One of the biggest challenges businesses have faced over the past year is keeping the social side of their culture alive whilst teams are remote.
We humans are social creatures, and remote working can’t quite hit the spot that team lunches, spontaneous after-work drinks, and the camaraderie of a tight-knit office can.
Or can it?
Below, we explore creative ways to bring the best parts of the office culture to employees’ homes, wherever they are in the world.
Host regular (virtual) socials
Whether it’s a virtual team lunch or a happy hour, designating time to join a video call, regroup and chat with your colleagues is a simple and easy way to stay sociable during this time of solitude.
For the past few years at Hubble, we’ve had a weekly fika—where the whole company gets together for cake, coffee and conversation in the office. Since lockdown began in March, we moved fika online using Zoom, and it has really helped us maintain connection and some level of normalcy in our work lives. For virtual fikas, we try to incorporate as many unique activities, games, or conversation starters to help the team switch out of “work-mode” and take some time to chill (crowd favourites include Drawasaurus and Among Us!)
If you used to have after-work drinks on a Thursday, or a pub quiz on a Friday, continue the tradition online. There are loads of online platforms, like Kahoot and Sporcle, that make it easy to create tailored on-screen quizzes without having to go through the effort of making your own.
And if you want to take socials to the next level: there’s a whole range of activities you can do remotely; you could try an online cocktail class or a wine tasting experience where organisers send out the kits and ingredients you need to your employees’ doors. Or if you fancy doing something creative with your team, you could do an online painting workshop—Brush and Bubbles and PopUp painting both host unique online classes where team members can take some time away from their usual tasks and unleash their creativity.
Continue company “Away Days”
Away Days are a great opportunity for employees to leave their normal work environment and bond with team members. So, even if it’s not “away”, we still recommend hosting company days every so often, so that employees can step back, reflect on the past few months, and enjoy a change from the normal workday.
To inspire the feeling of not being in the office, you could incorporate an escape room challenge into the day, to get members out of the usual Zoom environment. Trapped in the Web and The Panic Room are just two companies that offer an amazing online experience with options for teams of all sizes.
Replicate the perks they’d get in the office
If you have specific office perks that your team really miss, see if you can continue to provide them whilst employees are working from home. For instance, you could sign everyone up to a coffee subscription service, or have a company Deliveroo allowance to make up for those regular team lunches.
Improve employees’ home office setups
Having a poor home working environment—insufficient lighting, uncomfortable seating, and so on—can quickly have a negative impact on the health of your employees.
That’s why carrying out DSE Assessments to identify any potential risks to your employees’ wellbeing, productivity, and safety is essential (in fact, they’re required by law). You should then carry out the necessary upgrades to employees’ homes to bring them in line with the expectation of what you would get in an office.
Once you’ve provided the essentials, you can think about the extras that make working from home more enjoyable. Maybe you could send your team members pot plants for their desks, a SAD lamp, or something more personalised.
We can make the whole process quick and hassle-free via the Hubble Home Working Assessment (completely free of charge).
Send team members treats
No matter the occasion, gifts for employees boost morale. They’re more than just material tokens; they’re ways to express gratitude and make employees feel valued.
You could send a letterbox bouquet to an employee on their work anniversary, a personalised self-care package to someone who’s not feeling well, or a birthday box of donuts. Think about what your team members usually appreciate in person, and try to replicate it.
If you usually treat your team with free food, then you could send your employees food hampers. City Pantry offers meal kits, sweet treats, and food and drinks packages straight to employees’ homes. They even have options available for nationwide and international delivery!
Kit out your team with company swag
A simple, yet effective way to strengthen company identity is with company swag. Send your team branded hoodies or t-shirts they can wear to feel cosy at home while representing the company they are proud to be part of. Kymono has top quality, personalisable swag to choose from—in fact, we recently partnered with them to give Hubble Perks members an amazing deal on their branded beanies.
Including swag in your onboarding packages is also a great way to make new members feel like part of the team. It can include necessary things like a laptop and employee handbook, but also some more fun, personalised items (branded cactus, anyone?)
Prioritise health and wellness
It goes without saying that, during this time of isolation, maintaining physical activity is crucial. It does wonders for our wellbeing—both mentally and physically.
One of the biggest barriers to exercise is time, but the average office worker gains 60 minutes back per day because they no longer have to commute when working from home. So, encourage employees to use this time to get active.
You could also try hosting virtual exercise classes at lunchtime, and get team members to join over Zoom. Or if people lack motivation, try setting fitness challenges like a 30-day press-up or steps challenge.
Check out this blog for more ideas on how to encourage teams to get physically active.
Give employees who struggle to WFH access to local coworking spaces
Whilst many enjoy home working, there’s no doubt that it’s not for everyone. Whether that’s due to environmental factors like flatmates or space, or other elements such as mental health and lifestyle, not everyone’s personal situation is conducive to working from home.
To remedy this, and ensure that no one is adversely affected by office closures, employers can offer these employees passes to local coworking spaces instead—enabling them to work away from home, without long commutes.
If you’re keen to explore this option, do get in touch.