A toolkit by Human Inc
The Coronavirus outbreak has called for an overnight shift towards digitising our ways of working, beyond what we are used to. As we slowly adjust to being divided by screens, there’s also the loss of human touch to our daily work routine that we have to get used to. There are numerous tips online on how to manage a work-life balance while working from home and hacks to deal with painstaking tech issues, but not enough on how to stay human.
Research has shown that as human beings, we thrive from receiving and giving the right amount of touch. However, it’s not just physical contact that keeps us going. A ‘human touch’ is all that comes with being human: our voice, care, warmth, words, support, and trust.
At Human Inc, these experiences manifest through our daily interactions — the assuring tone of our supportive managers and colleagues, the wins (big and small) and failures we celebrate together, the choice of music we play for clients during workshops, what we take into consideration as we design the perfect learning experience, and many more. We make sure to give and ask for these because it’s important for us to have our needs met in order to put out quality work for our clients and maintain a healthy working environment for everyone.
Medical News Today outlines the following as direct benefits of involving human touch in our lives:
Promotes trust and security
Strengthens team dynamics
Greater learning engagement
With the onset of working from home and being divided by screens, human touch is of limited access. So how can we make sure that we don’t lose our humanness? Here are four things that we at Human Inc have been doing the past month to stay human!
1. THEMED COFFEE STAND-UPS - PLAYFUL START OF THE DAY
Every morning for half an hour, we catch up with each other and set our goals for the day. However, we add some playfulness - we have to dress up. It’s important to align our goals for the day/week and share our capacity to help others. At the same time, it’s important that we laugh together to stay connected, especially now that we’re separated by a screen. Work and play should go hand-in-hand and these themed stand-ups allow us to kick start the day with a smile.
2. COFFEE CHANNEL - WORK, LUNCH AND CHAT
We have an open video channel for anyone to enter for a touch of humanness. When we’re not sprinting on a deliverable or connecting with a client over a call, we hop onto the open coffee channel to work together in silence with the familiar background noise of keyboard clicking. If anyone tunes in during lunch, we have a virtual lunch often consisting of comparing dishes and sharing new recipes. This channel gives us emotional support and makes it easier to take a break to connect with a random colleague, just like we would in the office.
3. E-FRIYAYS - CONNECT & COMPETE
For the past year we have dedicated 1 hour at the end of every Friday purely for socialising — we call it FriYAY. This hour is for us to experience something fun together; to share laughs and stories across teams, departments and seniority. There is only one rule for FriYAY: no shop talk.
Our FriYAYs look different each week: A full-blown competition of silly team challenges, a zen session of mindfulness or a heartfelt check-in on the vulnerabilities of being human. There are no limits and we have a different Human designing and hosting FriYAY each week.
When moving to E-FriYAYs, we’ve had to make some tweaks. Everyone jumps in on a call and we facilitate intimate conversations across teams, compete fiercely in online games or discuss a hot topic. Instead of physical games, we have moved into digital ones like Psych, Charades, or Cards Against Humanity. E-FriYAYs ensure that all of us end the week on a high note.
Pro-tip: Instead of a company wide session, divide into smaller teams. Mix up the teams each week.
4. MURAL - VIRTUAL COLLABORATION
Mural is a platform we use to co-create and brainstorm. We practice Design Thinking in everything we do and hugely value creative collaboration and co-creation. Design Thinking is best performed as a team sport and therefore relies heavily on human interaction. Having a blank canvas to jot down and cluster ideas, virtual post-it notes and a dot-voting system allows us to feel connected while collaborating!
The need for social distancing and isolation have changed the way we interact. In Human Inc, we strongly believe that playfulness, laughter and solidarity helps us to stay productive and connected while working remotely. We hope some of our practices have inspired you to keep up a human touch with your colleagues and we are curious to hear how you have been keeping things human at work. Let us know below and stay human!