How to remain united in a workplace that’s divided

By Patricia Campbell, Senior Account Manager

The importance of maintaining workplace culture, and staying connected for our health and well-being.

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Advertising agencies are renowned for having awesome cultures forged from late-nights, killer deadlines, hard work and harder play attitudes. The hum of the office in constant motion brings energy and atmosphere to everything we do.

But how do you cultivate a great agency vibe when we suddenly find ourselves working from 40 different locations? From coffee tables to kitchen benches, in homes surrounded by children, spouses and housemates — how can we continue to safeguard and grow our culture? How can we remember to stay connected?

At Hardhat we have created the ‘Healthier You’ program to focus on this task, to strengthen and retain our culture, and to prioritize our mental and physical well-being. We want to be sure that in a time of crisis we remain as connected as ever, and offer as much support as we can to our coworkers, our families and our clients.

To quote the great prophet Montell Jordan, “This is how we do it:”

Building connections and cultivating culture:

  • Our buddy system pairs people within the agency with a coworker outside of BAU teams and asks them to connect and check-in over a 2 week period. In true agency style, we have encouraged people to get creative with their peers, opting for paired exercise training sessions or live drawing parties over zoom.
  • On Musical Mondays a volunteer composes and performs a song to serenade us into the week ahead.
  • Friday sees us dressing up with a different weekly theme — keeping us on our toes and helping us stay light-hearted.
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Fun Costume Friday

Staying physically healthy:

  • Bi-weekly group exercise classes and weekly yoga and relaxation sessions (over Zoom) keep us moving and active whilst we are all confined to our homes.
  • An agency-wide group chat to encourage people to eat healthy and take a lunch break. “Dining-al-desko” is the place to show off our culinary skills — or lack thereof.

Mindfulness:

  • Encouraging and reminding people to add a 30 minute fresh air break to their calendars — for a walk around the block, or to get in the garden.
  • Tips and tricks to be mindful and meditate with a corporate mindfulness platform account and group tutorials.
  • A “quarantine club” group chat where we share agency-wide tips and tricks to reduce personal financial pressures during this time.

Our ever-evolving program will continue to shift as workloads continue to grow and change, with continual check-ins on what’s working and where we can fill the gaps. Thankfully, the entire agency has access to a fully subsidised counselling service, as allied health professions become overloaded with increasing mental health issues. We need to do our best as a workplace and a community to offer our people support where possible.

At Hardhat, we’re doing everything we can to remain united. And we’ll continue to do so whether we’re working from home or working side-by-side.

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We’re an independent creative agency helping brands capitalise on the why, when, where, what and how of human behaviour.

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