10 Apr Creative Ways to Keep Up Employee Morale in the Midst of COVID-19
As COVID-19 rages on throughout the U.S., most of us find ourselves entering into the second or third week of working remotely. Some may be charting this as unknown territory, and for others working from home may be like flexing an old muscle. But regardless if you’ve worked remotely or not, being separated by social distancing can definitely make the workday a more lonely experience for your entire team. It’s now more important than ever to find practical (and fun) ways you can keep up morale and positive points of communication despite facing these unknown and uncertain times in the midst of a global pandemic. These are just a few ways we’ve implemented as a team to keep up morale in this constantly evolving situation.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- It’s important to have platforms setup for your team where you can easily and quickly connect via chat or video conference. This allows for real-time feedback, easy file-sharing, and maintaining the ability to collaborate. For chat platforms check out Slack or Microsoft Teams. At Baker Labs we’ve always used Slack to communicate internally, even before the spread of COVID-19. Zoom, Skype for Business, and Uberconference are excellent options for video conferencing. We opt to use separate platforms for internal and external conference calls. All internal calls take place on Zoom, and we use Uberconference to host conference calls for any external communication.
- At the beginning of each week, and on strategic days throughout the week, we’ve found times to check in with the entire team via video conference. This provides an opportunity to update each other on important projects, ask questions, get feedback, share concerns, and just see the people we’re used to working within the same space on a regular basis.
- At the end of each week write an email update for your team that includes shoutouts and encouragement, important updates relevant to the current situation, plans on how to move forward into the upcoming days as a team, a self-care tip, and fun weekly challenge.
- Take the time to write handwritten notes of encouragement to each team member throughout the week. An encouraging postcard or letter in the mail can go a long way towards making someone’s day. This past week, President of Baker Labs, Gavin Baker sent out handwritten notes to our entire team. Receiving that postcard with some personalized encouragement in the mail made a huge impact on how I personally approached my responsibilities throughout the workweek.
Encourage Good Health & Self-Care
- No matter how hard we try to stick to our normal work routine, the nature of the situation we’re dealing with realistically means that we may have to work before and after we would normally ‘clock-in.’ This past week Gavin emphasized the importance of not shutting ourselves away and working endlessly. It’s important to take the occasional break to venture outside for a short walk if there’s good weather, video chat with a loved one, take a moment to stretch and get away from the computer screen.
- Stay active! Gyms may be closed, but most nature trails aren’t. As long as you follow guidelines to stay distant from other trailblazers, get outside and enjoy nature while stretching your legs. You can even find free workout routines on YouTube to try in your living room! Give Yoga with Adriene a try if you want to slow down. Check out HASfit or Blogilates for full-body workouts that turn up the heat and raise your heart rate.
- I think we can all agree that the world around us has drastically changed in a very short amount of time. Remember to give yourself and your fellow team members grace to adjust to the sacrifices and little differences. Schedule times to pause periodically, decompress and process the moments that are challenging and heavy.
Support Your Team Members’ Families
- Compile resources to teach and entertain kids at home. With most school districts being closed for a month or more, parents find themselves struggling to teach their kids at home. There are a lot of free and low-cost resources available online that can help with this feat! If you find something that works for your kids, share it with your coworkers!
- Did you find a creative way to keep everyone entertained and laughing in the evening? Share with your team! Without sports, concerts, church gatherings, and sleepovers, people are looking for new ways to stay entertained as a group in the evenings. Whether it’s a new movie to stream, a fun game to play, live concerts to stream via social media, or an online quiz everyone can take to compare results, share with others!
- Facilitate pen pals amongst your team’s kids! Snail mail is commonly referred to as a lost art, but now is the perfect time to encourage handwritten notes and letters. Didn’t stock up on stamps? You can always facilitate e-pen pals through email!
Some Other Fun Options…
The following aren’t things you have to try with your team, but they could be fun options to break up the normal day-to-day:
- Once a week on one of your internal video conferences, host a scavenger hunt for the entire team. All you need to do is create a simple list of common, yet creative, household items for your team to look for around the house. The first team member back to their computer screen with the item gets a point, and the team member with the most points at the end wins a gift card to a local business! A similar idea is simple general or themed trivia questions.
- Plan a spirit week, themed days and all, for your staff to participate in and share photos of them celebrating throughout the week. You can even move this concept into video conferences with weekly themed costume contests.
- Send out a weekly challenge to your team in your weekly email: Work-From-Home Bingo, a toilet paper tower, a Lego portrait challenge, or even an original 20-second song to help with handwashing. You can even share photos or videos of each entry at the beginning of the next week.
- See something online that brought a smile to your face? Whether it’s a post on social media, a video on TikTok or YouTube, or an article about something light-hearted and happy, include a ‘Weekly Smile’ in your weekly email or simply post it in a channel on your chat platform.
These are definitely difficult and uncertain times that we’re all trying to navigate together as professionals. But it’s important to remember not to get overwhelmed by the unknown and the heaviness of each news update regarding COVID-19 and its effect on the world around us. If we can all find ways to support each other as coworkers and colleagues, and boost morale when and where we can, we’re stronger, more productive, and more prepared to face whatever tomorrow brings.