With hybrid and remote working the new post-pandemic normal, what can we do to stay connected?
According to a number of recent studies, loneliness and lack of human interaction can be harmful to our mental and physical health (I read somewhere it’s the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day!). No longer can we have those impromptu ‘watercooler’ moments, and if you’re anything like me, living and working with your family was shiny to begin with, but now I’m itching to reconnect with my work mates!
At DiUS, we’ve tried and tested a number of ways for us to stay connected—everything from virtual coffee catch ups to online yoga, Gartic Phone and fitness classes—and while some of these activities make a regular appearance on our social calendar, others have been a little less successful. So, in the spirit of continuous improvement and rejuvenating our workforce, we’ve recently come up with five things we’ll be doing in 2022 to stave off loneliness, increase social connection, celebrate our people, and stay mentally and physically fit.
Getting social in and out of the office
We’re a social bunch, so the last two years have been a little difficult. But thankfully, things are looking up! Aside from our weekly special interest groups (catered of course ?) and brown bags, monthly all hands meetings, annual company updates and end of year celebrations, this year we’ll also be introducing some more informal in-person and virtual events to our social calendar, such as:
- Hosting monthly DiUS Social Club events. We’ve recently had a couple of virtual events that included DIY terrarium making at home, and an online Paint & Sip (love llama’s!). And in April, we’re coordinating an in person Go Karting event.
- Re-imagining our bi-annual Innovation Days (formally known as ‘hack days’), while helping our clients solve real-world challenges.
- Connecting our newbies with scheduled virtual coffee catch ups (we use the Donut Slack app for anyone interested!), and hosting monthly drinks at our Sydney and Melbourne offices.
- Facilitating virtual get-togethers and games for our people based around Australia, in New Zealand and Tokyo.
Celebrating our cultural diversity
In our most recent employee engagement survey, our people told us they wanted to learn more about our diverse culture. So with that in mind, we’ll be celebrating our people through a number of diversity days—celebrated in-person and/or virtually—here’s what you’ll find on our social calendar in 2022.
- We held roundtable discussions about helping #BreakTheBias on International Women’s Day on 8 March, with further discussions planned on how we get uncomfortable and open about how this plays out in our workplace.
- We celebrated our cultural diversity (with food of course, as well as sharing hobbies and cultural interests) during Harmony Week from 15 – 21 March.
- Raising funds for World Autism Day on 4 April.
- Supporting our LGBTQIA+ community and celebrating IDAHOBIT Day on 8 May.
- Celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during NAIDOC Week from 3 – 10 July 2022.
- Celebrating Wear it Purple Day on 26 August and supporting young LGBTQIA+ in our community.
We also regularly share and discuss important days in the calendar across religion, cultural and social causes to build awareness and enable a sense of inclusion and belonging for all people.
Putting our mental and physical health at the forefront
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that our mental and physical health go hand in hand. So, this year we’ll be partnering with The Resilience Builders to host a number of webinars throughout the year on staying mentally and physically fit and resilient. Additionally, with people trickling back into the office, we’ll be bringing back DiUS Fitclub (yep, group fitness is back!), as well as:
- Introducing some ‘friendly’ competition, while supporting a number of charities, including the Push-Up Challenge, Steptember and Burpees 4 Boobs.
- Making R U OK? part of our everyday conversations, not just on 8 September.
- Tackling ‘zoom fatigue’ by encouraging our people to head outdoors with more walking meetings.
Giving back to the communities in which we live and work
Our people are passionate about giving back to the communities in which they live and work. We’ve asked our people to nominate and vote on the charities that matter most to them, and will support one charity a quarter by getting involved in a number of in-person and virtual events to provide support, raise awareness and donate funds to those who need it most.
Now, social calendar aside… acts of kindness is where it’s at! While we already have a Slack channel dedicated to recognising and celebrating our people, we think it’s time to step it up a notch! We’ll be trialing a number of different initiatives, such as ? virtual cards of appreciation ? and Kindness Tag (yep, it’s a thing and you can learn all about it, here!).
So, if you’re like us, and are looking for ways to increase social connection (with actual humans and less house plants) in the new hybrid and remote post-pandemic normal, I’d love to hear from you! You can catch me on email or LinkedIn.