By now, many are used to working from home. Attending online meetings, presentations in your living room and dividing the work together are common in many teams. However, many people miss the informal chats at the office that are often the glue in a team. After all, those chats ensure that you know each other professionally and get to know more private details. That makes for a better bond. You can strengthen team spirit in a time of working from home in different ways.
Organise a quiz
A quiz combined with a video conference is a good way to keep the team together. You can even combine two things: getting to know more about the company and each other. For example, get some information from the team members in advance and work it into funny questions. There are platforms available for this, like Kahoot. You have full control over how funny you make the quiz, so it can still be quite businesslike. A quiz is a nice break from all the work. Especially if you have a few competitive people in the team, it is likely to get a very positive reaction.
Send a pre-weekend summary message
It is very kind to give a compliment in response to an email, but it is even nicer to show that you see and appreciate a certain employee publicly. Especially after a long week of hard work, it is nice to express your appreciation, end the week and wish everyone a nice weekend. You can do this, for example, by sending a WhatsApp message to the team in which you summarise the week and give credit where credit is due, possibly with a cheerful gif or another image. This not only gives the team insight into what is happening but also a sense of satisfaction, of: “We did this together this week!”.
Ask for something personal before a meeting
There are still many meetings where participants immediately get into business. You don’t have to talk about private matters for fifteen minutes to touch your employees, but showing a brief personal interest works. Just asking how a certain sport, child or education is going gives an employee the chance to think about his private life and share it with other team members. Moreover, it also opens up the possibility for employees to ask the question in return, which allows you, as a manager, to mingle a bit more with your colleagues.
Use a collaboration tool (and add a chit-chat channel)
Collaboration tools are great for getting a quick overview of where things stand. Whether you choose Trello, Slack or Microsoft Teams, this software doesn’t just give you the option to keep track of work-related stuff. There is also room for gifs, funny pictures and, for example, funny questions. Slack, in particular, lends itself very well to this. You can create a chat channel here that you might call the ‘coffee machine’, where employees can do an after-weekend check-in with each other on Monday mornings and share memes and other jokes with each other throughout the week. Creating such a channel shows that you as a company understand that you are dealing with employees and people. Plus, it shows that it’s okay to talk about something other than work every now and then.
Organise a monthly online get-together with a shared Spotify list
While all of the above are mainly done between jobs, for some employees, it’s nice to be able to let go of work for a while and then close their laptop and start their evening. A monthly online get-together on a Thursday or Friday afternoon, for example, can bring employees together because they don’t feel the pressure of still having work to do. So if someone wants to enjoy a glass of wine, that’s an option too. As a conversation starter and for fun, you can also create a shared Spotify list to which employees can add their own songs. You could even choose a certain music theme each month. People can then talk about music, maybe doing a dance or sharing a fun, personal memory. It’s a change from work and a great way to get to know each other better.
Online escape room
A team outing is out of the question in these times, so many companies turn to online options. There is, for example, the online cocktail workshop or the pub quiz. Another challenging option is the online escape room. Here you can also see which employee is more dominant and dares to step into the leadership role. Above all, however, it is fun to get the team to work together on a solution. Often, an organiser sends parts of the puzzle to people at home, which means that good online communication is required to make progress. Cooperation is key, and that is only really expressed in an exciting online escape room where time keeps ticking away.