Have you ever woken up on a bad day and just realized you don’t wanna talk to your teammates? The last thing you wish on your day is someone making fun with you, right? Even during some good days, you can be down by some bad news. It happens to everyone, and that’s exactly why companies should care more about individual feelings and the effects of each others’ relations.
First things first, according to some studies
One of the biggest problems in the companies nowadays are personal problems of their employees.
It means that the bad relationship between coworkers can be harmful to the company’s success. How can you as a leader improve that interaction between your team without taking their personal problems to the company workspace?
The Team Lights
It is an internal system we created to easily identify who is in a good or a bad day without asking it each one every day. This is the simplest way to make people feel comfortable during their best, their worst, and their regular days at the company. And the best part is: It’s free (unless you use a paid system, but it’s not required).
The system is basically a badge, a sign, or anything that anyone can view (in our case it’s the Slack status) that indicates how he/she is feeling at the day. As the name Team Lights suggests it can be: Red, Yellow, or Green.
To sum up, the 3 colors meaning are:
- Green I’m great. Let’s have some fun.
- Yellow I’m ok. Let’s talk mainly about work.
- Red I’m not well. Only talk to me if it’s really necessary.
It is quite simple, there’s not much to explain about the system. I’m going to talk a little bit about how to start and the benefits of using it.
How to start
As we were a small company we started with everyone (8 people) but I strongly recommend if you work in a bigger company to start with one department. It’ll be easy to control who is using or not their badge, to collect feedback, and to explain to each one involved how it is going to work. If you decide to begin with your department, first explain the meaning of this system, what each badge means, and that everyone must use their badge every day at the office (or in their online status).
We set a trigger that every day at 10 AM it sends a message to everyone remembering to update their status, and everyone must reply to this message so you know who is keeping their status up to date and who is not. I highly recommend this step, otherwise, people forgot to use it. Also, it is an important step in the Habit Cycle.
Keep everyone in
It is really important to keep everyone in. To do it, reinforce to those people who are not keeping their status up to date that everyone must participate, it’s your job to bring him/her back. If you do not act as soon as the person stops updating it, they will forget to use it and after a few days, more and more people will stop updating until no one is using it anymore.
We have experienced it here, one by one stopped updating their profile until one day, during one of our weekly meetings I strongly said that everyone must use it every day and if during the week they don’t keep it updated I would remove it next week. Then, after it, they kept their status up to date, but you don’t need to wait that long, try to recognize it as soon as possible, and do your best to motivate each one in your team.
This step is not a must-have, but if you want to fulfill the Habit cycle inside the head of everyone, then every month or so you should give a gift (it can be a chocolate or even a personal message) to those who updated their status every day. Important: The gift is not for those who stayed in the green status for longer, it’s for those who kept their status up to date. Also, show to others the gift you gave to the person and reinforce why you gave it. It will motivate others to keep their status updated to get the gift next month. Do not forget the gift if you promise it.
At first, people may think: “I’m not going to change my status to RED cause I don’t wanna be the annoying person”, but as time goes on, someone will use the yellow status and a few days later the red flag will pop up. Don’t worry and don’t bother that person. If the next day it’s still red, then it’s your responsibility as a leader to talk to that person and understand what is going wrong. Maybe it’s something personal, so there is nothing you can do directly other than supporting them. Maybe it’s one coworker that is annoying, so you can do your best to solve this problem, that’s the main purpose of The Team Lights.
To sum up
We all want to work in a place where we feel at home, or even better than at home. Sometimes a small change has a high positive impact on the life of others, and we must think about it. Great companies have great employees, and great employees use great tools. The Team Lights is not a problem solver for everything, it’s just a tool that requires minimal effort and brings high benefits.
This is a work in progress, so if you think I forgot anything, or if I’m wrong in any aspect, drop me feedback, I really appreciate an honest message.
Also, feel free to contact me if you need help, I’ll be more than happy to help.
Thanks for reading.