Staying Close While Keeping Your Social Distance at Work

It’s official, another 30 days of practicing social distancing are our future. Another 30 days of working from home? Have no fear! I have some tips to help you remain close while keeping your distance.  

Turn on your video! 🎥 

We all know how easily a text or email can be misconstrued or the tone misinterpreted. Video chat helps us collaborate and communicate more effectively because the reality is, so much of communication is non-verbal. While we are all clamoring for some real interaction, video chat is a great way to stay connected. We actually ask all our team members to be on camera for both client and internal calls.   

Add a little fun to your internal video calls with the Snapchat filter. Here’s a how-to on using the Snapchat filter on your Microsoft Teams calls that we’ve been greatly enjoying. 

Pro-tip: BUT WAIT! Isn’t the perk of working from home not having to get out of my PJs and put on makeup? For my makeup wearing readers out there, turn on the Snapchat makeup filter for an instant glam-up. It really works! At least two of our co-workers are making the most out of the Makeup filter. Saving some time in the morning and looking FAB on internal and client calls! 

Don’t worry your secret’s safe with me. 😛


Daily check-ins/stand-ups 📑 

A great way to remain connected is to schedule a daily standup. Keep it brief, no more than 15 mins, and assign a different team-member to run the meeting each day to keep people engaged. Here at PixelMill, our teams touch base in 15 minutes or less to talk through all active projects to see if anyone is experiencing blockers and to keep each other on track. 


Communicate your status clearly 📆 

Part of feeling connected is reciprocal responses. Be sure you’re responding in a timely fashion to your team members, and when you plan to be away from your desk, set your status to clearly communicate this with your team. Setting your status in Microsoft Teams is a breeze, and it will help your team know when they can reach you. 
 
You can also keep your team up to speed on your calendar and schedule in Microsoft Teams powered by Outlook. Share your calendar with your immediate teammates and utilize the scheduling assistant when setting meetings so you know when your team is available.   


The Buddy System  👯 

Make sure you’re checking in with your work buddy. Did you have a trusted proofreader or someone to bounce an idea off in the office? Schedule time with your buddy and use Microsoft Office’s co-authoring to work together on documents, presentations, and more.  


Virtual Watercooler 💧 

The watercooler has long been the destination for office happenings, silly stories, and light-hearted conversations. Create a virtual watercooler for your team to continue these fun conversations while working from home. Since we use Microsoft Teams for our digital teamwork, we have a watercooler channel specifically to bring some fun to our day.  


Virtual Team Lunch – 🌮 Tuesday anyone? 😊 

Nothing brings people together like food. While we can’t all sit at the same table, we can still share a meal together—virtually that is. Turn on your camera and share in a communal meal. Here at PixelMill, we also share beloved recipes in a Microsoft Teams channel called Cooking Corner. 


Raise Your Spirits 🍸 

For those of you missing your co-worker bonding time via happy hour, host a virtual one instead! Turn on that camera, raise your glass, and boost your spirits… or wine …. or beer. 😉  


👪Lead a 15-minute group break:  

Taking breaks is essential to maintaining not only our sanity but productivity in the workplace. While we are all feeling disconnected, why not use this time to learn more about your fellow co-workers, discover a new talent, get in some good laughs, or up your endorphins?  

  • Play a virtual game
    • MS Teams offers a virtual whiteboard feature in meetings that makes Pictionary a breeze remotely.  
  • Put those yoga pants to use!  
    • Hop on a call together and have someone lead you through a quick flow, some simple stretches, or even just take a 15-min savasana to truly feel relaxed and revitalized. We did this last week at PixelMill, and we giggled our way to some great endorphins.  
  • Share some hidden talents 
    • Do you have an artist among you? Have them walk you through drawing something together—Bob Ross Style. Last week, one of our developers, Corrie, taught us all how to draw a cute otter in 10 mins.  
Otter Party
An original Corrie Haffly, circa 2020


Now is this time for empathy 

Remember everyone processes differently, so what you might need during this time could be very different than your co-workers’ or employees. We’re all in this together. Here’s to finding more ways to stay connected in a remote world.  


Did we miss a tip? How do you stay connected with your team? Please share! 

Is your organization struggling to activate remote work? Microsoft Teams is now free! If you’d like help getting your team working remotely, let’s chat today!  

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