How Delta Capita reinvented socials during lockdown

06 October 2021 3 min. read
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During the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, businesses had to quickly reinvent how their teams socialised, to avoid staff becoming isolated. An Office Manager in Delta Capita’s London locale, Sarah Townsend has outlined how the consultancy helped its team stay connected during the pandemic.

Emphasising company culture has two leading goals. It can positively boost employee engagement according to 26% of CEOs – which roughly four-in-ten said they hoped would positively impact customer and quality focus. On top of this, a welcoming culture can be crucial to gaining and maintaining new staff, amid the economy’s mounting talent shortage.

One of the most prominent ways firms have often looked to build camaraderie between their workers, and forge a more familial company culture, has traditionally been the workplace social. However, amid the continued pandemic, health and safety concerns have led many firms to re-evaluate how they deployed socials.

How Delta Capita reinvented socials during lockdown

At the start of the pandemic, professional services firm Delta Capita was faced with precisely this problem. According to Senior Executive Assistant and Office Manager Sarah Townsend, though, a little creativity saw the firm shift its “cohesive social environment” online, and keep the social side alive in lockdown.

Recalling the time before lockdown, Townsend noted that prior to March 2020, one of the most regular social activities at the firm was the congregation of employees in Delta Capita’s London kitchen area. With a relaxed atmosphere, the event would take place on 4pm every Friday, representing a way to end the week by catching up with some colleagues, and getting to know others. Some weeks would even feature music and dancing.

Writing on the firm’s website, Townsend recalled, “Delta Capita has always been dedicated to creating a cohesive social environment so when we went into lockdown, we wanted to keep the social side alive. The social committee jumped on a Zoom to discuss the best way to reinvent our social gatherings and came up with the idea of ‘Close the Week’.”

Socialising from home

In order to do this, Delta Capita looked to bring its team together via Zoom, to enjoy a selection of music by screen sharing Spotify. To test out this new teambuilding activity, the firm piloted it for one week – but when it was a great success, it was decided that these digital editions of ‘Close the Week’ could continue on a weekly basis. Eventually it was driven globally among Delta Capita’s offices, with “several employees taking the role of host and DJ.”

“Each week we would have a new theme of music, ask our colleagues to request their favourite tracks, and tell us about the story behind their chosen track,” Townsend went on. “Some weeks we would have a quiz on the chosen theme which created some friendly competition. Colleagues would regularly send jokes and other fun icebreakers using the chat functionality.”

In the broader UK workforce, mental health quickly became one of the chief concerns among companies whose employees were disconnected in lockdown. Initiatives like Delta Capita’s helped staff remain in contact, and with boosted morale – an important support mechanism at a time when many people will have felt alienated from colleagues.

Delta Capita successfully hosted ‘Close the Week’ for 18-months, treating it as an opportunity as well as a challenge, as the digital format allowed the London team to get to know its colleagues based in other office locations. At the same time it helped welcome new colleagues as they joined Delta Capita.

Townsend concluded, “Now, we have returned to our London office, so our virtual ‘Close the Week’ has come to an end. But we look forward to continuing the socialising in person. As everyone still has access to the playlists. I am sure they will be played in the office over the coming months.”