How do you maintain company culture and relationships while fighting isolation and loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic?
Companies must create an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging. This task is not an easy one but not impossible.
We've put together a few easy tips to get you started.
1. Start the day together.
Switching to work mode is more comfortable in the mornings when it can be done with colleagues. Book a 15-minute meeting each morning where you can say good morning and possibly ask for help if needed or discuss urgent matters. Not everyone needs to attend every morning, but this is a great way to start the day. And it's always nice to see the faces of colleagues.
2. Create a remote office.
How to maintain casual encounters and a good atmosphere among co-workers? One of the best things about working in a physical office is those little conversations with colleagues during the day, the moment when you break away from work for a bit between tasks and chat freely with a co-worker for a few minutes.
Although you are not physically in the same space, you can be in it virtually. Create a calendar entry for each day in a "remote office" virtual space, that is, a calendar invitation for all members of the team. In the remote office, you can pop in throughout the day whenever you feel like it, or you can keep your mic turned off and attend whenever you want. Especially for people living alone, it is essential to maintain free communication with co-workers.
3. Practice virtual exercise.
Remote work also makes it easy to sit in front of a screen all day, and that is why you must remember the importance of exercise. Consider organizing a group fitness break during the day. You can do yoga, chair stretching, or even a meditation session to keep everyone fit and healthy.
4. Schedule virtual lunch dates.
Sometimes, when working remotely, you forget to take a decent lunch break and find yourself eating while on the desktop. So, make a date with your lunch buddy. You still eat at the computer, but not alone. And try to talk about everything but work. During this pandemic, organizations may also have new employees starting and eating together is a great way to get to know each other.
5. Celebrate together.
Is it someone's birthday? Has anyone got engaged? Achieved something significant? A pandemic is no reason to forget to celebrate. Everyone loves a good 'congrats!' GIF here and there. Assign "Let's celebrate" channel to the communication platform you use (e.g. slack, WhatsApp, Teams).
6. Start a virtual learnings club.
We can learn a great deal from our colleagues. The skills you teach others, don't have to be huge, but they can be precious. Maybe someone has a great way to manage email chaos, or someone has learned a great shortcut to rendering images.
Set aside a moment each month to teach and learn from each other. Anyone can virtually "drop-in" and learn about this speciality or skill.