COVID-19 turned our lives upside down and lockdown forced millions of people to suddenly give up their office routine and relocate their desk to the kitchen table. As we discussed in a previous article on this topic, these changes came with several challenges. But it’s not only individuals who are affected by all these. Companies lose billions while being forced to rethink employment, advertising, and even their business models.
This is a moment when we all need to step up and work together to overcome these challenges and raise from the ashes. It is also a time when team relationships are more important than ever but also harder to maintain and nourish. The purpose of this article is to give you some ideas that could help your team bond together and strengthen its relationships in these tough times.
Calls with voice or video
One of the most important parts we’re missing when communicating online is body language. Even though the digital world has its own nonverbal communication, matching facial expressions to voice and tone is still an important factor that helps us understand the meanings behind words.
Video calls are a safe way to fill that gap, especially under lockdown, allowing your team members to see and hear each other at the same time. Setting up a video meeting at least once a week will help people connect and feel closer to each other.
And if you find video communication exhausting, voice calls have a lot of benefits and can empower your team relationships even more:
- human bonding with no appearance expectations, thus no social pressure
- focus on active listening
- increased empathetic accuracy
If you want to find out why voice communication is on the rise these days, read our COO’s article on the Lazarus Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dedicated informal space
People bond a lot faster, learn to trust each other better, and become happier in informal environments. While being professional at work may be a crucial part of any business, dedicating a space to informal communication might be a great idea to lift the spirits and take off some pressure. Lockdown nor not 🙂
Open an informal topic on your Hubgets platform and encourage people to share funny memes, gifs, links, or show off pictures of their kids, pets, house, dinners, etc. These are all great conversation starters and light up the mood for all participants.
Short teambuilding exercises
All-work and no fun leaves room for rut, unhappiness, and resentment to grow. Allow your team to have fun together while on the clock with some cool team building games and activities. Think of this as the equivalent of a games or relaxation room at the office. The internet offers a plethora of possibilities.
A very fun game that pushes people to use their creativity and imagination under pressure. Create a lobby for your team, ask everyone to join, and start playing. The game gives you random letters that are supposed to be an acronym for something. Each player has to submit their own answer, then everyone is required to vote the answers under anonymity. Then the names are revealed and the answer with most votes wins. The game keeps going until a player reaches the winning score (25 points default).
Every lobby has a chat option so your team members can comment and have fun together.
Use the story cube generator to generate 9 pictograms that you will use to create a short story. Each team member can generate their own dice or the leader can share their dice with the rest of the team and have everyone use the same ones as a basis for their story.
Share your stories with each other and have a good laugh while getting the creative juices flow.
This is one of the games that everyone loves. Taboo requires you to describe a given word so that other people can guess it. But there’s a catch: each card gives you 5 related words you are not allowed to use in your description. For example, for the word nephew you are not allowed to use the words relative, family, cousin, sibling, child. The game creates a climate of friendly competition while giving the winners a feeling of great satisfaction.
These games (or others similar) are great both for strengthening relationships among team members, but also a very nice way to grease the wheels before the workday starts. Play them first thing in the morning and have everyone start their day inspired and with a smile on their face.
Meet in virtual worlds
Virtual worlds, such as Second Life or IMVU are different from multiplayer games, in the sense that their only purpose is to create a virtual reality where people can hang out and do all the things they usually do in real life.
Your avatar can be a businessman/woman with features that resemble your physique. You can rent an office space and gather your team around a table, where you can all talk in voice, hold presentations, and even access the real internet through virtual devices.
There is a growing list of companies with a presence in Second Life, especially since the lockdown brought tens of thousands of new residents to the platform.
The best part is that when you are done with business, you can take your team out for socializing to a bar, playing darts, pool, bowling, or various board games. And unlike VR and holograms, these virtual worlds are accessible to everyone and highly customizable for very low prices. Spending time together in the same space (even virtual) can foster a sense of belonging and improve relationships between team members.
Let technology build virtual bridges
Thanks to technology development, we can keep each other close even in times of social distancing. Use the methods discussed above to keep your team united and engaged.
And most importantly, stay safe!