Remote work certainly has its perks, but for many of us, it also has its challenges. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the home office, discussing ways to adapt and conquer—both as an employer and an employee. This is post six of the series. You can follow the rest of the series and read our past posts here.
Working from home has become a reality for most professionals. As the commute from our home to the workplace has become nonexistent, some people have found themselves thriving; while others have found it to be a struggle. But the real loser in all this is one thing: human interaction, especially amongst coworkers. The quick conversations and little, social nuances that we’ve become accustomed to having been pushed to the back burner. Considering that most current interactions are from behind a screen, it’s important to keep the connection alive during this time.
To help ensure this, set aside sometimes some social time for you and your team. Here are six quick and easy way to do this while working from home:
Virtual social gatherings / happy hours
By now, you’ve either partaken in or seen virtual meeting screenshots all over social media. What is currently being used as an alternate method to in-person communication between coworkers, can also be used to help insert some humanity to our daily routines. As much as we love seeing our families, significant others, and pets more regularly, getting a glimpse at some old familiar faces from the 9 to 5 days of yesteryear can only help brighten your day. Instead of having the regular walks to Starbucks with your buddy, prepare one in your kitchen and FaceTime your friend while doing so. If you found out some juicy celebrity news that you normally like to spew at the water cooler, Skype your pal and spill the beans. And if you need a beverage after a long day’s work and can’t go down the street to get those margaritas, then arrange a Zoom meeting amongst your teammates so you guys can all have a drink together. We could all use a smiling face these days.
Netflix viewing party
Times like these are when streaming services really thrive. The ability to binge shows, documentaries, films, etc. with the click of a button is the real saving grace through these ever so long days. One thing that’s missing though is the ability to discuss what you’re viewing with coworkers. A morning recap at your desk about what happened in the final episode of a season has now been temporarily put on hold. However, the lack of in-person interaction shouldn’t deter you from engaging your coworkers in discussions about a particular show/film.
Give yourselves some leisure homework. Want to discuss the first season of “Breaking Bad”? Set goals to finish a certain amount of episodes to have a pow-wow by the end of the week. Need to rag on the addictive disaster that is “Love Is Blind”? Finish the first season and e-mail each other your thoughts. Or, take it to the next level and set up a “Netflix Party”. A Chrome add-on, this feature allows you and your buddies to watch the same exact thing simultaneously from your remote locations. This is a great way for you all to stay on the same page and up-to-date on what you’re viewing, and an even better way to get them to watch that show you’ve been badgering them about for the last four months. Now grab the popcorn and get started!
Ever wonder what’s blaring in your coworkers’ headphones for eight hours a day? Now is the time to ask and give it a shot. And while you’re at it, offer to share what you listen to regularly. Whether you’re suggesting a specific artist or a podcast, your recommendations will help your coworkers pass the days by adding a brand new flavor to their ears. You can even go the extra mile by creating and sharing a playlist with your team. Music is as personal as it is enjoyable, so give your coworkers a little glimpse of you with a solid set of tunes.
Working from home gives you more time to plan your meals and go the extra mile given the facilities available to you. Your usual lunch of microwaved pizza, for example, can go to the wayside when you have access to an oven and can make a fresh one from scratch. As easy as it is to stick to the classics that you’re used to, this at home hiatus is a perfect opportunity to try your coworker’s chili that they bring every other week that smells, oh so good.
A recipe exchange amongst the team is an excellent social activity to partake in on a weekly basis. It also gives you the chance to build on an important aspect of your relationship with your coworkers: trust. Because let’s be honest, what’s more nerve-racking than trying to get a specific recipe right? Food is the way to the soul, so warm your coworkers’ hearts and stomachs with that deliciously, comforting cornbread you have mastered. Bon appetit!
If you’ve tried to start a book club or been in one with coworkers, you know it can be difficult to get people to commit to meet or get on the same page with the same book. Since we all have some newfound free time, why not reach out to coworkers to get one started? We’re currently spending most of our days staring at a computer screen or watching TV to get updates on the world. As a result, this is the perfect time to escape into the different worlds that novels have to offer.
Send out an email to your coworkers and get the ball rolling. You can put together a thread where you can discuss the book of your choice and share your critiques. You can even go the extra mile and have a virtual book club meeting to add some personability to the discussions. So give your eyes a rest from the screens and start stimulating the mind!
What better way to build team camaraderie than with some friendly competition?! Obviously, it’s not as simple as sitting in a circle and dividing up teams, but it surely isn’t impossible. There are a plethora of apps and programs available to bring the team together and play some games to take a break from work and help lighten up the mood. Zoom has a “raise your hand” feature, for example, which could go well with a trivia game of sorts. ’Word with Friends’ has multiplayer options to get a Scrabble-like competition going. The real MVP of quarantine social gaming: “HouseParty.” This social networking service is great for video and group chatting via your desktop or mobile device. But one feature it has that services like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and other services don’t have, is the ability to play games and take quizzes with your friends. So if you’re interested in playing party favorites like ‘Heads Up’ or ‘Cards Against Humanity’, this is the way to go.