The viability of work from home has been proved beyond doubt, but the challenge lies in how best employees are adjusting to the new normal. If a recent Harvard Business Review article is to be believed, remote workers usually suffer from the fear of being left out. The onus hence lies with the companies to keep the connect going and ensure the sense of belonging to a larger goal. This has nowhere been more important than during the lockdown due to COVID-19.
HR teams step up to the plate
From conducting trainings to acclimatize to work from home to conducting sessions on managing stress; offering tools that can assist in remote work, and introducing integrated information centre on various aspects pertaining to COVID-19 - HR teams are stepping up to the plate and coming up with innovative ways to connect and engage employees.
Building Connections & Fostering Wellness
Take for example, virtual coffee breaks and luncheons, which allow employees to virtually share a coffee and interact with their peers on matters other than work. These are akin to creating an environment similar to pre- COVID-19, where workplace interactions provided the much needed social connect.
Yet another way of bringing employees together is creating a weekly schedule of recreational activities. The idea is that the activities should take anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes, and help in instilling a sense of togetherness. These activities can include online games, joint meditation sessions, and health challenges based on repetitive set of exercises. Of course, creating teams comprising of employees from different departments can take these initiatives to a whole new level. Further, employees can also be offered memberships to various online health, entertainment, and gaming platforms.
We are also seeing a large number of people taking up long-lost hobbies and even exploring latent talent. HR teams can encourage employees to share their views on these hobbies, and how it helps them connect with their inner being. Like, if an employee has become fitter during the lockdown, they can share valuable tips on the subject. After all, nothing works better than gaining insight from someone you know and trust.
Another upcoming trend is where companies are investing in digital classes for their employees either to help them upskill or learn a new skill or pursue something totally different, like an art class or a reiki class.
What is relevant is to help create micro-moments that employees can cherish. This can prove to be instrumental in establishing the much needed connect and a stress-free environment.
While these activities work perfectly in the current times, we’re sure that there’s much more that will unfurl in the months to come. It could be augmented reality version of a workplace with avatars interacting in a digital scape or another form of a virtual environment, where environments provide a sensory immersion and real time data allows for real time response. Possibilities are endless. Innovation is the name of the game to ensure connectedness and social wellness in this digital scape.