Staff Engagement During Lockdown 2.0
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If you own a business or manage staff in Metro Melbourne, you once again find yourself served with 6 weeks of lockdown. For many businesses and individuals, you may have continued to work from home where possible or work reduced or varying shifts to adhere to the medical advice and government guidelines. Regardless of whether your staff or team members are working from home or are working back in the office or onsite- there is one thing that we can guarantee ‘lockdown 2.0’ will do - impact mental health, energy levels and overall engagement of staff and the business.
Academic literature from across the world was able to provide us with insight prior to the first lockdown, or quarantine periods, including the negative impact on individuals at all walks and stages of life. What we are now facing poses a somewhat unknown set of circumstances. And for many people the reality of a second lockdown is harder to navigate than the first lockdown. Professor Susan Rossell from Swinburne University has been tracking the mental health of 18-25-year-olds over the past three months, and has noted a serious spike in mental illness. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 also seem to be more severe for women, and those with existing mental illness.
For some managers and business owners it is time to change the narrative. Saying things such as “well they are just lucky to have a job" and fly away comments about someone’s lowered productivity without having a conversation can further contribute to poor mental health and overall engagement.
Just for now let’s throw all the “what I should do as manager” handbooks out the window and think as though you were the fun manager... what would that look like? Below are some examples of how to keep your staff engaged during lockdown 2.0!
1. Team mini golf from home challenge
This doesn’t have to be complex or time consuming to establish using everyday household items, like toilet rolls, cardboard boxes and pool noddles you can get pretty creative!
2. remote 'MTV Cribs"
If you and your team are working from home try setting the challenge for an MTV style tour of their WFH Crib! Get everyone to spend some time tidying the place up and taking the entire team on a virtual tour of their humble abode.
3. A "who did it" murder mystery afternoon
An easy game to organise over video calls, assigning narratives and characters to different employees is a guaranteed afternoon of fun!
4. Amazing Race
Virtually a fun game to organise and for the team to participate in. Designing roadblocks and pit-stops for teams of two this amazing virtual race is a great game for a competitive team. If your team is anything like the team at KLC they love a challenge, the trickier and more challenging the better in their book - so this one is an option for those teams who love a tricky and engaging challenge.
Realistically while we feel that a half day or full day might be a loss of productivity or income for a business it could actually have the opposite impact for those staff who are struggling during this period.
The Victorian DHHS states that in helping to stay positive “it’s important to remember that we can do many things to feel empowered and enabled. Find opportunities of sharing positive and hopeful stories with others, generate positive emotions by sharing memories, and take the opportunity to show acts of kindness. Similarly, they highlight the need to stay connected, highlighting that it “important to stay connected with friends and family at this time to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation”.
Engaging with and as a team outside of the normal day to day of your working environment is part of staying connected and helping each other stay positive and laugh. So manager and business owners, now’s the time to think outside the box, take the opportunity to thank your staff, engage with them and have some fun, like above there are a lot of cost effective fun ways to being a appositive energy to your team.
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