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Brains Trust

Movie nights, wine club, cooking lessons and meditation apps: how Canva builds an amazing remote culture for its teams

- April 3, 2020 3 MIN READ
Canva's Sydney team back when everyone was together. Photo: supplied
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt around the world. As a result, many companies are shifting to remote work environments and navigating uncharted waters in the midst of a globally unprecedented situation.

At Canva, all employees are now working from home as a precautionary measure to #stopthespread. Our priority throughout this change has been to maintain a culture, or as we call it – a ‘vibe’, where our team can do their best work whilst feeling safe, happy and engaged. In this new online environment, maintaining this same sense of team connectedness and camaraderie has required some creative thinking.

Canva’s head of vibe, Chris Low

Our ‘Vibe Team’, who look after employee experience, have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to bring our culture to life virtually. While we might not see each other face to face, it’s important that our vibe can be felt no matter where we’re working from. To that end, we’ve established an internal website as a one-stop-shop to help bolster our team’s strong sense of belonging.

An ever-evolving platform, the site includes daily updates across the company, an archive of COVID-19 related communication, a birthday dashboard, recipe tutorials and weekly shopping lists, online workouts, podcasts, celebrations and team ‘innings’, virtual clubs and frequently asked questions that enable information-sharing across the company. We’ve also established new Slack channels for our team to have a bit of fun by showing off their working from home outfit, daily lunches, creative office spaces and participating in cooking and fashion challenges.

We are also running a number of online sessions facilitated by different people across the company to sharpen our skills, bolster our professional development and bring out the best in everyone while we’re all working remotely.

 

Taking culture online

Taking our culture online also meant focusing on our methods of sharing information and transparency. To help keep our teams in sync, we’ve stepped up our internal communications to include weekly global company “sit down” meetings, routine group Zoom meetings and direct lines of contact to our internal mentors and coaches.

Join a Canva club depending on your passions

The situation across the world is undoubtedly a challenging one, and even though our team may not be directly affected, there’s a chance that their friends or family may be impacted by illness or financial hardship. It’s now more important than ever we’re able to support each other, especially while working remotely in the midst of an uncertain situation. To effectively support the mental health of all our people, we’re providing every employee with free video consultations with psychologists, subsidised meditation apps and access to virtual webinars covering key mental health topics, as well as strategies for coping and building resilience during uncertain times.

Sharing lunch has always been a key component of the family vibe at Canva. To that end, we’re providing all of our employees with a daily lunch stipend which can be used to support local businesses in their community. Alternatively, this can be donated to help local food suppliers provide food to charities and those in need.

For those who aren’t afraid to venture into the kitchen, our in-house chefs have been uploading daily cooking tutorials in lieu of our catered lunches, and our health and fitness coach has been running virtual classes via Zoom to keep the endorphins running. 

Canva has weekly cooking tutorials

Maintaining a great culture is important for any organisation, especially during times of crisis. For us, we know our culture and vibe is the backbone to our success; our great people develop our great products. It takes a village to constantly lead the charge and work to become one of the world’s most loved brands.

While working from home is unfamiliar territory for most companies and employees around the world, it’s just one small step to help keep our communities safer. 

Regardless of where you are in the world, 2020 will be one of the toughest years yet. By rallying together, helping each other out and sharing information and resources, we can come out the other side of this global crisis far stronger and more empowered than ever before.

Learn more about how we’re keeping the vibe alive at Canva from our virtual clubs, company movie nights and remote team celebrations at ‘Spreading the Good Vibes while working from home‘. 

 

  • Chris Low is Canva’s Head of Vibe and also working from home. 

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