How Can You Help Your Colleagues Stay Happy Working from Home?
In the last year, working practices have turned towards a more hybrid approach, with many people choosing a blend of working in the office and remote working. Whilst there are many benefits to working from home, it can be very isolating for some. This is especially true if you’re used to working in a team, collaborating often, and being social. It’s vital to look after not just your own wellbeing for a healthy mind, but your team’s wellbeing too. Below are some tips for keeping your colleagues connected and happy whilst working from home.
Use your video
This might be an obvious one but it’s easy to skip using your video for meeting, especially if you’re taking advantage of the home working dress code. However, without being able to see your colleagues you’ll miss body language and facial cues that can help clarify meaning, which could lead to misunderstandings.
Seeing everyone on video will make everyone feel closer and make communicating less frustrating. Make sure your video is on for every meeting and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Commit to the weekly
Rather than cancelling the weekly meeting if people are busy, make sure to reschedule it for a better time. Seeing people’s faces and being able to actually speak to each other will make a real difference to your working relationship, so don’t let it be forgotten.
It’s important to ensure these meetings are succinct and relevant though, as everyone’s time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted. Even so, make sure there’s an opportunity for people to air any grievances they have and work together to find a solution for them.
Group video chat whilst working
If you’re used to working in an open plan office around other people, why not set up a video call for you to all work together? You don’t need to be collaborating on a project – just knowing that your team are with you and also working will help everyone to feel less isolated. It can be a real boost for morale if you or your colleagues have been feeling lonely but still have to dedicate time to getting on with work.
If you do have a project that you’re working on together, as well as having a video call you could also all work in a shared document. You’ll be able to see your colleagues make changes as they make them, helping to bring the team together.
Organise social meetings for new staff
Whilst new staff will meet their colleagues during meetings to talk about their projects, it can be difficult to connect with new team members on a more personal level when remote working. Organising specific ‘get to know you’ events for new staff will break the ice and help the team bond.
You could set up a ‘speed dating’ event, with new staff spending a short period of time with colleagues to ask and answer questions about themselves. Existing colleagues can also take part and might even find out something new about each other!
Recognise colleagues’ achievements
It can be easy to miss colleagues’ achievements at the best of times, but successes are even more likely to go under the radar with everyone working remotely. If you know a team member has recently accomplished something – whether big or small – make a point of shouting it out at the next team meeting or in the team chat.
You could even make a specific weekly email to celebrate the achievements of your colleagues that week. Increasing the visibility of milestones will help to boost team morale and make sure everyone feels appreciated and valued.
Casually check in
Working from home may mean you miss the casual chats you would have in the kitchen or around the water cooler. You can tackle this by checking in with your colleagues periodically.
Video call a team member for a quick chat whilst you have a coffee or make a dedicated channel on Microsoft Teams or Slack for the more casual chatter. If you have colleagues who have similar interests, set up specific chats for this, like crafts or sport or a book club.
If you would usually eat your lunch with colleagues in the office, schedule a lunch break video chat for you to all. Go for a walk and virtually take your team members with you on a conference call. Or, just let your colleagues know a time you’ll be online to have a coffee and invite them to join you.
By checking in with your team members you can make sure everyone is keeping happy or give them a sympathetic ear if they need to vent. You can also keep an eye out for burnout symptoms and offer a helping to hand to anyone you think might be struggling.
Take part in fitness or wellbeing activities together
You know what they say - healthy body, healthy mind. What better way to keep connected with your colleagues and look after both yours and their health by taking part in fitness classes together. If you’d usually go to the gym before work, book in an online class with a colleague instead. If yoga is more your speed, maybe take part in an online session after work and invite your colleagues. Or you could organise a desk yoga session for your team, to make sure everyone is staying healthy working from home.
You could also try group meditation, maybe over lunch or during a break in the workday. This is an ideal way to keep in contact with your colleagues whilst also keeping check on everyone’s mental wellbeing.
Encourage a work life balance
A healthy work life balance is essential to avoid burnout working from home. It’s easy to suffer working from home fatigue when there’s so little separation from your work life and home life, with colleagues often working through lunch and late into the evening.
Make sure to set definitive times to finish working and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Maybe set calendar reminders for the whole team, to give them a nudge to take a break. You could also try to gamify your breaks to engage those who love a competition – set a goal for number of steps or minutes walked on your lunch breaks to inspire people to step away from their screens.