How to Keep up Team Morale Working from Home during the Coronavirus Crisis
With the ongoing health crisis, the entire Xotels team is working remotely from home. We have actually had some training in this 2 years ago when we had to vacate our offices for 3 months after a fire on the floor below us. But the strains of the Coronavirus crisis are putting a damper on the general mood, logically, as the timing of recovery back to life as normal is still uncertain.
So Xotels we have implemented some great initiatives to support our employees by prioritizing team dynamic, communication and motivation during the virus outbreak Let me share with you what we are doing to get through this tough situation together and stay motivated.
The transformation to working fully from home can be quite a leap from the ´normal´ working week, let alone feeling the consequences of either being confined to your home or by social distancing. Below some practical tips of ideas implemented by the Xotels team to keep up team morale. And don’t worry, I won’t bother you with the technical part.
9am Video Check-in Call
Each morning every cluster starts off with a 15-minute video call at 9 am. All members are present, chatting about noteworthy news and happenings, while having a coffee, tea or juice. Compare it to the informal conversations you have when coming into the office.
Our team is connected via Skype, HangOuts and Whatsapp, and are in constant touch with each other. They have frequent daily get-togethers online, allowing them to discuss anything that may require team members to go back and forth to discuss work situations, strategies and market developments.
It is also very interesting to get a peek into everyone's home actually. And we get to see the kids of all our colleagues as well :-).
We also use the tools we have to take short online breaks together. Just like you would have going to the water fountain or kitchen in the office. We use video a lot so we keep real face to face contact.
After Work Drink
For the people that want to join, we also have a 6 pm internet cafe. People can have a drink together after work and unwind after an intense day.
My personal favorite is our Friday Virtual Team lunch. We are all getting together to eat lunch, chat, and catch up on life. We all really need these kinds of moments, to keep perspective on what we are going through right now and stay motivated.
One-on-ones with Management
Anything can be discussed internally with our executive team with our open-door policy. Our senior executives have dropped-in to have a chat with our team to communicate what challenges have come up, regardless if they are personal or work-related issues.
As managers we are also calling every employee individually each week, to make sure they keep seeing and hearing us despite it being virtually. We want to make sure no distance grows between us during this crisis period in our flat organizational structure.
We encourage everyone to plan out their breaks and reserve some time for themselves. In this way, we make sure they are not constantly on-hold and can take moments to unwind.
Many adjustments to work planning can often be quickly dealt with when working closely together in an office environment. On the contrary, remote work can limit the way workloads and time frames are communicated. Setting clear expectations and communicating this within the team is a must for preventing misinterpretation of project timelines and for transferring deliverables.
I love the ideas our team has come up with to keep our Xotels engine going and keep everyone close together even though we are all working remotely. And, I am curious what other initiatives we will come up with.
Please share below your comments and tips as well.
Times are tough but if we all support each other, we get through this and become even stronger in the long run.
Stay home, stay safe!
Patrick Landman @ Xotels