I have been someone that has been self-employed and working from home for a while now – eight years to be exact. However, I would leave the house to meet clients to go through collaborations from time to time, as well as blogger events nearly weekly, prior to the pandemic. So although I am used to working from home, and I don’t necessarily have ‘colleagues,’ I do still miss getting out and about to talk to others about work and the industry.
For anyone that is new to working from home, before a year ago at least, it will have been a juggle to get used to. Gone are the days when you were working in a busy office environment, having face-to-face meetings, and having a walk and lunch with a colleague. If this sounds like you, or you’re an employer that wants to help to boost morale for those working from home, then here are some of the things that you could do. When you have a happy and healthy workforce, they are going to be much more productive and effective at their jobs.
Although they’re not face to face, keep up with team meetings
It is quite common practice for a teams to have a weekly team meeting or perhaps a daily one. This could be to share updates on the business, as well as other matters. Although everyone may be sick if Zoom and video calls, having these team meetings is still crucial. It can help to give the team a focus, it tends to be more relaxed than a formal meeting, and is a good chance for the team to see each other and socialise in an informal way.
Where possible, maintain some social activities
As with business meetings, still keeping up with some corporate social activities is still a good idea. If the team normally go for drinks after work on a Wednesday, then how about carrying on with them, but do so virtually? A few of the team do a pub quiz once a month, make your own! When you all have a bit of a routine, and can see colleagues for fun, rather than just work, it helps to boost morale and to boost the mentality of the team.
Let’s face it, the novelty of working from home can be wearing off for many, so being social online is something that can help team bonding. You could also think about something like remote team building events as another way to boost morale and to do something fun but different.
Check in on what equipment is being used and see if there are any needs
If you have half of your team hunched over a laptop with a tiny screen, then it isn’t going to go very far to help them to be productive or to work effectively. A lot of employees, even now, are working in a makeshift office space. But you won’t know what their needs are unless you ask! Perhaps there is room in the budget to get computer monitor screens, so at least they have a larger screen to view something from, or other equipment that could make them more comfortable working from home.
Allow flexibility under the circumstances
For many, circumstances of them working from home have changed in a big way. Schools are going back soon, but there will still be flexibility needed around those with children, for example. It is so important for employers to understand what these changes are and how they can impact a person and their ability to work, let alone their morale. By appreciating these circumstances, offering flexibility, and perhaps creating new working arrangements, is something that will be very beneficial to you and the employee.