Thinking outside your Screen to Stay Connected
Updated: Nov 21, 2021
I recently was working with a small group of employees onsite. We practiced 6 feet distancing while wearing our masks. We met for an hour every other week, over a short period. As each hour, passed by, we all reminisced about how nice it was to be in contact with one another…in person. We discussed how we are missing out on those personal connections, facial expressions, teamwork, and collaboration.
One woman even shared, her experience while working onsite “even being onsite, it is still isolating. I stay in my office, I avoid, walking to a coworker's office for a quick question, or simply going to the breakroom for a quick break.”
With so many teams and colleagues working remotely, employees are feeling a dent in employee morale and camaraderie. Recognizing we may not be able to reconvene together again for some time, or cannot replicate what we are all missing, here are a couple of ways you can help employees feel connected at work:
Discover New Things Together
Before COVID-19, employees learned and discovered new things both formally and informally with one another. From sharing your weekend plans including a new recipe you tried, or your home renovation project, employees bonded over learning and discovering each other's talents.
Try sharing these informal learning experiences, and you can do so by getting your families involved. Last week my husband and I, logged on to an hour Zoom session and learned how to eat beautifully by building an epic Charcuterie Board. It was a great opportunity for him and me to connect, learn something new, and share with others.
Connect through Mindful Wellness
Employees' wellbeing is often affected by the relationships and connections we have in the workplace, so without having those connections we are missing out on mindful wellness. I recall a time when a group of employees would gather at lunchtime to workout together. We would gather in our fitness room, and go through a round of circuits, we shared laughs while singing along to upbeat music.
Instead of gathering in a gym, try giving a 15-minute Wellness Break a try. Schedule or host impromptu Zoom sessions, where one plays upbeat music, another leads a quick round of stretches, or create a virtual water cooler. Sound fun? Try giving the wellness break a name or better yet a theme – Mindful Mondays, Sing-it-Out Tuesday, Share the Burn Wednesday, QuizBreaker Thursday…
The goal is to provide an environment where employees can interact, connect, and better their wellbeing.
Encourage a Buddy System
While working in the office, I always turned to my better half, my work buddy, to stay connected. We communicated daily, got to learn from one another both professionally and personally. We helped support one another if one of us was coming up on a tight deadline, or was double booked and missed a management meeting.
Researches from Harvard Business School suggested creating a buddy system to help keep employees connected to the team, organization, and feel more informed. By assigning a “COVID buddy” you can stay better informed by sharing key information, support one another on a professional and personal level.
Working from home with two boxers who self-acclaimed themselves as the Neighborhood Watch, bark and go crazy anytime someone passes by, oftentimes leads me to place myself on mute, and stepping away to calm them; or in other households who have children working in a virtual classroom suddenly needs help.
At the end of the day, 2020 has taught us to be flexible and adapt. We are all working and living in new circumstances. By finding creative ways to stay connected we can hopefully help colleagues boost happiness, productivity, and enjoyable work culture from home.
Looking for assistance on how to stay connected remotely, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Taryn M Consulting offers virtual facilitation and scheduling to keep your team better connected without adding on to your already jam-packed day.