Keeping colleagues connected through continued lockdown

As the lockdown continues, it is challenging our work culture and risks people feeling isolated from the camaraderie among colleagues.

Four weeks in and most businesses have mastered the wealth of tech including Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack while the likes of ‘HouseParty’ and WhatsApp Groups are helping on the social side to connect friends and family across the world. Yet what more can be done to help colleagues collaborate, create and converse while working remotely?

Luke Bullen, CEO for UK & IE at Gympass, the world’s largest corporate fitness platform, shares this advice to help nurture and retain company culture among a home-based workforce.

Pick up the phone

Online communication can feel more tense when you lose the ability to gauge how someone is feeling as you would when you can see them in person.  If something needs to be resolved, pick up the phone and have a conversation in real time. Apart from minimising the risk of misunderstandings, it keeps a personal touch which people may be missing if working from home. With your colleagues working from home, any problems should be dealt with by phone, not email. Written words can take on new meanings and phrasing or poor grammar can be a deadly weapon if they change the sentiment of a sentence.

Keep a routine

It can be easy to start your working day at home from the moment you wake up to the moment you eat your evening meal – but these exaggerated hours can result in feeling burnt out and losing productivity. Encourage people to not only work their usual hours, but take proper screen breaks away from the computer, take a lunch break, get up from their desk (or sofa) and walk around their home a little or take a brief walk around the block (unless they are self-isolating). Managers and directors should lead by example and not send or reply to emails outside of normal work hours unless it’s absolutely essential.

Celebrate together

It’s still important to shout out any company wins and congratulate people on successes as you would do in the office. If someone wins a sale, delivers an amazing piece of work or receives positive client feedback, share it with the wider company electronically. Anything that you would celebrate in the office can and should be celebrated online to maintain excitement and camaraderie.

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Despite the change of routine, it’s important to keep healthy and happy by eating well and finding time to exercise. This will help you stay motivated, clear-headed and, ultimately, more productive.

At Gympass, physical activity is a big part of our company culture and this remains true even when we cannot be together to workout. Encourage your colleagues to explore fitness routines they can do in their front room or garden. There is a wealth of exercise programmes available on the internet and social media: maintaining this physical activity will have a profound impact on people’s working day and productivity. Gympass members should check out our new Gympass Wellness platform which is packed with motivational programmes for exercise, mindfulness and nutrition. There are even ideas for family physical activity sessions.