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Using Culture to Cope During a Pandemic Part 2: Employee Wellness

by Daphney Addotta
April 27, 2020

Wellness at the Forefront

According to a survey conducted in a 2020 Gallup analytics, four in 10 U.S. workers strongly agree that their supervisor or someone at works cares about them. At Mediacurrent, we make it a duty to care and support our employees staying healthy mentally and physically. We realize the lack of action here can have serious implications for an organization. That applies doubly-so during times of emergency and high-stress situations. Here’s how we make sure our employees are heard and know that someone cares about them.

Employee Feedback Loops

Feedback loops are biweekly check-ins conducted by managers and their direct reports and others on their team. These meetings are a very high priority and taken very seriously at Mediacurrent. They take precedence over  other meetings and focus time, but when an emergency situation arises where the manager is needed elsewhere, the employee is communicated to and the meeting is rescheduled for as soon as possible. The feedback loops are not only to see where a team member is with the work, but they are used as a way to see how an employee is dealing with the different changes taking place around and within them. 

Team Check-Ins

In addition to management feedback loops, we also cultivate employee wellness by encouraging teammates to check-in with each other. This helps the team to know people are thinking of them and it prompts team members to think about other people. During Covid-19, we strongly encourage our employees and other companies to be mindful and look out for signals of cabin fever that may be caused by isolation. 

A few ways our teams check in with each other is by either hosting music sessions, it started when one of our employees used a Spotify Premium feature which allowed teammates to listen to music together, despite being remote. Other team members decided to host 30-day challenges, often aimed at personal health goals . These members of the team come together and practice healthy habits , sometimes facing off in friendly competition. And some employees decide to meet and catch up during a virtual lunch. 

Act of Kindness Gifts

Actions speak louder than words, and sometimes team members may not have as much time with the team to talk about what they’re going through. We want to make sure that we are sending reminders of the support employees have when times are tough. Every week, we recognize one person with a random act of kindness. Employees are gifted with a small token of kindness, and we try to pay particular attention to those that are having something significant happen in their life. Sometimes it also acts as a way to show random appreciation for an employee and something they’ve done.

Stress Management Resources

As everyone manages stress in their own ways, we try to provide best practices for different techniques of stress management. Further, we encourage employees to look into different relaxation techniques if they are feeling overwhelmed. The best suggestion we’ve found is to practice listening to your body often and pay particular attention when doing things that typically help relieve stress, like taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating, praying, or engaging in activities you enjoy. 

When Covid-19 began to make a large impact on our teams’ lives, we made the decision to provide team members with a time to destress and encourage wellness during work hours. This took the form of one of our Weekly Wellness Activities described below.

Acts of Encouragement

Negative messaging can be prevalent in our lives, especially during tough times. To help steer the team toward positivity, and to reinforce a positive culture through team building, we started sending out messages to brighten up everyone’s day. We do this regularly through daily and weekly motivational messaging, which includes activities that our team does together or comes back later to discuss.

On the Daily

As we mention in the Team Building blog, our daily emails and Slack messages are a direct dose of positive information and optional, mood-boosting activities. The messaging started shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak—we realized people were trying to find an understanding of how to cope with all the apparent changes, and we wanted to help. 

The original message was a positive quote and a list of current free resources to explore. It then progressed to a wide variety of helpful tips and fun activities, including what to cook during a quarantine, skills and hobbies to try, how to focus on your personal well being, and other helpful tips on how we can survive the changes in the world. 

While the variety in daily messages can be fun for some teams, we found a rhythm that gave our team some consistency while still highlighting different subjects. That increased involvement with our posts and we found more of our team participating in the wellness-focused group activities and discussion. We now send similar categories each day: 

  • Quote of the day

  • Free resource (this changes depending on what’s available that week)

  • Entertainment for families

  • Random fact of the day

  • Inspirational article (usually shared by a team member)

  • Reminder of the weekly team-building challenge 

  • (Optional) Reminder of weekly team-building activity

Weekly Wellness Activities

As the daily inspirations for our team are passive in nature, throughout the week we added several mental health activities for employees to participate in for promoting self-care. These activities are dedicated to giving our team dedicated time to improve themselves and their mental health, either with calming techniques, simply sharing with each other, or by making it into a game. To see what we do on other days of the week, check out our Team Building blog.

Mondays

Peaks of the Week: At the beginning of the week we send out a spreadsheet to the team to collect all their highlights of the week—we call them Peaks. We encourage employees to highlight at least one good thing that was accomplished this week. Writing down and seeing others’ Peaks encourages our team to be positive and fosters discussion.

Wednesdays

Virtual Day Party: it’s got an interesting name, but this mood-boosting session is simple in nature. The team comes together to tune into some upbeat music, chat with each other, dance if they want (at least one person usually ends up swaying), and take a 15-minute break mid-morning or before they start off their day (for all of our much-loved West-Coast teammates). This hang-out session gives our team a positive start on their day and a chance to loosen up with each other before they dive into their meetings and work.

Thursdays

Virtual Yoga and meditation: every other Thursday we host a 15-minute Meditation Session. This calming activity encourages us to focus on wellbeing and mental health. During these virtual sessions, the team is led by trained professionals with different breathing and stretching techniques. We have a group activity where everyone can join a Zoom call and do a 15-minute yoga class or meditative session together, but if someone isn’t comfortable joining the group, they can access the pre-recorded instructor video and follow the exercise on their own. If you’re looking for a way to do this without spending any money, there is a large yoga community on Youtube—just be sure to pay attention to the instructor and make sure that they know what they’re doing.

We’ll Get Through This Together

No matter what you end up doing to support your team’s mental health, just be sure to make it clear that they are valued and appreciated. Listen to what people are saying and provide them with opportunities to destress or talk to someone. More than ever, employees are looking for your support.

Meet team member, Daphney Addotta

Daphney utilizes her expertise in recruiting technical resources, communication, and human resources to help her excel in her role as Recruitment and Culture Coordinator. In this unique role at Mediacurrent, she focuses on creating meaningful, genuine, and individualized full lifecycle experiences for candidates as well as ensuring that our culture stays top-notch for all of our employees. 

Prior to Mediacurrent, Daphney began her career as an Assistant in Human Resouces at Georgia State and followed with a role as an intern of Attorney Hiring at Alston and Bird Law Firm. She found her way to technical recruitment while working at a startup called Adot Technology where she learned the ins-and-outs of recruiting positions like Developers and she even learned a little coding while she was at it. She then began as a recruiter at M9 Solutions Staffing Agency where she was able to fill resources for numerous projects with top Global System Integrators. 

Daphney is a Disney movie buff and has been playing tennis since middle school. Outside of work, you can find her traveling or hanging out with her family. 

Learn more about Daphney >

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