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COVID-19: The Shelter in Place Buddy Program

COVID-19: The Shelter in Place Buddy Program

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to establish a new remote working rhythm for continuous communication.

What is the Shelter in Place Buddy Program? 

Despite not sharing the same physical work environment, the Shelter in Place Buddy Program is an idea for maintaining company culture and keeping employees connected.

What can maintaining culture look like in the time of COVID-19?

Here's some context about BerniePortal: 

We're headquartered in Nashville, TN, where all 70 of our employees report on a day-to-day basis. While we have regular standing meetings with our colleagues who we work with closely, but we also have the opportunity to communicate with our co-workers on other teams. With a newly remote workforce, it's hard to maintain that close company culture that we've worked so hard to foster. In light of maintaining this invisible glue that holds our team together, we've implemented a Shelter in Place Buddy Program. 

Here are some basics: 

  • Each week, HR should email the entire company a spreadsheet with their new shelter at home buddy for the week. 
  • Employees will check the email to find out who their Shelter in Place Buddy is. 
  •  A virtual 30-minute call should be scheduled for morning coffee, a virtual lunch, or a late afternoon happy hour. 

How to Communicate the Idea to Your Team

To get the word out to your entire company, here's a helpful email template you can use: 

Hey Team,

We're a little over [two] weeks into establishing our new remote working rhythm and we've learned something: While most people in the company have friends on other teams, we're not getting the same interaction that was occurring when we shared a physical space. 

So, we have an idea for keeping people connected. Congratulations, as of today you have a shelter at home buddy! 

What's a shelter at home buddy, you might ask?
Each week we will send out a new spreadsheet with your shelter at home buddy for the week. Your buddy will be someone who is not on your team. 

Who's my shelter at home buddy?
Check out the attached spreadsheet. 

What am I supposed to do with my shelter at home buddy? 
Schedule a 30-minute virtual meeting using Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. to have coffee, lunch, or even a late afternoon happy hour! 

What should we talk about? 
You can talk about work, or not! You can talk about your favorite Netflix show, or who would've won the NCAA tournament. If you don't know your shelter at home buddy at all and you don't know what to talk about, that's good! That's the point!

What do I need to do today?
Please reach out to your shelter at home buddy via email to schedule some time to connect this week. And if you learn something interesting about your buddy, share it with our Marketing Team so we can include it in our company emails! 


Company Newsletter Ideas

Start a survey and ask your employees what they learn from their shelter at home buddy each week! This is a great idea for content you can include in your company newsletters or even a weekly email to keep all employees connected and involved. 

Coronavirus - Managing a remote workforce HR Party of One Episode

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