In 2015, around 4.2 million of the UK’s population worked remotely. Remote working had mutual benefits for both the employers and employees – allowing for greater environmental flexibility and less commuting, as well as reducing office costs and allowing for a larger talent pool to be explored.
This year, however, brought a whole new facet to the term ‘remote working’. The introduction of a national lockdown in March earlier this year saw millions of workers switch up their working patterns. Research has found that currently 60% of the UK’s population are working from home, equating to 23.9 million.
It is highly important that despite these adjustments, workers still feel motivated and morale is high. This was an initial challenge faced by employers. Lack of face-to-face interactions, commutes and lack of office structure left many feeling totally isolated and struggling. It is no secret that wellbeing and happiness result in greater productivity and work outcomes, which is why it is so important that employers make efforts to show appreciation and support for their workers, albeit remotely.
We have put together our top 5 tips to encourage team wellbeing.
1 – Virtual Team Building Activities
Virtual team building events and activities allow for the interactions that employees crave, and typically lack when working remotely and only seeing their colleagues via online meetings. The activities can further reinforce shared community and team identity – which is important to encourage workers to reach shared goals and support each other in their endeavours.
Steamed Egg works to fulfil this, offering fully hosted, online team building events. From just £30 per person (plus VAT), Steamed Egg organises the events from start to finish. This includes managing pre-event communication to get workers ready and hyped, to hosting the event and finally creating a follow up landing page for all participants with highlights of the activity.
There are six activity choices to choose from, including ‘Leonardo Da Virtual’ where teams must work together to explain images to their allocated artist to ‘Where on Earth’, where the team is ‘dropped’ to an entirely random location on Earth and must use clues to work out where exactly they are. The 6 challenge choices encourage communication, laughter and lots of imagination – three things which are often forgotten about with regards to remote working.
The activities are perfect for when big deadlines are completed, or to just bring the team together in communal spirit.
2 – Start a Book Club
As the above suggestion demonstrates, bringing teams together to support wellbeing does not necessarily have to revolve around their work – but instead their imaginations and interests.
A great idea to bring workers together and encourage ‘time-out’ is by creating a virtual book club between workers. A book club is essentially where a group of employees voluntarily read the same book and get together weekly or monthly to discuss assigned topics or chapters covered in the book.
Reading can help to improve vocabulary, enhance communication and writing skills and reduce stress. Discussing reading can further help to develop memory as well as augment mental stimulation and interaction. Book clubs can work to make participants feel like they are part of something communal and cultivate creativity and interesting discussions, which can deepen connections between workers.
While hosting a virtual book club may seem like a small thing to do, it can help to forge together team spirit and encourage workers to take ‘time-out’ each day to read and focus on themselves, instead of work or other stresses.
3 – Email Switch-Off Policy
In many corporate, bigger businesses there are often office closing hours, which encourages workers to only work within their allocated hours and leave their work in their ‘dedicated workplace’ – as opposed to take it home with them.
This may initially appear hard to implement from home, but an email switch-off policy is a great idea to ensure workers are completing their hours from home, and not over-burdening themselves once the evening comes.
Employees, even when working remotely, should have the right to disconnect in their free time. It may be hard to separate the work and personal when working from home, which is why an email switch-off policy can be so important.
4 – Communal Coffee Breaks
Interaction is so important for personal wellbeing. It can allow workers to discuss both their interests and anxieties with their peers, which can prove beneficial in allowing for greater productivity.
For many workplaces, the kitchen or communal area is where this happens. Tea or coffee breaks are so crucial to allow for that all-important ‘down-time’ – even if it is only for a few minutes.
For those working remotely, especially those who live alone, the days can be lonely, lacking interaction. Communal coffee breaks could be organised so simply via virtual meeting software, like Zoom, where workers can log on to share discussions and a quick cup of tea – whether it be about the TV last night or some exciting news that they want to eagerly share.
5 – Sending Out Wellness Packages
It is always important to show workers that they are valued and appreciated by their peers and employers. An exciting way of doing so, instead of a generic email or phone call, can be to send over a package.
Sometimes this could be a dedicated wellness package, put together with mindfulness resources – including colouring books, candles and organisers. Other ideas can include meal kits, baked goods or even some flowers.