Even with it being a brand new year, the reality is that most teams are still working remotely.
And when you’re not taking your regular commute to work, seeing team members, and getting inspired by in-person conversations – it’s hard to stay motivated. When you’re working from home day in and day out, the days begin to blur together. Monday becomes Friday, and you wonder how another week went by and try to figure out what you’ve accomplished.
Without a daily commute, you could also be finding yourself in a situation where you’re hardly moving during the day. That’s neither good for your physical health or your mental sanity.
Looking on the bright side, there are a few ways to make the most of the current reality that we all find ourselves living in these days.
Here are 5 ways to beat the virtual work from home fatigue you might be feeling and engage with your team.
1. Create memorable experiences with your team
Don’t just have another virtual event or happy hour. Teams probably hit their virtual event limit in 2020 and are looking for something different this year. Plan something creative that you and your team will be sure to enjoy and want to do again.
One option could be bringing in a guest facilitator, like a Flair-tender who can add fun and flair and break up the monotony of regular virtual events. Bringing in a third party, or an add-on can increase team engagement and liven up the energy in the (virtual) room. With teams working remotely, people are craving connection and closeness. Facilitators can help create a safe space for teams to share, learn, and grow together.
Another great option is getting your team together for a virtual class. Does anyone on the team like to cook, paint, or workout? A good way to beat virtual work from home fatigue and engage is by signing everyone up for a cooking, painting, or workout class. It’s something fun and unexpected that everyone can do together.
When you’re thinking about creative ways to get together with your virtual team, think about what people need and create time for that team connection.
2. Check-in before, during, and after meetings
A regular meeting isn’t enough time to actually engage with your team. During a meeting, everyone is focused on the work. That’s why it’s important to take time before and after meetings to check-in and see how everyone’s doing.
If meetings were happening in person, you might be able to tell how someone is feeling from their body language, but it’s harder to know during remote meetings. So meet before and after meetings to see how you can support one another.
Another way to make virtual meetings and events more fun could be adding an interactive component. Since no one wants to sit through another presentation, try creating polls for everyone to answer or breakout rooms for people to join. Don’t be afraid to take breaks during meetings, either. People are more likely to be engaged after stepping away from the computer. After all, it’s all about leveraging the time you have together and making the most of it.
3. Take time to recognize how the team is feeling
2020 was a challenging year. Teams had to pivot and quickly adjust to working remotely – a first for many. People found themselves creating makeshift home offices and coordinating work from home schedules with their significant others. For families with children, this was even more of a challenge. Let’s just say that working remotely is an adjustment that takes time, and teams didn’t have the luxury of time to adjust last year.
And with teams still working remotely this year, it’s important to take that step back to recognize how everyone is feeling. It’s probably hard to feel productive working from home with constant distractions and without the structure of being at the office together.
Help each other know that it’s okay to be still figuring it out and that people on the team might need some flexibility in their schedules. Make sure everyone knows that no one’s judging when there’s a child, spouse, or cat/dog in the Zoom background either. It’s a new work from home reality that everyone’s adjusting to, and no one’s home situation looks the same. Plus, when team members feel like they can trust each other, engagement and productivity go up.
4. Make meetings less structured and more personal
Working remotely can provide more opportunities to connect with your team. You have more time than you might have had before to bond with each other.
If your team is on a communication platform, like Slack, encourage each other to share. Try creating different channels to share what music you’re listening to, shows you’re binging, or new recipes you’re trying out.
Beating virtual work from home fatigue is all about finding new and innovative ways to connect with the people you’re spending 40+ hours a week with. Why not try setting aside time during the week to celebrate team wins? Maybe there was a challenging project, and your team member did a great job with it – take the time to acknowledge them. You can even create a gratefulness channel in Slack or whatever communication platform you’re using, celebrating these wins.
And, remember, there’s no right or wrong way to connect. Remind each other that no one has the perfect virtual backdrop and that it’s okay to show up as you are.
5. Show your team members that you care about them
Nothing beats being in-person, but while we all have the chance to connect virtually, we should make the most of it. What’s the next best thing to connecting in-person? It’s learning how to bring that same feeling and experience of connecting online.
The way that you can bring that sense of company culture to the virtual world is in the form of gifts. Try to think of items that your team members can use during meetings or when they’re hanging out at home. How fun would it be for your whole team to do an unboxing event together with custom items picked out for them? Or what if everyone had a snack of choice in hand at the next presentation?
It’s all about finding those small and meaningful ways to interact and connect with each other. And small gift items can help with that. Even customized items like coffee mugs, water bottles, and home desk essentials like power banks or earbuds can go a long way in showing your team that you care about them. That’s what people need to know these days – that they matter.
These 5 ways to beat work from home fatigue are practices that can be adopted all year round, in or out of the office.
Working remotely can give us plenty of opportunities to get to know our team members better and build trust. This current work environment we all find ourselves in might even spark some cultural change for companies – working remotely can teach us how to be more patient, kind, communicative, and transparent with one another. And that’s what teams ultimately want.
This virtual world might just be showing us how we all want to show up and work together, moving forward. In what can often feel like a disconnected world, especially now, you could say that we’re more connected than we were before.
For decades, TeamBonding has been using team building activities and experiences to strengthen the bonds between employees to boost morale and improve company culture. customized team building experience. Now that we are in the work from home era (WFH) it is more important to stay connected and share tips and resources that will help your teams improve their virtual methods, workspace, and mental health. We offer a variety of Professional Development Workshops to help with exactly that. Contact us today for more information!