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Question :
As an office manager what sort of things can I do to keep staff motivated

Question submitted 29/03/20 @ 10:28am
Industry: Primary Industry
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  • Great question – we are seeing a few things working and also reading alot as well around remote working. What is important is connection, communication, discipline and fun. Connection is both as a team, but also one to one – we have set up a buddy system at the Icehouse where each person has another person they check in on at the beginning and end of the day and we do this with video so you can see each other. Separately, each ‘sub-team’ have daily stand-ups on video (we use Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Hangouts) and then once a week we have all team get together. I have seen a lot of people doing virtual lunches, drinks as well. Discipline is interesting because many of us feel alone and isolated naturally, so helping people get into a routine of what they do every day, writing lists and also helping them separate work time from family time seems to be important to motivation. Finally fun – we have to laugh, take the piss and share humour – amazing what you learn, for example, I now know two of my Icehouse team play the guitar and love music, i never stopped to learn that in the past. Hope that helps.

    Reiterating Andy’s note, fun is a key one since it takes what is really an added pressure (for all) and softens it. Office workers are among the lucky who can typically work from home given the right environment. Fostering a nurturing mindset within the whole team leads to connections and collaborations that would often be dismissed when in the same office. The underlying un-ease is actually a driver, people recognise and accept their own state of mind and it helps drive a sense of duty-of-care for the fellow worker. In-turn, this reassurance type ‘checking in’ concept ensures teams are well aware of the activities and outputs of each other which not only helps with productivity (typically low when people are emotionally drained) but also helps identify staff who need a boost to get through this.

    All the best!

    Great question Ania

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Regularly check in with the team. There are examples out there of surveys out there to make sure the team has what it needs, etc. . Surveys can be built using Google forms for free and links to them are:

    Strange Days: The New Normal

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/coronavirus-leadership-check-in-survey-template/

    2) I am in some Slack channels that are brainstorming on this very question – here are some ideas from other companies that may work for you (note: they are using Slack so if you don’t have a group chat program like Slack might be something to think about):

    “We have an ongoing zoom going, people usually get a reminder in the morning so a few will log on and have coffee convos
    we normally had ice cream Thursdays in the AK office at 2 pm Thurs, so now we’re doing these virtual
    we have a random channel for the lols and memes and thats obv getting some good use atm
    started a daily appreciation channel for an end of day piccies of what we’re grateful for
    we also have a #thanks channel (which was prior to COVID) that i highly recommend doing for general high fives, recognitions
    All Hands weekly atm over Zoom
    Friday drinks over Zoom
    we do have a snapchat group but not everyone is on it”

    “We are doing some of this stuff, kudos channel etc – I like the idea of a daily appreciation channel. Great idea. In addition we also have the following:

    We have an always open whereby.com room that anyone can just jump in when we what to chat/hang out, no need to make a meeting, it’s just always there for anyone at any time.

    We have broken our team down into smaller support groups (groups of 5 or 6) where we organise a catch up with a few times a week to just check-in on and support each other.”

    I also have heard of some groups starting to use HouseParty to have connected calls for their teams as well. My kids are on it 24/7 it seems with their friends at the moment.

    Hope the above gives you some practical ideas.

    John

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