The Importance of Distant Socializing During a Time of Social Distancing
Following the advice of government authorities around the world in connection with the current coronavirus outbreak, many organizations have made the decision to allow their employees to work remotely.
Even for employees who work from home regularly, working from home for extended periods can take some time getting used to. For many of us, it has not only meant making physical adjustments, such as setting up a designated working area at home, but also mental adjustments, including forming new routines, making sure we take breaks throughout the day, and learning how and when to switch off for the day.
While many countries are using different measures to ensure that people adhere to social distancing to reduce the spreading of COVID-19, being that humans beings are inherently social creatures, maintaining a sense of social connection is imperative to our overall wellbeing.
In our blog post, How Your Colleagues Contribute To Your Happiness At Work, we discuss the importance of work relationships and how our colleagues affect our health and productivity. Therefore, during this time of uncertainty and social distancing, it’s important that we participate in various forms of distant socializing.
In addition to daily and weekly online team meetings, some other examples of distant socializing could be organizing mid-afternoon or morning coffee breaks with colleagues online, Friday after-work drinks online, and team activities such as quizzes or other games online. What’s most important is that colleagues connect with each other regularly.
“Communication — the human connection — is the key to personal and career success”
– Paul J. Meyer
Creating a Positive Cycle
A great example of a company maintaining strong communication lines, connection, and spirit amongst its employees is German bicycle company, Derby Cycle.
In Germany, if there is a shortage of work due to a crisis like we are seeing with the current coronavirus, companies can reduce employee hours and the state provides money to support employees. This system is known as “short-time work” and it helps companies avoid unfortunate layoffs.
Right now, the majority of Derby Cycle employees are working under “short-time work” conditions. During this time, the company is using the communication tool inside their Benify employee portal as their primary communication device to create and send important updates to employees via push notifications, e-mails, and messages posted inside the employee platform.
Additionally, Derby Cycle has also taken the initiative to set up a new “encourage each other” page. Through the “encourage each other” page, Derby Cycle employees can share photos with each other showing their work-from-home set up as well as send each other encouraging and motivating messages.
Derby Cycle’s initiative exemplifies Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, which states that among our needs as humans is the need to belong (i.e. friendships, relationships, and family) and the need for esteem (i.e. feelings of confidence in oneself and respect from others).
Since Derby Cycle employees can access their Benify platform via desktop or via the app on their smartphones, employees can stay connected to each other anytime, anywhere.
In times of uncertainty, it’s important that we stay connected to each other, encourage and motivate one another, and share positive news using all technology and communication channels available to us.