The global spread of COVID-19 has led to countless modifications to our daily lives. Working from home is one of the most transformative changes to how we work and it’s important to make sure it’s going well for both you and your employees; particularly considering it is likely to become ever-more common once the coronavirus lockdown is over.
Here are some tips on how to keep spirits up for both you and your employees while you work from home during the coming weeks and months.
Regular check-ins – During a typical day in the office, it’s easy to see how your employees are coping and take them to one side for a chat if they seem overwhelmed or stressed. Remote working makes this markedly more difficult, taking away the ability to look at body language and general demeanour. Make sure you check in on your staff regularly, whether for 30 minutes every week or for five minutes at the start of each working day. Do this one-on-one, and encourage them to speak freely about any concerns they might have about work or non-work issues. You’ll get better results if you engage with them in real-time, either by phone or video call, rather than Slack or email. This is a stressful time for everyone, and taking the time to show your staff that you care about them will make for a much happier workforce.
Post-work fun – Video call apps such as Zoom and Skype can be used for more than just work-related conferences, you can use them to encourage team bonding and helping your staff members feel connected and cared about. A good idea is to arrange after-work drinks on Fridays at the end of the working day, where everyone can relax with a beer and speak freely. Think of it as an evening down the pub – done virtually. If you want to take things up a notch you could arrange an online pub quiz using Zoom, with a prize for the winner. Lockdown doesn’t mean having to give up on fun, it simply means approaching it from a different direction.
Organise clubs – Watch-along film clubs are becoming hugely popular as a way to keep in touch with people. Consider setting this up once a week, where you and your team meet up to watch a film at the same time, using apps like WhatsApp to chat about it during and after. This can also be applied to books and TV. Let a different employee choose the material for each session – it’s a great way to find out more about each other and create long-lasting bonds between your staff. Keep it relaxed and optional, as this might not appeal to everyone.
Flexibility – It’s highly likely that your staff will have very different circumstances during this quarantine period. Some may have young children to look after and home-school, while others might be living on their own and be at a greater risk of loneliness. Work out their different needs and let them know you’re there to help. If they need to start work later or take a break in the afternoon to care for their children and your business can accommodate this, let them know that’s perfectly fine. Similarly, if someone seems to be struggling with isolation make sure to check in on them more often, and encourage them to reach out to you and other members of the team whenever they need to.
Keeping up morale isn’t easy, but it’s important to make sure your staff are coping and to let them know you’re there for them.