While working at home may be a normal flexible benefit at Whistle PR, the sudden shift towards total compulsory remote working for everyone has certainly required a change in mind set.
Whilst we each have our own methods for staying motivated, from writing daily task lists to getting a breath of fresh air at lunchtime, the question remains – how is this drastic change of setting impacting the way in which we work effectively as a team?
Inherently, working in the busy communications world, we thrive off human interaction and are accustomed to regular meetings, catch ups and discussions.
Yet a few weeks in,while we find that we can’t quite replicate the buzz and chatter of the busy Whistle PR office, we quickly acquired a suite of new tactics to ensure we keep the team spirit alive ….
From the offset, we’ve ensured we maintain all our regular scheduled meetings virtually – from our Monday morning catch ups and weekly team updates, through to client meetings. This not only instils a sense of normality and sets some structure back into the week, but it also reminds us that the success of the business is driven by our ability to work as part of a team and adopt a business-as-usual mentality.
The great news is that there is a plethora of collaborative software that is readily available such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting or Skype for Business to host group video calls. In this way, being able to see, rather than just hear, each other is great for maintaining connections and making for a more engaging session – plus it’s been lovely to see a few ad hoc appearances from some mini Whistlers and furry friends too!
Host virtual tea breaks
“Would anyone like a cup of tea?” is one of the most commonly used phrases at the Whistle PR office. But with each of us now working from the confines of our own homes, we’re missing out the casual catch ups that would habitually take place in our breakout area.
Cue the virtual tea break – whereby many of us are enjoying a virtual cuppa and a chat over a biscuit (or two!) just for an excuse for a catch up and check in on each other. Taking the time even just for a quick five minute chat to see how a colleague is doing or if they need any help can work just as well.
We’ve also introduced a Thursday lunchtime video quiz and are often joined by the children and other halves of the Whistle team!
Promote health and happiness
We also have our ‘Team Whistle’ WhatsApp group in place in which we share our various weird and wonderful ways to stay healthy and happy during this testing time. From our favourite HIIT workouts and home-schooling tips for young ones, through to funny videos and memes, it’s a great way to keep connected and enjoy a bit of banter.
Other ideas included hosting a virtual happy hour (out of office hours, of course) or online yoga sessions – whichever you think would help your team unwind more.
Instilling trust and working flexibly
It’s safe to say that our normal routines have been seriously shaken up. As with many people, many Whistlers are discovering a whole new meaning of the term multitasking as we are having to home-school children as well as completing a day of work.
This is where that extra level of flexibility comes in. While we all continue to work incredibly hard to get the job done, we remain considerate of each other’s different situations and challenges – from enabling more fluid working hours to providing extra support where we can.
Ultimately, as we go forward in this challenging chapter, the best way to keep the team spirit is perhaps doing what we PR folk do best – communicate, communicate and communicate some more. So, if you’re currently working from home why not give your colleague a quick call just to catch up? – that’s all it takes to feel part of a team.
Emily is an Senior Account Executive at Whistle PR which offers a range of integrated communications services including strategic consultancy, PR, social media, community engagement, internal communications and issues management. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
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