To say that the last 12 months have been hard on our team would be an understatement. Like so many others, they’ve had to adapt to an entirely new way of working; face-to-face meetings swapped for Zoom calls, morning trips to the office exchanged for ‘fake commutes’, and impromptu workplace chit-chat replaced by office social apps.
So what’s kept us all holding on?
On the run up to Companies that Care Day, a number of our team members suggested we share some of the things we’re doing behind the scenes to support a healthy work-life balance and boost morale. We headed straight to our team Slack channel to learn about their favourites and here’s what they said … 12 happy ways TDL are motivating the team behind the scenes …
1. The Data Lab Culture Group
As we continue to grow our team and community, it’s been important to develop and communicate our culture and values. Our cross team Culture Working Group meet monthly to contribute ideas from across the organisation, ensuring that we are truly embracing The Data Lab values: Grow, Respect, Support and Innovate.
2. An early response to the pandemic
Last March, as the severity of what was about to happen began to take hold, our management decided to implement a work-from-home strategy. This came a week before the Government made its official announcement and our CEO put out a blog addressing the plans for the team’s wellbeing.
3. Mindfulness Hour
Sometimes you just need a pit stop! Every week we give people a ‘Mindfulness Hour’, letting them choose what they want to do with it. Catch up on a box-set? Go for a walk? Read a book? It’s your choice.
Our team are a social bunch, so it was very early on in our remote-working journey that we realised they were missing something really important – a good chin wag whilst topping up the coffee pot! The Donut for Slack app allows everyone to opt into a once-weekly virtual coffee date with a colleague; encouraging informal catch-ups and opportunities to develop ideas that would have previously sprung up from impromptu conversations. They can opt out at any time (no judgement) and some of us have even used it as an excuse to get out for a real-life (socially distanced) donut. Yummy!
5. A flexible & trusting attitude
One of our team members told us,
“Even pre-lockdown, I really appreciated the flexible and trusting attitude I experienced from my managers towards getting your hours done in a week – really valuable when you are juggling school pick-ups etc. We now make this family-friendly, flexible attitude official when we advertise new posts.”
6. Hand-written Christmas cards from our CEO
It might sound like a small gesture, but this one was a popular one with our team. We each received a specially designed Data Lab Christmas card with a thoughtful letter about our individual contribution. All of them were hand-written by our Chief Executive Officer, Gillian Docherty OBE.
7. Christmas boxes from Santa
… and whilst we’re talking about Christmas … our Business Development Executive Adam Turner swapped his suit jacket for a Santa hat to deliver Christmas gift boxes in preparation for our virtual festive party.
8. Daily morning chats and Thirsty Thursday
Did we mention we’re a social bunch? Alongside Donut socials, our team can choose whether they pop into our daily catch up call for a team gossip – recent top-level discussions have included, “How do you dispose of your tea bag” and, “What’s your go-to oven temperature”.
Social gatherings are further encouraged by a Thirsty Thursday offering. We swap coffee for something a little stronger and settle down at 5pm for casual conversation.
9. Free fitness & wellbeing sessions
Hands up if you now own a corrective posture pillow or a fancy new laptop stand! Working from home has removed a lot of the small physical activities we once took for granted: moving to a meeting room, heading out for a lunch break, etc. In a bid to boost energy levels and keep our Data Lab team flexible, we now have qualified professionals join us for weekly fitness and wellbeing sessions.
10. Credit where credit is due
With so many experts on our team, we’re never shy of something to write about. Our employees told us that something they always appreciate is getting a name check when a blog is posted or a project is celebrated across social media.
11. You’ve got a friend in me
Did you know that The Data Lab have employed 14 new people since lockdown began? A new job is tough enough without having to learn the ropes over a screen. We now have a buddy system in place to help build new relationships across teams and allow people to support one another.
12. A note to say we’re thinking of you
It’s not usually something we’d usually shout from the hill tops, however, a point that we were asked to include …
Sadly, a number of The Data Lab team have lost loved ones during the past year. We made sure to send flowers to grieving employees on behalf of their full Data Lab family.
The need for organisations to step up to the plate and seriously prioritise their employee well-being is more apparent than ever before. As we slip deeper in2021, brand values are now an important factor when drawing new talent (and retaining existing expertise) – and they’re impossible to fake long term! We hope this post inspires new team welfare discussions and we’d love to hear how your organisation is working to keep employees motivated!