We’ve been working from home for some time now and it’s been a big shift for our team at H+K. As consultants in communications, we are used to working in a fast-paced environment and dealing with unpredictability. But even so, changing our ways and making home the new office has inevitably come with its challenges. We never could have predicted that we would be juggling a full-time work schedule, homeschooling our kids and trying to stay on top of our physical and mental health amid the uncertainties imposed on us by a global pandemic, but for now, that’s our reality.

From improving our working relationships to showing us just how adaptable we can be, there have been many silver linings and lessons learned throughout this that we plan to bring with us, even when the dust has settled. Despite it all, we have found ourselves thriving in this new normal and that’s down to staying connected.

Here are three key lessons we’ve learned so far, how we’re staying connected and what we’re going to bring back to the office once we return to work:

1. Morale is the ultimate motivator

In these trying times working from home, boosting morale has been key for us as an organization. To fill the water-cooler chat void, we’ve implemented everything from weekly themed ‘wine o’clock’ parties via video conferencing, TikTok competitions, after hours trivia nights, virtual baby showers and birthday parties. In addition, managers continue to proactively check in with internal teams and our CEO has been hosting weekly town halls for our eight national offices to come together and connect on important topics like mental health and navigating change. All of these activities have helped us feel inspired and motivated, even in our physical isolation. Looking forward to our return to office, we will be sure to bring more awareness and proactivity to how we check-in with ourselves and our colleagues, to ensure that mental health is always top of mind.

2. Personal makes perfect

Without even noticing, many employees across all organizations before the crisis hit could easily check their personal lives at the elevators in order to stay focused and professional in our daily interactions at the office. But now, by entering our team members’ homes via video conferencing, we’ve gained a deeper insight into our colleagues’ personal worlds – if you didn’t know what their kids, husbands, or living room looked like before, you’re bound to now! Getting a glimpse into our colleagues’ lives outside of work has emphasized the importance of getting to know our colleagues on a personal level, facilitating more fluid and productive working relationships. Once we’re back to work, we’ll make sure to enjoy the luxury of meeting someone new in the office, booking 1:1 coffee dates and making the most of our in-person social activities and team bonding each week.

3. Positives grow from negatives

We have ultimately learned that even in the darkest times, there’s often a silver lining. The pandemic has affected each and every person around the globe and with so much pain and suffering happening worldwide, it’s sometimes difficult to see the positives. Mankind has been forced to slow down, prompting us to connect with each other on a much deeper level both professionally and personally. At H+K we’re always in beta, constantly striving to innovate the future of PR and fuel our creativity, no matter where we are. The pandemic has reinforced our belief that we can adapt to any given situation and we have certainly learned things about ourselves, clients and colleagues that perhaps we would never have had the time to do in this crazy, busy, wonderful world of communications.

With all of that said, it’s clear that connection is certainly key. Who knows what the future holds, but we’ll get through it together, one video conference call at a time!