Working from home got you missing your co-workers? The office banter, shared lunch breaks, afternoon coffee chats? Thankfully, we live in an age where there is no shortage of technological opportunities for us to stay connected. With strict shelter in place orders across America and beyond, people were quick to jump on the bandwagon of virtual team touch bases and client meetings, virtual happy hours and even recipe swaps all in a desperate effort to stay connected. In fact, one study we read stated that 70% of respondents said maintaining relationships with their co-workers was just as important as their job.
Let’s take a look at some things you can do to champion team building and keep yourself and your colleagues busy (and sane) in this WFH world.
Accomplish Business Goals
Alright. You knew this was coming. Yes, things feel weird and out of sorts and you’re working in pajamas. But… business must go on.
- If you find you have extra time on your hands, perhaps now is the perfect opportunity to dive into those training sessions or certifications you have been putting off. You know, the ones you never have time for (wink, wink).
- Collaborate with coworkers to cross train and learn more about their day-to-day tasks, roles and responsibilities and pain points. More often than not, you’ll find some common ground and create a more efficient means to accomplish common, department, or company goals.
- Cross train and/or meet with other departments. Discover how you might be able to work together in different ways. Maybe you’ll enjoy learning about different product lines or clients. Maybe you’ll learn something completely new that will lend itself to a future career journey.
- Celebrate each other. Celebrate wins. Celebrate accomplishments. Or, just, celebrate.
Organic “Water Cooler” Connections
Yes, I said water cooler. In case a refresher is needed (see what I did there?), water cooler chats are when colleagues take a break from work-related tasks and discuss their hobbies, interests, and other things.
- Create and promote a stay healthy, exercise challenge. Set a department or company wide calendar meeting for morning yoga, a morning and/or afternoon stretch, or fifteen minutes of mindfulness.
- Take the opportunity to get to know colleagues on another level (and in this case, where they live). Use the first fifteen minutes of your weekly team call to share something fun and non- work related. Some examples of this might be: a funny photo of your new office mate (a spouse, pet, child, plant…), the funniest meme you found on the internet (SFW only, of course), your next home or yard/garden task or challenge, etc. The list goes on and on and on.
- This is a chance to see your colleagues and supervisors, maybe even executives, in a different light. Remember that we’re all human. Take the opportunity to organically work together and ultimately have some fun!
Bring In the Professionals
Still bored and missing that human connection? Maybe it’s time to bring in the professionals and tackle a more formal team building experience. For years, companies have dedicated time and resources into team building. The concept of colleagues getting away from their normal office setting in an effort to get to know one another better and in a different setting.
Most of the time these days or afternoons of discovery lead to a better understanding of who you work with and epiphanies of how you might be able to work better or more efficiently together. What makes people tick? What makes them laugh? Are they strategic thinkers or do they follow the lead of others?
Third party team building experts can help engage those that weren’t necessarily game for the organic water cooler chit-chat, photo competition, morning yoga. With a team building expert leading your activity hour (or day), you can intertwine thoughtful and structured business related content and allow leadership to share company visions and goals that keep folks engaged and give them a fun, less formal and less mundane way of disseminating information. Imagine breaking up the day by meeting up with your coworkers for a virtual Quarantine Scavenger Hunt customized to play with colleague fun facts, or images of your CEO’s and VP’s instead? What if you could WIN something? Virtual game show mashup, anyone?
While you might think team building is nonexistent in a time where every single person in your office is now working independently from home, we beg to differ. Because, now more than ever, is the time to stay connected. To band together. And to understand how each person on your team is coping with, adapting to, and surviving in this new “normal.”
The bottom line is this: people need people. We need others to help us stay motivated, to keep us driven. Laughing and competing with your colleagues is the ideal way to achieve comradery in times like these. Plus, you get a little sneak peek into their home office/kitchen table/man cave/she shed/patio or wherever they station themselves to WFH (hopefully not the bathroom).
If you need some help getting started, give us a call. We’ll be here to kick your team building desires into gear!