Weeks of working from home can become stressful. If you live by yourself you may well be bored or lonely. If you’re locked up with your family you may well be tripping over each other and getting uptight and irritable.
What can you do to stay connected with your work colleagues in ways that are fun and meaningful?
First of all, let’s look at how you can turn your video conferencing calls into something more than project reviews.
Kick off the week with a video chat that’s non work related. Over a mug of your favorite kind of coffee, tea or juice discuss what you got up to over the weekend. Connect on this personal level before tackling the business projects of the week.
Have a happy hour
End the week with another social event—happy hour. After a hard-working week, although you can’t let your hair down at your local hangout, you can still toast each other from the comfort of your own homes. Settle down over a glass of your favorite drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and chat about what else is going on in your new work-from-home lifestyle.
Arrange for workers in different departments to get together for a thirty-minute to one-hour cross-functional chat. Share what’s on your menu as well as what you’re working on, just like you would in the office lunchroom.
Take a pet to work
Carve out half an hour one day to get your cat or dog in the picture with you. People love their pets and will get a kick out of seeing yours. If your pet is something unusual, so much the better. Even if someone doesn’t have a pet of their own, they usually enjoy interacting with other people’s.
Discover hidden talents on an occasional call by encouraging anyone who’s musically inclined to sing or play one of their favorite songs. Everyone can sing along if they’re in the mood. Want to recite a poem instead? That’s fine, too.
Bad hair day
I’ve heard that workers sometimes don’t like to turn on their webcam for video conferences because they don’t like the way they look. Their hair is not styled. How about bringing some humor to a conference call with a hat day? Ask everyone to wear a hat—you might be surprised by the variety of headgear on display.
Here’s a great way to memorialize these trying times. Take a screenshot of all of the participants. It may well be such a great shot you’ll want to print it and frame it. If nothing else it will serve as a reminder of how everyone rallied to work and supported each other during this unique experience.
Make good use of your bonus time
How much extra time do you have now that you don’t have to commute? An hour? Two hours? More? What are you doing with that time? Sleeping a bit longer? Working more hours? Goofing off? Designate that time as “me” time to do something productive that will last beyond the pandemic. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language, or acquire another skill? Or use the time to banish stress by learning how to meditate.
It’s important to find ways to keep everyone connected and feeling part of the team, even when they’re physically distanced.