28Apr

A bond that grows stronger

In a world of uncertainty and turbulence I find myself pleasantly surprised, and extremely proud of our team and their approach to this new world of working.

We have had a flexible working and remote working policy for years, but the reality is that we are a social team and enjoy working together. So what happens to a team with such a strong bond in the office when they are forced to work remotely…

…that bond appears to grow stronger.

 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult not to worry about the health and wellbeing of the team. As someone facing 12 weeks of isolation ahead of me, the fear for my own mental wellbeing is a real concern, as my husband would say I suffer from extreme ‘cabin fever’. Mix that with a toddler and the anxiety of not being able to give 100% to each aspect of my life and it’s easy to recognise what the impact could be.

With a young social team it is difficult not to worry about their wellbeing – it’s one thing having the option to work remotely but its very different being told you have to. So what are Stream doing in this new world?

All office activities and meetings are still happening digitally, this means that our Monday morning stand up, Hot Chocolate Wednesdays and daily scrums are still happening amongst the teams on Microsoft teams. What about the highlight of the week for most the team, Friday Beers –they are still happening, this week over Teams rather than face to face. During all of these Teams sessions, we have asked the team to ensure that they use their cameras so that everyone is able to experience the personal, emotional connection.

We have been avid users of Slack for some time, but this last week has stepped up it’s engagement – the team are making a lot of use of the status feature – for example setting it to ‘having lunch’ or ‘focusing’. The ability to set your own emoji on the status is also creating conversation and banter amongst the team.

These daily connections will, we hope, help to reduce the risk of loneliness and feeling of isolation.

I have to say, we are actually finding that using teams is making our meetings much more productive and concise – they are much shorter than they would be in the office but still achieving the same objectives. Perhaps that is because the start time is more defined and we don’t have late comers, or perhaps it’s because people are only talking when needed. I’ve also noticed that, with the cameras on, it’s easier to keep people’s engagement, they appear to be more engaged and less distracted via teams – an added bonus.

As most of the team have not had to work remotely before, we’ve given them these best practise tips: 

  • Don’t stay in your jimjams! - washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work

  • Establish boundaries – stick to your office hours, start and finish your day at the same time

  • Take a break from the screen and get some fresh air – you are still entitled to your lunch break

  • Use Teams and the phone – make sure if you need to speak to a colleague, try and use Teams video call, having a real conversation will keep you connected and help prevent a feeling of isolation (…!)

  • Stand up, stretch and move ahead

After a conversation with a client yesterday, a colleague mentioned the idea of also doing something during the week for clients and other contacts to jump on too – perhaps a tea break or shared facts session, or even a weekly quiz – just something to help people from feeling so isolated…what this space.

I’d love to hear how you and your teams are managing with remote working – what different methods are you doing to ensure people aren’t feeling isolated?

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