Eight months into the pandemic and it’s clear that working from home is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
While the actual work side of things has long been sorted, thanks to everyone becoming Zoom and Teams pros, what is obvious is that we are all missing one big aspect of going to work – socialising!
It’s the water-cooler moments, office jokes and drinks together after work that bring a team together, and is especially important for welcoming new starters – so while productivity may not have been impacted or may have even improved, feeling connected to your team mates has taken a nosedive. In fact a survey by Offices.co.uk found that 28 per cent of people working from home this year suffered from loneliness and anxiety caused by separation from colleagues.
That’s why here at Democracy we have been actively putting new plans in place to help the entire agency re-connect with one another and reviving the often little things that make our team unique and work so well together, but are hard to do naturally when everyone is remote from one another.
Here are some of our tips for bringing the human connection back virtually to the workplace:
Call me maybe:
It can be very easy when you’re at home, head down, typing away, to just fire off emails or Slack messages to colleagues giving them instructions to do something or asking a question. But taking the time to pick up the phone or having a quick Zoom call one on one is so much more personal, is usually quicker, guarantees there’s no miscommunication and most importantly, helps keep those team bonds alive and well.
It’s so much more natural to ask how someone’s day is going and to joke about a tricky piece of work or something crazy going on in the world when you are actually speaking to them rather than a perfunctory ‘how are you?’ message.
Just calling to say hello:
Do you remember the good old days when you would just wander over to someone’s desk for a gossip, have a natter before a meeting or walk together to get lunch…well it’s time to bring it back (kind of)!
If you have a spare five or 10 minutes in your day while you’re making a brew – give someone a call and talk about topics other than work! It helps relieve stress, builds stronger relationships, makes the other person feel good and reminds you why you like working with your team (just check the work diary first so you don’t ring while they’re in a meeting).
Virtually re-create the all-important water-cooler moments when everyone is talking about a particular film or TV moment at work by setting up lunchtime chat groups on whatever video call service you use.
Spending half an hour talking about a mutual love of I’m A Celebrity or filling in the crossword together for example, breaks up the day and gets people from different teams talking.
Virtual work socials:
Spur of the moment trips to the pub on a Friday and Christmas parties seem a distant memory at this point but that doesn’t mean you can’t still socialise – you just need to be a bit more creative. Think virtual pizza making lessons and painting classes. Just make sure everyone has all the equipment needed and a drink in hand then they can all get involved from the safety and comfort of their homes.
It may not be quite the same but it means despite the fact people are working from home remotely, you’re still creating memories together, and laughing and joking about non-work related things.