How we maintained company culture during lockdown

26 Nov 2020
By Bexy
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I know, I know – it’s another Covid-19 blog post! I hear you. We’re all sick to the back teeth of the impact that 2020 has had on us and the impact it has had on our social lives. 

As soon as it became clear that we were no longer going to be able to commune at our favourite pub on a Friday, atoms were proactively seeking out ways that we could keep in touch and maintain the communal spirit that we pride ourselves on at atom42. 

I won’t go into too much detail in case you’ve been here before to read about the amazing perks we have at atom, but believe me most of it was off the table for lockdown. Monthly fun activity? No. Pastries every Friday morning? Nope. Monthly Homeslice pizza? Absolutely not. 

With that said, we atoms got creative and gave it a bloody good go to try and keep each other sane in the past year – here’s how. 

Virtual scavenger hunt

Given that we weren’t able to venture to the Crystal Maze or go cocktail making as we would have done for our monthly fun activity, we were desperate to find something daft and fun to do together – challenge being, we couldn’t actually be in the same room… enter the virtual scavenger hunt. 

This scavenger hunt covered a LOT of ground, with everyone undertaking tasks as ridiculous as building an Ikea tent out of household items, recreating a childhood photo and scouring their homes for all of the foreign currency they could find. 

My personal favourite was the task where everyone had to find their celebrity lookalike. Now I’m not saying that Rich and Clare Balding are the same person, but I’ve never seen them in the same room together… you do the maths. 

Friday drinks on Zoom

Oh how we’ve all longed for the days where we’d finish work at half 4 on a Friday, then traipse round the corner to our local. Just the mere sound of everyone packing up their desks and putting on their coats ready for that first lukewarm pint in a slightly stale smelling environment floods me with nostalgia. 

Not to be deterred, we’ve kept up our Friday drinks tradition to some extent, albeit via Zoom. Chatting to other atoms about our week whilst sitting at our impromptu ironing board desk setup isn’t quite the same, but it’s certainly great to remember that so many others are in the same boat as you. Plus we got to meet the numerous puppies that atoms have adopted, so that bit was okay too I guess.

Workplace mental health support during lockdown

Anxiety, am I right? Lockdown has inevitably had an affect on everyone’s mental health – from video call anxiety to simply wondering if that email from a client or colleague really was intended to sound as sharp as you read it, most of us have likely had these unwelcome thoughts creep in.

We’re fortunate that atom42 and the wider Iris business take mental health pretty seriously. We have “core” working hours so the work/life balance is pretty sweet, and we have access to Mental Health First Aiders. They’re basically folks who can signpost you to resources if you’re struggling with your mental health – plus they ran some mental health listening circles, where we’d hear other people’s stories about how they’d been working through any mental health issues. It really helped to normalise things! 


Company culture workshops during lockdown

When things were “normal”, sharing skills between us was pretty commonplace. Of course, that became a little tougher with lockdown – not that that stopped us!

Stacy (Director here at atom42) was kind enough to lend her time to us one lunchtime to teach us faux calligraphy. Little known fact, but Stacy runs a wedding stationery business, and she put her lettering skills to great use by running a workshop over zoom to teach us how  to cheat their way to a fancy writing. As well as being useful in the run up to Christmas (beautiful gift tags, anyone?) it really helped us to switch off and relax.

Weekly yoga sessions have also been moved online so we can get our regular dose of stretch and chill (albeit not on the office roof and minus gorgeous views of the Thames).  

Company virtual quizzes

The reserve of many families throughout lockdown, we held a few quizzes of our own to help pass the time. Eventually these dropped off due to quiz fatigue as so many of us were also doing these at weekends with our wider social circles, but they sure did their job for a period of time!

They helped us not feel isolated during those first few months of lockdown. I don’t know about you, but the fear of the unknown was SO intimidating. Just a simple weekly quiz so I could see some friendly faces certainly made it more bearable (plus my team won one week, but I didn’t come here to brag…)

Atom birthdays

Slyly passing round a birthday card for everyone to sign without alerting the person whose birthday it was, or creeping up behind them with a cake to make them jump out of their skin as we “sang” happy birthday to them – those were the days. 

Now that we can’t drink ourselves into oblivion with the advent of an atom birthday, things look a little different now. From the group Whatsapp messages to a birthday picnic in Alexandra Palace, atom birthdays are still a thing. One team did blow most of us out of the water though when they put together a fab video of them singing happy birthday in several different languages. It was pretty special! 

Want to work with us?

If none of the above piques your interest, perhaps atom42 isn’t the place for you. We’re a very social bunch! However if we do sound like the kinda people you’d like to hone your digital marketing skills alongside, then I have good news! 

We’re hiring… head here to check out what we’re looking for. 

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