What are some of the ways you can build morale, productivity, motivation and wellbeing amongst your team while everyone is working from home?
Not being able to engage with people on a face-to-face basis presents a number of challenges. Firstly, we miss the subtle body language and voice tone cues during communication, and this can lead to a less than perfect understanding of one another. Secondly, the lack of social contact can be a causal factor in lowering levels of wellbeing and mental health. These things are not good on either an individual level or an organisational level.
So, here are 10 ways to keep your team engaged and feeling happy:
1. Encourage openness
Ensure that every team member has had a conversation with their manager about their working from home set-up and what, if any, adjustments need to be made. If someone has children at home or other circumstances which could prevent them from working at their best capacity, allowances will need to be made for work to be done at different times, in different ways, or at different rates. These are not normal times and organisations should not be expecting normal output from every one of their employees.
2. Work is about output, not hours worked.
Ensure everyone is on-board with this idea. Giving people the freedom to work when and how it suits them will be repaid by their commitment and motivation.
3. Spice up your coffee break with a discussion topic.
Organise a regular ‘coffee break’ where the team can get together and take a break over Zoom, Teams or whatever platform you are using. Spice it up with a non-work-related topic of discussion that will get everyone involved.
4. Do a fun quiz using Kahoot.
This is an absolutely excellent website where in just a few minutes, you can build your own quiz (be sure to make questions fun and inclusive). You’ll then give the quiz code to your team and each one of them will join the quiz in a couple of clicks (no sign-in necessary) on their device of choice. Each person then plays for themselves with a leader board visible and points awarded for correctness and speed. It’s great for bringing out people’s competitive side and gets everyone involved.
5. Have a ‘Show and Tell’.
This is where a person elects to spend 5 minutes showing the rest of the team something that’s happening at home or something that is of interest to them. This could be a pet, a song someone has learnt on their musical instrument, a new garden, a hobby or literally anything.
6. Host a virtual happy hour.
Encourage everyone to bring their beverage of choice to the table, and jazz it up with a great sound-track, costumes and games such as Kahoot or a Show and Tell (above).
7. Do an exercise challenge using the Strava app.
Just because you are confined to your home or must stay close to home, exercise is still a must. Set a challenge of covering the distance from London to New York, Sydney to Singapore, South Pole to North Pole or somewhere appropriate for your team size and location. Set up a club on Strava and ask your team to join the club. Any exercise they do will be automatically recorded in the club, and you can therefore add up the distance covered. Keep it alive with regular updates of how far you’ve got and showcase people who have achieved particularly well.
8. Join Remote Workmates.
Recommend to your team members that they sign up toRemote Workmates – a new SLACK community, aimed at sharing advice, tips and resources about working from home. You can even get people to buddy up with another remote worker from another organisation – great for networking.
9. Have a weekly wellbeing half hour.
Encourage people to take 15-30 minutes of the working week as time for wellbeing. Ask people to try a new self-care tool such as expressive writing, mindfulness, breathing, digital detox tips etc. Discuss what has gone well and encourage people to continue with what works for them.
10. Make a playlist.
Ask your team to suggest two or three songs for a playlist and then allocate a day when you will all play it.
Sarah Morris is a performance coach and director of Brain Happy. Their new course, Feel Great @ Working From Home builds skills in resilience and stress-reduction through positive psychology, performance coaching and NLP techniques. The course is heavily discounted to help organisations during the coronavirus crisis.