With having an entire, or almost entire, business working from home fast becoming the new normal, firms are facing the challenge of how to keep a team united, cohesive and motivated as together we face a future that – in the short to medium term at least – looks very different than it did a couple of months ago.

Here, our client services director Becca, shares her experience of what’s working for her, the team at davies tanner and what’s in the pipeline.

Smile, you’re on camera

It may seem obvious but being able to see each other’s faces while remote working really helps. I’ve quickly overcome the initial horror of seeing my face on camera so much and have found that, as a team and with clients, being able to see each other has helped maintain and even build relationships. The occasional on camera faux pas (picture a plush Sonic the hedgehog been lobbed at someone’s head in a bid to get their attention) has added to the camaraderie.

Virtual Friday Fizz

Just because we’re working remotely, doesn’t mean our office traditions have stopped – we’ve just evolved them. At the end of each Friday we have ‘Friday Fizz’ where we share our ‘wins of the week’ – achievements and anecdotes about things we’re happy about or proud of, whether work-related or personal. We’ve moved this onto a video call – sharing these reminds us of the good things that have happened, helps us stay connected and we enjoy a glass or two together to get the weekend off to a flying start. We’ve even invited former colleagues to join which has definitely lifted spirits (pun intended!).

Stick to a schedule

As a parent who’s now focused on having a productive working day whilst simultaneously attempting to run some form of home school for two children, I’ve found that having a pre-planned schedule is essential. By nature, I’m not a list-maker or routine driven, but I’ve found it hard to focus properly without a set agenda for each day – whether that’s a simple time plan to ensure I schedule work effectively, or pre-planning what I’ll do on breaks to maximise downtime. I write mine down on a blank piece of paper each evening and use colour and doodles to brighten it up. In fact, I’ve found I’ve been so much more productive as a result of my doodled schedules that I’m determined to keep it up when things are ‘back to normal’.

Shared Spotify Playlists

This is one we haven’t tried yet, but it’s a great idea – sharing favourite music and playlists is not only a great way to discover some new favourite artists, but also to learn about your colleagues’ musical tastes (for better or worse!).

Supporting your community

It’s not just about staying connected as a team, it’s also about helping employees to stay connected in their local communities. We’ve given all our employees the opportunity to take some time out to volunteer with an organisation that’s important to them. We’ve always supported our team with their own charitable initiatives, but what’s happened now has really put the spotlight on the importance of playing a role in the community, whether that’s locally, amongst your team or as part of the wider industry community.

Meme(s) of the day

Simple and silly – each work morning we’ve been sharing home-working and coronavirus memes. It’s given us all a shared virtual giggle – the value of having a laugh together shouldn’t be underestimated at times like this.

Preparing for recovery

Importantly, we’ve also been looking to the future. We’ve put together a task force to plan and activate initiatives aimed at supporting our clients through this period to ensure they – and us as an agency – are in the best possible place to recover as soon as possible. We’re treating this like we would a major client campaign and it is giving us something very positive and exciting to focus on. It’s also something everyone in the business can support with and can see benefit from.

Whilst this is an incredibly challenging time for most businesses, I’ve no doubt that there are myriad positive initiatives that have arisen from the circumstances in which we find ourselves that will continue to serve us well as we continue to rebuild and recover. From personal and business resilience to greater business transparency and camaraderie, we’re optimistic about the future.

We’d love to hear how you’ve been adapting to this ‘new normal’ and what had worked for you and your business – let us know if you have any ideas or tips and we’ll give them a go.