Every office is proud of its quirks. At Siegel+Gale, our quirks unite our seven offices across the globe. They help us unlock success for our clients and each other in unexpected ways. From the always-themed happy hours to spontaneous team outings to our sacred Bagel Fridays, these are cultural moments that get everyone to take a break, come together and connect with people outside our projects.
But what happens to all of this when everyone is working from home? While the coronavirus won’t last forever, it’s putting a lot of workplace cultures to the test. Here are some tips to help your teams stay connected and support each other through these difficult times.
Take time to check-in
A pandemic creates a particularly scary and stressful time for everyone, and we’re all reacting to it differently. Some of our teams have young kids that are out of daycare and school. Others are concerned about older relatives or those far away. At our leadership huddle on Monday, our CEOs reminded us of the importance of finding time between status updates to simply check-in and see how our coworkers are doing. Send them a Slack, drop them a text message or share an uplifting meme.
It’s hard to gauge what your team is up to when you’re all remote. The best way to overcome any confusion is to overcommunicate. Set up a brief huddle each morning to see how everyone is doing and share what your workload is like. Schedule check-ins in advance, so you all have realistic deadlines to work towards.
Keep traditions alive
The fortunate reality for those of us working in business today is we’ve never been more prepared to conduct our day jobs remotely. Don’t forget to utilize technology such as Slack, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts for more than status updates. Our SF team hosted a jam session earlier this week. In New York, we hosted a virtual bar crawl between different Google Hangouts. And to make sure our New Yorkers stayed New Yorkers, our resident “Bagel King” transferred our long-running tradition of devouring the best bagels in NYC into a #bagelfridayfromhome Slack channel where coworkers posted pics of their at-home bagel creations.
Right now, some of us are feeling the effects of not having the social pressure we usually have at work to stay productive. Get creative and set challenges for you and your team. That could be writing more thought leadership or even taking a new virtual fitness class. That’s the sort of planning that boosts energy and morale.
Lean into learning
While it’s uncertain how long this crisis will last, it doesn’t have to derail professional growth. Encourage teams to look into online courses on websites like Skillshare and Lynda so they can build the skills they’ve been meaning to. For bonus points, take a class with a coworker to keep each other accountable.
Michelle Belgrod is a Strategy Analyst on our New York team.