Virtual meetings that get straight to the point and end swiftly before anyone has had a chance to wave goodbye may be efficient in terms of productivity but are emotionally disastrous.
When the “meeting has ended” sign suddenly pops up in our face and we abruptly return to the lonely silence, we are driven a little bit deeper into the distancing abyss. We shake it off and refocus on work, but it adds up through the days and months, eventually dimming the heart’s desire to reach out and engage.
Now that we have all settled into the notion of social distancing, we need to find ways to hold on to a sense of social cohesion. Feeling the motivation provided by teamwork when we can’t really feel our teammates’ presence is not easy; but where there is a will, there is a way.
Paying attention to the emotional aspect of working in teams is now more essential than ever because it strengthens relationships, builds trust and – most importantly – supports personal wellbeing. We are more than just coworkers; we are humans working with and for others.
The remote socializing aspect of working from home deserves our attention. Create time to socialize with all team members to make everyone feel valued and involved. Regular team socializing helps build genuine connections and creates open and honest communication lines.
Sharing feelings and emotional support is not easy for everyone, especially in a culture where we’ve been taught this makes us vulnerable and looks unprofessional. But it’s crucial and every good leader sees its worth. Team building games are a great way to get everyone involved towards this purpose.
Here are three easy team-building games for remote workers:
Portray your current life. Each person shares a picture of something in their life and a story of why it represents them or their state of mind. It can be the view from your window, a cherished item, or a photo of a child or pet. This exercise is easy because we do it all the time for social media, but valuable because we rarely share this view in a professional setting. It’s a great way to connect and get to know each other.
Random conversations. Schedule one 30-min call per week between two team members chosen at random. Change partners every week. After a while, everyone will have had a one-on-one conversation with all other team members. The topics must be unrelated to work. Like musical chairs, this exercise is the perfect excuse to get to know someone you may not otherwise ever speak to directly.
Cooking show and tell. Create a collective cooking experience by holding a virtual meeting where a participant shares one of their favorite recipes and shows everyone how it is made. It is a great way to peek into their heart and kitchen, while also making us further value professional cooking shows because cooking, talking and looking cute on camera is harder than it looks! If team members are in different countries, even better. Share a traditional recipe to expand everyone’s cultural knowledge and appreciation. Efforts that foster human connections are most effective when done periodically and intentionally. Team building must be done routinely, not just once when introducing each other. Schedule these activities during leisure time because they are intended to connect at an emotional level, not when we’re all busy getting work done. Let the rational mind take a step back, relax and enjoy being human!