4 Ways to Keep Spirits Up With Your Remote Coworkers

Be a superhero teammate from home

smiling chat bubbles
Feedback is your friend when working from home. Getty Images
Headshot of Laura Stude

My team is remote, and we’ve retained all our workers. By day, I run A/B tests on brands’ websites to help drive revenue and better understand their audiences. So, it should come as no surprise that I recommend organizations test to discover what works and doesn’t. Feedback is your friend, especially now.

Every organization is different, so some of the suggestions that follow may need to be altered. However, human beings are fundamentally similar, and we all need to feel connected, appreciated and trusted. Here are four unique ways I’ve learned to help boost morale, reward healthy routines and help teammates retain their sanity during these weird times.

The key to success here is making conversations more purposeful than simply catching up.

Encourage self-care and support healthy habits

We have a self-care channel in our company Slack where people post activities they’re participating in and are entered in a random monthly drawing to win a $50 gift card. This helps encourage teammates to take time for self-care and also has the added bonus of giving visibility into our team’s hobbies, interests and activities. I’ve had the pleasure of learning that my coworkers cook tasty looking empanadas, are teaching their kids to ride bikes, build their own furniture and do many other activities that I may not have known about otherwise.

Another thing we do are “in this together” challenges, wherein we all participate and hold one another accountable. Most recently, a 30-day ab challenge was our white whale (and, boy, did it require motivation from the team).

Go the extra mile to check in

We won’t know the effects of social distancing for a while, but I do know how to prevent staff from feeling so isolated today. In order to truly know how your people are doing, you have to reach out now more than ever. I recommend starting with scheduling more frequent one-on-ones with employees. Put more virtual morning coffees or Zoom happy hours on the calendar. Leaders should encourage everyone in the company to schedule these social gatherings, too, since it strengthens bonds and may even create cross-departmental collaborations.

The key to success here is making conversations more purposeful than simply catching up. Ask how people are doing on a human level. Send a message to teammates or ask if they’re available for a five-minute call, even when it isn’t on the calendar. No agenda is needed; simply telling people you’re thinking about them and appreciate them can really brighten their days. Find out if they’ve found new ways to stay busy or if they picked up that hobby they mentioned in mid-March. Drop a daily morning question so the team can learn more about one another. A quick Google search will yield some good questions, and there are many bots you can create that automate the asking if you don’t wish to do it manually.

We also have teammates share their Amazon wishlist links and will often randomly send them something from it or tell them to use the company credit card to purchase a product from one of our clients while they’re testing the site. We recently had a teammate buy a new condo so we had him pick out some cookware from one of our clients as a housewarming gift. Those seemingly little things demonstrate to employees that you pay attention and view them as human beings, not just numbers on a spreadsheet.

Go out of your way to recognize teammates

We have a humble brag channel on Slack where we post things we appreciate about teammates using the power thank you format, which starts with thanking the person for something specific that they did for you.

screenshot of a slack conversation with a shared photo of a path

Laura Stude is cofounder of surefoot.