Our team believes that bringing our whole selves to work is crucial to both growing our culture, and creating the most innovative products for our partners. We have found that having a culture rooted in authenticity and vulnerability is key to being able to bring our whole selves to work. This kind of culture can be difficult to create, but we’ve found a few tricks to make it easier.
1. Working From Home
Working in a comfortable and safe environment (our homes) is a big advantage that distributed teams like ours have in creating a culture of authenticity and vulnerability. Being surrounded by your life has an uncanny way of making you feel at ease, and allowing you to embrace who you are.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for my son to be found climbing all over me during internal video calls. At one point he even decided to pee on my back (yeah, can’t make this stuff up). It’s a real part of who I am, a parent, and I love that I can actually bring my kids into my work life. When my coworkers see my son’s antics, they understand who I am and what my life is like on a whole other level. I feel known, and I feel comfortable bringing that part of me into my work.
The fact that another teammate can tell her team that she won’t be available for a little while because she has to go out to clean up the dog poop in her yard is great. We get it. Go get that poop, girl. Getting to see those little idiosyncratic parts of each other’s lives allows us all to feel like we know each other, and it also helps encourage us to bring our unique point of view and experiences to the problems we are solving.
2. Having Daily Chat Times
Something we do every day at CauseLabs is getting everyone together to spend 15 minutes talking about stupid things. We have this time marked off on our calendars. Everybody comes, somebody chooses a topic, and we talk. Topics can range from “What is your favorite new show on Netflix?” to “Would you rather have a large 10-inch long belly button that swayed to music or have accordions for legs?” The answers for that one were particularly interesting. So yeah, you might say this is a waste of 15 minutes of everybody’s time. We could be designing interfaces, writing code, or crafting some incredible digital strategy, but we believe that this time is really important in building trust and letting each other see another side of our whole selves.
3. Being Really Nice
At CauseLabs, we are really great at treating each other with respect, hearing each other’s opinions, and offering praise and encouragement. We have created a really nurturing environment. When someone shares a thought, the team will give ample amounts of praise and encouragement before getting into constructive feedback. This allows us all to feel really comfortable bringing our unique point of view to the table.
If these tricks sound really simple, it’s because they are. Putting into practice any of these ideas is relatively easy. Find ways to make people feel comfortable with who they are? Check. Talk about stupid stuff with each other? Check. Be really really nice? Check.
What brings all of these ideas together and makes it work for us is the people that we work with. CauseLabs hires people who want to bring their whole selves to work, and we are all better for it. The products we make are better because we embrace all of the little things that make us each unique. When I am working on an app that helps dads connect with their kids, I can really empathize with those dads and those kids, most likely because I have one climbing (and hopefully not peeing) on me when I’m deep in design rounds. Bringing your whole self to work is fun, scary, fulfilling, and awesome and after practicing it for four years, I wouldn’t want to work any other way.
Like the way we work? If you want chat about building something great for your org, drop a line on the CauseLabs Contact Us page. We’d love to speak to you.