Some of our Social Glue is Missing (…and some suggestions about what to do about it)

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As recruiters we have observed that what most people remember about the workplace is their colleagues and the friendships they have made. Ok, sometimes it’s also the horrible boss but let’s forget that for now!

After retirement many will say it’s the people they miss, not their workstation or laptop. So when we started to ask what people feel has been lost while working from home we weren’t surprised that the most common answer was ‘the banter, the spontaneity, and having a laugh with others’.

It’s been long since recognised that through colleagues chatting springs ‘some of the best ideas’. We then asked what had been done about it and we thought we would share these initiatives with you. You might have tried some already, you might even think some are naff and not for you….however that’s not the point. Working from home has many benefits, but we are largely social animals and most of us need and benefit from social interaction. That interaction can spark ideas, take a thought and develop it into some action, or simply help a colleague who is feeling a bit low.

We are missing a very important ingredient, our ‘Social Glue’.

Here are some of the ideas which others have tried successfully and recommend.

  • Zoom or Microsoft Teams quizzes.

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  • ‘Water Cooler’ channel on MS Teams for ad hoc chatter.

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  • No work calls over lunch time.

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  • Voting for the ‘best backdrop’ when on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

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  • WhatsApps on everything from ‘the most influential music album’, ‘best song’, ‘most influential film’, ‘best laugh at the movies’, ‘song connections’, ‘best phone photography’.

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  • Creating a themed company playlist with everyone contributing a song.
  • A book club.

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  • Posting thank you cards to colleagues.

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  • Sending small thank you ‘gifts’, such as some sweets.

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  • Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as everything can be magnified when in lockdown.

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  • A Strava challenge for ‘how long would it take our employees to walk or cycle around the world’ with everyone doing their bit and getting out there and ‘doing some km’s’.

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  • Virtual Strava races between offices…which office can get to the other first.

And it’s important to remember as we go through this really challenging period that most of us thrive on interaction and that some of us (most perhaps) are missing our colleagues and visiting suppliers and customers in person. In short we are missing the ‘Social Glue’.

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