MOQdigital has published a few insights into how one of its internal teams stay happy and healthy amid pandemic-mandated lockdowns and social distancing.
A posting on the MOQdigital blog discusses how MOQdigital marketing manager Kayla Ellice and her team have adapted to the new normal, while also recognising that its unlikely things will simply return to how they used to be.
Ellice told CRN that everyone's differing experience of COVID-19, through various restrictions and measures, should be considered by an organisation.
"Some people really didn’t mind working from home and were happy to keep this routine fulltime, while others struggled with the lack of social interaction that the office provided which prompted a bit of an adjustment period during the early weeks," she said.
"I think the thing that was missed the most were those ‘water cooler’ or ‘across partition’ chats that help break up the day when you’re in the office. Working from home brings less opportunity for you to bump into someone across the office and before you know it you’ve worked from 9am to 2pm without leaving the desk. We started a team chat where we exchanged banter, meme’s and told jokes to help fill that void."
Ellice put in place a few straightforward measures to help the team cope and continue to work effectively, starting with daily check-ins with her staff at the beginning of each workday. This was done both as a way to socialise and also for Ellice to keep track of what team members were going to be working on that day, according to MOQ.
“When we first began, it took a while for us to get used to it” MOQ events and marketing coordinator Molly Mckinnon said. “Thankfully, we’ve been flexible enough to get the ball rolling before long, and these daily check-ins have been vital to our productivity as we’ve learnt a lot about each other’s working styles and are able to adapt to each other very well.”
MOQ said its marketing team was also taking steps to bolster mental wellbeing amid potential feelings of isolation with one-on-one meetings, held by Ellice with each of her staff once a week. The meetings are pitched as a safe space for staff to share any concerns across any topic.
“It’s not just about how they’re doing at work,” Ellice said. “It’s about how they’re doing in general, both in and out of work. It’s a chance for me to let them know that they are very much appreciated members of MOQdigital, and a chance for them to voice any concerns or ask for any support they may need during this time.”
Benefitting from Queensland’s low number of cases, workers have been able to return to the office provided they adhere to distancing guidelines and practices. While many have continued to work remotely, MOQ’s marketing team opted for a hybrid workplace model, choosing to come back to the office for one day a week, to break the cycle of isolation and collaborate in person while maintaining a safe distance.
Zachary Pestana, MOQdigital’s content librarian said it was a welcome way to mix up collaboration.
“It’s helped us maintain our good working relationship and continue to work closely together as a team, and I hope that Queensland continues to do well against COVID-19 that we can continue this hybrid approach.”
Ellice told CRN beyond the strategies developed in her own team, staff across the whole MOQdigital business were finding ways to keep in touch.
"The challenges that come from working, living, sleeping and eating in essentially the same space and sharing that space with partners and children for an extended period of time can sometimes make you feel like the walls are closing in so it was really important that we implemented the strategies in the blog as well as took part in the wellbeing program for the wider MOQdigital business," Ellice said.
"This included things like a 6-week fitness program, Friday virtual drinks, yoga and afternoon trivia. We also saw our Yammer usage more than double as staff used that to banter and exchange information."
Ellice said making a few steps to increase team engagement and collaboration had made a big difference.
"These measures have actually made us closer as a team," she said. "One of the team had just started prior to the COVID lockdown so by implementing the daily (virtual) stand ups and making sure the camera was on for each team member helped us break down those barriers.
"We got to know each other quicker, motivating us to collaborate better and understand how each other works."