How Heka is working from home: using a wellness focus to boost team motivation and engagement

Similarly to thousands of other companies around the UK, around a week ago our team started  working remotely. While the distribution and delivery of keyboards, monitors and office chili plants proved quite troublesome, we can confidently say that the current circumstances haven’t compromised team performance or well-being in the slightest. Why? We attribute it to the systems we have put in place. Everything from daily sharing of our "sanity tips" to weekly socials for everyone to catch up.

Here are some of the initiatives we have implemented, try them out and see what works for your team.

1. Set a daily and weekly  structure

In an attempt to maintain a routine of sorts, we have all agreed to the following check-ins; video stand-up at 9am, lunch between 12pm and 2pm and a video sit-down at 5:45pm. These times serve to share our progress and achievements, but also to catch up, have a chat and learn about people’s plans for the evening. On a weekly basis, we have also set times for “Show and tell”, “Thursday lunch club”, “Life stories” and “Friday wins”.

2. Set communication expectations

Given the fact that waving at someone across the desk is no longer an option, we have made it as easy as possible to communicate with other team members using the technology at hand. We use public Slack channels to ensure no messages are lost and jump on video calls when possible to discuss any ideas. Furthermore, a “Cheer” channel has been created to ensure that no effort or achievement goes unnoticed. In circumstances like this, it is definitely better to “over-communicate” rather than to leave people feeling confused or unengaged in the conversation.

3. Weekly challenges

In order to maintain things interesting (as they generally are around the office), we have set up challenges such as “Best work-station set-up” and a “Sticker” competition. The latter consists of each team member placing a company sticker in the most creative and unusual place possible. While this proved harder for those of us in quarantine, there was certainly no lack of creativity. We have also implemented daily movement challenges and a Wednesday run club to inspire everyone to keep active and healthy.

4. Prioritise well-being

As it can be expected, we don’t take wellness lightly at Heka. Our monthly Wellness Wednesdays have turned into weekly events where we all join a virtual yoga session, meditation or HIIT class. At the same time, strict rules have been put in place to ensure people maintain a work-life balance, for instance, no messaging on work channels after 6pm. Furthermore, we make the most use of our “Sweat” slack channel and encourage other people to join in any live fitness classes we have booked. Finally our “coffee-break” channel and daily “hangout meet” encourage and empower everyone to take a break when needed and most importantly, to do it in the company of others.