9 Ways to Nurture
Staff Wellbeing Remotely

We can still come together, even when we're apart.

Quarantine can be a challenge for staff wellbeing. Normally, we get a lot of emotional and social fulfillment from seeing our colleagues at work. It’s those close bonds with the children and our teams that keep us coming back. But under lockdown, most of us are missing those daily connections.

As an employer, your leadership can help give your team some much-needed structure and daily rhythm — a good sense of workflow and routine can boost your team’s well-being. And if you are recruiting at this stage, you can also see how other groups are tackling this crisis.

During this period of home quarantine, you can keep your team strong and motivated with these remote methods to keep up those emotional and social bonds. We’ve got some ideas to get you started.

1. Change your leadership approach

Adapt your leadership style to fit with the current situation. This might mean taking on a more understanding approach and a casual work atmosphere. Remember that effective team leadership requires superb self-leadership — you’ve got to take care of yourself, too.

Before you can be the pillar of direction for everyone else, make sure you are emotionally replenished and calm. This means getting adequate sleep (even if you are stressed out), getting a good balance of nutrition, and taking the time to enjoy some relaxing activities, as much as your time allows.

2. Connect your team with the resources they need right now

Unfortunately, not all businesses are able to continue paying full wages to their team during this pandemic. If this is the case for you, assist your staff in getting their government support grants. Your help will show that you care. Alongside this, working from home also comes with physical needs, like a workspace and the tools to connect remotely. Reach out directly to your team to make sure they have what they need, and do what you can to connect them with any resources they might be missing.

Many educational courses are offered online so as an industry, you might appreciate that it’s possible to run lessons and connect with learners in a remote space. It’s not that simple in a practical sense, though. Your team might need your guidance in learning to work effectively at home.

3. Help employees to create a comfortable workspace at home

Many educators have never had to set up a workspace in their homes. They might struggle to find a suitable corner that guarantees them some peace and quiet away from the family. Some might not have all of the tools they need, like a microphone, a strong internet connection, or a suitable webcam. Supporting your staff in setting up a comfortable workspace is vital.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Organising your team to help source the materials some might need to work remotely
  • Being flexible about workspaces, and understanding that interruptions are part of the parcel in the current situation
  • Understanding that productivity might be lower even though employees are making concerted efforts
  • Being willing to shift lesson times and have staff members cover for each other when needed
  • Reminding employees that bad days happen, even if you normally hold high standards, it is okay to make mistakes
  • Making important Coronavirus resources (like this guide to keeping children safe and What the Coronavirus Means for Child Care Professionals) readily available
4. Encourage record-keeping to monitor mental health

Feeling safe is an important part of looking after your team’s mental health while they work from home. When we’re stressed or anxious, our cognitive abilities are diminished because the thinking brain detaches when we are in a state of stress.

Expect silly mistakes from team members, reduced concentration, and forgetfulness. How can you support them during this time? Encourage record keeping, so team members can record how they feel each day, what work they have covered, which students they have connected with and any challenges they feel overwhelmed by. This gives you the opportunity to step in and reduce the burden, when necessary.

5. Schedule time for one on one virtual meetings

Even if you’re pressed for time, just five minutes’ of one-on-one face time can help your team tremendously. It’s your chance to get personal, and to ask how your team members are going. If you notice a dip in energy levels, address it kindly and ask how you can support them.

Staff members might not be used to “opening up” to their boss in the way that this call would require, so try to keep that in mind and work around it by being more relaxed and compassionate. You might be able to offer to arrange a remote counselling session (with a registered professional) or discuss other ways to help.

Team building with Zoom meetings: 4 creative ways to relax

Team building can give your team a sense of connectedness when they are otherwise quite isolated all day at home. A remote gathering is a perfect way to do this. Weekly Zoom meetings with the whole team? Make it a informal, fun affair to touch base and enable people to share how their week has been. Go through the good and the bad together, then get into some fun.

Online yoga classes

The remote staff wellbeing activity
Yoga is an age-old practice that soothes stressed bodies and provides gentle exercise, keeping the body conditioned. Now, yoga has moved into the digital realm and your team can enjoy it from the comfort of a homely space.

What you need

  • A yoga mat (or a blanket if you are on carpeted floors)
  • Non-restrictive clothing
  • A free space in the house
  • Computer, internet connection, and speakers to tune into the class

How it’s done
There are many remote yoga studios operating during lockdown to bring guidance to those who want to participate in classes. Some of these online studios are waiving fees during lockdown.

There are a couple ways to go about joining your workplace: You can join an actual live class, or you can sign up for pre-recorded classes that are sent to you. You can even find lessons on Youtube. The first option is great as part of team building, the second is useful if it’s difficult to pin everyone down to the same time schedule.

Cooking lessons

The remote staff wellbeing activity
Cooking is a creative outlet and now that restaurants and fast food eateries are closed, an essential skill. Enrolling your staff in cooking classes provides exposes them to a wonderful art form that could spark a new passion.

What you need

  • A cooking class that supports simple and easy meal preparations
  • Computer, internet connection, and speakers to tune into the class

How it’s done
The actual classes will keep spirits up and motivation high, but there is also an opportunity for your team to compare notes afterwards. Have a discussion about the lessons and ask them what they have managed to prepare. It’s about exploring new skills and getting adventurous. Plus, having this sort of structure and direction to your call is a more comfortable social setting for some.

Online board games

The remote staff wellbeing activity
Playing games over Skype or Zoom has become one of the biggest new trends since many people have gone into lockdown. It’s interactive, it can be free, and it introduces lighthearted fun and competition into your employees’ quarantine days.

What you need

  • Online games, or a board game everyone owns
  • Computer and internet connection

How it’s done
The classic board games, like Monopoly, have migrated into the digital sphere. This means each player can login and see the same board layout. You can talk, laugh, and play just as you would in real life.

Team quiz night

The remote staff wellbeing activity
A online quiz night is an excellent team building activity that encourages relaxation, laughter, and team bonding. Invite your team to bring their partners too.

What you need

  • An online quiz platform to facilitate the activity
  • Computer and internet connection
  • Snacks and drinks at hand (optional, but it never hurts!)

How it’s done
Encourage your team members to have a glass of wine or a beer, and hop into the quiz. You could do a pop culture quiz, or one about your setting — or, a quiz that tests how well you know one another. The choice is yours!

Get more advice on The Corona Hub

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