Like many companies, we have all become acclimated to working remotely since COVID-19 disrupted what we once knew a few months ago. This has not only changed the way we work, but for employees used to working in an office, it has also limited our ability to connect with our co-workers.
Some of your team may have completely adjusted to this way of working, while others may be feeling the fatigue. Being successful as a remote team means finding ways to recapture the in-person connection. Luckily, my team has successfully stayed connected by implementing the ideas below. Could they help your team stick together and stay engaged?
Online Happy Hours
Set aside a time for a face-to-face chat with your team. Turn those cameras on! You'll be surprised at how effective these types of interactions can be.
Host a "remote watercooler" – special guests encouraged. There is nothing cuter than a baby hanging out on screen alongside your team! Other highlights from our team calls have included grooming cats and happy dog tails wagging in the background.
With things as they have been, work has become the primary connection to the outside world for many of us. Chatting about the latest show on Netflix, interesting cooking projects, or even just the weather can help alleviate stress and introduce some normalcy for your employees.
Team Building Activities
For larger groups, everyone talking at once on a call doesn’t work as well, but there are other options to bring your team together.
Keep it light. Online quiz apps like Kahoot are great conversation starters and a fun way to discover common interests among your team.
In our cross-country, multi-generational team, we have found a surprising amount of common ground on pop-culture quizzes. Those more out of their element on the quiz topic can still score with quick responses and lucky guesses.
This works best when used no more than weekly for larger groups, with responses to specific items sent only to the original sender. Encourage employees to share what’s meaningful to them!
Pictures of pets and kids. We all love seeing your work-from-home co-workers!
Other chains can be email games, where someone shares a list of their favorite things (i.e. book, snack, beverage, hobby) then tags one person to fill in the list next. This is also a great way to share recommendations on what to watch, read, or listen to next!
Other ways to connect across the broader organization include utilizing work chat tools, such as Yammer or Slack.
Connecting remotely in a fun way can help alleviate stress and help your team to see their colleagues as a people rather than just an email signature. In addition to better understanding each other, low stakes remote chats can provide practice on how to continue to communicate in this remote work environment and keep your team from feeling stressed.