If the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced you and your employees to work from home, you may be wondering how you can keep teamwork spirit alive in the weeks to come.
Companies need defined work from home policies to help make this experience work and keep efficiencies going. The remote policy should offer a window into your team members workday even though they are working remotely.
If you work in an industry where teamwork is a vital part of your business, you may be concerned that your bonds as a team, and your ability to collaborate, may begin to deteriorate as a result of a prolonged period of remote work; however, this does not have to be the case.
There are many simple and cost-effective strategies that you can employ to maintain a sense of community amongst your staff even while going an extended period of time apart. Here are just a few of the ways that you can keep team spirit alive while working from home.
During this time it is more important than ever to ensure that you are setting expectations. These expectations might need to be reset or revisited daily.
Expectations should include the hours that your team are putting in. Communication is key during these times. Video chats, instant messaging or phone calls. Be sure that you set the expectations for the quality of work that you expect. Set reasonable deadlines wherever possible.
Encourage Water Cooler Talk
Water cooler talk and socializing on breaks is essential in creating a sense of community in the workplace. Coworkers build bonds that allow them to work better together, and many people even develop friendships that transfer outside of the workplace during their trips to the water cooler. However, there is often a misconception that time spent socializing at work means lost productivity while the opposite may be true.
In fact, there is some evidence that small water cooler breaks can boost productivity by helping relieve stress and improve concentration, and it doesn’t hurt that these breaks help employees to bond.
To maintain this sense of community while your company is working remotely, you should create a designated place for casual conversation where people can go throughout the day, such as in a group-chat application like Slack.
Make sure to get the conversation going every day with fun ice breakers and conversation starters such as asking people to share their opinion about the latest episode of The Voice or This is Us, or by asking the highly debated question of whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.
Schedule Time to Play Games
Another fun way to bond and stay connected while working remotely would be to schedule a few times a week where you and your team play games as a group. Platforms like Kahoot and Steam make it easy for groups to play games together remotely using their interactive platforms.
You may even be surprised to learn that these platforms not only keep team spirit up, but they may also help certain team members to come out of their shell, causing your team to actually grows closer. Some games like Codenames are even designed specifically for group-chat platforms, making them easy for you and your team to play remotely.
Create Competition With Team Fitness Goals
Friendly competition can also be an exciting way to build and maintain relationships amongst your staff during a period of telecommuting. For instance, you could consider splitting your staff into teams and giving the teams fitness goals that they have to collaborate on to achieve.
Investing in team Fitbits or similar technology can allow everyone to track their goals, share progress updates, and encourage each other. This is a great way to not only keep team morale up, but it will also encourage physical activity during a time where people may be less active.
Share Your Hobbies
Considering people are more likely to spend time at home while social distancing protocols are in effect, it is likely that everyone will be spending more time on hobbies or catching up on the latest Netflix series.
A great way to promote team spirit would be to encourage people to talk about what they are doing, watching, or reading to pass the time, and create a chat channel that encourages staff to participate in the same activity remotely. For instance, get everyone to agree to read the same book, or watch the same TV show, and set a time to talk about it in a few days. A remote book club can allow staff to bond over shared interests.
Even if you and your staff work from home, this does not mean that you can’t have team spirit.
Want more tips on working remotely?