One of the silver linings of the current pandemic has been the flood of innovative and fun ways to keep employees engaged during the indefinite work from home period. From remote yoga and video calls to virtual pub quizzes, our methods and frequency of communication has certainly changed in the last couple of weeks. Here are some of the best initiatives we’ve seen for keeping team spirit up while we’re not sharing an office:
- Daily group video calls – in the absence of the usual office chit chat and ‘how was your weekend’ conversation that comes with crowding around the kettle, Flagship has been holding group video calls twice a day, one first thing in the morning and the second before we sign off for the day. Not only is it important to hear how everyone is coping and what they’re up to outside of work, but also being able to see everyone’s faces and read their body language has been crucial in maintaining our great relationships. Another aspect of these calls that we’ve loved has been the interaction with family members, pets and housemates who occasionally appear in the background of the camera or can be heard off-screen asking “can you help me with my Maths homework?”. You get a glimpse into the home life of your colleagues, which we’ve found really comforting (especially when cute dogs are involved) and, in my opinion, has brought us closer together.
- ‘Guess the Workstation’ – going one step further to really infiltrate our colleagues’ working environment is this fun game that I spotted on LinkedIn. Everyone takes a photo of their working from home set up and sends it to one person in the team who is responsible for collecting the photos. This person then sends all the anonymous photos to the team and everyone has to guess which workstation belongs to which person. A quick and easy game with minimal organisation required! I already have a few clues I know I’d be looking out for on my colleagues’ desks…
- Virtual happy hours – what do you do if you can’t all go for a drink together after work on a Friday? Stop drinking? Of course not! Our usual early Friday finish has been replaced by a virtual happy hour, during which we all have a drink (or three) at our desks and discuss our plans for the weekend, including how we’re planning our fourth attempt in one week to buy toilet roll from our local supermarket. It’s amazing how even watching someone drink in their own home gives greater insight into their home life, some from mugs while others drink from jam jars (classic East Londoners).
- Share good news – hidden amongst the gloomy stories that are dominating newspapers and social media are positive news stories that are just waiting to be shared around. We’ve all been making a conscious effort to share and discuss the positive things happening in our and other people’s lives, which helps make these challenging times a little easier. For example, you could’ve easily missed the news that last year’s record hot summer was the best season for butterflies in 22 years, with more than half of Britain’s species increasing in number – now isn’t that something to smile about! Read more about spreading positive messages in Hannah’s blog here.
- Fancy Fridays – it’s probably self-explanatory, but the idea behind Fancy Fridays is to encourage everyone to dress up more than they usually would working from home (yes, we all know someone who has lived in their pyjamas for the last week). While there’s no shame in wearing comfy clothes while we’re all stuck at home with nowhere to go, there might be a large section of your wardrobe that isn’t getting used for the foreseeable future. And this is where Fancy Fridays comes in – put on that sparkly blazer or bowtie and impress your colleagues as you all dress up for your virtual happy hour this Friday!