ZOOMaste! Using Virtual Yoga, Book Clubs & More to Support Employee Engagement Through Coronavirus


It had been quite a full on week (to say the least!), ending with our quarterly recognition last Thursday.

Before the coronavirus lockdown began, we had enjoyed a yoga session in the office every other week with our wonderful Yogi, Daisy Dykes.

Now with our team stuck and home and scattered far and wide, we found we were sorely in need of her stress-relieving techniques and warm tones.

Most of us, used to a nice comfy office chair, had spent the week perched on a kitchen chair (or worse!), hunched over a table and so the thought of stretching our limbs and relaxing for an hour kept us going.

Virtual Yoga

How would it all work as we were used to sitting next to each other on our mats?! Well, at 5 o’clock, as we all logged into Zoom, there we all were, in various places around our various homes.

Personally, I ventured into the garden, which did allow the neighbours to join in, albeit through the gap in the hedge! Everyone had front row viewing and so no problems wondering which leg went where (whether it wanted to go there is another matter!)

Zoom Yoga

As we started and Daisy’s voice took over, our breathing deepened, our minds emptied, and our bodies started to relax. This enabled us to get the maximum benefit from Daisy’s teachings.

I thought we’d all be distracted having to look at the laptop screen, but we focused on Daisy and the positions, with the odd peek at how everyone was doing and to check I was doing the same as everyone else (I admit to a momentary lapse of co-ordination and ran out of hands, but everyone else was certainly in their own zone).

The hour went by quickly. Using your breathing to get the most out of the positions she taught us, which sounds odd as we breathe all the time but you suddenly realise that when relaxed, it is so much deeper, slower, and makes stretches even longer and your body then gets the most out of the sessions.

The Benefits of Yoga

If you’d said before the lockdown that I’d be lying in my garden with my arms outstretched listening to meditation music on a Friday evening, I would have laughed at the idea, but I was there doing it with my work colleagues.

Once Daisy had brought us all back into the here and now, back to a normal breathing pattern, everyone looked so relaxed, to the point that two participants nodded off (despite their protestations they hadn’t!).

It was a great way to de-stress, relax and unwind at the end of a long, hard and thoroughly unusual week. Yoga is a melding of promoting mental and physical health, both of which were coming under strain as we dealt with the imposition of self-isolation, so this was a fantastic release.

Making Stay-Home Activities Social

Thanks to the power of video conferencing, we’d all managed to feel like we were in the same space yet apart.

We’re wracking out brains for more such opportunities to get everyone together again, whether it be another yoga session or anything else, just to check in and promote employee wellness and maintain the tight-knit team ties we’re very fortunate to have.

Other ideas we’ve got bubbling away on a back burner to help keep up with the team building but at a socially-responsible, self-isolated distance include

  • Virtual quiz (pub quiz style, bringing your own bottle optional!).
  • Video baking lesson
    Organising a virtual bake-off with an expert leading us through the steps. Whether anything edible will come of this is anyone’s guess, but baking can have similar meditative powers to yoga and getting a class together means we’re all there as one team, even if we have to technically be apart.
  • Virtual book club
    Even curling up with a good book can be turned into a social activity and we might all start gathering around in a virtual circle book club style to discuss what we’ve been reading.

Whatever we do next, it’s sure to continue to promote team cohesion and hopefully continue to provide some relief from the self-isolation we’re all facing right now.

We feel that, as an employer, we still have a responsibility to our employees during lockdown — perhaps even more so given the circumstances — and we’re committed to finding ways to help everyone through this pandemic and maintain the strong team bonds we’ve all built up over the years.

Our Success With Online Yoga

My mother had been a yoga teacher but I just didn’t get it at the time. Now I completely do. Meditation and body relaxation is an absolute must when you have so much going on in your life.

These are extraordinary times now and extremely stressful with self-isolation and so taking time out and being able to detach yourself from it all is key. It’s setting a learnt behaviour pattern that we will all continue once this is over and I would say to anyone who hasn’t tried yoga, to give it a go. We forget how to look after ourselves on the inside and yoga teaches us how.


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