Life Style

For example, a company offers virtual vacations for its employees

  • Noom, a health training company, operates completely from anywhere, but the 1,700 employees typically meet monthly in local teams to network.
  • Due to the corona virus pandemic, these personal meetings have been suspended, so that the working groups are now taking a virtual vacation together.
  • The teams have their two-hour zoom conference held at a location of their choice – from the ski resort of Aspen to Jamaica and the Bermuda Islands.

Even companies that work completely independent of location try to meet their employees personally a few times a year. At least before Covid-19 changed everything.

An example of this is Noom, an American company for health training and behavior change, which recorded 2.5 million users last year and the equivalent of almost 219 million euros in sales. Noom employs 1,700 full-time trainers nationwide, all of whom work anywhere.

In order to promote networking between its employees, Noom assigns each trainer to one of 13 local “work locations”. Dr. Andreas Michaelides, head of the department of psychology and training manager at Noom, says: “All locations have a team of designated ambassadors who plan monthly meetings”. These small groups would offer more space for discussions and promote a sense of community among colleagues who do not share an office with one another on a daily basis.

Tara Shepherd Bowdel
is one of these location ambassadors. It networks all trainers,
those around Raleigh, in the US state of North
Carolina, live.

“We are considering activities to strengthen the sense of community, exchange work tips and enjoy a little fun and company,” said Shepherd-Bowdel. “The events can be designed in very different ways. You can imagine yoga in the park, the deepening of clinical topics and extensive discussions, a scavenger hunt in the supermarket followed by a picnic or even a day of hiking or playing volleyball on the beach. ”

Since Covid-19 has forced people to distance themselves socially, these meetings can no longer take place. But Noom didn’t want to risk losing the sense of community among his coaches. This is why every work location and its trainers went on vacation last month – of course virtually.

An insight into the virtual vacation spots of Noom

What exactly does a virtual vacation look like? Each team selected a location – for example, the US ski resort Aspen or the Bermuda Islands – and organized two-hour zoom conferences that corresponded to the selected location.

The coaches provided the right background, designed their rooms accordingly, or dressed appropriately for the topic in order to get into the “vacation mode”. The Shepherd-Bowdel team chose Jamaica and started their virtual vacation with beach backgrounds, tropical shirts and sun hats.

In addition, the hosts created playlists with themed songs and chose a cocktail (or mocktail) of the day that everyone could prepare at home and then drink together – and Noom reimbursed the costs. “One of our employees, Ryan … taught us all how to mix great piña coladas,” said Shepherd-Bowdel.

The Shepherd-Bowdel team had also prepared vacation games. “We started by telling stories about our best vacations … and playing a round of family duel on vacation,” she said. Questions were asked like: “What would you never want to forget on a beach vacation?”

“A virtual one
Vacation was our way, the coaches the opportunity to network
to offer and take a break from the depressing situation of which we are
everyone is concerned to take, ”said Michaelides. “Just
because we can’t travel, it doesn’t mean we don’t
Can take time out! ”

For Shepherd-Bowdel, the virtual vacation embodied one of Noom’s corporate principles: “Looking after one another as a family, performing as a powerful team.”

“Our trainers have always worked regardless of location,” added Michaelides. “We have learned how important it is to keep in touch with each other. This is the only way we feel like a real team, even though we are spread all over the country. ”

Regular communication is extremely important

In addition to the events of the individual locations, Noom organizes
weekly meeting via video chat for all employees.
“Trainers can get together with employees from the company headquarters
exchange and vice versa. We also find that every week
Possibility of both individual trainers and individual customers
to emphasize, ”explained Michaelides.

However, according to Michaelides, it is very important for every manager to provide space for fun and socializing in addition to business meetings. “Especially in times like these, when things may not go as usual.” Shepherd-Bowdel also emphasized the importance of presenting a timetable for every virtual meeting.

“We’re still hiring new coaches, and I think some of the new employees didn’t really know what they were doing [von einem virtuellen Urlaub] should expect, ”said Shepherd-Bowdel. “By knowing what to expect from all of the team members at our locations – basically having a great time with great people – they feel more comfortable next time.”

The Noom team has always relied heavily on virtual networking. But since Covid-19 “we are even more aware of this and have learned to connect our teammates with each other even more effortlessly via a screen,” said Shepherd-Bowdel.

Michaelides pointed out that as a team leader and moderator you have the responsibility to get more involved in the virtual environment than in real life. “Hold on to the idea that people want to listen to you because you are sympathetic and don’t necessarily listen because they are stuck in a room with you. Use real life comedy and anecdotes to pick up your audience. Be an exaggerated version of yourself. ”

With a team that
Such events are carried out completely independent of location
however, only a small part of the commitment of
Ensure employees. Michaelides emphasized that it was
it is crucial to invest in your own employees in order to
Maintain and promote corporate culture like at Noom.

Training and coaching offers as virtual events

“Our health trainers are employed full-time, have health insurance, are entitled to paid parental leave and receive intensive training and coaching in order to be even better at their work,” says Michaelides. “By investing in our trainers, we can see that they grow beyond themselves to contribute to the success of our customers, their colleagues, and the entire company.”

These training and coaching offers can even be found virtually, Shepherd-Bowdel noted. She herself won the group of trainers under her responsibility for taking over the management of the virtual events. “For me as a manager, it is a top priority to empower others to fulfill their own leadership positions,” she said.

Shepherd bowdel
added: “With enough planning, virtual events
become great. The experiences, emotions and connection that
we feel to others are real, even if we are only in front of one
Sit screen. ”


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