In recent weeks, the world has taken on a very different form. Restaurants are no longer open to the public, our favorite weekend hangouts are entirely shut down, and most public events have either been postponed or canceled altogether.
It’s a high-pressure and unique situation for communities across the globe. And many of us are experiencing adjustments in our social lives and our professional worlds. By now, many corporate offices and companies with the ability to work remote have done just that—moved their employees into a work from home situation.
But for every employee who is thriving in their cozy new workspace, there are at least two workers who struggle to face each day with limited human interaction.
Keeping your team connected and involved in this time is more important than it may have ever been before. Though, it gets a little tricky to maintain authenticity when your communication is limited to Slack messages and the occasional Zoom meeting.
In this post, we’ll walk through four unique ways you can keep your team connected in this remote environment.
1. Host remote coffee meetings and lunches with your team.
You know the drill—in a typical work setting, as your teammates are rolling into the office, many of you are taking those morning moments to catch up on small talk, upcoming projects, and, of course, to grab your morning pick-me-up.
Just because your team is temporarily working remotely doesn’t mean the days of coffee chats are in the past. Use this as an opportunity to get your team online and connected with one another. Every few days, schedule a thirty-minute coffee video meeting to give yourselves a minute to take a breath and connect with one another on a more human level. (Yes, turning on your camera is required. PJs, however, are not.)
Leave out the work talk and instead focus on your teammates and how they’re getting along in their new workspace and adjusting to a new lifestyle.
These meetups don’t have to stop at coffee either. Take some time out of your day to (virtually) eat lunch with your team and get caught up.
2. Schedule a remote workout led by one of your teammates.
Some of you may find that, when working remotely, we can easily forget to look up from the screen and take a much needed break. In these times of isolation, it’s important to get up and get moving. Not only does movement keep us sane, it also helps to maintain a sharper focus when we get back to the grind.
We all have at least one workout guru or gym junkie on our team. And chances are, they know all the best tips and tricks for getting in a good sweat without ever leaving the living room. Schedule a midday workout that the entire team can video chat into. This can be an intense cardio workout or just a relaxing yoga session.
Team workouts serve as the perfect remote bonding experience, but they also keep your team healthy and mobile in a time where most gyms and public workout classes are temporarily unavailable.
Not quite into workouts? Meditation is another great option. Find someone in your organization with a passion for yoga or meditating, and schedule a video chat where they lead the session. Or try an app or service to facilitate a meditation call for your team.
3. Select different coworkers for daily pulse checks.
Bonding and connecting doesn’t always have to be teamwide, or even over video. Using your company’s instant messaging system or email, you can select different coworkers to check in on each day.
Start the morning off with a nice “how ya doing” message, and spend a few moments chatting with a teammate about life outside of work. This is also a great time to get to know a few of your coworkers on a more personal level—and an awesome way to show your support for them in such challenging times.
It’s also beneficial to do this before jumping into any work conversations. For example, if you have a question for your manager about getting his or her approval on an assignment, first do a pulse check. Ask about how they are and what they’re doing to stay occupied while indoors. After a quick check-in, then you can move on to work related topics and questions.
4. Organize a virtual happy hour with your team.
Maybe your team has become accustomed to heading over to the nearest bar on a Friday afternoon for a quick happy hour. But now that your entire team is remote, you may be wondering about the next opportunity you’ll have to hang out with your coworkers in a more relaxed environment.
Just because your team isn’t physically together, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Instead, schedule a meeting for a Friday afternoon happy hour. Sit down at your computer with your finest bottle of red and a cheese board, and enjoy a drink with your favorite work buds.
It’s no secret—these times are unique. And the craziest part is that they’re unique to everyone all around the globe, not just to specific communities or groups. As we learn to navigate through this time together, it’s important that we offer each other support and tips to adjust to a new normal.
Working remotely might come as a shock for many of us—especially those who rely on the office as a safe place and a chance for human interaction and productivity. However, with a few adjustments, you can learn to bring your remote team together and get back to feeling (at least somewhat) normal in your new environments.