How to ensure your work relationships survive lockdown
As virtual meetings have shown us, there’s a whole other layer of complexity that is happening behind the scenes when working from home. Work-life has blended with home life and sometimes it has been difficult to separate the two. Personal circumstances compete with daily business pressures and this can mean that we are juggling more tasks, with less time to deal with the social elements of working in groups.
The simple conversations we used to have standing over the water cooler, or the friendly banter that would cast out across the workspace to lighten the mood of an otherwise stressful day, are missing from our remote working environments. Yet it is these informal communications that are fundamental to what makes work-life engaging and real.
It is a subtle art to keep your culture alive and strong. We need to make sure that the ever-important workplace relationship can survive and thrive both during and beyond lockdown. Don’t wait until you are back in the workplace to get your team working again. Here are three quick tips on actions you can take today:
1 Encourage small actions every day, over big actions less frequently.
Try not to leave the social connection and team building to one-off events or online meetings. Encourage your team to ring up and ask their colleagues how the family is doing this week, how their child is managing with the schoolwork, or how their parents are going in aged care. Keep culture a permanent fixture on every meeting, and do subtle things like discussing your DiSC styles, or company values, to act as reminders of the value of working together.
2 Be open about where you’re at personally
There is so much taking place right now, particularly in Victoria, that it’s okay to not be okay… and it’s okay to not know why. Encouraging your team to speak up about how they are feeling, without having to provide an explanation, helps everyone have context as to where their peers are at. Do an energy check daily – is your energy up, down or neutral? This is a non-confronting way to gauge where everyone is for the day. Context is key!
3 Know your team’s differences and similarities
We use DiSC profiles to help clients understand each other’s differences and similarities as well as the things that motivate and stress one other. If one person finds it stressful to work at a slow, methodical pace and another is motivated by it, conflict may ensue. Understanding and acknowledging the preferences of others, even if it can’t be changed, goes a long way to appreciating why we see things through a different lens.
Whether you are heading back to the workplace or continuing to work from home implementing even just one of these tips is bound to make a positive difference and help your workplace relationships last the distance.
Written by Lauren Ayers, HR & Recruitment Consultant at Howardco Business + HR Solutions
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