2021 is certainly a year that has been difficult for all of us. While we manage being apart, we believe it is important as ever to prioritise good mental health and staying connected to friends, family, and peers, as this helps us feel inspired, motivated, and supported.
If your workplace is anything like ours, you no doubt enjoyed spending time with each other during working hours and outside of work before lockdown. It makes sense then that continuing this interconnectivity while working apart has been of extra importance for any workplace, as a long-standing culture of togetherness has so many benefits to both physical and mental health in the long term.
Initially, staying connected may have been as simple as phone calls and internet conferencing. However, as time has stretched on, many workplaces have had to get creative with some of the ways they stay connected. A benefit of being in lockdown is that it has provided us with a good amount of free time and many of us have used that time to learn new skills!
Stay connected during lockdown
Here are some creative methods our AroFlo team have developed to stay connected during lockdown! Perhaps they can be of help in developing ways for your staff to stay connected and keep in good spirits while apart?
Social or party games such as “Among Us” and “Jackbox Party Games” have been a great way to bring many of us together electronically during lockdown. They allow us to bond socially, practice teamwork, work together and most importantly, have fun and stay interested!
Inspired by TV shows like “The Voice” and “The Masked Singer”, several of our talented employees have recorded songs and released them so the rest of the company can guess who the performer is behind the song. This has helped boost creativity, mental stimulation, mood, and reduce stress.
Our AroFlo home chefs have been busy cooking up a storm this lockdown! An easily accessible ingredient is nominated each month and those that want to participate will cook a delicious meal using that ingredient. We are all benefiting from learning a new skill, trying new recipes and getting our families involved with cooking!
The wonderful Spring weather has seen a lot of us venturing out to our gardens where we are germinating seedlings and planting wonderful vegetable and flower gardens. In addition to the mental stimulation, gardening also provides fresh air, sunshine, and physical exercise, everything you need to keep your mental health firmly in the positive.
As the lockdown restrictions start to ease, those of us living close by have been meeting one-on-one to stay active and enjoy a walk, ensuring we all stay connected and also get some much needed fresh air, sunshine and physical activity.
A movie is nominated weekly and the group meets up a week later to review and analyse the movie. This has been a great way to stay socially bonded as well as practice critical thinking skills.
These initiatives were created and implemented by our wonderful staff, without any push or direction from Management. This demonstrates that staff want to spend time with each other – not only whilst they are at work but also outside of work hours. This, in turn, indicates the amazing and supportive culture that can be forged when the appropriate avenues for expression and positive mental health are created.
One of the other ways we’ve tried to go above and beyond to support our staff during this pandemic is with the implementation of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP is a work-based intervention program designed to enhance and assist the emotional, mental, and general psychological wellbeing of all employees as well as their immediate family members.
This usually includes counselling or coaching sessions. We’ve chosen to work with a company called Uprise, which is a combination of your conventional EAP, but also offers many other wellbeing initiatives such as upskilling or training resources and exercises. Staff can proactively upskill in these areas, or they can work one on one with a coach or counsellor if they are experiencing specific issues or mental health crisis. Our staff can opt-in and use this service at will, which makes it a fantastic initiative that helps support staff quickly and confidentially if required.