As employees either return to the office or work from home, they will experience some degree of isolation. Collaborative office solutions can play a pivotal role in helping them work through the absence of the personal touch that until very recently, was part of a regular working day.
Whether employees work from home or from the office, virtual communication will be part of the daily work routine. Meetings will be conducted through Zoom or Team, and scheduled electronically. The days when employees chatted in close contact over a desk or a coffee are gone, at least for now. It raises the question: is sharing more than a virtual experience?
Collaborative Office Solutions Help Employees Stay Connected with Each Other
As business leaders implement technology solutions to get the job done, they will also want to consider ways to help employees feel and stay connected, whether they are working remotely or from the office. Collaborative office solutions driven by employers can help employees navigate this new terrain created from COVID-19 realities.
Strong relationships between employees leads to higher productivity, and greater morale and creativity. Below are some collaborative office solutions to implement for remote teams:
- If working from home, be sure to check in with the team on a personal basis, not just purely for work reasons. For instance, schedule a daily group chat to catch up with peers, much the same way as one would do, chatting during a break in the office. Managers can assist in this endeavour by blocking time off for daily chats and catch-ups.
- Encourage employee wellbeing. If gyms are open, perhaps subsidize a membership. Remember, a healthy body and mind work together.
- Set up a format for employees to share recipes for healthy eating and exercise tips.
- A fun way to build up team dynamic during the pandemic would be to schedule a virtual ‘happy hour’ where employees can get together over lunch and share their experiences, concerns, and such.
- Engage employees by challenging them creatively. For instance: a book club, sharing employee-created art, quizzes, sports pools, etc. Some sort of prize for winning entries, voted on by the employees, would add to the experience.
- Working from home seems a perfect opportunity for co-workers to ‘meet the family.’ Set up some time when introductions can be made.
Employees Can Maintain the Personal Touch While Working from the Office
Of course, not all employees are working from home. Many are returning to the office, and while many of the above tips can apply to the office experience, there are other solutions that are more applicable to the workplace, including:
- Dress-down days are silly, but they are fun and they are great morale boosters. Why not take it a step further and have themed dress-down days, with a prize for the winning outfit? It will get everyone engaged, feel part of the team, and break down barriers.
- Working from the office means adhering to distancing protocols. But even though we need to stay at least two metres apart, that still leaves plenty of room for socializing. So, keeping the numbers limited and maybe in peer cohorts, schedule coffee chats and other opportunities for social engagement.
- Set up a process whereby employees can share their arts and crafts, perhaps displaying them in common areas.
- Stay in touch with employees, whether they are working remotely or from the office. Be proactive in reaching out and sharing goals, developments, challenges, and opportunities.
- Make every effort to lighten the mood of the workplace. Be open, friendly, and engaging.
The virtual experience can and will get the job done, but there’s more to the work/life balance than that. Collaborative office solutions will help the team get through these difficult times, and who knows, maybe produce some strategies that will outlive these COVID-19 days. For more information on how we can help you navigate the post-COVID workplace, contact us today.
Learn more about how your workplace can collaborate safely and with purpose in our upcoming webinar on September 30. Sign up here.