Article by Vivo Team.
Fostering connection on remote and hybrid teams requires continuous finesse. It’s not a one and done.
Team members, priorities, projects, and working dynamics constantly change and evolve. As such, ensuring ongoing connection with your remote and hybrid team(s) must be equally adaptive. It’s a hybrid world! And with that, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite eight (8) workplace activities that promote company culture and connection that can be easily deployed online.
Check them out, share them with your team members, and consider which tools and techniques you can apply right away!
1. Share and celebrate wins often, even the small stuff! Try a D.O.S.E. A direct, ongoing swift encounter, a D.O.S.E. is a 10-12 minute tactical meeting with the goal of sharing information, clarifying stuck points, celebrating small wins, and getting clear on priorities. The format? Each member of the team states: what they are currently working on, what their stuck points are, a recent win, and the impact(s) each of these elements have on the team.
2. Plan weekly development meet-ups where smaller groups get together to work on learning something new. What could this look like? Perhaps your company/organization is introducing a new platform, tracking system, or structure; consider organizing a weekly working meeting/training session where a few team members get together (online) and workshop areas of the new platform. This naturally fosters connection and collaboration among team members while doubling as a great learning opportunity for your employees.
3. Offer professional development opportunities. This (should) go without saying! Give your employees the opportunity to upskill regularly. This could include a Friday afternoon first-aid workshop, a team building activity or time management training session.
4. Assign a mentor to new employees for 30 minute check-in chats every couple weeks. Why? This additional touch point is an easy way to facilitate dialogue, communication, and relationship building in a casual, yet professional environment. These check-in chats also serve as an (additional) form of support for your new hire AND a leadership development opportunity for the mentor. A win-win!
5. Organize a monthly online games “happy hour” (e.g., create your own Jeopardy game, B.I.N.G.O., or try a game pack from Jack Box). We recently did an online scavenger hunt and learned so much about one another. It’s amazing what a grocery store receipt reveals—try it out! These more casual events offer an opportunity to connect with your coworkers in a different way—allowing you to put aside the projects, proposals, and business priorities—even if it’s just for an hour or two! Learning more about your colleagues also provides you with a more holistic and well-informed understanding of your team members; it might highlight mutual interests, and/or offer insight as to why they behave the way they do.
6. Create online water cooler chats using a communication platform such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. It’s one thing to have these dedicated channels, but it’s another to actually use them! Make a concerted effort to share something in your company’s/organization’s water cooler chat at least once a week. This is an opportunity to connect with your coworkers, share a fun fact, a recipe, or even a laugh on subject matters beyond the parameters of work. Who doesn’t love (and miss) a quick break in the day and a quick catch-up over a cup of coffee?! So don’t neglect this simple, tried and true opportunity to connect just because you’re working remote!
7. Host virtual birthday parties to celebrate team members. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important one! It was so easy to grab a cake from the café in your office building, or order in lunch for the team to celebrate the month’s birthdays, but this all seems to be (all too easily) forgotten when shifting to working online. It’s important to continue to make an effort to celebrate one another and connect as you would in person. Consider hosting monthly virtual birthday parties to celebrate team members who had a birthday the past month. This could include sending everyone a food delivery service gift card and encouraging them to order something to enjoy together, while celebrating online. Put together monthly birthday party planning committees, and make it a friendly competition to see who can organize the best online celebration!
8. Send out surprise care packages! Have everyone come online and open them together. This is a fun one–it’s great to get everyone together with an element of surprise (because we all know how much we, as employees, like to be prepared)! It also demonstrates that you, as an employer, care.
You can’t have true connection without a little rejection. Don’t worry if one of your team members is hesitant. For some, it’s a new, and at times daunting space. Allow them some time to become comfortable and open to the increased connection points. Be supportive, understanding, and empathetic, and you’re sure to establish genuine, authentic, and long term connection on your remote/hybrid team.
Try using Vivo Team’s Team Connection Idea Board to get your brainstorming session started! Explore how you and your team(s) can implement these tactics.