The Masked Huddle: Tips for small business post-lockdown 2.0 | HerCanberra

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The Masked Huddle: Tips for small business post-lockdown 2.0

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Do you have a small business that survived lockdown 2.0?

How are you keeping your team happy, connected and supported?

In today’s column, I’ll share five tips and tricks that we are doing in my business—Capital Hydrotherapy and Exercise Physiology—in order to keep the team connected while keeping masked and socially distanced. First up, some business background.

I established Capital Hydrotherapy with $80.00 in my personal savings 10 years ago. The business started with six Hydrotherapy sessions a week, and one practitioner—me. We now host 215 Hydrotherapy sessions a week and a tribe of 14 loyal teammates.

In Australia, it is estimated that one-in-three new small businesses fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year.

Note; these statistics were estimated before the COVID pandemic hit.

Do you have any strategies in place to help your team stay happy and connected, post lockdown 2.0? Here are our top five tips and tricks to keep our culture alive and team connected:

  • The Masked Daily Huddle
  • Revisit core values
  • Paid ‘Wellness hours’ on a Friday afternoon
  • Weekly scheduled coffee catch-up with the team
  • Team bake off every Tuesday


Short. Sharp. Positive. Fun.

Our 15 minute daily, masked, socially distanced, standing team huddle (pictured above) is our go-to team ritual. The scheduled daily team huddle is our best form of communication and support, especially post lockdown when we all feel so disconnected. The masked huddle connects the team and makes them feel a part of something bigger. It’s called community.

The key is a daily huddle—especially when’s there’s so much uncertainly around us. We always start the huddle with expressing gratitude (something we’re grateful for).

Essential masked huddle points:

  • Always standing
  • Always inclusive
  • Has a daily rhythm
  • Time-efficient
  • Engaging
  • Starts on time
  • Starts with gratitude

Our team masked huddle is organised, and the team leader always has the main points written down. Here’s a sneak peek of the structure of our masked huddle:

  • For the first five minutes, we go around the group and share our gratitude. Living in the present moment is the key. Especially in this ‘insta’ pandemic world we currently live in!
  • Then we move on to the admin points. Always light-hearted, to the point and ‘short and sharp’.
  • We never solve problems in a standing huddle (that’s for ‘off pool deck’).
  • Then we share new session ideas (if appropriate).
  • Lastly, we deal with the patient handovers, helping juniors with a patients’ treatment pathway, and prepare practitioners if there’s a new patient in their group.

Do you have a daily team huddle, post lockdown 2.0?


Addressing our core values with the team regularly is essential—especially post lockdown. We address them at the team induction, we have Core Value posters in every room for a gentle reminder and every day we live them through our daily masked huddle.

Whenever there’s a problem at the clinic, I go back to the business’ core values—these ground me and create instant clarity. Here are our core values:

  • Create a happy and supportive environment
  • Go above and beyond
  • Respect people’s time and goals
  • Be open and inspire personal and professional growth
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff

Have you revisited your core values post lockdown?


The permanent full-time Exercise Physiology team have been on reduced hours for the past three months, due to the ACT’s Lockdown 2.0, therefore, I have added a mandatory paid Friday afternoon off for my permanent full-time team to do some self-care. Just until the Christmas holidays—so they don’t burn out.

I’m hoping this strategy will ensure they are looking after themselves and feel appreciated. Having scheduling time out keeps our team fresh, happy and supported. Their loyalty and support throughout the lockdown was incredible, and I can’t thank them enough.


The past three months have been isolating. Many of us have been on reduced hours.

To ensure the team doesn’t feel under the pump, we have a weekly coffee catch up to talk about our patients’ progress and ensure we are all being supported.

It’s not just about the caffeine—it’s about bonding, culture, and support. Do you have a regular team catch up, in a relaxed environment?


Building a positive fun team culture takes time. It takes coffee, cake and grazing platters. It takes effort.

Every Tuesday for over five years we’ve had a scheduled bake-off where one team member bakes for everyone. It’s a great way to bond the team, nourish our bellies after hours in the water, and we all stop for a moment and talk about life and have a relaxed laugh. It is a scheduled ritual.

Would any of these tips and tricks help your team?

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