Staying Connected While Social Distancing with Co-Workers and Friends
These are challenging times that we’re facing right now. On top of simply working from home, many are having to wear multiple “hats” and juggle various tasks throughout the day. With all of the chaos that everyone is facing, one thing that is easy to miss out on is social interaction with your friends and coworkers. It’s easy to place your focus on a million other things during the day, but what ways are people allowing themselves to take a breather and catch up with people that are a large part of their lives?
Virtual Happy Hours
One of the simplest ways to connect with your coworkers or friends is to host a virtual happy hour. When scheduling a “coffee chat” or happy hour with coworkers, ensure that the number of invitees is manageable. It’s easy to break off into groups to chat when meeting in person, but not so much on Zoom calls. Try scaling down the number of participants to either just your team or department, depending on how large.
Instead of using these happy hours for catching up, find ways to put an interesting spin on them. Having employees showcase their talents by either playing an instrument or showing off their last DIY home project can help engage everyone on the call and give each employee the chance to have a brief spotlight on the call.
Create Sidebars Within Chats
Creating a sense of community throughout your company is important in showing your employees or team that you’re all in this together. I’ve read of multiple companies creating “miscellaneous” chat rooms within their team Slack accounts to post pictures of their pets or discuss a variety of topics.
These “miscellaneous” chatrooms act as a break room where you can catch up with your coworkers and talk about ways that you’ve been staying entertained, during the stay at home quarantine orders. Web-based repository manager, GitLab, replicates office camaraderie through their #donut-be-strangers Slack channel. This room randomly pairs up employees so that they have the opportunity to chat with someone new. Employees also have access to the “Random Room” which allows anyone to log onto Google Hangouts for a break.
Lunch and Learns
Several companies that I have worked with in the past held regular “lunch and learn” events, where a guest speaker would come into the office and discuss ways to improve business operations or generate more sales.
Even if your business doesn’t have the resources to provide lunches for entire departments, simply using this time to provide meaningful information to your employees can go a long way. Having a quick session on “being efficient while working from home” or doing a “nutrition-based class” can provide employees with relevant information while giving them a much-needed break.
Staying connected to your coworkers and employees is more important than ever to boost morale. With the uncertain nature of these times, make sure to check in with your team to see how each of them are holding up. It’s important to remember that this situation is only temporary, and together we will get through this!