It looks like we’ll be working from home for some time to come – and chances are, you are too! At Lineup, we’ve found many silver linings to working remotely. It’s easier to juggle time zone differences and easier to dial in from around the world. We didn’t skip a beat in the early weeks of stay-at-home orders, but over time we have noticed a change in company culture. Our Colorado office misses having lunch together outside, and our London office misses regular happy hours.
As we’ve worked to keep relationships strong, spark creativity and boost morale, we’ve concluded that these three things are critical:
1. Stay Social
Nothing replaces the spontaneous chit-chat of a busy office environment. We’re missing out on team lunches, last-minute brainstorm sessions, and walking meetings – but we don’t have to miss out on socialization. Research shows that having strong relationships among coworkers is massively beneficial, personally and professionally.
It takes a little more effort to keep employees across different teams and departments socially connected when you’re not going into the office – but this effort can do wonders for overall employee morale. Here are some ideas:
- Host regular “Virtual Coffee Breaks” with specific topics of conversation and video required.
- Enjoy a friendly competition at the end of a workday – we did team-wide trivia with prizes!
- Try a tool like Donut, which connect teammates who might not otherwise chat.
2. Be Transparent
It may be tempting to de-emphasize difficult news or gloss over poor results during these unprecedented times – don’t. Multiple studies have confirmed that transparency is a top factor in employee happiness. You may believe that by keeping bad news quiet, you’re avoiding a drop in morale, but the opposite is true.
Make transparency an integral part of your culture now, and you’ll reap rewards long after everyone is back at the office. Whether it’s being open about your pandemic recovery strategy, your plan for getting back to the office, or even personal transparency, make sure you’re fostering a culture of trust with every communication to your employees.
3. Protect Work-Life Balance
Just because employees are only steps away from their desks, doesn’t mean they should always be available. When we don’t have to commute home or pick up kids or travel, it can be tempting to check your email “one last time,” or squeeze in “one last task” before bed. Of course, no one can stop your employees from doing this completely (surveys show that remote employees work longer hours on average). Even still, emphasizing the value of work-life balance, combating Zoom fatigue, and being kind to parents who are now homeschooling can do wonders for morale.
At Lineup, we’ve blocked out lunch hours for each region and asked that internal meetings not be scheduled over that time. Many of us have introduced our kids on camera, since they sometimes interrupt anyway. These small things help bolster mental health while we’re all physically apart and keep attitudes positive.