I’m guessing you are feeling a bit lonely right now. Working from home distances us from friends and everyday interactions.
Adding to this is the fact that many of the social communities we all engage with for entertainment and support are presently facing their own challenges.
For me, the first time I really noticed this was when the football stopped. No more sports banter. No Match of the Day. No Fantasy Football.
This leaves a substantial part of our imaginations free to run riot. And your mind has plenty of ammunition to pick from at present to encourage negative thoughts.
I am very lucky compared to many others. One significant tribe that will remain in place for me is the team I work alongside.
The emotional and intellectual support offered by my company and colleagues has never had a higher value to me. The salary will also help.
Every employer and employee has the opportunity to pull together to strengthen and safeguard their own tribes.
Recognising the tremendous value of your professional community is a great starting point, and one many may overlook. So are their practical things you can do to reinforce it?
My area of expertise is gamification. Game designers leverage the strength of clans, shared identify and a communal sense of purpose in everything we do.
I assume you are already using chat groups and web conferencing. Here are five other ideas:
1) Wear your colours
Games brand their clans relentlessly. Crests. Colours. Avatar clothing. Catch phrases. Dance moves!
So do the same. For example, a simple trick to reinforce a feeling of community is to wear your company branded clothing at home. Many employees have them. From caps to tracksuit coats. Think of them as a life jacket from social isolation. You’ll feel stupid saying it to people, but it works.
If nothing else, set your windows backdrop to a picture of your team. Remind yourself you are not alone.
2) Stay on target
Keep your people on point. In games we upskill players all the time, but we never allow the player to stop practicing the basic moves.
All those value propositions and USPs painted on your office walls are currently gathering dust where no one can see them. Refocus on what really counts on a regular basis, or people will lose their way.
3) Set clear goals
This is not a time for side quests. We are playing through the main story arc on a daily basis. Goals should be bite-sized (but with a clear progression path), achievable and easy to understand.
Keep minds occupied, or they will wander.
4) Ramp up praise
At every opportunity, praise your people. Let them know how valued they are. Computer games, especially on mobile, constantly congratulate the player. Be the shining light of hope and opportunity.
Everyone is stressed. Now, more than ever, make a conscious effort to be grateful. Stick a post it note on your desk reminding you to do so.
5) Go mobile, 24 / 7
You no doubt have a regular Skype chat with your team already setup. But what about outside of work hours? Can you support your people with content then? It’s often late at night you want something to distract your mind with.
Have you got videos for them to watch? Learning games for them to play? Puzzles to solve. Bite-sized mobile content is perfect for this.
So there are five ideas. Have you got any more you can suggest?
Stay safe and look after each other.
About the author
Mike Hawkyard is the founder of www.Gamebrain.co.uk, part of the Access Group – Gamebrain is a heavily gamified learning reinforcement tool, delivered on phones and tablets. It was built from the ground up to make players feel part of a tribe.
It is designed to refresh knowledge and refocus your team on key topics. The core of the product revolves around personalised avatars, branded to your company.