefits of working remotely are endless, from job retention to overall happiness. For example, a study by Owl Labs revealed that 83% of respondents agree that the ability to work remotely would make them happier.
However, other research has shown that remote workers feel isolated. CoSo Cloud research found that more than half of remote employees say they feel disconnected from in-office employees. Compound that with social distancing guidelines and many people are feeling lonely.
At BOCA, we have a Culture Committee that is responsible for helping maintain a positive and fun culture. Prior to COVID-19, that involved planning events and having remote employees fly into the office regularly for work events such as All Hands Meetings or our Annual State of the Union and fun events like our annual Friendsgiving and Holiday Party. Now that we have shifted to a completely remote culture – the Culture Committee and the entire company are incredibly proud of how we’ve kept our connectivity strong. We are sharing some of our fabulous activities in case you are struggling or need to implement your own.
Remote Happy Hour
Every other week on Thursdays we host a remote Happy Hour. We do it at 3 pm PT so our East Coast colleagues can join without it being too late. We usually chat but sometimes play a game from Jackbox Games. For those unfamiliar with Jackbox Games, you can download the Steam app onto your laptop and then purchase a Jackbox Game to broadcast over Zoom. Quiplash is a BOCA favorite.
So far BOCA has had two movie nights. This is made possible with the Netflix Party Chrome extension. Users easily download the plugin, which creates a unique invite code that syncs all participants’ Netflix streams. A chat window pops up to the right of the screen to allow participants to instant-message each other during the movie. So far we’ve watched Step Brothers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Trivia + Game Nights
For Trivia Night, the Culture Committee put together a list of questions and broke employees into teams. The host of Trivia Night broadcasts the questions over Zoom, while the teams create private Slack channels to discuss answers. This relies heavily on the honor system since the game is hosted online — no cheating!
In addition to Trivia Night, we’ve hosted game nights with the help of Jackbox Games and a little creativity. During our last game night, Anthony served as moderator for the game Mafia. This again was all hosted over Zoom.
At the end of June, we will be hosting a remote Talent Show over Zoom. This will give BOCAteers the ability to showcase their hidden talents. Our panel of judges will be family members of BOCAteers that we have all gotten to know over the past few months during our remote activities.
Friday BOCA Beat
This is not an official culture committee activity, but rather a work activity that we all participate in and truly enjoy. Every Friday at 10 a.m. the entire company gets on Zoom to discuss what is happening in the news and how we can parlay that for our clients. In essence, it is our weekly newsroom. Sometimes we use it to focus on one client, other times we invite reporters or other industry people to speak with us. Overall, it is incredibly educational and fun.
The founder of the company, Kathleen Shanahan, and our B2B high tech practice lead, Sammy Totah, are in the process of having meetings with every single BOCAteer. The meeting is a listening tour to hear and learn what BOCA employees are thinking, wanting and feeling. Between COVID-19 and #BlackLivesMatter, our entire world and nation are under tremendous stress. Companies across the globe are trying to figure out next steps, and it is incredibly important to truly understand the voice, the feelings and the pulse of an organization’s employees. During these meetings we’ve uncovered several consistent elements — employees feel more connected than they ever have before. With everyone remote, we find ourselves speaking more than when half were in the office and half already working remotely. The company feels totally connected and in sync.
Looking back at our Culture Committee, BOCAteers love our Culture Committee and appreciate everything they’ve done and want to say thank you! Thank you for keeping our #BOCAlife culture #BOCAStrong. We love you…
To that end, many BOCAteers have stated that these remote activities have brought us closer together. We are all hanging out from our homes with cameo appearances from our family, friends, roommates, and pets. One of the pillars of BOCA is “family.” We certainly have never felt more like family than hanging out with each other in our living rooms. At BOCA, we certainly know that these events will continue to be part of our “new normal.”