Given all the new challenges that we’ve all had to navigate since COVID-19 entered our lives, it can be very difficult for a company to seamlessly transition from an office environment to working from home. Hearing and reading about the crisis all the time doesn’t make it any easier as nearly every other post on social media, commercial or news story seems to mention it. It can be a lot for the average person to deal with — let alone when you’re the one tasked with planning and implementing activities to maintain and promote a healthy, happy, productive virtual office culture.
However, with a little bit of foresight and proper planning, it is possible to provide your team with an encouraging environment where you can all come together – even while working remotely at home. Keep the good times going with these easy-to-implement tips and tricks.
INVITE YOUR TEAM TO THE VIRTUAL WATERCOOLER
Many people have trouble starting their day without stopping by the kitchen area in their office, where they can gather over a cup of coffee before diving into work. In a similar fashion, at Scooter Media we have designated the first 15-30 minutes of the day as “watercooler” time. This is where we can catch up on current events, who’s binging what on Netflix and life in general as we grab our breakfast and begin our day. This can be a nice opportunity for your office’s employees to see their coworkers’ faces — as well as the occasional toddler, spouse or four-legged family member. In doing so, you will also keep the personal connection you would normally share face-to-face in the office and keep that all-to-important sense of togetherness as opposed to feeling like you’re living – and working – on an island.
SHARE A QUOTE OF THE DAY
Each day, I find a quote to share with my co-workers via Slack. When possible, I try to find something that ties into events that are special to that day; this could be a commencement quote on graduation day, a famous quip about baseball on Opening Day or a few words of sunshine and happiness after a slew of rainy days. Sure, it might be a little cliché, but it gives everyone a moment to do something your office may also benefit from: taking a pause from what they are doing and reflecting on the bigger picture.
VIRTUAL HAPPY HOURS
Drinks or no drinks in hand (but not too close as to spill onto our company laptops), we wrap up our week with a quick Friday afternoon meeting that ends with a friendly online game. Over the past 10+ weeks, we have played communal versions of Uno, Scattergories, Skribbl and most recently several games from the You Don’t Know Jack pack. The games are typically less than 30 minutes for our group of eight and the top three winners are awarded Scooter Media branded trophy icons they proudly display in their Slack profile for a week’s worth of bragging rights. Sure, there’s the competitive co-worker every once in a while, but no matter the outcome, they always serve the same purpose: team-building, fun and providing relief from the daily rigors of life.
This is also the time we read our “snaps” – our not-so-humble brags about the good things our co-workers have done. Submitted anonymously via a simple Google Docs form, it’s just another way to remind our co-workers, “hey, you’re doing good work and you’re appreciated.”
BE CREATIVE – CREATE TEAM-ORIENTED SWAG
While the current economic downturn has just about everyone watching their budgets, if you’re able to put a little bit of money into team-centric items, it may prove to be a smart investment. The Scooter Media team created “Camp Quaranteam” tees that are as comfortable as they are stylish; but even ordering sticky notes with fun messages on them can be a small gesture that will show your team that you care.
A little act of kindness can go a long way to promoting unity. In a time when many of us are alone, anything you can do to promote togetherness is money well spent.
Yes, COVID-19 — like any crisis — has been a difficult time for us all. But by learning to navigate the challenges together, our company culture has become stronger than ever and the Scooter Media team has continued to let the good times roll.