When people work together in the same place they form friendships, enjoy each other’s company and join together in social activities. From the casual cup of coffee through to the Christmas party most people feel they belong to a team when they share experiences together. For many their social life is centred on their friends at work.
Now people are isolated away from their colleagues. What will substitute for the lunchtime conversation or the chat in the pub after work? Where will they find that sympathetic listener or catch up with the latest rumours?
As a manager you need to make sure there is ‘social time’ built into the home worker’s day. Your team cam still have a coffee-time chat or share a lunch break, they just have to do it virtually. If you have video meeting facilities, don’t just use it for business meetings. Even if it’s just a phone call, encourage people to keep chatting.
Some managers are now having ‘coffee time’ breaks with staff or ‘happy hour’ at the end of the working day. These informal chats can often identify potential problems and prevent them escalating. As a manager you don’t need to take on the whole burden of supporting individuals who are struggling with the lockdown. Their teammates may well make good listeners and give practical advice.
Remember the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Show you care about your staff and they will respond positively. Ignore the social aspects of work and their job will suffer.