Who saw 2020 turning out like this? No one. But that can only damper our spirits for so long.
Self-isolation has had a big impact on most businesses—some more than others, with complete hibernation being a reality for many.
But for those still operating, working from home is completely doable with a few little adjustments to keep the bond strong. Studies have even found working from home leads to greater productivity.
Here are five tips to keep a happy, healthy team while working from home, despite the current chaos.
1. Allow your team to take advantage of increased flexibility
The great thing about working from home is having more flexibility in when and where you complete projects. Though COVID-19 eliminates the option of working from our favourite cafes, beaches and bars, we can still benefit from the extra time we have.
Not all businesses will allow for this, but if you can, let team members work at their peak time of day. We all do our best work when we’re most energetic, and when working from home, we’re not bound by the office’s opening and closing times.
Also keep in mind your team is likely working alongside family members or roommates (in potentially small spaces), so a little flexibility could go a long way in keeping everyone comfortable and distraction-free.
2. Check-in, often
It’s important to stay on top of mental health, with risks of social isolation impacting those with anxiety and depression the most.
Check in with your team at a set time each day via Zoom or Google Hangouts to touch base and see how everyone is tracking. Also encourage your team members to take breaks throughout the day, for coffee and fresh air, as they usually would.
Because we’re all couped up at home, sometimes we forget to move around—a gentle reminder to get up and take little breaks never goes astray.
3. Play online games together
Team-building is just as fun from home. Play interactive online games with your team to break up the day or invite each team member to share ‘a photo a day’ along with a brief story (cue: cute doggos and picturesque apartment views).
Chatting or playing games with your team for just fifteen minutes a day can get those creative juices flowing and give your team something to look forward to.
4. Encourage team members to set up a comfortable (and inspiring) work space
It’s a strange time for everyone, so encouraging your team to add a touch of normalcy to their home office can help them get in the zone.
Not everyone has a big space, but everyone can make a good space. Ask employees to sit at a desk or table rather than slouching over their couch or bed, and find a quiet space (even if ‘quiet’ is achieved with noise cancelling headphones) with plenty of natural light and fresh air to help boost productivity and success.
Moving around the house throughout the day can also be a good way to prolong focus (depending on what your team does) but don’t substitute this for breaks—they’re essential for productivity.
5. Keep the vibe alive
Just because your team is working from home, doesn’t mean you’re apart. Keep your usual office culture alive and strong with virtual Friday night drinks, movie nights, post-work yoga sessions, or whatever else you did to bond as a team.
Here are some other ideas to maintain a great office culture:
- Live stream cooking classes, challenges and competitions
- Share healthy, easy recipes and home work-out tips
- Share favourite movies, shows and music
- Run mindfulness and meditation sessions
- Try Friday night (or lunch-time) trivia
- Create channels or clubs based on specific interests e.g. wine lovers, WFH eats, book worms, best of Netflix, etc.
Keeping up a healthy level of social interaction will create a ‘new normal’ for your team—no doubt things are different, but change is what you make of it. Encourage your team to embrace the benefits of working from home—extra time that would have been spent commuting to and from the office, new-found energy and laser-like focus to get tasks done efficiently.
Nicki is our Senior Working Capital Manager. She works with a team of talented product specialists, leveraging 25 years combined experience to help Aussie businesses find tailored finance solutions.