- Helen Johnstone, Guestline
The Current Situation – Covid-19
‘Unprecedented Times’, ‘Uncharted Territory’, ‘National Emergency’ - these are all statements we are hearing over and over, and, unfortunately, they are all true.
With the ‘Stay Home’ message finally hitting home across the world, we are looking for ways to keep our work and social lives thriving remotely.
Using a collaboration platform, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Ring Central or Skype, is a great way to keep in touch with your co-workers (check out our Top 10 Apps here). If you want to be more relaxed you can also look at Facebook messenger or Houseparty as an alternative.
I’m sure you already have remote teams’ meetings, on-line discussions, webinars and all manner of work-related connectivity with co-workers, but also consider keeping ‘social’ time within the working week - it's vital to promote contact and well-being, and to keep your relationships alive.
The Science and Studies
Meeting a person face to face and shaking hands, or having human to human contact, releases a hormone called Oxytocin to give a sense of trust and boosting mood.
A study also revealed that individuals who had 15 minutes to socialise with colleagues had a 20% increase in performance over their peers who didn’t.
In a 2018 State of Remote Work survey conducted by Buffer, they found that loneliness was the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees.
Now, we are temporarily unable to meet in person and are working remotely we need to replace physical contact for something else and ensure no one is feeling isolated. You might also form a deeper relationship with them virtually as you unwittingly get an insight into their personal life e.g. you might get a glimpse of their home, meet their children and see them in more relaxed clothing (if they changed out of their pyjamas at all!)
1. Show us your snacks
Virtual Coffee Mornings – snacks optional!
Set a time with colleagues, get your brew made, sort out your snacks, and get together to have 15 to 30 minutes of social time once or twice a week. Always use video so you feel more connected, and can see how people really are, as well as how they sound.
Chat about work if you like, but mainly use it to see how everyone is, share news (there’s plenty of that!), check how everyone is coping and generally chew the fat. It’ll help boost the mood and show that you’re all in this together.
2. Cheers Ears!
Virtual Pub - End of week Remote Friday Drinks, beer, wine or juice anyone?
Your week is over, it may have been difficult (especially at the moment) or it may have been amazing, but either way you deserve a treat, and you can’t meet your friends at the pub or restaurant, so set up your own teams get together!
Set a particular day and time at the end of the working week for you all to join together on video to raise a glass, have a catch up, and say, ‘We made it through another week - Cheers!’
3. The Chase is on
Weekly remote quiz – keep those brains active!
Work out a rota and give the quiz master task to a different colleague each week. Choose a subject and make it a short 10 question quiz. Each person has a buzzer, a bell, or something to make a noise with. Quiz master reads the question, first one to make their noise answers - but answer wrong and they lose 10 points. Answer right and they win 10 points. No cheating allowed!
Winner chooses the subject for the next quiz - Loser sings a song!
There are lots of small things you can do to keep remote workers engaged and motivated – ask them to draw a self-portrait, say how they feel in three words, describe their surroundings/colours using noises, organise exercise classes, and much more, but the best thing is to keep it simple and involve everyone, whether a small or large group.
And if... as has happened to many, you are on reduced hours, or furloughed, still keep contact and enjoy your virtual get togethers. These are incredibly unusual times which we hope never to see the like of again, but let’s support each other through them and keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t forget to check out our other blog on top tips for home working here.
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