There is no denying that the hashtag #workfromhome has come to life over the past few weeks. With the entire world on lockdown over the now infamous COVID-19 pandemic, and pledges from global citizens and corporations alike to do their part and #stayhome, the workplace and space has never looked more different.
Until a few weeks ago, most of us probably took for granted our interactions with co-workers in lunchrooms, around the watercooler or in BubbleUp’s case, around the foosball table. For employees thrust into remote working environments, culture and connection are typically the first to erode due to the absence of physical interactions. As we navigate this new normal for an indefinite period, we wanted to share some strategies to keep your team connected and engaged.
Set up the right tools
Ever tried digging with a pencil or writing with a spoon? Without the right tools, effectively accomplishing a task is almost impossible. From laptops, computer monitors, printers or even a stress ball, ensure your team has the right hardware and software available to get the job done remotely.
Although a few introverts may beg to differ, there is no denying that nothing can replace face-to-face conversations. The next best thing… video conferencing. There are several free and paid services to choose from. Select software that works well for your organization and encourage your team (especially your leadership team) to utilize it at every opportunity. The value of your team members seeing your face even on video is priceless. If you need recommendations on video conferencing software, feel free to give us a call, we have tried out a few.
Implement Culture Building Exercises
No, I am not referring to a digital “trust fall”.
Find and implement fun alternatives to the typical in-office interactions. You can do this by encouraging team members to continue with some of their normal office interactions in new and creative ways. Some examples could be:
- Implementing an office-friendly “Let’s Mingle” game by pairing up team members from all ranks weekly to catch up with each other on non-work-related topics
- Encouraging team members to meet for a virtual coffee or lunch or if you work at BubbleUp, a virtual happy hour!
- Encouraging a sense of fun on company calls by implementing themes and allowing everyone to pitch in on theme ideas
Keep it fun and switch it up often!
Communicate, communicate, communicate
While this is a no brainer, if it’s not intentionally done, it will fall by the wayside. A few ways to ensure company wide communication does not suffer in a remote environment is to:
- Encouraging managers to schedule and stick to frequent one-on-one check-ins with their team. These could be short 5-minute calls to authentically check in on the welfare of their team members and/or any work related hurdles or successes
- Scheduling and implementing weekly or bi-weekly company wide check-ins. Company leadership should use these video calls to communicate transparently with all team members. These can be as formal or informal as needed. At BubbleUp we get to discuss company news, current trends, ways we can help our customers and always have a fun segment at the end of the video call
- Encourage team members to reach out to each other for work related sessions and/or for their own check-ins
It's undoubtedly a stressful time. Working parents now have to manage work, children and in many cases homeschooling every day. Expect an occasional 2-year-old meltdown in the background of your calls or a brief absence from a team member assisting her daughter with algebra school work and take it in stride. Giving your team members the flexibility to take care of their family will always boomerang them into wanting to take care of your company.
Stay safe, work from home and call BubbleUp!