Aleksandra Radujko: How to Stay Positive at Work During Difficult Times

Extreme situations always call for solidarity and humanity. The question arises: how do they affect our working environment? As a company we have been working really hard on creating a positive, reliable, and efficient team. Do we have to neglect all that in difficult times and dedicate our time to achieving goals and results? We believe we do. Our people are our biggest value. 

Nobody has the instructions nor knows the answers to all the questions. This is why we have decided to adapt ourselves to emergency situations. And we are not alone. The members of our family, our friends and colleagues encounter the same problems as we do.

Darko, Mirjana and Vukadin

What do we do to stay positive at work in Emakina.RS? 

As a company we pay a lot of attention to how our colleagues feel at work. One of the things that will make us feel happy at work is working with great people. And how do we know whether we are working with great people or not if we barely know them?  

This is why we organise team gatherings commonly known as happy hour. Planning of happy hour activities is one of the most interesting segments of my job as a Human Value Manager. The aim is to develop good and collegial human relationships in a fun, creative, and emphatic way. At the same time, the topics usually develop spontaneously while I am sitting surrounded by my colleagues, who enjoy chit-chatting with smiles on their faces.

Now when we cannot approach one another spontaneously at the same place, the challenge is to find an activity which will connect us, but also entertain us at the same time while working from home.

Here’s what we were working on together while we were at home:

  • We established a “Book club”
  • We organised a mental health workshop
  • We listened to various podcasts together 
  • We recommended good movies to one another
  • We exchanged recipes during Easter 
  • We played our favourite games 

We organised quizzes and games:

  • Movie quiz 
  • We played celebrity guessing game based on the interesting facts 
  • We played truth or dare game 
  • We prepared answers to 35 questions in advance and guessed which answer matches which question 
  • We guessed which song describes which colleague

We didn’t neglect the technical aspect either. So, besides regular knowledge sharing activities we also organised morning mental workout through the activity called “Crack the code”.

Why are HH gatherings important part of an onboarding process for new colleagues?  

Entering a new company can be a really stressful experience. Another obstacle during an extraordinary situation like this is that colleagues do not have a chance to meet other colleagues personally in the office, in the chill zone, on the hallway, during lunch break or in a cafeteria. 

During the last few months, a few new colleagues have joined us. To help them get to know the company better, we needed to bring our company values closer to them. The first step in this process was to introduce new colleagues to other employees. During happy hour gatherings, as well as during morning talks, our colleagues found out a lot of things about one another.

Aleksandra and Darko

One of the activities that I came up with is the list of 35 unusual questions, and each colleague randomly picked out five questions they gave answers to. The most interesting answers are presented in the form of a quiz. Then we discovered how our colleagues imagine retirement; what person they would go to the dinner with; who their favourite cartoon characters were when they were kids; what song makes them go “wild” and what they would do to win a lottery.

In a relaxed, informal environment we become friends, discover what our similarities are, open topics which we wouldn’t otherwise talk about in official business conversations. In this way, apart from building a business relationship, we also develop friendship. This friendly relationship does not only have a positive impact on our work and our working environment, but also on our emotional experience and willingness to be positive at work. We are more eager to ask our colleagues for help when we are not sure about something, we have fun together, we are ready to apologise for our mistakes and “walk in their shoes” more easily because we know what led to a specific behavior.

Darko, Vukadin and Aleksandra

How our ideas contribute to the entire Emakina group

We have noticed that one of the above mentioned questions was: “What song makes you go wild?” Since music is an essential part of our lives, there are songs that evoke some emotions. Colleagues from the Emakina group started a project, Emakina.FM radio station, and I also participated in content creation. Colleagues from Serbia helped me make a playlist of their favourite music tracks. Then I was thrilled to listen to some of the tracks I haven’t heard for a long time. You must have experienced the same thing when you were listening to a song and then thought “this is my song”, or “this song sounds as if I wrote it”. This is exactly what inspired me to come up with our new activity. The idea was to make a quiz “Whose song is this?”

How did we meet each other through our favourite song lyrics? 

My colleagues sent me a lyric which describes them, and I cut out that verse from the song and played it to my colleagues. Their task was to guess what colleague that song describes after they listen to that part. 

This activity evoked a surge of emotions among colleagues. While some lyrics made us laugh, other lyrics surprised us. We could not guess what person some of the lyrics described. One thing is certain: each lyric helped us understand a colleague who chose that particular song better. This is how we learned to think with our heart, and not only using our head and we evoked empathy and became closer.

How did you maintain a close relationship with your colleagues? Do you have any suggestions on how to organise a happy hour? Write to me at aleksandra@emakina.rs and I will gladly discuss each topic you suggest.

GET ON BOARD

Emakina.RS is a software development center and a part of Emakina Group since 2018.

Emakina.RS is a team of engineering experts responsible for building, maintaining and operating applications on various platforms and frameworks. Our mission is to consistently deliver high-quality software development services to other members of Emakina Group. At the moment, our focus is on Java and PHP, as well as on Salesforce Commerce Cloud development.

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