Recruiters find ways to maintain staff morale at home

With many recruiters being forced to work from home, many for the first time because of coronavirus, companies are turning to innovative ways to maintain their staff’s morale.

Virtual yoga sessions, virtual coffees and beers, and video lunches with colleagues are just some of the ways that recruiters working remotely are responding as the global pandemic threatens to tighten its grip on the nation’s collective psyche.

James Ballard, founding partner at Annapurna Recruitment, told Recruiter that on Wednesday the company held a virtual HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session, with staff able to join in remotely from home. While on Monday, he said, the firm will be holding a virtual yoga session, with a yoga practitioner who normally comes into the office. “Not everybody does it, but the good things is that there are no restrictions on numbers who can join in,” said Ballard.

Ryan Cleland-Bogle, CEO of Tempting Ventures, told Recruiter that “a lot of WhatsApp groups and amazing coronavirus videos were what [has been] keeping people going this week”. However, he said that that it was too early “to fully tell how people were feeling”.

Charlotte Rush, head of group marketing at professional recruiter Morgan Hunt, said: “With our teams across the country working from home, the fun elements of office life are being missed. Collaborating with the HR team, we’re working on encouraging some fun and engaging communications with the teams to help keep everyone motivated, including sharing jokes and songs of the day, or what’s on the lunch menu? And more light-hearted banter to offer a silver lining in these extraordinary working situations.”

Simon Roderick, managing director at financial and legal recruiter Fram Search, told Recruiter: “We are total tea lovers and so the most fun thing is to have a virtual tea together. It’s only been a few days and we’re missing the fun we have together normally. Maybe this dreadful situation makes us appreciate our colleagues more.”

Morgan Hunt is also taking action to look after staff’s mental health and wellbeing while they are working on their own. This includes the HR department offering guidance for staff to keep their working day as "normal" as possible, such as sticking to their daily routine, setting up an office space somewhere else in the house other than a bedroom, and taking breaks for lunch and time away from the screen. 

The company has also set up regular video conferencing sessions headed up by MD Dan Taylor offering reassuring messages to ensure morale is kept up across all of the divisions and teams. Dan says: “Communication is paramount at the moment. By keeping in touch with everyone and being as ‘present’ as possible, I hope to give reassurance where I can.”

Ali Wallace, founder and MD at marketing and advertising recruitment agency DNA Recruit, who like all his staff is working from home, told Recruiter that in the present situation, contact with staff was vital, suggesting that bosses need to have daily one to ones with all staff. 

Harriet Secker, a partner at technology and finance recruiter KnownFour, who has worked remotely at home for three years, says that modern technology significantly reduces the chances of recruiters feeling isolated. She says the company uses a product that creates a virtual office, adding, “the great things about digital optics is you’re no longer isolated, you’re with people, you can turn on your speaker and talk to anyone anytime, more or less, provided they’re not on the phone.”

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