For many, working from home during the pandemic can really start to drag, and is leaving employees feeling disconnected. But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of ways to fight the COVID-19 blues and keep your employees connected while working remotely.

Show appreciation

There’s no harm in sending your employees a simple thank you note in the mail. It’s low effort, easy to do, and impactful.

Taking the time to send more than an email can let your employees know you appreciate their hard work and acknowledge the struggle of working from home.

Letting them know you’re empathetic with the situation keeps up morale, and morale is what will keep your business going in a time like this.

If you want to do a little something extra, you could even give them something simple like a phone charger, mug, or candle. Gifts like these are useful for everyone stuck at home and are also very cost-effective.

Host virtual events

Until everything returns to normalcy, Zoom has become the next best way to actually see who you’re talking to. It doesn’t have to be limited to work meetings either. A great way to bring a social aspect back into the situation is to host virtual events.

This allows everyone to communicate with each other – and not just talk about work. This is especially good for maintaining positive relationships and will undoubtedly help employees feel more connected.

Why not host a virtual happy hour one day? Or even once a month? Mailing company-branded glasses to your employees as the invitation – and maybe even a bottle of wine – will have them feeling excited to have something to look forward to!

A virtual game night is another option, and could even be combined with your “virtual happy hour”. This is perfect for the non-drinkers in your office who still want to feel included with the rest of the team.

You could always mail bingo squares to each person and play a few rounds for prizes! Even a themed trivia night here and there would be a great way for employees to socialize and have a good time.

Quarantine doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. With virtual events like this, everyone can still socialize with their coworkers and have a good time – all from the comfort of their own homes.

Encourage healthy behavior

Being stuck at home can make it difficult to stay active and mentally engaged. This can be combated by encouraging healthy behavior among your employees.

Reminding them not to sit at their computer at home the entire day is very important. Yes, they’re there to work, but it helps for employees to know you do care about their health outside of typing up reports and spreadsheets.

Send out fun and healthy recipes for employees to try. Although isolated, everyone will still be doing something “together” in a way, and allows your employees to try cooking up something new instead of ordering pizza for the 3rd time that week. They can even share their thoughts on the recipe, and let everyone know how theirs turned out!

Schedule a virtual yoga class (or other exercise class) for them. Staying active is very important for your physical and mental health – and much harder to do when working from your own bed. Planning a virtual fitness class for your employees will be a great stress reliever and bonding activity for them.

Think outside the box!

Each week, emailing employees a list of new things to try will keep them interested. Maybe feature a different employee’s favorite book, movie, and quarantine activity.

This will remind everyone that they’re all in the same boat and they aren’t alone in this. It will also give them something to do when they aren’t sitting at their computer and can spark conversation between employees who weren’t previously very close.

You could also have employees send cute and silly selfies with their families, dogs, cats, etc. to share in the emails. It’ll be refreshing to see actual people (and furry friends) on their screen and is sure to bring a smile to their faces.

Let them know you care

Don’t assume they know you care, tell them.

Make sure you’re checking in with them often to see how they’re doing. You never know who may be struggling with the transition to work from home.

There’s an immense number of people being affected by the pandemic, and many have family members they’re worried about as well. This causes huge strain in all aspects of their lives, but can definitely be eased with some empathy.

Periodically remind your employees that you’re there for them and understand the anxiety they may be feeling. This is a scary time for many, but checking in occasionally and communicating with them regularly is sure to reduce stress.

Keep It Collaborative

Don’t be afraid to remind employees that you’re all working towards the same goal. It may feel like they’re working alone, but they are all still a team.

One of the best ways to keep it collaborative is to have regular zoom calls with your employees. Despite being apart, they should still see and hear each other’s faces and voices almost daily.

Constantly encourage discussion in these meetings as well. Create a safe space for employees to share their ideas, thoughts, opinions, and even COVID-coping strategies! This will keep the energy light but focused and reduce the dread of quarantining while working.

Be There For Them

Above all, be there for them. Make sure their concerns are being listened to and addressed during this unprecedented time.

While virtual happy hours and yoga classes are loads of fun, at the end of the day, employees need to feel heard and important. (You should still definitely have virtual happy hours and yoga classes though)

We don’t know how long this will last, but it won’t go on forever. Besides, doing work in your pajamas isn’t all that bad – especially if they’re company-branded pajamas from work! After all, the best way to keep employees connected is to keep them happy.