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How Motum B2B is keeping calm in the COVID storm

We're all working remotely and staying home to help flatten the curve. So, how are we staying connected (and sane)? By Kevin Goodger Apr 14, 2020

With the sudden global emergence of COVID-19, the best thing we can all collectively do to slow the spread is to stay inside and avoid any unnecessary contact with other people. Work-from-home initiatives and country-wide lockdowns are the new norm, at least for the time being, and Motum B2B is no different.

We’re still working hard to service our clients, but for now, we’re doing so from the safety of our own homes. See our official COVID-19 statement for more information.

Working remotely makes it difficult to mentally separate our home lives from our work lives. While technology makes it easier to work from home, it’s natural to crave structure and human connection.

Here’s what Motum B2B is doing to stay calm and connected.

Daily check-ins and Brady Bunch meetings

Slack and email are fine tools to keep in touch about projects and updates from the team, but they can feel impersonal — and sometimes it’s just easier to explain something in person. That’s why each department holds a video chat check-in at the start of each day. These calls are an easy way to update each other on daily tasks and identify where we may need support, but more than that, they provide us with much-needed social interaction.

Our weekly agency meetings have also moved into the digital realm. Zoom, our video conferencing software of choice, lets us toggle the view to display everyone’s face in a Brady Bunch-style grid, so everyone can see each other at once.

These video chats help create a more collaborative remote workspace that feels a bit more like the office — and overall more connected.

Virtual Thirsty Thursdays

Since restaurants and bars around the country are closed until it’s safe to socialize in groups again, we’ve been having post-work drinks virtually though Zoom. It’s a fun way for everyone to share personal stories and some laughs while maintaining a (very) safe distance.

These informal meetings bring a sense of normalcy and togetherness: we may feel alone in our bedrooms, kitchens or living rooms, but we’re still a team. More companies are engaging in events like these to build comradery and have a little fun.

They’re also super easy to set up: simply find a day that generally works for everyone (we chose Thursdays), grab your favorite wine/beer/cocktail/non-alcoholic beverage and raise your virtual glasses.

Daily question sessions

Lisa Kemerer, Motum B2B’s President & CEO, hosts an online question session every day after lunch. Anyone can join the Zoom video call and ask questions, air any work-related concerns or just have a friendly conversation. Having these meetings in place lets everyone know they have someone to talk to, and there’s no pressure to attend.

“It’s a time to connect and share a laugh, see a friendly face, ask anything or even vent about how hard all this is,” Lisa says. “It’s important to give people the time and opportunity to reach out, which is why I blocked off a specific time every day.”

This serves as a virtual “open door” policy, which is an effective way to engage employees, increase morale and share information that may not fit into other scheduled meetings.

Netflix party!

All this time at home has provided a fantastic excuse to binge-watch your favourite shows, but everyone knows it’s better to watch with a friend (or 20). That’s why we’ve started weekly Netflix parties.

Netflix Party is a web extension that synchronizes Netflix playback for multiple viewers and allows you to have group chats for all your favourite movies and shows. Whether you’re laughing over RuPaul’s Drag Race debauchery or debating the bad guy in Tiger King, it’s a great way to lighten the mood and bring everyone together on our lunch break.

Starting the day

When you’re working from home, it’s quite possible that your workspace and your bed are closer together than the recommended social distancing space of 2 metres.

The sudden shift to remote work has upended all sense of normalcy, so much that you might find your usual morning routine slipping away. Separating your work life from your personal life may seem challenging at first, but there are little things you can do to settle into your new workspace: set boundaries with roommates or family, stick to routine hours and find a sweet spot between formal work clothes and pyjamas all day, to name a few examples.

We’ve made a habit at Motum of posting a simple “good morning” message in a shared Slack channel each day. It’s a small gesture, but it’s proven very useful for starting everyone’s workday on a positive foot.

The Harvard Business Review recently wrote about our collective grief over the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it brings, and we’re all processing that in different ways. We don’t know when or if things will return to normal. All we can do is be kind, positive and supportive of one another virtually — until we can all meet in the office once again.