In these stressful times, it’s easy to swap out your daily exercise for an evening Netflix binge. So many of us started out with good intentions for each lockdown through the pandemic. We told ourselves we’d be able to make more time for a morning run or an evening HITT session when we didn’t have a commute to worry about, but lockdown fatigue can set in with the most committed of us.
It’s not hard to understand why this has happened so we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, but the thing to remember is that we can easily beat fatigue and decreased energy levels by making small changes to our daily working lives. Enter walking and talking! Staring at a screen and jumping from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting every day can really take its toll, which is why some companies are opting to incorporate more activity whilst still being productive.
Here are eight ways that you can implement a more active culture amongst your company’s remote workforce, and be much more productive as a result:
1. Regularly ditch the screens for meetings
Screen-free meetings are a great way to unplug and potentially incorporate some activity into your day. Giving your team the option in weekly meetings to turn off their camera and be present whilst away from their desks, perhaps doing yoga, a short walk or even making their lunch, is a great way to get them moving around and breaking up their day at home.
2. Set your team an active challenge
Keep your team motivated by organizing an exercise challenge that can be done during team meetings. This could be as simple as a walking challenge where the team has to reach a certain number of miles, depending on the size of your team, or perhaps as far as China or the USA. You could even make it into a group fundraiser and do some good for charity as well as your team’s energy levels!
3. Rethink meeting habits
Take a look at your schedule for the week – in current circumstances odds are that it’s full of various Zoom meetings. Do they all have to be a video call? Try, if possible, to convert one or two into a phone call so you have the option to go for a walk or do some exercise – you could even encourage the other person to do the same!
4. Encourage unplugging throughout the day
Sometimes, it’s natural to feel like you can’t be gone too long for lunch, and team members can feel guilty or unproductive for taking extra time at lunch to go out for some exercise. Counteract that by giving them the flexibility to go out and get fresh air during a meeting, and still feel like they are making a contribution and being productive.
5. Organise a scavenger hunt
Challenge your team to find and collect certain things in their local area and share them with the group. This will depend on where your team are based – in built-up cities or more rural areas – and also whether or not they are isolating for health reasons, so make sure you set tasks that are inclusive of everyone.
6. Give your team a mid-afternoon energy boost
Mid-afternoon is when energy levels tend to dip in the office, and working from home can exacerbate this. Do you have an afternoon video call that could be turned into a walk and talk-style meeting to give your team a chance to get out of the house for a bit? Why not give it a try?
7. Create opportunities for team engagement
Similar to the scavenger hunt, getting people to share photos of their local area or something interesting they’ve seen out on their afternoon walk is a great way to galvanize people to get outside, and also provides opportunities to chat and get to know each other whilst remote working.
8. Be a role model to your team
Team leaders and line managers often set the tone for how the rest of the team conduct themselves during the working day. Are you making enough time to take screen breaks, stay active and unplug, or do you have back-to-back Zoom calls throughout your day? Set a good example and encourage your team to get out and about and stay as active as they can – it will pay massive dividends when it comes to the productivity and wellbeing of staff.
Now more than ever, we are all putting pressure on ourselves to perform at work in extraordinary circumstances. Taking every opportunity we have to be kind to ourselves and look after our physical and mental wellbeing is the only way to create a productive remote working culture. So what are you waiting for, get walking!
I have spent my life’s work enabling individuals, teams and organisations to perform at their best. A leadership and organisational culture expert, I advise some of the