You are lucky if you have a business that did not have to close totally and was able to move to a work from home model. Your employees are lucky because they have not been laid off.
But some of them may not feel lucky. Many are nervous in this time of uncertainty. Extroverts are missing the energy of others. Some may have family members who are sick. And some may be having a hard time adjusting to having everyone home all of the time.
People are really missing work, normal work.
As much as bosses may not want to admit it, so much of work is social. In fact for many, the social aspect of work helps them get through the grueling or mundane aspects of work.
Now we are in a time when our worlds are turned upside down. Our kids and spouses are present during our work days and they have work of their own to do. People we know are starting to get sick, and well, we are almost out of toilet paper. There are also new stresses to our “work” day, and to top it all off, there is no water cooler talk with work bestie.
This is real. People miss work and their "work family." And that is a good thing. It means companies have done a great job at making the work environment a place where people feel togetherness.
So while your employees are all quarantining at home, let them have some fun on the clock through their video chats! Bring back a little sense of normalcy.
“At our 1pm meeting, everyone is encouraged to wear a funny hat.” And then allow the first 10 minutes of the meeting to be chit chat.
“Anyone that would like to leave work 30 mins early today to join us for a virtual happy hour is encouraged to do so”
“Monday morning’s meeting will start with a check in" (everyone can share a personal success or funny story).
“Wednesday’s meeting will start with Company Trivia, and there will be prizes."
“At 10am, all departments are encouraged to have coffee with each other on video chat”
While some of these seem silly, life feels silly for some and for others it may be lacking all silliness, so a little bit of lightness is necessary.
And do not assume that your employees will just do this if they want.
Many people are not used to working from home and may feel guilty for taking a break. When we are used to going to a physical work location, talking to our coworker for 10 minutes about last night’s game or this weekend’s plans does not make us feel guilty. We are at work.
But for some reason the same action while working from home makes people nervous, so they avoid it, and that can produce more stress. As their leader, give them permission to do this.
Off Work Hours
As the boss, you probably did not go to happy hours or bowling night with your employees, but they most certainly did hang out with each other after work.
They are probably missing that, too.
While they cannot resume those activities exactly, they can use video chatting, FB Live and other social media platforms to have fun with each other.
While it is not your job to organize this, if no one is, maybe you want to prod the unofficial social director to get this going. Here are some ideas:
Quizzo- Using FB Live or a web conferencing platform, one employee can host a Quizzo. A Google Form can be created for others to submit their answers for quick grading
Virtual Happy Hour- Let’s just sit around after work and drink and talk about work. It is what we used to do!
FB Live DJ or Concerts- where are those employees with musical talent? They put on a show and invite their coworkers!
Happy employees, thriving business.