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Professional Cultures 2/4 👨‍💻 Workplace Culture

Try Catch Essentials
Professional Cultures 2/4 👨‍💻 Workplace Culture
By Kerry from Try Catch • Issue #24 • View online
Morning, Friday.
It’s Kerry from Try Catch, doing our part to provide your inbox with valuable content not focussed on the pandemic.
Because we write a new issue every week with the promise of relevant up-to-date content, this means that we must be responsive to what’s happening outside of this newsletter.
Paul Musters, Founder of Fortify, is with us remotely again this week covering the “village” microcosm of Professional Cultures - our March topic of Try Catch Essentials for those just joining us.
Try Catch Essentials are:
  • For HR leaders, recruiters, founders and hiring managers
  • Handpicked essential reading on important topics in HR and Tech
  • Sent to you in 4 easily-digestible issues per month
To begin,
We’d like to acknowledge that we are all in the midst of a global phenomenon - the effects and response of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt the world over and we would like to extended our best wishes to our readers, our clients, our customers, our team and everyone’s loved ones.
With countries over the world taking rapidly escalating precautions, it is important to us at Try Catch to do our part to promote the health of others.
If you have not yet, please read up on the official public health recommendations by the World Health Organization.
Take care of yourself and others. 🧼
The future of work is in flux and in order for this newsletter to truly be relevant, timely and essential; we’re working to have our subject material reflect the outside world, which means that we’ve been working up to the minute before publishing.
We’ll be waffling between some pre-COVID-19 workplace knowledge and some suggestions for a brave new world of remote work.
Let’s have a quick recap of last week’s working definition/simile of how we’ll be talking about Workplace Culture under the umbrella of Professional Cultures:
Workplace Culture: A set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize a location of work. Related to the mundane and day-to-day aspects of behavior and actions shared by the overall workplace community - local groups: teams, departments, lunch groups, resource groups, clubs, et cetera, all contribute to the workplace culture. A company may have multiple offices and thus might have different workplace cultures associated with different locations. To consider things in a classical anthropological example: the workplace is the village. This is our ‘micro’ level.
Paul walked me through a few of the things on his checklists when he goes to a workplace to perform a “team and culture audit,” a type of qualitative research.
One of the first things that Paul looks at is whether the workplace resembles the work that is being done there, while this is seemingly a form of meta-work analysis, it helps discover the cultural health of an organization.
Another thing he takes into account is whether employees dare to share themselves in a professional space: are their desks decorated, is there personalization in their offices, does it feel like a place that people are motivated and inspired to spend hours of each day there?
He also keeps in mind the employee experience during the entrance of the office, because it’s his first time there, he is mindful of what his thoughts might be if he was a new employee there.
The goal of his observation is to try to determine and then to demonstrate to the company how the workplace communicates the culture of the organization in an experiential manner.
What’s interesting to think about now as, by the day, many companies will be sending out work-from-home (WFH) recommendations that we are at a curious point of Workplace Culture in the Time of Novel Coronavirus.
I asked Paul about his remote-work insights since the location of work - for many of us concerned with workplace culture - is undergoing a (maybe, maybe not) temporary shift.
💌 Give us a share 📥 you reply, we reply.

Workplace Culture
How to accurately discuss workplace culture when the entire world is quite literally shifting resources and advices daily?
We described an aspect of workplace culture as:
“Related to the mundane and day-to-day aspects of behavior and actions shared by the overall workplace community - local groups: teams, departments, lunch groups, resource groups, clubs, et cetera”
But what happens to any advice given about this come Monday when you and your team are advised to WFH until further notice?
Realistically, no one is going to bookmark this advice to read up about it later when we all return back to work.
Not while we’re being conditioned to constantly check up on the latest news - let’s face it, our attention spans are not going to be lengthened by this experience, unless we actively work to do so.
Paul offered some advice from his years of consulting companies on workplace culture and considering whether or not culture can translate to remote work.
Paul’s Sage Advice
  • In a situation like we have now, it also gives us the possibility to come closer to each other - it’s all about communication and relationships.
  • Keep asking and telling each other why you are doing this work (related to company mission). If you have a formal, weekly video meeting, for example, put your company mission on top of the agenda. As one of the agenda-points: “ask are we still aligned here?” It’s culture that keeps you going. 
  • One question that should always be on the meeting agenda, and never to be forgotten: “How do you feel?” Really take time to go around the group and all answer this question. It deserves attention to hear about each other’s worries, motivations and vulnerabilities. We are so focussed on business and getting results, but we are not robots. Don’t ever forget that you and your colleagues are working (and working together). In a village, it is a very much necessary and natural desire to be part of something. After all, in ancient societies, not being part of a group would be sure death. Listen to your basic instincts first, KPI’s second. 😉
  • You don’t have to sit behind your desk to do a video-call when working remotely. When your situation allows it, go out for a walk or sit down in a park or forest. Humans are scientifically proven much more creative when we are outside, especially when you are walking. Perhaps correlated, creativity and having the opportunity to be creative, is a very important part of company culture. 😊
The Essential Read
Companies who Adopt Remote Work will Replace Every Company who Doesn't | LinkedIn
The Additional Reads
Not to alarm you, but coronavirus-focused news products are spreading very quickly | Nieman Journalism Lab
The Best Advice For Remote Work Success From 10 Global Teams | Trello
How can organisational design improve employee experience? | The Hive
What You Need To Know To Start Working From Home | Forbes
8 Minute Abs OR A Workout of Modern Art
8 Minute Abs OR A Workout of Modern Art
Educational Video
Enjoy a nice little short from Pixar addressing toxic masculinity in the workplace, that is a sentence I never thought I’d type.
Purl | Pixar SparkShorts
Purl | Pixar SparkShorts
Up Next
We’ll be in your inbox again next Friday morning at 09:10 covering Company Culture.
Again, Paul and I will be tackling how to best cover this topic during a time of non-authoritarian official social distancing policies and bans on social gathering - what a time to be alive.
Take care yourselves, dear readers, and let us know how you’re coping!
Stay Connected
Since this issue evolved so rapidly from the beginning of the week to what you see before your eyes now and in light of that we’ll all be working from home until further notice - I’ve decided to start a pop-up newsletter starting next week covering The Great Working From Home of 2020. 
I’d love to include TCE readers in the project, so get in touch with me over email: kerry@trycatch.tech.
Paul and I would really love to hear from our readers about your thoughts of this up-to-the-minute newsletter attempt, hit reply and let us know what you think.
We’re all in this together folks, stay healthy!
~ Paul & Kerry
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kerry from Try Catch

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- Handpicked essential reading on important topics in HR and Tech
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