A full month. That’s how long many of us have been working from home. As we sit here in the middle of April, a few days after Easter, many employees have started resorting to using coffitivity.com to simulate natural lunch room sounds, or imisstheoffice.eu to mimic the sounds of a copier or even a ping pong match.
And, ambient noise is not the only thing we’re missing right now. We crave human interaction, and we’re relying on our technology hero right now to help us achieve it. How can Zoom fix the thing we all miss – the lack of physical closeness?
Here are just a few suggestions that human resources leaders have offered to create a fun and interactive socially engaged but physically distant workplace. If you’re in HR, these ideas may be a welcome change from implementing virtual thermometers and rewriting policies.
(As a tool to facilitate this, Slack, in addition to Zoom and Teams, of course, was mentioned more than once.)
Here are some of the ideas that are keeping us all from melting down:
1. THEME DAYS: You can create various topics or themes of the week, such as:
Meditation Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays, Book Club Thursday (you can even split this up into various genres: nonfiction, historical fiction, etc.), Fun Fridays (during which you can ask for pictures of pets, children, fashion, etc.) or just general topics like “Another Gallon of Rocky Road Bites the Dust and Other Musings.”
2. CREATE ZOOM “HUDDLES”: According to Rachel Platt, from Bethesda-based Plattinum Consulting, you can use Zoom to “create spirit and engage your employees.” She shares that ‘Zoom Huddles’ are “10-minute hellos in the morning to set an agenda or get teams together,
during which you could create themes, such as college sweatshirt, sport you miss most, or crazy hat day; work from home selfie contest (best work area, worst work set up, best office mate/pet), creative ways to work out from your living room.”
3. MAKE TOP 10 LISTS: Some ideas include: Top 10 crazy things people learn working from home (mail person doesn’t actually arrive until 4pm in afternoon, my neighbor picks up her newspaper in her nightgown); Top 10 things people miss about being in the office.
4. ENHANCE WELLBEING: Send out yoga or meditation video, curate free workout videos, or send a goodie bag of treats to everyone’s home at the end of the week.
5. CREATE SILLY CONTESTS: Alicia Waller, CHRO/Director of HR for AMIDEAST, shared that “for theme or competition days, we take all of the submissions and make one power point for everyone to see.” Waller’s suggestions include: Pet and/or Plant Photo Competition, Best At-Home Lunch, At-Home Spring Bingo!
6. WRITE A NEWSLETTER WITH TIPS AND TRICKS: Consider creating a Wednesday Newsletter that could include: tips for working remotely, staff recipes, and mental and physical wellness videos and resources. Whatever you do, don’t feel bad if you aren’t ready to implement these ideas. It isn’t a requirement to come out ‘ahead’ at the end of this. Just continue doing right by your employees, and we’ll all succeed.