Bill Blansett stands in the middle of his living room in a Net Health T-shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. He’s cleared out the furniture to create a dance room.
“So, Mambo Shuffle,” he says, into his web camera, a pair of headphones circling his face. Bill, a product specialist for Net Health, is teaching a line-dancing class to his Net Health colleagues, who attend via a Zoom invite.
“It’s a 40-count line dance,” Bill continues. “We’ll go through the steps for this a few times. Then, as usual, plan on doing two songs, a slower song, one by Wynonna Judd and then we’ll do a faster song by Jennifer Lopez.”
Bill begins to walk through the moves for the Mambo Shuffle to about 10 attendees who follow along, some on camera, some hidden. In each short half-hour class, he takes 15 minutes to teach the dance steps and then the class practices to two songs for the last 15 minutes. “There’s no pressure for the camera,” he tells attendees when they first start popping into the class. “It’s just, you know, a little more fun!”
A regular line dancer, Bill stepped forward to offer the weekly class after Net Health’s offices closed. It was his way to contribute to Net Health’s “virtual water cooler” environment to keep employees connected while they work from home (WFH).
“I am part of a group of employees looking at how to engage in the virtual office environment to promote a sense of community,” he says. “I have been line dancing for years, and after our local organization had to suspend dancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, I got the idea to bring it into the Net Health community. Students really liked the class. It’s great that the company leadership allows us to do these things during the day to keep our spirits up.”
After ten weekly sessions, round one of line dancing has finished up. Depending on how the work from home status evolves, Bill anticipates leading a second round of virtual classes or potentially hosting a hybrid model with some colleagues dancing together in the larger conference rooms.
Customer success manager Kerani Sabo said she attended Bill’s class whenever her meeting schedule permitted. “I like it because line dancing can be done alone and allows for different ability levels and it’s a really nice break during the day for both myself and my small child. Bill is a great teacher and he brings the same calm and patient demeanor that you see when you watch his Agility demos to the dance floor so it’s easy to follow along with the lessons. I can’t say I’m ready for the club just yet but maybe by the time quarantine is over I will have a new skill!”
Even though the class has ended, it really helped to liven some spirits and provide a fun way to connect in the first months after COVID-19 shut everything down, when everyone suddenly faced isolation from their colleagues and communities. This line dancing class, as well as many other classes and activities offered by Net Health employees, made people laugh and helped people to have fun during a trying time.
Thanks Bill! We hope to see you again in your dance room soon.