A year ago, work and life was chugging along according to plan for most people. Wake up, commute to the office, work, spaghetti dinner, Netflix/News and bed. ‘Work’ took up a significant portion of the day and accounted for most of our social and professional interactions. Fast forward to now and most of us are spending at least part of our week at home. This has understandably, had a huge effect on our well-being and as we look to all be working from home a lot more in the future, it’s important that we establish new ways to ensure a proper sense of team spirit and inclusion.
This isn’t another ‘how to work from home’ article in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We speak with a lot of candidates who enjoy their teams, their jobs and their office lives. While still welcoming their new-found flexibility with open arms, many feel they are lacking this all-important workplace balance.
I am no stranger to this phenomenon. I have been working remotely for over a year for health reasons. I found this difficult and often didn’t feel complete. DMJ is a tight-knit team who enjoy working, lunching, drinking and taking part in ‘organised fun’ together. We had weekly round ups and kept our local pub afloat while collectively enjoying being out of the house and having a shared experience through the natural peaks and troughs of all jobs.
However, last month I realised that these shared experiences is exactly what I had been missing. Although well supported by DMJ, I missed my team and often felt out of the mix. I would actively try to come into work on a Friday, or a day when everyone was in the office because I wanted to be with my colleagues and discuss life and all its ups and downs. I was struggling and craving my old routine. My workplace balance had been thrown off and making such a change to the most significant part of my day had a large effect on my well-being and sense of belonging.
After discussing with some of my colleagues, I realised that I wasn’t the only one. This lack of shared experience and balance was affecting our business, team spirit and how our team functioned across the board.
All workplaces are unique and delicate ecosystems of likeminded individuals working and existing in such proximity that small changes can have large effects. However, nobody would describe the changes forced upon us over the past year as ‘small’. This has led to the effect feeling considerably larger. However, necessity is the mother of invention and it’s important that your office adapts and tackles these effects proactively.
At DMJ, our brilliant Ops Manager heard our concerns and organised a virtual event. She had cocktail ingredients sent to our homes and on a Friday when we used to stand in the office laughing about the week, we were all in our kitchens on Zoom with a mixologist learning to make cocktails. It felt very much the same. We still laughed and drank and released the stress of the week. It made such a difference and is now a weekly occurrence. One of us will send around the ingredients needed and take it in turns to teach one another a new cocktail recipe. We’re loud and talk over one another and some leave for other plans – exactly like we used to. It’s been a wonderful and uplifting change that we have all appreciated.
Making space and time for your workplace balance and fostering a sense of team spirit is vital. Since the success of Cocktail Friday, DMJ has set up a ‘lunch room’ on Microsoft Teams, where we can chat and laugh as a break from our somewhat monotonous routines much like we would a year ago. We celebrate daily wins and positive experience as a team as well.
At DMJ, we hope to be back in the office together as soon as it makes sense. However, we have seen a substantial increase in team spirit since these new processes were put in place. It’s important to realise and give credit to the idea that work is a huge part of our lives and our colleague play an important part of our existence, whether it be through friendship, support or advice, it’s important to keep these connections strong and ensure your workplace is in balance.
If you are feeling low from working at home but equally are enjoying the freedom of no commutes and putting the washing machine on at lunch, its normal. Chat to your colleagues, organise an optional activity that is fun and a reflection of what you used to do.
Work is crucial to our happiness and we at DMJ offer our experience to you, but equally would love to hear about ideas that have worked for you and your offices now you are all apart.
Has your team organised avenues to increase team spirit? Tell us about them in the comments!