The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way we work and interact with our team. Many people have never had to work from home now we are home for the foreseeable future. New challenges are bound to pop-up. For those who have always worked in an office, social distancing and quarantining ourselves can be lonely and difficult. Working from home means you do not have the social interactions or a soundboard for your work concern. Working from home can limit collaborating and put a halt on starting new projects.
Besides our work productivity, Staying connected to your team from home can weaken the bond that we have with our teams. When working from home we are not fostering our relationships or continuing to build trust. We are not checking in on each other even if there is nothing “new” to report. That’s a cycle that needs to be broken, especially for those not accustomed to working at home. It’s okay to shoot an instant message when you see another co-worker online.
The problem is not that we cannot be social – it is that we need to rethink what that looks like and break the stigma in our head of what socialization looks like during COVID-19. For the time being, this is the new normal and we must adapt to keep our teams united and jobs progressing forward. At Peagram Consulting we encourage the use of emails, phone calls, skypes/zooms, but sometimes that’s just not enough. The tips in this article are ones that are outside of the box. Use them to start your virtual meetings or have them stand-alone. Consider using these as icebreakers or team builders that will keep your team connected as coworkers and as humans.
Virtual Coffee or Happy Hour.
Start the week by sharing a 9 am virtual coffee Skype or zoom with your teammates. Share what has been challenging with the new work environment or keep it light by sharing the first thing you will do after social distancing. If 9 am is too early, try a 5 pm happy hour.
Shared Discussion Board.
Has social distancing allowed you to start or pick-up an old hobby? Share it with others in a special work discussion board. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to bring in your special recipe or craft when we return to work!
Prompt a Question.
Prompting a question in your virtual or over-the-phone meeting lightens the mood and keeps you connected through the distance. Try asking everyone the same question, “Why do you love your job,” “What was your favorite moment at this company,” or “What do you love about our company?”
Similar to a secret Santa, start by collecting everyone’s names and addresses, then randomly (and secretly) assign everyone a person. Write a ‘thank you’ or gratitude card and send it away in the mail! Even if your co-worker(s) receives the card after the quarantine it will still make their day and your team will be united while writing the cards.
When moving to remote working often our productivity hours also change because we can be flexible with our schedules. By simply posting the hours you will online in a joint-calendar allows you and your co-workers to plan accordingly. It also gives everyone the opportunity to send a quick, “hello, how are you.”
We hope you enjoyed these tips. The more we take steps now to remain social and collaborate the more likely we are to get back into stride quickly when returning to the office. Do you have ideas that worked well with your team? Share it with us! We are always looking for ways to add and improve this list. Stay tuned to Peagram Consulting as we come out to new material and resources every day to help you stay productive and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consultant and Lead Facilitator
Bulldog Solution and Peagram Consulting
Shannon Edwards is an external consultant leading client to solutions and facilitating training sessions. Shannon works on instructional design and hashing out the logistics. She is passionate about helping individuals and companies create a positive culture by initiative efficient and effective people practices while helping clients set achievable goals with sustainable results. She has degrees from the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash