Who could do with a bit of joy & happiness right now? It has been nearly one year since most of our workplaces have had to shift to working virtually. Now more than ever, we need those happy hormones that are created by the act of giving because for many of us, the novelty and curiosity of working from home has transformed to feelings of monotony and ennui. It’s probably beginning to feel like you’re living in that 1993 Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day. Thankfully, the global trajectory is slowly moving toward a positive direction, and we just have to hold on for a little while longer. Let’s keep strengthening our workplace friendships and camaraderie through the act of giving.
The beauty of workplace gives in a virtual office is that it isn’t materialistic. It’s not about the physical things that we can get for one another. Instead it’s about giving one another those nonphysical items – connection, companionship, a break from the mundane – which hold more value, and are items that most of us crave. Here are a number of ways we can give these intangibles to one another in a virtual office.
In the pre-pandemic days, it was probably common for co-workers to unwind with a few drinks after work. Maybe it was to celebrate someone’s birthday, or a successful project, or as a way to commiserate on a work item that didn’t go quite as planned. If there are wine aficionados in your group, you could implement a Virtual Wine Wednesday. Everyone can order the same wine and you could taste it together, or everyone can simply sip on any kind of wine they have at home. You could make it even more informal and just have everyone arrive with any chosen beverage. The details aren’t as important as the creation of a social atmosphere amongst one another.
Netflix and other streaming services have been a staple during the pandemic. So why not use that to add some novelty to our workdays? You could slightly formalize your team’s binge TV habits by organizing a Netflix club. Similar to a book club, it’s a great opportunity to get together and develop those workplace relationships. Set a timeframe to give everyone a chance to watch a particular movie or TV show, and pick a day to get together and discuss what you’ve watched. Tip: assign a moderator to structure the conversation and keep the discourse flowing nicely. Schedule your group discussion over lunch hour to help break up your day, while allowing you to keep other personal time for the recommended shows.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could organize online fitness classes to combat the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that a virtual workplace affords. Sitting is the new smoking, and we spend a lot of time doing it. There are a number of physical health and fitness classes that your office can partake in virtually. There could be yoga classes to strengthen your group’s spirit and mobility. Or perhaps a simple dance class to get everyone off their chairs and on their feet. The benefit of a virtual class is that everyone has the option to turn their cameras off to accommodate their personal comfort level. This way, everyone from junior members to the CEO is given the space and freedom to comfortably shake their groove thang unapologetically.
Most workplaces have taken on giving one another virtual accolades and shout-outs. Why not consider formalizing it a little for the sake of celebration and breaking away from the mundane? Perhaps your company could organize a virtual awards ceremony. There could be a host, a virtual musical performance, and some awards categories, ranging from the silly (“Most Likely to be on Mute”) to the slightly more serious (“Most Sales for the Month”). If it’s in the budget, members of your team could be given a gift card for a food delivery service, so they can eat while the celebrations are happening. Again, the details are secondary. The value of this give is the act of giving your team something to look forward to and break away from the mundane. This also works for your suppliers and customers. Think of some creative ways to include them in your awards ceremony to make this a give outside the four walls of your office and appreciate those important people who help you make your business work!
There are people who absolutely love planning these events (Personally, I am not one of these people. I am however, excellent at attending parties!). So lean into their strengths and create a social committee to keep these virtual gives going. As the social committee plans more gives for the duration of your virtual workplace, they are being given a chance to do something that drives them and a sense of purpose. Everybody wins! Include not only virtual events for those at work, but reach out to local community organizations that could benefit from a give.
How are you and your co-workers doing during these unpredictable times? How do you show support for one another? As everyone navigates the pressure of working during an increasingly unique set of circumstances, remember to give yourself some gentleness. It can be difficult for everyone as the situation changes every day. If you need some extra support or ideas to add a giving routine to your work place to increase joy and happiness, sign up for your 365 give membership. There’s plenty of information. There’s plenty of inspiration.