COVID-19 has brought on many challenges for workers across the country; but keeping connected with your colleagues doesn’t have to be so tough.
The Federal Government recently released the national workplace principles. This set of guidelines details how workplaces should act as we return to normal. For those of us working at home however there is still uncertainty as to when this ‘normal’ starts again.
Until then we have some helpful suggestions to keeping connected with your colleagues and in tune with your team.
Being social is important
Social connections are an important part of our general health and wellbeing. Friendships and other positive social connections are vital in maintaining our mental health and help us manage our stress. But social distancing has made it quite difficult to satisfy this basic human need, particularly within the workplace. There are however some things that you can take on board that can make things a little less distant.
Next time you need to send an email think about whether you can video chat instead. This ensures you are getting some face time with your teammates and fostering those important social connections. It also has the added benefit of guaranteeing your email doesn’t get missed! Just be sure to follow up with the important details in writing if needed.
Communicate more often
We forget how many little interactions we have during the day at work that help us through our tasks. A chat at the coffee machine or a quick question to our neighbour help us clarify things and make sure we are on task. Just because we are at home doesn’t mean we should forgo those interactions. Pick up the phone and ask that question. Send an email or an instant message. Start a conversation.
Make conversations count
This is a trying period for everyone involved. Being overly negative or critical at a time when we should be teaming together wont help anyone. We aren’t talking about kumbaya and campfires here just that you should focus on how we converse. Being sensitive to the atmosphere and injecting positive and or humour in your interactions will go along way to a happy team culture.
On that note, due to the amount of emails you are sending during this time be extra careful with tone. Once you hit send on that mail you aren’t in control of how the receiver will take you message, so be clear, be courteous, and be professional. Unfortunately, emojis can only convey so much!
Keep routine or make a new one
Does your team have a regular social gathering? Don’t let social distancing stop you, do it virtually. There is no reason why couple of drinks after work on Friday needs to stop if you utilize technology. You can also make it more interesting by checking out some fun backgrounds courtesy of Adobe to liven up your Zoom chats.
Better yet you could even start a new one. Plenty of pub trivia nights are now being live streamed, so why not get the gang together (online) for some fun. You could even run one yourself with the help of Fame Trivia.
Keep each other accountable
Being cooped up at home for many means our fitness goals are suffering as well. So why not start up a 30-day fitness challenge with your team. It could be a single exercise like push-ups or more involved yoga workouts. Make it accessible for everyone that wants to join and keep each other accountable by checking in on each other regularly. This is a fun way to keep social keep fit and look out for each other.
Try and create a safe environment that fosters wellbeing and allows your team to feel comfortable in coming to you. Listen to your team and address concerns where you can in a proactive way. Keeping channels of communication open and honest is a really easy way to keep everyone on track and aware of expectations.
If members of your team are still working on the frontline special attention to their issues should be given. While the concerns of the business are ever present the health and safety of your team should come first. Make sure you are checking in even more regularly with these team members and you are across any developments which may affect their ability to do their job. Its better to be more safety conscious than not enough!
Reach out if you need
You should also be aware of your company’s employee assistance program (EAP). These programs are provided by third parties and are anonymous. If you really need to talk to someone about the changes going on at work and don’t feel comfortable with colleagues, know there is an avenue that will provide support for you.
If you or your team require support or guidance, MAX’s team of qualified psychologists and social workers can be reached here. Our EAP team can provide a range effective of tools to assist you and your colleagues in times of need.