Find ways to keep your team together even when they’re apart with this list of 10 creative ways to keep your team connected while working remotely.
There’s so much that can get lost in the mix when you and your team aren’t working in the same physical space — including a natural rapport among co-workers. Coffee breaks, staff lunches, and all the “water-cooler” chats create organic opportunities for people to connect. This connection encourages healthier communication and collaboration.
Whether remote work is new for your team or it’s your standard mode of business, employers need to be proactive about developing that connection and a sense of community.
WHY CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY MATTER TO YOUR BUSINESS
Why do connection and community matter to your business?
Connection and a sense of community in your team leads to —
- Higher employee morale
- Better teamwork and communication
- Increased productivity
It can also lead to employee retention. One industry survey found that over 50% of employees have considered leaving their job because they didn’t have a strong sense of community there. The reverse is also true. Over 50% said they have stayed longer than they intended to because of a sense of belonging there.
10 CREATIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR TEAM CONNECTED WHILE WORKING REMOTELY
With over 80% of small businesses utilizing remote work, it’s important to use creative ways to keep your team connected.
You already have the technical tools such as Skype, Slack, Zoom and more. Now, let’s talk about the creative ways to use them — beyond project management.
- Virtual Coffee Chat or Happy Hour
These casual moments go a long way in building trust while simply enjoying each other’s company. Whether it’s once a week or however often suits your business, invite everyone to jump on a Zoom call for a virtual get-together.
- Create a Dedicated Chat Thread for Non-Work Conversations
Those natural water-cooler moments aren’t there anymore when workers are remote, so it’s important to create a space for those to happen virtually — while making sure that work channels stay focused on projects.
- Celebrate Personal and Work Milestones
Encourage your team to give virtual shout-outs to celebrate each other’s wins as well as sharing personal milestones. It boosts morale to cheer for a baby announcement as well as for great customer feedback.
- Ask Team Trivia and Icebreaker Questions
Use a dedicated Slack channel, Skype thread or make it a conference call to ask an icebreaker question and give each team member a minute or two to share their answer. The questions should be fun ones like —
- Have you ever met anyone famous? (Who?)
- What book are you reading right now?
- What was your favorite movie — 10 years ago?
- Do you collect anything? (What?)
- What’s your favorite place to visit?
Another fun idea related to team trivia is sharing a google map to see where everyone is from. Encourage everyone to drop a pin where they were born and share a fun fact about that place. You could also do this for their favorite place they’ve ever visited or any number of topics.
- Virtual Book Clubs
Have any readers on your team? Encourage them to start a virtual book club and invite the team. While it may not be for everyone, the people who do join will be all the more connected for this fun, shared experience.
- Virtual Dance Party
Maybe you’re less about reading and more about dancing! At the end (or maybe beginning) of a long week, it’s great to turn up the tunes and have fun with people you enjoy. For a small business team in the wedding industry, it’s important to spend time having fun as well as being creative. Hop on a Zoom call and designate a DJ so you can dance away an hour together.
- Virtual Lunch-and-Learn
Learn something new together whether that’s joining a webinar as a team or hosting your own lunch-and-learn. Team members could take turns hosting one or you could pick something to do together. With so many organizations hosting webinars or virtual networking, there’s plenty to do online!
You can join one of the online events Wed Society hosts as well as attend one of the Behind the Business networking opportunities to spend time with other wedding industry professionals from all around the country. These are good ways to keep your team connected.
- Virtual Talent Show (or Show-And-Tell)
There may be some hidden talents revealed, but there will definitely be laughter and fun with a virtual talent show or show-and-tell. Invite the team to share a hidden talent their co-workers might not know they had. Have the team show off their pets or something in their house — or do a work from home tour. The ideas are endless — and it’s all a lot of fun!
- Virtual Cooking Challenge
Trello did a virtual cooking challenge with great success and we think it’s a great idea to add to your list of team bonding activities.
- Netflix Party
Let’s face it. There’s been a lot of Netflix binge-watching in the off hours, so why not make that something your team can do together with Netflix Party. With a few quick steps, your team can have a viewing party with a live chat feature on Netflix — and cue the good times!
If you’ve already run through all these ideas, and you want to level-up your virtual team building, there are always options like City Hunt and other online companies that will orchestrate a purely virtual team building activity that you can do in the comfort of your home. That makes it ideal for the remote team.
GET CREATIVE TO KEEP YOUR TEAM CONNECTED
Whatever you choose to do, the main point is to be purposeful and proactive. Encourage healthy communication and collaboration by developing a strong sense of community within your team. Use these 10 creative ways to keep your team connected while working remotely to get your started building that community — and add your own flare to it!
How have you been keeping your team connected during COVID-19? Share in the comments below.
Written by Corrie McGee