The Improv Theater Stage of Life and Work in the Time of Covid - do we need work-life balance or blending?
COVID-19 has negatively impacted our lives and significantly changed the way we do our work. While remote work is not a new phenomenon, social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders have made it almost impossible for many to work anywhere other than home.
This change has been stressful to many and has affected how we communicate and interact with our teams, so how do you create a positive work culture when everything seems uncertain?
With a few small changes, you can help improve your organization’s work culture and morale even if everyone is working from home these days.
Below are eight ways on how to keep a positive culture in your organization during these difficult times:
Take the time to remind your team of the company’s core values and purpose, and give them a sense of normalcy. Although the company’s productivity might have been negatively affected by the pandemic, make sure that your team members know by heart the company’s vision and that the responsibilities of each member are clear to them.
Having a common goal will keep the team motivated and make them feel that the business is continuing to move forward. Make sure that you pay attention to what’s actually getting done and the progress that people are making. It is essential to have a shared vision and to take it one step at a time as you try to make that vision a reality.
Self-care is not just a trendy hipster word like YOLO. It is something that you consciously do to keep yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.
When you think you are too busy to take a break or have a bit of fun, that’s the time when you need self-care the most. Recognize that for yourself and remind your colleagues as well. Encourage your colleagues to take breaks throughout the day or maybe even take a day off. People must recharge so that they feel refreshed and energized once they get back to work.
Bear in mind as well that people have a lot more worries these days caused by economic fallout, school closures, and social isolation. These can take a toll on your team’s mental health and even their productivity.
Try to provide resources for employees that will support their mental health and wellness needs through their healthcare plans. Your HR teams can also conduct webinars or provide information materials about managing mental health and wellness during these turbulent times.
Taking care of the team’s wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. If you neglect to care for yourselves, how will you be able to support each other as a team? Make sure to consciously practice self-care that will keep everyone in high spirits and contribute to creating a positive work environment.
Incorporate innovative ways for your team to come together by organizing remote team building activities. These could just be the much-needed break that your team needs from their regular day-to-day tasks. Reinvigorating your team with positivity will help boost morale during tough times. As a result, you will see more confidence and productivity in your team.
This is a perfect opportunity for your team members to bond in a less formal setting while having fun and escaping the boredom or loneliness of working from home.
Here are a few fun virtual team building ideas that you can check out:
Working during a pandemic under strict and new policies and protocols can put a strain on your team’s mental and emotional health. Conduct regular check-ins, offer additional support when possible, and ask for feedback on how the policies and protocols can better support the team.
Allow your team to express concerns and share honest feedback. Actively listen to the different perspectives of your employees. This will allow you to look at the problem holistically and can result in a stronger team dynamic. This also lets your team members know that their opinions are valuable.
When discussing individual goals with your team, provide opportunities for growth by giving them more responsibilities. Giving opportunities to your team will prevent them from becoming bored with their jobs and allow them to have a sense of fulfillment and a reason to perform their best.
Give them opportunities to be problem-solvers and move into leadership roles to boost their self-worth. This will also give them more pride in their work.
Whenever your team achieves a goal, big or small, celebrate the win. Publicly acknowledge milestones. Finding joy in what your team has achieved can give a sense of normalcy that they are looking for during uncertain times.
There may be times when your team members feel disconnected from their colleagues or from other aspects of company life while working from home, which is why it is even more critical to publicly acknowledge people for doing a great job. The person or team being recognized will feel that their hard work is valued while the rest of the team may feel supportive or motivated to strive for notable accomplishments as well.
All in all, recognition helps create a cheerful and hopeful environment that is excellent for boosting the team’s morale.
Make your team feel connected while working from home by utilizing available technology and tools that will help them to work together efficiently despite the physical distance.
Aside from using tools such as email, text, instant messaging, and video conference applications, maximize other available technology and tools depending on the type of projects and how much interaction your employees need.
Use project management software or collaboration tools such as Trello, Slack, Google Drive, etc. for your team to efficiently connect and work with each other. You can also use Hi5’s Notice Board feature for targeted announcements and sharing company-wide events.
COVID-19 is creating drastic changes in how we all work. Many are sharing a workspace with their family, learning to work while being interrupted by pets and children, and juggling household responsibilities in between work tasks.
People are going through the stress of living during a pandemic, the fear of getting infected with the virus, the isolation caused by social distancing measures, and economic uncertainty.
You and your team members are going through these as well while managing work and personal obligations.
Everyone feels vulnerable right now, so be compassionate and recognize that everyone is coping with the situation in the best way that they can. The more compassion we can bring to our conversations with our team, the better will our relationship with each other be.
Happy employees help build a successful business. So to thrive in these challenging times, create a positive work culture for you and your team.
Mia Turlington is part of the content team at The Long Reach. Mia has worked in the industry since graduating from university. When not writing, Mia can be found researching where her next adventure would be.