• Emily Gibson

An Optimistic Look at the Year Ahead!

Is that the light at the end of the tunnel we can see? After what can only be described as a terrible 12 months, at last we can see an end to the immediate problems caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

That’s not to say all our problems are over, but positive times are ahead.

Today, we'd like to focus on ways to lift the spirits in your teams – after all, isn’t it time we had a little fun?

We’ve also included our ten top reasons to be happy… perhaps you will comment and share with us your ideas of positivity too?

Lifting Your Team’s Spirits

It’s important to remember that the effects of the pandemic have impacted everyone in very different ways. There have been periods of change, extreme multitasking, compromise both in work and at home and undoubtedly a high level of uncertainty for a long stretch of time.

Many individuals are coping with financial struggles, domestic and parental tensions, physical fitness, depression, anxiety and sadly bereavement. All topped off with being isolated from our regular support networks.

So perhaps this year we need to be a little more understanding, a little more patient and certainly more kind!

So, what can you do?

Say Thank You!

Why not tell your employees just how much you appreciate their patience and hard work over the past year? A simple show of thanks can work wonders whether they’ve been working on-site in full PPE, juggling home-schooling and work, or working from home in their tiny, garden-less flat for the past year.

Showing your gratitude doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, a thoughtful gesture, such as a handwritten card has a far greater impact than any monetary reward. Consider a volunteering day or an extra day leave this year to give everyone a chance to do something they enjoy or help a charity within the community.

Pet Therapy

Pets have brought joy to many of us during lockdown and with the inevitable increase in home-working the ‘lockdown puppy’ phase is unlikely to be over soon. So, can you introduce a pets-at-work day in your office to alleviate the worries of finding doggy day care. There are real benefits to having a pet in the office. In fact, studies show that having animals in the workplace reduce stress and improve productivity.

Show-Off Your Skills

The past year has meant some of us have found the time to learn new skills and challenged our own abilities. Did they learn to hula-hoop, play ukulele, create amazing videos, run 10k or master the crow-pose. Perhaps you can encourage your teams to share their experiences with the business, either socially or perhaps even as an in-house competition. Perfect for teams who won’t be back on site for a while and especially for those outgoing types.

Innovation Everywhere

Innovation days are a great way of motivating employees to come up with new ideas and really feel partnered with the business. You can run them remotely or on-site; the premise is the same. Select a topic that would benefit from employee input and invite everyone to add their thoughts. Google Jamboard, WhatsApp or Slack are all great places to store your team’s ideas. There are only a few rules:

  • No idea is a bad idea

  • Everyone must contribute

  • Be respectful and fair

  • Anonymous ideas are welcome

Not sure where to start? How about looking at work-life balance or community support?

Community days

It’s been a while since anyone had a team offsite – please, no more Zoom quizzes! But society has moved on in the past year so what was normal 18 months ago might not feel as appealing now. Consider turning your next team offsite into an event that benefits the local community. Whether its about helping the environment, lending a hand at a local hospital or hospice or supporting a nearby school there are plenty of feel-good activities you can do to bond with your team, have some fun and benefit your local area.

Top 10 Reasons to be Happy!

You often only realise how far we’ve come when you stop and take stock. So here's 10 reasons to be happy:

  1. The vaccine! If you want it, it’s there for the taking. All UK adults will have been offered the first dose of the vaccine by the start of the summer – hooray!

  2. The end of home-schooling. Children (and parents) have never felt so happy about the prospect of school.

  3. The return to the office. For those of us who “go” to work, we get to wear proper clothes, style our hair and perhaps even enjoy a commute. Making tea for the team will never have felt so good.

  4. At last, we all know how to wash our hands and respect the need to stay away from others if we feel unwell… will the common cold become a thing of the past?

  5. Social events are back on the cards. Never has a crowded bar sounded more inviting!

  6. News from over the pond is a lot quieter… the new US president is ushering in a more respectful, less divisive era.

  7. We’ve seen the fabulous result of less travel; can we sustain this for longer to be a healthier planet in the future. I imagine there will be many more updates on this over the next few years.

  8. Hugs are (nearly) back! At last, we can see a time to hug our parents, friends and even our co-workers.

  9. This year, the galaxy is putting on some natural theatre for us in the form of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower, (dust particles from Halley’s comet) will peak on the night of 5th- 6th May, giving us plenty of shooting stars to wish on.

  10. Our communities have become stronger. We know the names of all our neighbours and genuinely care about the people around us.

Got more to add? We’d love to hear them.

And on a final note, we should all reflect on what we have learned as an individual and as a global community in our efforts to beat the virus. We have lived through an era that will make history – we’ll talk of the time you couldn’t get loo roll or eggs; we’ll laugh at the number of times a day we said ‘you’re on mute!’; we’ll always sing ‘happy birthday’ when we wash our hands; and we’ll never take for granted our key workers that have been the true heroes of this time.

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