Remote working, like any form of work, has its ups and downs; remote working during Covid-19 amplifies all these ups and down tenfold. Whether you’re a working parent, live alone or are managing a large team it’s been tough for everyone.
This time last year most of us were working in office settings or something similar. We had chance encounters in hallways, chatted over coffee breaks, travelled to meet new clients or colleagues and met a string of other people along the way.
If there was a birthday, it’s likely you received a cake, if you reached a goal there might have been balloons or a gift waiting on your desk and after-hours socialising was more the norm than a nice memory.
Now, as we approach a full year of working from our homes, these things are no longer possible – but we still need human connection and a sense of team comradery, even if we are dispersed.
Keeping Employee Engagement & Spirits High Remotely
On my team of 7 people, we’re bringing back monthly ‘fun’ team virtual hangouts (our next will be a virtual baking activity), embracing the value of daily breaks and more informal Friday meetings and we’ve an informal team WhatsApp group that’s used mostly during work hours.
On a personal note, I’ve deleted Instagram from my phone, am avoiding my laptop after work hours, and am trying out a long list of coffee shops within my 5k I’ve been meaning to visit. I’m also a big advocate of sending (and receiving) post to friends and colleagues.
Below are her tips to find a little joy in each day:
Daily walks without fail, or whatever is your gig, as early as you can before your workday begins; it’s a mood changer
A good book, I find the Sunday Times or Irish Times top sellers a great reference point, I am currently reading “Strange Flowers” by Donal Ryan and it’s a beautiful read
Good food cooked from scratch and trying a new recipe every week
Lots of rest and early nights so you are charged up and ready to face the day
Writing a list at your desk each morning of the things you need to do. Don’t put the things off until tomorrow that are the less appealing
Limit your time on social media, it’s hard but I think screen time after work is exhausting on your eyes so you need to watch it
On that note get a good eye gel to keep your eyes moist as they will definitely be feeling it with all the time on your PC
Make sure your best candles are burning on your desk during work
Plan your next holiday
Finally, write down 3 things you are grateful for every evening. As Luke O'Neill said " Hang in there, the natural world is quiet now, in the darkest and coldest part of the year. Some love this time of the year. Stay warm, wait it out as best you can"
David Martins, a Senior Manager, on our Finance team echoes this with “a few things that myself and my team have been doing to keep together and some normality (whatever that may be these days)”
We have daily catch-up calls at 4pm to maintain morale. These take just 5 to 10min and are just to check up on each other.
To keep a sense of fun we’ve had quizzes, bingo, ‘name the baby’ (pics of the team member when they were babies / toddlers) and even ‘name the fridge’ (pics of the team member fridge).
Just as importantly David’s team have kept up rituals to recognise good work or achievements, inducing:
New Joiners (Microsoft Teams Call)
Leavers (Microsoft Teams Call)
Half Year-End Celebrations (Microsoft Teams Call)
Niamh O’Connor from our HR team wrote a full article on how to keep connected during lockdowns last year and the tips and recommendations still stand strong. You can read the full list in the blog and I’ve repeated two which might be helpful below:
Weekly Opt-In Steps Challenges - These are a great way to encourage people to keep moving (within the allocated radius) whilst also generating some friendly inter-company rivalry.
Champions - We are very fortunate to have 'Great Place To Work Champions' across the business for all 22 Cpl brands across all our locations. These people are the brains and driving forces around many of the ideas mentioned. We have a WhatsApp group where we continuously share important updates, ideas, get options and collaborate with one another.
Competitions - We really believe that work should be fun. We are continuing to host a range of competitions that cater for all the household from family to flatmates. Competitions that we have hosted include our Virtual Bake-off where people shared pictures of their baked masterpieces, our TIKTOK Competition which saw people posting videos of their renditions of 'Working 9-5', 'Blinding Lights', 'We're all in this together' to mention a few. We have also got the kids involved with Kids Art Competitions and a recent Valentine’s Day baking competition.
Remote working has its ups and downs for all employees, but little things and a sense of comradery and hope can make a difference.