Health & Wellness

Keeping Employees Safe and Connected in the Fall

By Doug Birks on September, 29 2020
4 minute read

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Doug Birks

Junior Associate

 This summer, many of us developed a fondness for our local parks and trails. Outdoor activities were mainly how we saw our friends and family members. The wide open spaces and sunlight provides defense against the spread of COVID-19, so such gatherings (so long as they were within the recommended limits) felt safe and comfortable. 

Soon enough, the weather will turn. The temperatures will drop, the clouds will roll in, and rain will fall. When that happens, the walk in the park quickly becomes less appealing. Many parts of BC got their first taste of it last week, with wildfire smoke polluting the air and making any outdoor activity a safety hazard. 

Managing mood in the winter and fall can be difficult as is, especially for your employees with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With the looming possibility of a second wave and decreased social interaction with friends and family, employees need to make a priority of managing their mood and tending to their mental health.

After reading this blog, you’ll come away with some strategies to help your employees looking for ways to stay connected to friends, family, and co-workers during the fall.


Keeping Employees Connected with their Friends and Family

Book Indoor Activity Spaces in Advance

Sports and other active hobbies used to be a great way to combine socializing and fitness. Friends would meet at a climbing gym, swimming pool, or squash court and play a few games while catching up. While that is certainly harder to do today, it isn’t impossible. 

The Hive Climbing Gym, which has locations in North Vancouver, Vancouver, Surrey, and Langley, offers time slot bookings. Operating at a limited capacity and requiring all attendees to wear a mask while inside the gym, the facilities provide a safe environment for friends looking to get the blood flowing. 

If climbing walls isn’t your idea of a fun evening, local rec centers also allow for the booking of indoor tennis, squash, and racquetball courts as well. Furthermore, the City of Vancouver has begun reopening indoor pools with new restrictions to keep all swimmers safe. 

Online Games

By now we’re all a little tired of hearing about Zoom hangouts and FaceTime gatherings. It’s not the same as hosting a dinner party or having friends over for a games night. However, the fact remains that in many situations, virtual hangouts are going to be the safest way for groups to gather. 

That doesn’t mean your group of friends has to gather in yet another Zoom meeting. There are plenty of online games that can be run on almost any system and are affordable (sometimes free!)

Jackbox Games has released dozens of games that are designed to be played with groups between 2-12. Drawful, for instance, has one player draw a ridiculous scene and everyone else must pick a title for the “artwork”. Each player tries to find the correct prompt while fooling other players into selecting their decoy answer.

The great thing about Jackbox is that only one friend in the group needs to own the game for everyone to play. Everyone else can join their lobby by entering a code on If your group enjoys playing one game and wants to try others, you can rotate whose turn it is to buy the game. 

For those who want to play with friends, but don’t want to pay, games such as Draw Phone provide hours of entertainment. The game combines Pictionary with telephone, asking each player to draw a word or scene and the next person must guess what the drawing looks like. Then the drawings are distributed at random to other players who must draw what the last person guessed. At the end, each player gets their original drawing back and can share its evolution with the rest of the party. 


Keeping Employee Morale High and Communication Positive 

A lot has been said about the lack of social connection that comes with remote work. Largely the remedy has been to host Zoom happy hours and other virtual gatherings.

However there are other ways in which not having face to face interaction hurts morale. There’s a lack of small recognition for your hard work. The little congratulations you might’ve received from your boss at the end of the meeting no longer happens when everyone leaves the virtual room. 

This adds up, especially in the fall and winter months when the weather isn’t as nice and the workload gets heavier. 

Make an effort to make sure everyone’s hard work is being recognized. Congratulate them on a job well done, even if it’s just an email at the end of the day. That little bit of recognition can go a long way to keeping employees motivated. 

Assume Positive Intent

The world of casual online messaging has very different etiquette than formal business communications. If you don’t believe us, use formal language and perfect grammar in text messages and Slack channels. See how long it takes before someone asks if you’re upset. In the digital space, relaxed grammar and frequent emoji use go a long way to conveying your message. 

Always assume positive intent when reading messages. During periods of high stress it’s easy to misread the intentions behind short (or well-punctuated) messages. The motto of always assuming positive intent helps people stop reading too much into individual comments, meaning communication can stay positive between team members.

Supporting Employee Mental Health: A Workshop Designed for People Leaders

Montridge has partnered with Morneau Shepell for a half-day workshop designed to provide front line managers and HR personnel with the tools to help employees struggling with their mental health. 

Register Now

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