People on a Zoom screen

How we're maintaining morale with a remote workforce

We’re no strangers to working remotely – but the *whole team* working off-site at once? Now that’s another thing altogether! Here are some of the things we’re doing to keep our team feeling connected.

Tami Iseli

By Tami Iseli, 25 March 20203 minute read

If you’d been handed the script to 2020 late last year, you’d have dismissed it as a C-grade sci-fi. Or perhaps the ramblings of an over-imaginative 8-year-old. But here we are, in the midst of an apocalyptic supervirus-driven lockdown – and there’s no refund on the ticket. 

The world as we know it has changed in the last couple of weeks. And so too has our working environment. 

On any given day, Luminary generally has about 10 percent of the team working remotely. So it’s not like we haven’t got this remote thing handled. But literally having everyone working in different locations presents an interesting challenge for trying to keep the social buzz alive. 

So far we think we’ve done a pretty good job - in large part thanks to Slack, our instant messaging platform. 

Feeling the IM love

No watercooler? No problem. There’s an app – I mean Slack channel for that…

#Co-pilots – because everybody knows pet pics are good for morale

One of the first new Slack channels to be born out of the COVID crisis was #co-pilots – a place to share pics of ‘pets, kids or inanimate objects helping us get stuff done’. Or not helping us get stuff done, as the case may be...

Man working on computer with fluffy dog at his feet

Helping get stuff done.

Woman with cat on her lap

Not so much helping...

#Kids – because we can’t outsource them to school anymore

The #kids channel on Slack is not a new thing but it has suddenly found itself on a meteoric rise to glory. It started out with sensible ideas about how to keep the kids occupied while you’re working from home. The parents among us now visit that channel to hold virtual hands and rock.

Kids masking taped to the floor

Advice courtesy of Reddit

Hamish Blake's curriculum from Instagram

Advice courtesy of Hamish Blake

#Fun - because laughter is the antidote to the apocalypse

Again, #fun is not a new Slack channel but one that has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance lately. And how could it not? There has never been a situation more conducive to memes than #ToiletPaperGate. 

Where's Waldo - social distancing edition - cartoon

Cartoon courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press

Carona toilet paper zombies

Source unknown

Taking Harmony Day online

Friday 20 March was meant to be our annual Harmony Day lunch. In the pre-COVID world, this meant everyone would bring in a 'cultural' dish to share. Instead of ditching it completely because most of our team were working from home, we decided to stage it as a virtual event. Some still rolled up their sleeves and got cooking, while others chose to order takeaway to support their local restaurants. Then we all shared our pics over Slack.

Thai's creation

Delicacies courtesy of Thai

 A Simpsons burger and chips

'Cultural' dish was interpreted broadly by some

Delivering care packages and groceries 

Our fabulous Office Manager, Mike, has spent a good chunk of the last week and a half driving across town to deliver care packages and groceries to team members in self-quarantine (maintaining an appropriate level of social distancing, of course). 

Groceries courtesy of Mike

Groceries courtesy of Mike

Care package courtesy of Mike

Care package courtesy of Mike

Casual Friday in reverse

The vibe is generally fairly casual in the Luminary office anyway, but last week some of our team members decided to turn the concept of ‘Casual Friday’ on its head for laughs. 

Man in smart attire

Unofficial Zoom background challenge 

With last week’s Friday afternoon training session attracting a record number of online attendees, we also upped our game on Zoom virtual backgrounds – from volcanoes to Boyz 2 Men and comic strip backdrops. The stage has been set to take this challenge to the next level...

Woman with comic strip Zoom background
Man with volcano background on Zoom

And more...

On top of all that, we’ve had groups running virtual lunch meetups over Google Hangouts, one team member running a 15-minute daily ‘desk stretch’ session, and a recent farewell to a departing team member that played out like an episode of ‘This is Your Life’.

And there’s plenty more in the pipeline. We’ve got a number of online ‘team events’ currently under discussion, including a Netflix party, Friday night drinks on Zoom, virtual gaming sessions, an online board game night, virtual poker tournament, group belly dancing lessons, yoga and meditation sessions.

It’s certainly not life as we’ve known it up till now, but we're trying not to let that get us down. To all our friends and clients, we hope you stay safe and well during this challenging time and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.

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