Working remote doesn’t have to equate to endless hours of social isolation or FOMO. In fact, it is now more important than ever to consciously strengthen our connections to one another.
Team bonding is essential for building or creating trust between one another, improving communication and dissolving imagined barriers. Stronger relationships result in higher performance, more engagement and happier team members. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved!
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be in the same physical location of your colleagues to interact with them! There are countless opportunities to encourage continual team building and foster solid relationships. All from the comfort of your snazzy new home office.
Schedule a Virtual ___________ (Fill in the Blank)
Schedule a meeting with your colleagues, turn on those nifty cameras (remember from the previous post: no one cares what you look like!) and enjoy virtual coffee / lunch hour / happy hour.
Virtual breaks encourage socialization with your colleagues. They are specifically designed for workers to participate in idle chitchat, general discussions, or even light brainstorming. Consider this a pause in your day, a moment where you can rest your overloaded brain and connect with other human beings while consuming your beverage or food of choice.
For more activity, an alternative option is to participate in a virtual workout class (yoga, kickboxing, Zumba etc.) Instead of consuming calories, you can burn them by tuning into your favorite YouTube video for an interactive heart pumping workout. Remember, when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.
Or maybe the team is stressed and would benefit by taking a mindful period of rest. How about a virtual meditation? Meditation can help eliminate negative thoughts, worries, and anxiety; all factors that can prevent us from feeling happy.
If you and your team members are new to meditation – try a guided one. A guided meditation is just that – a meditation led by another person’s voice. Because the mind tends to wander where it will, you may find it easier to focus and relax when your mind isn’t entirely left to its own device. Try a meditation led by Tara Brach or choose from one of these 70 free meditations.
Close your eyes and try to recall your childhood memories. Do you remember participating in show-and-tell at school? This was a classroom exercise in which children would bring an item from home and talk about it with their classmates.
Show-and-tell was designed as a conversation starter for children. This allowed other students a glimpse into the child’s home life, into what they valued. It also acted as an ice breaker and helped children connect with their peers in new ways.
Why not try a show-and-tell variation with your colleagues? You can use the first few minutes of your daily check in to display one of your prized possessions with an explanation of what it is, and why it is significant to you. Maybe there’s a compelling back story, something that would give people a glimpse into your hobbies or interests.
A different approach is present your favorite photograph. It could be that one of you holding a cuddly joey in Sydney, or finishing your first marathon: dripping sweat, bandaged up and beaming with pride. The photo doesn’t have to be framed, and it doesn’t have to be in perfect condition. It just has to speak to you.
To add a little creativity (or to throw a curveball to the group), you could suggest creating a rotating “theme of the week” where team members show photos of:
Google Earth gives you the ability to view satellite imagery, 3D buildings and terrain across the globe. You can zoom to your house or favorite coffee shop and then dive in for a 360° perspective with Street View. Imagine showing everyone where you went to college or the exact spot your husband proposed to you? Google Earth is an enjoyable way to visually share your story or home environment with your colleagues.
Engaging in game play is a relatively simple and straightforward approach to strengthening team bonds and relationships. Unfortunately, our society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or a guilty pleasure. However, according to this article from Wanderlust, “Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity.” Play is pivotal. Play brings us joy and is vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.
We don’t have to be physically collocated to play games. Lucky for us, technology is on our side.
Keep your eyes open for our final post of this series, which will provide tips and on nurturing existing relationships.
Just an agile-dork writing about dorky agile things.