While remote and agile working practices are commonplace in today’s workforce, the current situation is a whole new ballgame and has seen entire businesses going remote overnight.
When your team are working remotely, a different approach is needed for maintaining your company culture, team morale and working relationships. We have put together some fun ideas to help promote employee happiness and engagement during these unprecedented times.
1. Daily coffee break calls
Schedule a short daily coffee break call between colleagues where the only rule is “no talk about work projects.” These calls help build relationships and friendships between co-workers, which leads to more engaged remote teams.
2. Chat channels
Create a designated chat channel on Slack or Teams to allow the informal discussions which would normally happen in the office.
3. Just-for-fun presentations
Ask employees for a short, fun presentation about something they’re passionate about – why they love it, what it teaches them, how the current crisis impacts it and what work-arounds they have found.
4. Weekly favourites
Choose a weekly theme – e.g. movies, apps, recipes – and invite employees to share their favourites.
5. Learn a new skill
Challenge everyone to learn a new skill and then do a show & tell session. Either everyone chooses something collectively (e.g. learn to juggle, learn the NATO phonetic alphabet) or everyone picks something individually and commits to it. A time limit is set (one week) and then the new skill is shown at a group chat or at the end of a team meeting or lunch.
6. Play games
Apps such as House Party allow you to have a group video call in which you can play games such as ‘Headsup’ (a game where players have to describe a famous person or object and one employee has to guess who it is), Pictionary or Bingo.
7. Three truths and a lie
Host a video conference and ask each employee to tell three truths and one lie about themselves. The other employees need to guess which was the lie. This is also a good team building exercise.
8. Pub quiz
Organise a virtual pub quiz via Zoom with a few classic rounds such as sport, literature, current affairs, entertainment, movies etc.
9. Virtual dance party
A quick and easy team building exercise which can be hosted as a standalone event or simply add it as a quick three-minute session during a scheduled team call. You don’t need to bust fancy moves, just turn on a high energy song and move to the beat! Dancing can help cure awkward silences, keep energy high and inject fun and team building into your team calls.
10. Gestures of thanks
Surprise your team by arranging a delivery of a fresh fruit box or flowers to show your appreciation for their efforts. Small gestures of thanks make a big difference to morale.
11. Books, movies or drinks
Set up a virtual book club or movie screening night, or perhaps host virtual evening drinks to unwind and chat.
12. Calling all musicians!
If there are any musicians in the team, perhaps they could entertain with a short online performance.
13. Encourage exercise
Promote wellbeing by encouraging exercise. Set up a team morning stretch session or perhaps someone in the team could run a virtual yoga class.
14. Assign a wellbeing budget
Assign employees a wellbeing budget to spend on something that will help them feel happy and positive whilst remote working – this could be plants, a candle or a magazine subscription.
15. Support mental health
Be considerate and supportive of the stresses everyone is under and offer to organise and pay for a counsellor for any employees who feel this would be helpful in current circumstances. Check out Spill – a fantastic online text based therapy service.
In addition to strong leadership, one of the most effective ways to build team morale remotely is through virtual team building activities. Remember though that everyone is different and shouldn’t feel obligated to join an activity if it’s simply not their thing.
Ultimately, finding virtual alternatives for our valued in-person interactions and being forced to get creative will make teams more flexible and inventive. By the time you return to the office, it’s possible you will even have improved culture and relationships. Good luck and have fun!
Please get in touch with the Purpose HR team if you would like any additional advice or support for your business on effectively managing a remote team.