Digital charades, online coffee breaks and collaborative playlists

An illustration of a mobile device with the drama symbols and music symbols.

How we’re making self-isolation fun, not just functional

I write this from a very privileged position that I (and the wider Amiqus team) do not take for granted. I work for a business that has embraced remote working for several years, with 50% of our team based outside of Edinburgh (where we’re headquartered). We’re lucky enough to have had time to understand the challenges and intricacies of working from home. How to manage security, unstable internet connections, remote design sprints, productivity, trust and wellbeing.

As we made the decision to transition to mandatory remote working for all this week, the wellbeing of the team is critical. Responsible leadership is about enabling others to be their best regardless of circumstance and situation. Small changes and creativity can go a long way. We also know from experience that our main concern with a fully remote team is not that they won’t get their work done, but that they won’t take enough time for themselves to relax and have fun.

We’ve ramped up our efforts to keep everyone’s spirits lifted over the past week (and will continue to do so). So, we thought we’d share some of the things we’re doing to help make self-isolation fun, not just functional.

Amiqus Radio

A screenshot of the Spotify system that we use of our weekly Amiqus radio competition.

We’ve talked about doing this for a while. I’m really glad that we waited.

We have a collaborative playlist on Spotify and a weekly theme. We ask the team to add one song that best meets the theme. This week we have uplifting songs to sing in the shower and we’re really enjoying listening together and bantering over song choices and those that have broken the rules and posted more than one song. You know who you are.

Online coffee breaks

This is something we’ve been doing for a while one-to-one. To date, we’ve been pairing up team members for a 20 minute coffee break every two weeks, using a Slack application called Donut. But given many of us that are used to connecting in person, we’ve switched things up and encouraged the team to get together for a chat and a cuppa over Zoom whenever they fancy. Yesterday we had a bring a hat theme.

A picture taken of colleagues gathering for a digital coffee break on a laptop.

Digital charades

We’ve booked in a regular slot on Friday lunchtimes for fun and games. This week we are planning a game of digital charades over Zoom. We’ve also discussed the possibility of an online quiz, murder mystery or escape room.

Yoga Mondays

We’ve been getting the team moving, breathing and meditating via Wellness Wednesdays (which you can read all about here) for some months now. But with the whole team avoiding gyms, yoga studios and running clubs, we’re adding in a regular yoga slot to assist in keeping tight muscles, repetitive strain injuries, stress and low moods at bay.

And the rest

Mocktail making competitions, Miro Pictionary, Netflix parties, wine and craft beer tasting, bake offs, art classes, Psych app and pet parties. These are just some of the many ideas we’ve had. And we’ll keep them coming if it means supporting those around us in keeping spirits high and embracing a new way of connecting with their colleagues.

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