In light of the World Health Organization’s recent confirmation that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached ‘pandemic’ status, thousands of companies around the globe have introduced mandatory remote working to mitigate the virus’ spread.
And at HubbleHQ, we’re no exception—Monday marked the first day where the whole HubbleHQ team worked from home. And so far, so good—overall, the team has stayed well-connected; communicative platforms like Slack and Zoom enable us to carry out meetings, swiftly ask questions and get clear answers as if we were in the same room.
But we humans are social creatures, and remote working doesn’t quite hit the spot of a team lunch, a relaxing happy hour or replicating the camaraderie of a tight-knit office. Or can it?
As health, wellbeing and friendship are prominent pillars of our company culture, our team is adopting eight fun and easy solutions to reduce the risks of social isolation, such as loneliness and cardiovascular problems, in order to keep spirits up and maintain sociable, safe interactions with our teams.
Eat cake…on camera
On Friday afternoons, we do a little thing called Fika, a Swedish tradition that gets the entire company together for cakes, coffee, conversation and hummus, (always hummus*), to end the week convivially.
*Sorry, Sweden. We know that’s unconventional…
We find that Fika’s Friday fix of socialising does wonders for the team’s wellbeing. Designating time to chat can improve employee morale, soothe stress levels and allow bonds to strengthen amongst colleagues—and there’s no reason why this can’t continue when working remotely.
So, for now, we’ve taken Fika to Zoom. By dividing the company into groups of 5, we can bring our snacks, beverage of choice and chat for half an hour in separate group calls.
Whether it’s Fika or a cheeky virtual Happy Hour, designating time to join a video call, regroup and chat with your colleagues is a simple, easy and effective way to stay sociable during this time of solitude.
Grab some cans and do some exercise
As proud sponsors of WithThePack, London’s free fitness community for people in startups, HubbleHQ is delighted that founder and fellow Hubbler, Joe Batten, is taking these vigorous (yet fun!) sessions to Instagram.
It goes without saying that, during this time of self-isolation, maintaining physical activity is crucial. It does wonders for our wellbeing, from both a physical and mental sense. Just like socialising, taking the time to exercise releases all those happy hormones that boost our immune system and self-esteem.
To get involved, simply head over to WithThePack’s Instagram page for your daily fitness fix. No equipment is necessary, all you need is yourself, an internet connection, and 25-minutes of your time! (And maybe a couple of cans)
Make the most of digital “donuts”
One of our Slack go-to tools, Donut randomly pairs up two people from your team to go for coffee (and a doughnut, of course) and just like Fika, there’s no reason why you can’t hop onto Zoom or Skype when working remotely. It’s a fantastic tool for individuals from different departments to get to know each other and by taking a few moments to refresh your brain, productivity levels can soar. Everyone wins!
Jump onboard a Lunch Train
Another fun Slack integration, Lunch Train is the easiest way to coordinate lunch with your team. You simply start a lunch train, name a time, restaurant and head off together for a cheeky Nando’s.
Despite working remotely, we advise keeping the lunch trains rolling! With the help of your video conferencing tool of choice, you can easily settle down with your lunch and chit-chat with your colleagues as if you’ve never left the office.
Start up some gaming sessions
With so many flexible offices offering an array of breakout space, working from home can mean that lunchtime games go amiss. Whether it’s pool, table football or air hockey, taking time to replenish the brain can ease tension, alleviate stress and foster team spirit.
And your team can definitely continue the healthy competition when working from home. So, rally up the gamers in your team, restrain yourself from laughing too hard at their Call of Duty handles and let the games begin…during your lunch break, of course.
Kickstart a Book Club
Sitting down and getting stuck in a good book is an excellent way to keep the mind occupied when we’re self-isolating. Not only can it keep our brains exercised, improve sleep and combat stress, but getting lost in someone else’s story may reduce anxiety levels surrounding current affairs.
So, why not turn this beneficial, healthy solo activity into a collaborative one? Choose a book that’s available for all, (Audible, Kindle Ebooks and home deliveries are great self-isolating alternatives), set aside some quiet time, and regroup to discuss perspectives, share ideas and to most importantly, keep conversations flowing!
We’ve set a 300-page limit on our books, because War and Peace, but other than that…the sky’s the limit.
Host a quiz using Sporcle or Kahoot!
Aah, Sporcle. The marketing team at HubbleHQ loves a good ol’ Sporcle—and for good reason.
If you’ve never heard of it, then here’s the brief: it’s the world’s largest trivia site; offering 15 categories, a buzzing community and opportunities to create your very own quiz. Over 3 million quizzes have been played since the site was created, and we absolutely love it.
Another great option for hosting a quiz with your colleagues is Kahoot. The fun and easy-to-use platform makes it simple for you to create tailored on-screen quizzes without having to go through the debacle of a slideshow, with the added bonus that your leaderboard is updated in real-time. So. Much. Competition.
So why not gather up a team, pick your topics, and have a virtual team quiz night. The HubbleHQ marketing team had theirs recently using both Sporcle and Kahoot!, and despite appearances, we had a great time! (Thanks for the photo, Henry).
Schedule daily check-ins
And finally, we have daily check-ins. This is arguably the most important, as it provides opportunities for team members to speak openly about their progress and how they’re feeling.
We understand that working remotely for the first time brings an abundance of challenges, but ensuring that you organise daily check-ins with your team will help keep individuals on track and soothe any anxiety around self-isolation.
In times like these, it’s all about support. How we can support ourselves, our team and those around us, so we can get through this together. From all of us at Hubble, we hope this helped. We hope these tips and tricks provide you with some solace and keep you well-connected to not just your team, but your friends and family, too.
Stay safe, look after one another and keep sociable!