As the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to spread, companies are asking their employees to work from home for their own safety. Those who are already accustomed to working from home will face little disruption in their daily lives, but for those who are not, the isolation measures will turn their lives upside down.
Fortunately, thanks to several platforms and collaborative software (such as Wimi), it is near impossible to actually be completely isolated when working from home. Instant messaging, videoconferencing or audio calls allow for the continued contact with colleagues, maintaining a social link and encouraging teamwork, even from a distance.
To avoid relationships from souring within the team and to raise moral in this confinement situation, here are 7 creative and original virtual activities to encourage communication, maintain a social link et motivate your teams from a distance.
Virtual Coffee Breaks
At work, we enjoy coffee breaks as a chance to catch up with colleagues, discuss plans for the weekend, exchange progress on current projects or take a moment to relax. This is important for company life, indispensable for work relationships and important to foster a cohesive team.
Even when working from home, it doesn’t mean that this ritual has to disappear. Whatever the frequency (once or twice a day, once per week), organise a virtual coffee break with your entire team via videoconferencing from home. Make the most of this break to unwind together and try to avoid making it a work meeting.
With the same idea in mind, you could organise a videoconference breakfast on Friday mornings to share a jolly moment with the whole team before the weekend.
A team breakfast is another key opportunity to strengthen and improve relationships between colleagues. This is a chance to discuss and share stories on various subjects, related or unrelated to work, as well as to develop a friendly and positive work atmosphere. Team members that get on well with eachother will be more productive.
Rather than leaving your co-workers to have breakfast on their own, suggest having your breakfast virtually with one or more colleagues. To do so, create a group chat on the company instant messaging platform or pair up with a colleague to have breakfast with them via videoconferencing.
As a manager, you could likewise organise a virtual team breakfast once a week, with the idea in mind to maintain team spirit.
In the last couple of years, ‘break room’ has gained popularity. This trend originated in American multinational enterprises such Google, Facebook or Apple which provide their employees with gyms, toboggans, video games, football tables, etc. These comfortable spaces are dedicated to unwinding, and contribute to improving the well-being of employees, strengthening bonds between co-workers whilst encouraging efficiency, productivity and creativity.
In isolation, your employees no longer have access to these essential moments of unwinding and connecting with co-workers. So why not suggest different activities for the team to do in order to relax during the day? For example, propose a weekly group meditation session, a reading or cinema group to discuss books or films or even a group where everyone can present a hobby. Of course, all of this will be run over videoconferencing.
Learn to get to know each other whilst having fun
Fancy a different way to unwind from work whilst also maintaining team cohesion? Suggest to your team to participate in games. Thanks to online quizzes you can compete with your employees on general culture, geography, art or history. Hold competitions to see who is the fastest on the computer keys or who is the origami champion.
You could also hold a game of Q/A via your company’s instant messaging channel to get to know your colleagues and the company better. Some examples of questions: What year was the company founded? What is the biggest project budget you’ve ever had to manage? Your most memorable holiday? Your hidden talent? Etc.
Participate in remote workshops
Another way to maintain the relationship between co-workers from a distance, is to encourage them to participate in training sessions or workshops to build on their skills or acquire new skills. For example, attend an online conference, take language lessons through a virtual class or watch a conference streamed online on the subject of your projects or your company.
Have you heard of bingo? It is a game of chance like the lottery. To win, you need to be the first to fill out your number grid. In this context, create your grid by replacing the numbers with actions or accomplishments such as “has had their meeting interrupted by their child or pet”, “has tried the pomodoro technique”, “has had more than one coffee break today”, “has worn their pyjama bottoms during a videocall”, “has said ‘can you hear me?’”, etc. Tick the box when one of your employees has done one of these.
On the company messaging platform create a themed group to share photos of your adorable pets, your home office, the view from your window, etc. Sharing your daily life and work environment with your colleagues helps to get to know eachother better. This also allows everyone to visualize the environment in which their coworkers are working.
Here you have 7 original ideas to help you connect with your co-workers despite the social distancing measures, as it is important not to feel isolated. The internet is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Let your imagination and your creativity run wild to find other amusing ideas and don’t hesitate set up an ideas suggestion box to encourage suggestions from your colleagues.