- April 6, 2020
- Posted by: Hillary Feder
- Category: Engagement
The last few weeks have been a blur for all of us – sometimes like a tilt-a-whirl you just want to jump off and sometimes life moves so slow you can almost hear the hours ticking by one-minute at a time.
Now, some three weeks into this blur, come conversations with friends and clients that start with:
“When we were working through what our new working situation would look like, we thought it would be like working from home on a snow day. Instead it’s like a hurricane!”
“We’re starting earlier, working harder and longer, and it’s getting difficult to tell the difference between a weekday and a weekend – we’re all always working!”
“We see each other on Zoom calls but it is not the same as walking by someone’s desk and asking how your weekend was.”
The simple answer is, “Of course.”
Keeping a big picture focus
It’s natural to grab a life raft to stay afloat in a storm. But it’s important to consider the bigger picture to create meaningful touch points and communications to stay connected for the duration of what is ahead.
This won’t be short. This won’t be easy. This requires a plan.
Before you pull the trigger on a plan, think though all the touchpoints you may need to see it through. Think through how many weeks we will need to stay connected and how many different ways there are to do so. The best thing that could happen is that you won’t need all that you planned.
So you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of the ocean, here are some categorized ideas to help you get started. I encourage you to use ideas from more than one category to create an integrated approach.
Food for the Soul
- A gift card for a grocery shopping service or shopping/delivery service is an expression of empathy.
- A prepared food delivery gift card eases the burden of daily cooking and supports many local restaurants that are struggling.
- A recipe round up injects variety into our recipe ruts. Round up recipes from your village (employees, neighbors, family etc.) and have them include notes about what they might have done to enhance them. Then distribute the collection to your village.
Friendly Competitions – People are over “screened” and these will entertain, challenge and keep people off screens.
- A health-related challenge promotes well-being and can diminish lethargy. Creating a friendly competition for your village to stay hydrated, exercising and eating healthy can be fun. Assign points to specific health-related activities and share a virtual leader board to keep people engaged.
- A craft challenge provides a 30-minute break to make, a specific “thing” they need to make it with whatever materials they have at home. Create a photo gallery and hold a most-creative vote and present a creative award.
- A “scraps garden” engages participants to save the pits from foods like: apples, mangos, avocados etc., plant them in an indoor garden and share photos of their sprouts.
- Select a 500-piece puzzle, send to all and see who can finish the puzzle first.
- For a virtual game night, have common snacks and beverages delivered to participants and play a game like Pictionary, Bingo or an app-based game. It sounds simple but knowing you are all connected through the same physical snacks and beverages has a different feel then everyone going to their own kitchen and grabbing their own.
- A book club appeals to readers and promotes getting to know others through in-depth conversation. It’s a wonderful opportunity for an untapped/unknown talent to lead.
- A virtual lunch-and-learn provides a professional development opportunity to grow your team’s skills. Sharper and stronger on the back side.
- A North Woods campfire – complete with delivery of all the fixings for s’mores (a candle and stick to roast the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bar) is an opportunity to share campfire stories and connect with a sing-a-long. Make sure to offer a multi-generational song list submitted by participants.
- A simple, handwritten note card filled with positive energy
- Snack packs filled with specialty sweet and salty snacks
- An aromatherapy package to diffuse stress
The ideas above are not exhaustive but certainly starter ideas to get you going. Feel free to share your ideas. Keeping your team engaged at this time will strengthen their commitment. Thinking beyond work these ideas can keep your employees, neighbors, extended family or volunteer village connected during this unprecedented time.
Be safe, stay well and please share your experiences with me. Each success story is a breath of fresh air!