There’s a trendy phrase being used a lot lately – “Together Apart,” and it perfectly sums up what is happening with families, friends and colleagues right now. While we’re all isolated in our homes, it’s inspiring how everyone — especially coworkers — is finding ways to stay in touch with each other. Whether it be virtual happy hours with teammates, fitness challenges or company cooking clubs, there are certainly some fun and creative ways of staying connected during the pandemic.
Being an HR director during a pandemic is particularly difficult because you can’t get that face-to-face communication with employees. It’s our job to keep the work environment thriving during the stay-at-home order. Sure, you may already have several employees who work completely remotely, but for those who are constantly in the office, this is a whole new level of disconnect. Mediasite enables anytime, anywhere communication. So, fittingly, we have employees located around the world. Here are some tips for keeping your employees connected year-round and especially right now:
- Establish a flexible work environment
Everyone is working in completely different work environments. People have been forced to turn spaces into home offices that aren’t fully conducive for that. As if that’s not enough, there are children, spouses, and pets that serve as constant distractions to their work.
Make sure you communicate to all employees that you understand and the company is flexible with work circumstances. Need to leave a call to handle a two-year-old having a tantrum? That’s OK. Having technical difficulties because everyone in your house is using the internet? It’s understandable. Help your employees get through this new normal as smoothly as possible.
- Makes sure employees are comfortable with their work setup
Everyone has a different house set up; therefore everyone works in completely different office spaces. Making a space that works for every employee amidst the chaos is more difficult than expected. But make sure that employees are set up comfortably to work an eight-hour workday.
This study from Yale demonstrates helpful ergonomically tips for keeping your posture and body intact while working from home. They are simple and can be implemented with any set up and keeps employees feeling good. Share these tips with them!
- Create virtual water cooler breaks
Whether it’s chatting near a coffee station, walking to the kitchen together, or stopping by each other’s desks, everyone misses a little face-to-face time with coworkers. Set up a 15-minute virtual kitchen break every day for employees to chat and catch up with one another. It isn’t quite the same, but it is one of the closest aspects of workplace banter you can create. But maybe for your company that is a water cooler meeting or chatting over a cup of coffee. Name it what you want, but just get your employees together.
Also encourage your employees to take breaks throughout the day. Working in the same space where they eat, relax, and spend time with family can be a lot, so make sure employees are taking breaks throughout the day to stay refreshed.
- Get up close and personal
Ever want to see where your co-worker lives? Have you only ever heard about their pets or kids but never actually seen them? Quarantine is the perfect time to have your employees share a little day-in-the-life. Some examples include:
- Pet introductions – Have everyone on a Zoom call introduce their pet(s) to their co-workers. It’s always fun to see some new furry (or maybe scaly) friends.
- House tours – Encourage small groups to get together to give virtual home tours. Have them show everyone where they’ve been working and spending all their time. When everyone can visualize it, you’ll have a more connected team.
- Recipe sharing – Get together and cook via video, sharing cooking tricks and steps as you go. Encourage employees to share their favorite recipes on the company discussion board, like Yammer.
- Game On!
It’s amazing how many games you can play in the virtual world. Give your employees some good competitive fun by encouraging friendly games and challenges. Try:
- Trivia – This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you could even do weekly categories of trivia to switch it up a little bit.
- Charades – The goofiness and entertainment behind this one is sure to make employees laugh for days.
- Mini TED talks – Get a small group together and tell everyone to prepare a five-minute presentation on anything they want. It’ll be fun to see what people are interested in outside of work and maybe everyone will learn something, too.
- Ellen’s Plank Challenge — We do think it would be fun to implement Ellen’s Plank Challenge. You know, the viral game going around where people hold a plank and sing as long as they can and record themselves doing it. An employee could start it and then nominate other people around the office to complete the same challenge. See who is up for it!
Want to know more about what our employees are up to? Check out these blogs: