We humans are herd animals. Naturally sociable, most of us love nothing more than spending time with friends and family, or even total strangers, whether inside or outside of the home. And obviously, that’s a little hard right now, leading to the potential for some real loneliness, anxiety and stress.
On a professional level, it’s also got many companies trying to figure out how to make working from home work, well, work.
And whilst nothing’s going to replace a REAL bit of facetime, a hug or even a big brainstorm around the break out table, there are a few things we wanted to share which could help you feel connected.
In their own words, “Nextdoor is the neighbourhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.” Users sign up with their postcode to access a local messaging board and start sharing with their neighbours.
The app came to the UK in 2016 and started out as a digital Neighbourhood Watch on a micro level, prone to moaning and tittle-tattle. Who stole number 32’s black wheelie bin? What was that weird noise at 02.45 on Tuesday morning? Will the council EVER fix that giant pothole?
But since the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, the app has really come into its own and started seeing an outpouring of goodwill, with daily activity jumping 50% since the beginning of April.
In a recent post, titled “Take a Roll, Leave a Roll,” one Nextdoor user offered to help people without sufficient supply by creating an exchange in a bin outside their house. “Obviously this is not for stocking up, but take a roll or two to get you through until you find a store that has it in stock,” the user said. “Have extra at your house? Swing by and drop some off. 🙂 Neighbours helping neighbours.”
With gestures such as these alongside handy local information sharing, it’s the place to go to get to know your neighbours, share some love and if needs be, ask for practical help and advice.
As their Head of Communications put it “The time for joining Nextdoor is now, when the power of proximity means everything. Nextdoor was built to bring neighbours together — this is important in good times and essential in times of need. It has been remarkable to see people across the globe reaching out to their neighbours on Nextdoor with kindness and offers of help.”
A video chatting app that is free to download for iOS and Android devices, Houseparty is an informal and fun option for those wishing to socialise with friends and family.
All participants can be on screen at the same time, and there is the option to play games whilst in a “room” with friends. To make it easier to find these friends, the app can be given your permission to link to your phonebook contacts and social media connections.
Houseparty’s soaring popularity has been dogged recently by reports of security and privacy flaws including hacking – something the owners (Epic Games, the people behind wildly popular Fortnite) strongly deny – and something which cybersecurity and privacy researcher Luka Stefanko could find no evidence for.
One watch-out, though – you may want to “lock” your room to stop unwanted invasions. It’s easy to do this by pushing the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen.
Similar to Houseparty but with a more professional feel, Zoom is the other video chat application which has really taken off in recent weeks.
Again, all participants can be on screen at the same time – but the list of features make Zoom handier for colleagues to catch up and collaborate. For example, the sessions can be recorded, screens can be shared, and messages can be sent to the group alongside files and images.
Miro takes a big step forward from Zoom when it comes to virtualising the office environment.
A whiteboard tool, it allows users to collaborate on activities that they would usually use a whiteboard and post-it notes for, such as brainstorming, road-mapping, goals and work flows.
With real-time collaboration, there’s no need to constantly refresh the board – updates are made then and there – and users can even upload files, screenshots and items from other software including Slack, Jira and Microsoft Office to make it easy to keep everything in one place.
For many of us during the Coronavirus lockdown, with visits to the shops few-and-far-between, the question we’re asking ourselves when we look in the fridge is starting to become “What needs using up?” rather than “What do I fancy for dinner?”
Food sharing app and friend of Giant Peach OLIO, has been championing this method of eating, as part of their desire to reduce food waste – since their inception in 2015.
But even they know that sometimes we all have a surplus of food and set up the app to help us redistribute it, rather than put it in the bin.
Continuing their good work, they have set up a fantastic new initiative for families whose children receive free school meals, and who may struggle to give them a proper meal every day without this support.
Those with food to spare can prepare extra for those without, using OLIO as the service to arrange collection or delivery:
The lockdown has also provided a unique opportunity for some introspection, and to help us forge a connection to ourselves.
One way of helping us to do this, by bringing some mindfulness and focus to our daily lives in a time where routine and gratitude could so easy be forgotten, is the Happiness Planner, who until the end of April are providing two free printable journals and self-care pages that can be used to reflect and practice being grateful.
The lockdown has already moved many of us to redefine our long-term goals, and take a moment to pause and reflect on our current situations.
At Giant Peach we’re loving using some of these resources and hope you will do too. If you’ve stumbled across any more, we’d love to hear from you – drop us a line and we’ll share them!