take a minute

how to re-think zoom and still keep the workplace connected
07 Dec 2020
by Shelley

When was the last time you went into the office and saw all of your colleagues face-to-face?

If like me, your job can be done remotely and due to COVID-19, the days of lunch breaks with colleagues, hour-long meetings, and Friday night pub trips with your colleagues are a distant memory, then it’s normal to be feeling a little detached from your colleagues.

Regular communication and great work culture are so important to helping a workplace to be happy, healthy, and pushing in the right direction. So, in the toughest of times, how do you bring colleagues together and keep morale high?

don't rely on company wide zoom meetings

If you have a team of more than five, Zoom meetings can quickly spiral out of control and become a case of only the loudest people getting heard. It’s easy for people to drift off and feel fatigued, anxious, and forgotten. These large Zoom meetings can become something people dread.

Try to keep these meetings sharp and focused. It’s also worth organising ‘breakout’ calls with smaller groups so that people feel more able to have their say. It’s also much easier to have a little non-work chit chat when there aren’t dozens of people on a call, breaking down the formality and encouraging a feel good factor amongst colleagues. 

explore different ways to communicate

Before you dive headfirst into a series of non-stop Zoom meetings, take a second to think about why you’re Zooming. If it’s just a standing weekly meeting and there is no real need, does everyone really need to be forced onto Zoom for the trillionth time?

Think about other ways to communicate – could this meeting sometimes be a brief written memo? Or a 5 minute video briefing filmed on your phone and sent via email? 

We’ve all fallen into the monotony of Zoom and we’re all feeling a bit fed up with it. Why not fall out of line sometimes and find some different ways to connect?

Because nobody is ever upset when their Zoom meeting is cancelled!

lucky dip coffee breaks

The worst thing about group Zoom calls are they can make it difficult to have any quality conversations, forge relationships, or really check in with people and see how they're doing.

That’s why, in this new world of remote working, several companies have introduced ‘lucky dip coffee breaks’ – a fortnightly 20-minute phone or Zoom call between any two randomly selected colleagues from any team. This enables colleagues to have a chat that’s not just about work, and encourages conversation and cross-team communication– this can be great for morale and team building. 

Yep, it can feel a bit awkward at first, but it can also be a lot of fun! 

weekly wellbeing breaks

For many, months of sitting at home working from their computer day-after-day is taking its toll. As I say to my husband, it’s not natural to be sat in front of a screen with no reason to get away from it, all day long.

People often feel guilt when they take a break from their computer to do chores or go for a little walk. But staff morale and wellbeing can be greatly boosted with a planned ‘wellbeing break’. Pop in a team wide once a week standing diary appointment and encourage staff to get away from the screen and do something offline – yoga, walking, reading – anything that takes away the draining effort of sitting at a computer all day.

To help people embrace the wellbeing break, you can promote it at team meetings and ask people to share how they’ll be spending their wellbeing break. 

1-1 socially distanced in person meetings
(lockdown permitting)

When the COVID-19 restrictions loosen and it is safe to do so, encouraging socially distanced face-to-face coffee breaks can be a great idea. Even if Dave and Sue work in different teams, encouraging them to get away from their computer screens and meet up for a quick coffee or a walk, will be great for morale and wellbeing.  

share your ideas!

How has your team adapted to working remotely? 

Have you developed effective ways to keep morale high and keep the team together? Or had some bad experiences of team Zoom calls?

We'd love to hear from you. Send us a quick message to share your experiences.