When times are tough you can create your own wins by leaning on a strong and supportive culture.

4 Minute Read

Hard times hit every business, and they come in a variety of guises: recessions, supply chain issues, disruptive technologies, etc. When you’re facing strong headwinds, it can feel like wins are hard to come by. To weather such storms and create your own wins, it helps to have a strong and supportive culture to turn to.

Like all businesses, Vari has faced multiple challenges in recent years–the pandemic, the great resignation, a complete rebrand, and uncertainty about the economy, just to name a few. Moving the entire company to a new location was another. We wanted to keep up our momentum and morale throughout the move, while also navigating a new hybrid work model. So, we decided to make a commitment to each other to keep working together to achieve our goals as we looked forward to easier times ahead. Thanks to our amazing team and a strategy that relied heavily on our supportive culture, we came through it all with things looking up for our business and our community. In fact, our own Jason McCann was even named CEO of the year in 2021 by DCEO Magazine.

What lessons did we learn? Here are a few takeaways from the times we relied on our culture and core values to guide us through some tough challenges.

Embrace Change and Believe it’s Possible

From day one, we’ve faced the usual challenges of a young and growing company when it comes to office space. Moving, reconfiguring, and rearranging our space to accommodate a growing team has been a regular occurrence. Covid added an extra layer of complexity to it. During that same time, we broke ground on a new location for our future headquarters, and moved most of the team to a temporary location at our VariSpace Las Colinas campus.

From a product and design standpoint it was pretty easy – after all, flexible workspaces are what we do. But it was having a culture of optimism and a core value of Embracing Change that allowed us to make some big transformations without disrupting productivity or causing stress. In every business, change is inevitable, so it helps to encourage your people to roll with it, help each other out, and keep their sense of humor. When we work as a team through some moments of chaos, the celebration afterwards is that much better.

Communicate Authentically and Be a Team Player

Through all the ups and downs, our leadership operated on a principle of strong communication with weekly – and sometimes daily – updates and check-ins with the entire team. People were encouraged to speak up when they faced problems, take care of themselves and their loved ones first, and rely on their team members for help and support. That’s how we were able to pivot quickly and face the new realities of the workplace with courage and compassion.

“We’ve got to keep rowing until the wind catches our sails,” McCann says. “That became our mantra.”

By being real about the challenges you face and keeping the lines of communication open, you can help your team create a culture where everyone has a voice and each team member feels valued and empowered. It’s a strategy that goes a long way toward lowering stress levels and building trust.

Keep Raising The Bar

Attracting and retaining talent is always an important goal in business, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Job seekers name flexibility and a sense of shared values as the top qualities they’re looking for in an employer. Sure, opportunity for advancement and benefits are important too, but they’re no substitute for an environment where people feel a sense of belonging.

We should all be listening. As our companies continue to grow, it’s important to make sure that growth means more than just new locations and bigger teams – it should also mean prioritizing people and letting them guide us in creating organizations where the wins are shared by everyone.