Keeping employees engaged during a global pandemic - Focusing on the 4 Happy Hormones
Practical tips from FluidOne
One of the most important things for all of us to do in these troubled times is to make sure that we are looking after our welfare and mental health. The daily news is often depressing, and lockdown rules can feel suffocating. However, it’s not all doom and gloom and it’s important for us all to take some comfort from the positives. We have seen mass singing from balconies, virtual group exercise classes, a weekly community applause for our health workers and have even found a new British hero in Captain Tom Moore.
Here at FluidOne, we understand that as employers it’s our duty to ensure that all of our people feel supported during this difficult time. As such, our leadership and people team have been building a series of proactive communications, virtual team building activities and requesting regular feedback from our employees so that we can make working from home as enjoyable as possible.
We wanted to share some of our experiences and give you some ideas to help you keep your own teams engaged. To ensure a perfect balance of activities, we have been focusing on the four happy hormones 😊
1. Endorphins - The Exercise Hormone
Both Politicians and Doctors continue to stress the importance of getting one form of exercise per day and we are pleased to see that many of our team members are taking full advantage of this to get those happy “endorphin” hormones flowing!
Specifically, we have continued our Wednesday fitness challenge (albeit virtually for now) and a number of our team members are attending free virtual fitness classes together. We really recommend setting a weekly challenge and asking the team to send in photos and videos. An example is our “Master Blast” exercise sessions and circuit training, encouraging our team to complete set exercises and track progress - we award first place to the biggest improvers so that everyone, no matter what ability, is able to take part. We have also seen real appreciation from the team for taking the time to send out lists of free virtual classes and guides to healthy eating, who then use our UC platform to plan which sessions to attend together, from Rebecca Louise to Insanity and of course Joe Wicks!
(Yes that is our CEO, Russell Horton, doing a Karate lesson in the garden and our Head of Development, Paul Daymond, doing a press-up... you’re welcome)
2. Oxytocin - The Love Hormone
Whilst many of us are fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones, being in lockdown can be a very lonely experience for some. We are lucky that there are now many ways of preserving distant relationships and it’s important to remember that all of your team members will likely be in different lockdown situations, so do remember to reach out to those who may be feeling particularly isolated.
As human beings, we need social interaction, and our brains release the love hormone “oxytocin” whether an interaction is happening face-to-face or via a device. Reports continue to show that it’s critical to make every effort to speak to at least one person, who is outside of your household, every day!
Naturally, managers are making more effort to keep in touch and communicate with their teams on a regular basis, creating their own team rhythm and a structure that works best for them. It is however important to not keep everything solely focused on business and remember that general company information that naturally flows across the team in the office won’t be reaching everyone and this can lead to some employees feeling disconnected.
To combat this, at FluidOne we have increased the frequency of all of our company meetings, with the Leadership team hosting weekly company ‘Pow wow’s’ where we share important news and information.
If you need some ideas for lighter social interactions, we’ve got many to share from virtual coffee breaks to virtual “Beer Fridays” with teammates (and even family members) taking part. We have continued to celebrate Birthdays and often dress up in wigs and hats on video calls to keep everyone entertained – it doesn’t all need to be so perfectly planned, remember to be spontaneous.
We’ve learnt how important it is to ensure that these activities are regular, and have been running daily quizzes, creating lockdown galleries to share with the team and running lots of competitions from the best ‘TikTok’ to the best comedy sketch. Like the rest of the country, this list wouldn’t be complete without a weekly company lunch and “Pub Quiz” for all to join.
As a business we, of course, have access to a number of tools to ensure video chats are at the centre of all of these interactions and the team have even been using this as an opportunity to learn more about our new product by 8x8. Key takeaway, remember that social interaction is key to get that oxytocin flowing.
3. Serotonin - The Wellbeing and Happiness Hormone
It has been heart-warming to see the many ways that people across the world have shown acts of kindness towards others in these difficult times. From delivering shopping to vulnerable neighbours, to many music concerts, the possibilities are endless and the British public continue to be incredibly creative in supporting the most vulnerable! The sheer number of people signing up to be NHS volunteers in the UK was truly awe-inspiring.
Of course, these acts of kindness are good for those on the receiving end, but the act of being kind to others also releases serotonin, which in turn makes us feel better about ourselves. It’s a simple philosophy to follow: do good to feel good.
The more we are able to develop this hormone, the better we are likely to feel at a time when there is so much depressing news across all platforms, we shouldn’t desensitise ourselves to the current crisis but we need to work together to ensure we are finding time to get that serotonin flowing.
Managers can make a huge impact on their employees serotonin levels with constructive feedback and positivity, so that no employee feels that their efforts are not important and valued, especially in times of business uncertainty. Remembering to connect as teams, both socially and to discuss work, is a vital interaction often overlooked when working remotely.
At FluidOne we have been very lucky in that we have easily been able to take a number of our existing team building exercises online. Our “Wheel of Fortune” reward and recognition scheme allows us to recognise our people for their hard work and commitment. Granted, some of the achievements have been a little different whilst we work from home but it still enables us to make our people feel valued in these strange times. It doesn’t always have to be high value prizes, we find that a range of smaller prizes are greatly appreciated by our team.
4. Dopamine - The Achievement Hormone
When our normal routine is disrupted it’s difficult to feel motivated and to keep working towards a goal of any kind. From day one of working from home, we have encouraged our people to try to find a 'new normal' and stick to rhythm and structure as much as possible. Every time you complete a task, no matter how small, you will feel a sense of achievement, which releases the happy hormone dopamine, flooding your brain and body with a sense of satisfaction.
This relies on your team to track progress but as an employer we would recommend that you come up with charts and processes to help your team track progress and reward their achievements. Our leaders try and work this into daily and weekly meetings as much as possible, but in a time of social distancing it's essential that this doesn’t turn into micromanaging. As a team we often use Asana to track tasks, which we share with all relevant parties to give managers an overview and create a shared sense of responsibility and achievement. We have found that usage of this tool has increased during the lockdown and the team find it incredibly helpful to share a central worklist and view what others are doing, many coming up with new ways to collaborate on a daily basis.
Recent figures published from the CIPD and Simply Health have stated that feeding and nurturing these four happy hormones every day can go a long way to reducing stress and helping everyone feel more content and engaged at work.
If you would like to discuss how your organisation is looking to adapt for an increase in home working, then I’d be happy to share further insight and ideas.
FluidOne can offer advice on connectivity options including fixed line and mobile broadband solutions for home workers, mobile telephony and data solutions, Unified communication solutions including video conferencing and network security solutions.
The People Team at FluidOne is a key part of this organisation, making sure our employees are content and happy. We are always looking for new ways to engage our team and make sure they are able to enjoy themselves at work especially during this global pandemic as things around the world are uncertain and stressful.