Georgina Cameron: What can employers do to lift team spirits and combat potential isolation in winter?

Georgina Cameron: What can employers do to lift team spirits and combat potential isolation in winter?

We have learned a lot in 2020, whether that is working out how to wear a face mask without steaming up your glasses or discovering how to be comfortable with seeing yourself on video calls. 

However, as we move into the darker months, the main lesson I will be taking is from psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson who said: “Life does not make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that the better for us all.” 

When it comes to combating isolation and maintaining morale, interdependence is key. We have worked hard this year to let our employees know that we are still very much connected, in spite of distance. One of the most powerful things for creating interdependence at Lily’s Kitchen is the unifying mission to use our brand as a force for good, which means looking after people, pets, and planet. 

Not only does this guide our decisions, but it gives a fundamentally motivating and engaging sense of purpose which has been part of us for many years: regardless of where people are logging on from, everyone knows they are bound by common cause with positive goals to work towards. 

Secondly, addressing mental health has never been more important. No organisation has an excuse to overlook the importance of mental health, and although delivering support remotely is not the easiest, at Lily’s Kitchen, we have never regarded it as anything other than essential. 

Our designated mental health caretaker has been undertaking regular email surveys, check-ins and arranging support over video calls, while consistently reminding employees of our togetherness and the support which is available, while maintaining a lightness and approachability.

We have replaced some of our soft but important office benefits like free breakfasts with happiness packages, boxes filled with chocolates and potted plants sent to every member of the team, which serve as little reminders that the work is appreciated and that we are still very much an office community. 

Organisations need to think about life when the webcam is off or the shift is over and build positive webs of support, purpose and interdependence to boost morale and stave off isolation.

Georgina Cameron is director of HR at Lily’s Kitchen.