Companies were thrust into a new work environment— one that doesn’t require any commute, small talks at the water station, and devoid of non-stop interruptions from that ever-perky colleague.
Overnight, that dusty little desk in the corner of the house turned into the de facto work station.
It sure sounded fun—at first.
As the government lockdown stretches on with no end in sight, a flurry of activities sets off — people started taking business continuity plans more seriously, IT worked to secure remote access for everyone, and HR had to think of how to ensure everyone worked their hours.
While there was much talk about how it has affected the economy, there is little discussion on how it has affected the workforce—stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise among those working from home.
So what can a company do to make sure that their employees retain a positive outlook, and that the company culture is still alive in them?
1. Set daily get-togethers with the team.
A work-from-home setup can also mean that people can be actively working at different hours of the day.
Schedule a specific time (just 15-30 minutes) every day to get the team to gather and share their deliverables.
The Daily Scrum framework is widely used among tech teams. 3 main questions are asked of each team member to ensure accountability:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Is there any challenges stopping you from achieving any goals?
You may also want to set aside special days for less serious stuff. It can be as simple as Cartoon Thursdays where everyone dresses up as their favorite cartoon character or Cocktail Fridays where members do a show-and-tell and sip on their favorite cocktail.
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2. Limit messaging groups to only relevant stakeholders.
Receiving notifications on your mobile about new messages can be pretty daunting.
Make sure that a chat group set up for a specific project only includes people who are actually needed.
Aside from streamlining who receives the notifications, it also saves everyone’s time… and sanity.
3. Send care packages.
It can be as frivolous as a weekend staycation box complete with silk pajamas and champagne or as simple as food delivery to each team member’s home.
And with the quarantine measures limiting movement everywhere, a surprise delivery would always be welcome.
4. Create a common team project.
Get the whole team together by creating a common project that everyone can be a part of.
This allows team members to put on a different hat and take a breather from their routines.
Who knows what talents you’ll discover from the members?
Here’s one: Get each department to share an idea on how to celebrate Christmas virtually this year.
That’s one heck of a challenge.
5. Set 1-on-1 chitchats with each team member.
Have your finger on the pulse of your team members’ wellbeing by giving them the time and space to air their thoughts.
Get creative with how you do this — let them send you notes or curate a Spotify playlist to tell you how they really feel.
Some of the above have been implemented by multinational companies in the country. Nestlé, for one, has provided support to its employees and third-party partners through a more flexible work scheme.
The new work setup has drastically changed in the past few months, creating a highly volatile environment for both employees and companies.
But with a little out-of-the-box thinking, we can ease the company and its workforce into the new normal without losing that human touch.