Social Distancing at Work

Future of Work

posted by Abby Glenn |

As the pandemic has shifted work trends, businesses must continue to be agile, set employees up for success, establish safety measures and discover the new normal. We wanted to share a few ways we are adapting within our company as well as provide some insight into how work trends are evolving. 

Increase in Remote Work

According to Gartner analysis, 48% of employees will work at least part of the time in a remote environment after being allowed back into our offices. But how will this look? It will all depend on your company and the work environment that you want your employees to have. However, encouraging employees to work from home, at least part of the time, will help stop the spread of COVID-19 around the office, and it will also help prepare your company if a similar situation arises.

At Swoon, we’re offering a work from home extension option for the remainder of 2020. Offering this extension allows our employees to make a conscious decision about what would work best for them and their families—keeping safety and comfortability a top priority.

Employer Role as a Social Safety Net

Employers played an expanded role in an employee’s mental well-being throughout the time of social distancing and working from home. This has ultimately changed the way employers view the employee experience. You may have started to focus on increasing your employees’ social engagement and morale, which in turn helped increase productivity and reduce burnout. This is something that most companies should continue to implement, even with offices being open.

At Swoon, to improve moral, we implemented Innovation Kitchens (IK Breaks) and will continue them for the foreseeable future. They have been a great way to increase morale, involve the entire team and make sure employees take breaks throughout the day. Some examples of what we’ve done in the past include:

  • Workout – A 30-minute workout to get us all motivated and finish our day out strong.
  • Yoga – A Slow-Flow Yoga class hosted by an old pal of Swoon, a certified yoga and meditation teacher.
  • Dance Party – A DJ set put on for our team to socialize and have some fun.
  • Full-Body Strength – A 30-minute full-body strength workout led by one of our respected Armed Services members who also happens to be the sister of one of our Swooners! Click here to see her page.
  • Flower Arranging – A how-to on arranging a simple bouquet that you can pick up at your local grocery store.
  • Tiger King Trivia – Most of us binged the whole thing, so of course, we had to have a friendly competition around it.
  • Foreign Language Class – A class around learning a few pleasantry words in Russian, Spanish and Polish.
Increase in Transparency

Now, more than ever, transparency has been a huge factor in employee morale and happiness. Being transparent in company decisions leaves out any question about what will happen in the next few months. It allows your employees to prepare and feel supported during these unknown times.

Commuting will Never be the Same

This will be true for larger cities where most people use public transportation. It’s doubtful that we’ll see crowded buses, trains and metro stations during peak hours anytime soon. Why will it be this way?

  • Many people will be wary of using public transportation unless it’s necessary.
  • Organizations will start to stagger their shifts.
  • Many employees will still work from home at least part of the time. 
  • Public transportation will have limits and regulations to follow.
Reopening the Office

Of course, most of us are longing for some face-to-face conversations with our coworkers! We miss the times of being in the office and being able to have connections with those around us. How can we get our employees the time with their coworkers while still being safe? Well, workplaces will need to impose new elements into the office. You’ll need to figure out how to protect your employees and mitigate an outbreak from happening. The office of the future may look very different and might include:

  • Getting rid of open floor plans
  • Adding plexiglass sheets around desks
  • Reconfiguring desks to be 6 feet apart
  • Shifts for communal spaces such as bathrooms and break rooms
  • Dedicated office entrances and exits
  • Temperature checks at entrances
  • Removal of common seating areas
  • Staggering shifts
  • Rotating work from home days and in-office days, so fewer employees are in the office at one time
  • Having employees wear PPE
  • Increasing sanitation measures
  • Increasing video meetings and reducing in-person meetings

In addition to offering the work from home extension at Swoon, we’re also allowing the ability for employees to come into the office if they wish to do so. So, what steps is Swoon taking?

  • Getting rid of the open floor plan and creating desk spaces
  • Increasing sanitation efforts and requiring PPE to be worn
  • Having all employees clean out their desks to ensure they can be deep cleaned at the end of each day
  • Having flexible start and end times to make it easier on those who use public transportation

This is the time to go back to the drawing board and say, “what works for our organization and what doesn’t” and utilize those points to make changes as you see fit. It’s also going to be more critical now that as a leadership member, you’re as transparent as possible. Let your employees know what is going on and what steps are being taken. This way, the next few months go as smoothly as possible.

Virtual Happy Hour

posted by Abby Glenn |

Grab your drink of choice, cuddle up next to your pet and get ready for your next happy hour!

Right now, since everyone is in sort of a long-distance relationship, virtual happy hours are more important than ever to keep up with social interaction, have some laughs and figure out different ways to connect with each other.

There are many ways that we’ve found to keep our employees engaged and feel involved while working remote and we want to share those with you!

Have Fun!

One way that we’ve found to keep these virtual happy hours fun and really learn more about each other is to incorporate remote team building! Not only does this allow your employees to know each other, but they are also a great stress-reliever.

Introducing Pets/Kids!

Coworkers hear stories about everyone’s kids or pets either when they were in the office or over chat. Give them the opportunity to meet them on camera.

Play Some Icebreaker Games

Okay, we know what you’re thinking, “…but these are so cheesy!” Yes, we know they’re cheesy, but they’re also amazing at allowing your employees to talk and get to know each other better. Being remote can get extremely lonely and you want to offer time for employees to unwind. Here are some of our favorites!

1. What’s Your Favorite Thing?

This is a great game to play when you aren’t sure how people will respond to playing an icebreaker game during a happy hour.

2. In Common

Is your team having trouble coming up with new ideas or communicating effectively while being remote? This could be your solution! This game allows your employees to get back on track and work as a team to achieve the end goal in a non-stressful environment!

3. A Picture into Your Life

This game will allow your team to have fun and put their creativity to the test!

4. Take A Guess

Here is another game that allows your employees to utilize their creativity skills and learn about their coworkers in a fun way!

5. Chat Channels

Create fun, dedicated chat channels and announce them during your virtual happy hour. Do you know that your employees won’t respond well to a team building exercise? This could be the way that you get your employees to connect in a remote environment!

Keep It Simple!

You don’t need to always do something outside the box. Sometimes, the best way to get your employees to feel included is to just set up a time and space for them to talk and see one another. Having them add in their drink of choice allows the environment to feel a little more comfortable and laid back.

Need Help?

We would love to help you and your team navigate this new work from home environment! No matter if that’s through finding the best virtual happy hour solution or just the best work from home solution for you and your team. We’ve been doing this for a little over a year, so we would love to provide you with our insight! Feel free to send us a message!