WFH one year on
How to keep up virtual office morale
On March 13th last year, we posted a blog: 5 ways to improve office morale. Little did we know that just a few days later, office life as we knew it would change (forever?). You know the story by now… Zoom calls, dressed-down bottom halves, juggling housework and home schooling with clients and deadlines. And while we may be used to working from home by now, it’s not always easy to stay positive and keep lockdown fatigue at a safe, social distance.
With that in mind — and as it’s now exactly a year since the Point 6 team hurriedly packed laptops and notepads and headed home — we wanted to share our tips for keeping spirits high in your virtual office.
Don’t give up on socials
One of the tips from last year’s ill-timed blog was to encourage office outings, whether that be pub lunches or interactive events. But just because we can’t get together in person right now, doesn’t mean you have to put pay to social gatherings completely.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve all met up in the park (when it was allowed!), and every other Friday a member of the team hosts a virtual quiz extravaganza with unconventional tasks and prizes galore. We even managed to have our Christmas party over Zoom. The point is, with a little imagination and a lot of willingness, it can be done — even if we are still desperate for some physical interaction.
Encourage (productive) downtime
This one is still as — if not more — relevant than before the pandemic (remember those days? No, me neither). At the start of 2020, Point 6 launched Creative Waffle — a fortnightly meeting of minds where we get the chance to discuss things that have caught our eye, work-related or (usually) otherwise. It was always a welcome break from the day job.
Since working from home, Creative Waffle has, if anything, gone from strength to strength. Virtual meetings have provided the opportunity for us to invite creatives from outside the agency to talk about their projects and join in the discussion. It always proves to be an inspiring and rewarding rendezvous and having a bit of light relief from time-pressured projects works wonders for the mind.
Hold the snacks!
OK, OK… we admit it — last year we were encouraging the exact opposite, but things have changed! While the presentation of office snacks used to be seen as almost ritualistic at P6 HQ, frequent grazing might prove to be your downfall at home. Firstly, being largely stuck inside doesn’t give us much chance to walk off that sweet, sweet sin — but it’s about maintaining a routine, too.
With the lines between work and home life so blurred at the moment, it’s important to cling onto any structure that can help us shape our day. Try to stick to set mealtimes. And avoid picking at snacks that will only make you feel stodgy as you enter the afternoon. We know, we can’t believe we’re saying it either.
Working from home, especially for this long, can be quite the challenge. But one advantage of WFH is being able to be a bit more flexible with your time. If you’re getting bogged down with a project, or the ideas aren’t quite flowing freely, go for a quick walk. Been in back-to-back calls all morning? Spend some more time making a nice lunch for yourself instead of a hastily made sandwich.
WFH gives you the freedom to work in a way that’s most productive for you, whether that’s knuckling down for eight hours straight or shorter bursts of energy. Having this license keeps you fresh, motivated and happier in the long run — so take advantage of it while you can.
Check in with each other
Our advice last year for keeping office morale high was to rely less on emails and talk to your colleagues face-to-face more. That didn’t age too well, did it?
Now our hands are tied; we depend on emails, instant messengers and video calls more than ever. And while there’s no real substitute for physical interaction, you can still set the time aside to talk to your colleagues. Right now, we all have one massive thing in common, and people are coping with lockdown in different ways. Looking after your mental health has never been more important, and feeling that connection with someone — even if it is through a screen — is a great way to remind yourself that you’re not alone.
At Point 6, we’ve introduced a Monday morning ‘conversation lottery’. At the start of each week, we’ll be randomly put into a Zoom breakout room with someone else in the business. It’s a really wholesome way to start the week. You get the chance to chat with someone who you may not deal with on a day-to-day basis. You get the opportunity to learn about their family and home life, what they’ve been doing to stay busy in lockdown, and how they’re feeling about the future. We really can’t recommend this one enough, so give it a go!
Looking for a bit of positivity? Check out volume two of our Brightside Blog for some heart-warming news stories from around the world.