With the pandemic disrupting expectations for projects and revenue goals for many this year, it's no surprise that a major focus for this and last quarter has been (not so) simply whatever it takes to survive. This survival focus may be manifesting as changes to your business model; keeping heads down—and all hands on deck—on sales and retention; and making unexpected cuts to budgets and personnel.
While this focus is absolutely warranted, it's easy to let company culture fall into the "nice to have" bucket rather than the "need to have" one. During a client's recent Q3 planning session, most of the day's discussion was around priorities that would drive the company's bottom line after a very difficult Q2.
However, near the end of the session, the CEO noted a dip in the team's mojo. Usually, after a planning session, the team would get together and socialize in person—not the case this time around. Working remotely is not the team's norm, and they've lost some of the energy and fun that comes with seeing people at the office. Sustaining tough cuts over the last quarter hasn't left the team with much pep, understandably.
That being said, the planning session revealed bright spots worth celebrating and a positive change in the tide of their business, and once the CEO mentioned the need to get the team's mojo back, everyone's mood and energy was boosted. They weren't sure about the specific how, but they knew they needed to re-prioritize and improve their culture as a company.
Here are some mojo-boosting ideas to reinvigorate your team during COVID-19 work from home (WFH):
- Virtual Happy Hour
- Encourage (but don't require) a monthly team Happy Hour on Zoom (or other platform your team uses for video calls).
- Make it during working hours—the line between business hours and personal hours can be more blurred when people work from home, so alleviate some pressure by not encroaching on family time.
- Leave the conversation open or have a game master set up some games. Our team has had fun playing Quiplash, Drawful and Trivia Murder Party via Jackbox Games.
- Rather than a group call, team members could be partnered up for 1:1 calls. A colleague and I connect every Friday afternoon to debrief on our week (both professionally and personally) as I no longer have the privilege of seeing her in person and popping into her office for impromptu conversations.
- Virtual Breaks
- This Forbes article encourages employee led "mobility breaks, meditation sessions, virtual yoga and mental wellness trainings." It's easy for the day to get away from you while you're at your home desk all day, so offering intentional breaks helps build healthy habits.
- A standing, optional Coffee/Water Cooler meet-up in the afternoon is a way to make space for the team to casually connect and catch-up without the pressure of an agenda. At Rhythm, we have a 15 minute calendar invite for anyone to join at 3 p.m. everyday.
- Huddle Icebreakers
- During our team's Huddle, we have a different fun or inspirational share each week. For example, one prompt that came up during our Huddle was for everyone to share their graduation picture, and we all followed up with the challenge on our team's text thread. To say this was a mood booster is an understatement. We have a great list of great Zoom icebreakers to get you started.
- Time Off
- Particularly if there have been pay-cuts this quarter, consider offering (and encouraging the taking of) additional paid time off. The passage of time feels particularly blurred right now, so it's easy for months to go by without taking time off before realizing you're at risk of burnout. Make your team taking care of themselves a priority.
- Knowledge Share
- Our team has a weekly meeting to share lessons we've learned throughout the week. It's fairly informal, popcorn style as people chime in when they have something to share, but this could be a meeting that rotates with people sharing different kinds of skills. Meetings/workshops like this "can be used to teach soft-skills such as negotiation, leadership, communication, email etiquette and more. Additionally, if companies have trainings that are specific to new managers, they can open it up to aspiring managers as well." (Forbes)
Your company culture has a lasting effect on your team's potential burnout, creativity, productivity and connection, so don't let it fall too far down your list of areas of focus this quarter.
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