As social distancing measures continue in the province of Ontario, many companies are choosing to continue to enforce a work from home procedure. Whether teams thrive or struggle while working from home differs from business to business. One thing is certain; there are challenges specific to working remotely. While the closeness and familiarity of seeing co-workers and employees in the office is missing, there are ways to connect with the people you work with. With summer vacations cancelled, limited social interaction, and the fright that comes with living through a global pandemic, many people can be feeling a little down-understandably. Under these circumstances, company culture does not need to suffer as there are ways to maintain a healthy culture and stay connected to those on your team. A strong sense of community that comes with a great company culture could positively affect employees especially during what can be a trying time.
Enforce A Program to Virtually Connect
There are many team interaction tools available that make team work easier, efficient and more organized. A go to program will become the go-to spot for fast and clear communication. When asked, 70% of employees said an online collaboration tool has improved their engagement. The top 5 rated remote work tools of 2020 are ProofHub, BaseCamp, Instagantt, Troop Messenger and Slack.
Empower Your Team with Transparency
We all want to run businesses that are honest and transparent. Transparency is what allows our clients and customers to trust us in what we do and what we deliver. Delivering a consistent flow of clear communication to your team can have the same effect on your employees as it does your clients. Covid-19 is occurring now and things are changing every single day. We don’t exactly know what tomorrow, next month or even next year will look like. We’re definitely not ruling out how quick the whole world can change in the blink of an eye. When protocol, schedules, office hours, job roles, etc. change, let your team be the first to know. Keeping them in the loop of what is going on and how the plan continues to evolve will bring peace of mind. Feeling confused or not knowing what the next steps are can be stressful for anyone. Eliminate that unnecessary stress by establishing a clear line of communication that allows employees to feel comfortable asking you questions they may have. It’s a difficult time and having employees who feel their concerns are addressed will help improve staff morale, mental health and ultimately, productivity. Updates should be frequent, work flows clear and priorities announced to ensure employees are on the right track to working efficiently and feeling calm.
Be Inclusive & Unite Together
We all have one thing in common during this pandemic; we’re going through it together. Remind your team that you are all in this together and their concerns could very well be another team members concern too. Not everyone lives alone, let employees, pets, family members and children be included. If a video meeting or phone call features a new face, embrace them with friendliness.
Check In to Avoid Checking Out
Start a team check-in that isn’t just about setting intentions or goals for the week. Have a virtual coffee break where employees can join in if they wish. Let topics and conversation flow naturally, and stay away from talking about work priorities and negative outlooks. Topics can include: personal victories, funny stories, or new hobbies. It should be a quick and refreshing little break during the day to connect with your employees in a different way.
Start a Team Challenge
A calculated study on employee mobility published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity had some interesting results. Research shows that going for a few five minute walks throughout your work day can have some surprising benefits. These benefits include improved moods, limited lethargy and benefitted overall health. A quick walk, every hour can double these benefits! Put in place a team challenge and allow employees to take a 5 minute walk around their home, yard, or street a few times a day. Have co-workers tick off if they have completed it. It’s always a plus to encourage others to do things that will benefit their health. A clear mind will lead to better productivity, lower stress levels and a higher morale.
Share, Share, Share
Sharing is caring. Sharing with others creates a bond and helps improve moods! Start the week off on a good note by encouraging employees to share the “peak” of their weekend and a professional goal for the week. Employees are humans too and have a life outside of work. Allow them to reflect on a good memory and then focus their attention to a goal they want to conquer that week. A goal, however big or small, is something to work towards which will lead to a productive week. Studies show that telling your plans or goals to others propels you to follow through on them. If it’s a goal they can’t reach, support them as they try again. Sharing brings people closer and supporting one another can strengthen connectedness.
We are in unprecedented times and what tomorrow will look like isn’t so clear. What is for certain is that a sense of community in the workplace during this time will only improve company culture. Follow these tips to help build a stronger feeling of connectedness that will better you, your employees and your business.