How to set a positive mood in your team while working from home

21 April 2020

As we continue to face challenges from the spread of COVID-19, guidelines have been put in place and people throughout the country are being asked to stay at home under most circumstances.

To help contain the virus, many organisations have moved to remote work in recent weeks. While some workplaces are already well acquainted with telework policies, others find themselves facing obstacles as they manage the transition. Some employees are finding the change difficult, too.

Fortunately, co-workers can do a lot to help keep things positive and support their colleagues during these quickly changing times. Here’s some advice for staying upbeat with your officemates, even from a distance.

Adapt in-office traditions for working from home

You and your co-workers probably do a lot to help each other feel comfortable at work under normal circumstances. That doesn’t have to go away because of the current situation. Morale boosters and mutual recognition are important building blocks for strong company culture, so think about keeping what works and adapting these practices to high-tech platforms.

Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments from afar

How do you celebrate each other’s birthdays and work anniversaries today? How about big accomplishments for new and tenured teammates? You can’t invite everybody into the office kitchen for a slice of cake, but you can still show your co-workers that their contributions are appreciated.

E-cards and digital gift certificates can be a great way to express gratitude for the dedicated work of your teammates. Don’t forget to brag about them publicly, too. You can do this over email, during your next office-wide video conference or over workplace collaboration tools.

Set up a virtual break room

Find a way to replicate the kind of informal camaraderie that takes place in your office. Use online tools to put together a remote break room where you and your fellow remote workers can hang out and share whatever comes to mind, including the shows you’re streaming and funny stories from your personal lives or pictures from your last holiday.

How you do this will depend on which communication and collaboration tools your company uses, but starting a new channel, group or thread exclusively for off-topic discussions can help bring back some office socialising.

Express your gratitude electronically

Your officemates are probably used to you seeing you pop by their desks to share your appreciation on a regular, informal basis. You may not be able to capture that same kind of warmth and encouragement over a standard business email, so feel free to vary your online communications. If you’re comfortable using them, emojis and GIFs can help you share that same positive spirit online.

There are many ways to express gratitude for your team members as you all work from home.

Create new traditions inspired by the work-from-home lifestyle

Some things can’t be adapted, and they’ll just have to be postponed, like your company’s planned in-person volunteer outing. Instead of dwelling on what can’t be, consider telework as an opportunity to explore new traditions and activities with your colleagues.

Launch a pet parade

What’s one of the best things about leaving the office and working from the comfort of your own home? The answer is simple: Cuddly cats. Or dogs. Or guinea pigs, whatever the case may be! Invite colleagues to share snapshots of their furry friends and loyal work-from-home companions.

Share your remote work setups

Remote work also gives employees a chance to fashion their own expressive workstations. Share your work-from-home setups, your favourite playlists and the view from your desk. Then, encourage your virtual workmates to do the same.

Form new after-work clubs and social events

With everything going on in the world right now, at-home activities are on the rise. Find new opportunities to socialise outside of work hours with your teammates while enjoying indoor activities or joining online classes together.

Share what you’re learning with each other, too, whether it’s ancient Egyptian history or financial literacy.

Embrace open lines of communication

Like you, your colleagues may be worried that shifting to remote work will lead to a drop in communication.

Keep everybody up to date

Your workplace may already have a regular company-wide conference call where you cover routine business updates. The current circumstances are in no way routine, but that’s all the more reason to keep standard calls and meetings in place. Consider seeing if the company’s management can open up new venues for more frequent communications about coronavirus-related issues.

Make a personal connection during one-on-one meetings

Everybody’s home situation is different. Now, instead of coming into the office every day and sharing face time with their friends and colleagues, they’re staying in. Are your colleagues with a spouse or partner? Are they alone? Do they have kids who are now home from school? All of these situations present different challenges, and everybody deals with change and uncertainty in different ways.

Use one-on-one meetings to connect with your teammates in a personal way. Sometimes you’ll be able to help each other troubleshoot issues to stay productive. Other times, it just helps to listen.

Consider extending one-on-one meetings with your teammates to understand how they’re handling the transition to working from home.

The bottom line is that working from home is a time to be yourself and to let your colleagues do the same. Find what works for you and your team in your unique workplace culture.

To stay informed about COVID-19 and related issues, check the official government website. If you feel sick, make sure to have your symptoms checked out and report if you are self-isolating due to falling ill or sharing close contact with somebody who has been affected.

If you’re an LGS member, read our COVID-19 pandemic updates to be kept informed on market updates and how LGS is supporting members through this time.

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The information on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional financial, taxation and or legal advice tailored to your personal circumstances prior to making any financial decision.