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Keeping Your Virtual Team Positive

3 positive psychology strategies that you can use right now

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*sigh* There was a time when I longed for the freedom and flexibility that I imagined working from home would bring me.
These days, TBH, I miss those at the office when I’d roll in, coffee in hand, say good morning to my colleagues, crack open my laptop and get to work.
Maybe you do, too.

A year in to the work-from-home, virtual environment, our daily routines have markedly changed.

Gone are the days of the hallway conversations, the quick tete-a-tetes in the break room, and across-the-room high-fives. Simple, engaging person-to-person gestures like these built connections, strengthened teams and kept morale positive and strong – even during the most challenging times.

To be sure, the pandemic has put us to the test.
Corporate leaders have expressed ongoing concern for their employees wellbeing.

Human Resources leaders in particular have been charged with supporting employees who are trying their level- best to be productive and accomplish the high-performance goals, while at the same time, facing:

>>grief and loss of friends and family who contracted covid19
>>trauma related to social and political unrest,
>>displacement from homes after evacuations from out-of-control forest fires on the west coast of the US,
>>power, water, and heat outages during the ice and snow storms in Texas

Not to mention the effort and energy to support everyone during the time of covid19.
Staying healthy and safe has been a top priority for over a year now.
But the problem is, even under the best circumstances, employees have become disenchanted, stressed, discouraged, and impatient for things to return to some kind of normal. The work from home shows no signs of ending though, and since happy hours and hallway conversations aren’t an option yet for most of the world, the question is:

What’s the best way to restore your team’s positive attitude, right now?

Let’s start here. The science of positive psychology* has demonstrated the link between wellbeing and success at work including productivity, innovation, and creativity. Simply put, the better you feel, the more successful you have the potential to become. And vice-versa: the more success you experience, the better you feel. It’s an upward spiral where wellbeing creates the conditions for success to arise and success fuels more wellbeing.

Here are 3 strategies from the science of positive psychology that you can use right now, no matter where you’re working or how many people you’re leading.

  1. The attitude is gratitude.
    Expressing your heartfelt gratitude benefits the giver and their receiver. When you tell a team member how much you appreciate their contributions at work, they feel better and so do you.
    Try this: Find something to be grateful for everyday.
  2. Take a mindful moment to breathe.
    According to mindfulness researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness simply means paying attention on purpose with an open heart and without judgement. By taking yourself off of autopilot, taking a few deep breaths, noticing your immediate surroundings, and focusing on the present moment, you can restore your sense of calm presence so you can lead more effectively, and be more productive.
    Try this: Stop what you’re doing right now.
    Take a breath (I’ll wait).
    And then take another big, deep breath.
    Take a look around your space, notice and name three things you see, two things you hear, and one thing you feel.
  3. Smile.
    Turns out, smiling offers a host of benefits to your body, mind and spirit. When you smile, according to one research study, your stress levels drop, your body gets a hit of endorphins, and (almost) like magic, your mood improves. Smiling also seems to be contagious – in the best way possible. When you smile at someone – and make eye contact – they smile back. And the positive benefits flow.
    Try this: Next time you’re on a zoom session, give a smile and a wave to your colleagues, and then notice the ripple effects of your smile.
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