Working from home has so many great advantages; the pyjamas, the flexible working hours, the pyjamas, spending more time with your family and of course, we must never forget the pyjamas.
However, one of the challenges when hiring remote or hybrid workers is trying to figure out how to foster meaningful connections within your team.
How on earth can you encourage team bonding with new hires if you can’t get them into the same room at the same time?
Not having the whole team in one place is not necessarily the drawback it can seem to be at first. Working from home can in fact help new hires to feel comfortable in their own space as they ease themselves into those first weeks in their new job. And, in actual fact, what we’ve got here is an opportunity to finally shake things up!
We are in the middle of a remote revolution!
Every challenge that we’ve faced when switching to remote work was met with the perfect solution.
Online meetings? Hello Zoom, Slack, Google Meets, Toucan!
Workspaces? Oh, hey Basecamp, Odoo, Cahoots!
And for team-bonding activities?
Well, as it turns out, there is a whole world of creative solutions that we wouldn’t even have dreamed of before hybrid working became the new norm.
We’ve gathered a list of some of our favourite ideas to help new recruits and foster new social relationships from the get-go!
FACE-TO-FACE (Cameras on please!)
As we mentioned before, thanks to the fact that a new virtual video-conferencing platform pops up daily (so it would seem at least), there is of course no reason not to have face-to-face meetings with your team online. But, it is important to try to encourage your team to leave their cameras on in these meetings. This will allow for more involvement and interaction. Linked to this, why not have a competition for…
BACKGROUND OF THE WEEK!
Self-explanatory really! See which team-member can come up with the most creative background for their virtual calls and every week award the winner! Wallpaper Cave has some fun ones to get you started.
With people having different working hours or even being in different time-zones, it’s not always possible to get everyone into a meeting at the same time. It’s a good idea, in these situations, to make a weekly vlog. The CEO could give a five-minute ‘hello and catch-up’ brief every week to ensure that everyone is still getting some kind of face time. Also, encourage other team members to do the same. Have everyone record a quick video of two or three sentences that state what they’ve learned this week, what they achieved or even give a shout-out to a work colleague. This is a great way to give everyone a bit of face-time and remind them of who their team actually are! This also gives new hires a personable way to interact with their colleagues and feel connected with the team at large.
A very popular solution is having a Slack channel or some other platform dedicated to any silly pictures that your team might want to share. Whether it’s their pets dressed up (who doesn’t want to see a dog dressed as Woody from Toy Story?), a failed baking attempt, or a selfie of two or more colleagues actually meeting IN-PERSON. This will create a lot of great talking points amongst the group and also be something fun to scroll through that helps you feel more connected to your team.
FOR THE FOODIES
I think most of us can say that we have tried at least once to become an at-home Nigella or Gordon during a lockdown. Why not make it into a challenge?
Choose a different cuisine each week and challenge everyone to create a dish from it. People can swap pics, cooking-fail stories and of course, delicious new recipes! Try to really challenge some of the team by throwing in the occasional ‘gluten-free’, ‘sugar-free’, ‘vegan’ categories too, see what people can come up with! Giving your team challenges is a brilliant way to create meaningful shared experiences for the whole group to bond over.
This is a fun idea that has been doing the rounds. Get everyone in the team to send a video of their ‘work-space’ in a 90’s MTV Cribs stylee, showing the ‘must-haves’ at their desks, talking with their work colleagues (by that, we of course mean cats), and share them with the group. This is a good way to let the team share a personal perspective of their working experience, and enables the team to develop an ‘imagined virtual office’, making everyone feel more connected.
Or SHOW AND TELL
Take some time at the beginning or end of the meeting to let people show something interesting that is near their workspace, some art they made, the posters they love, their huge game collection, anything to create a talking point and help people get to know each other’s personalities that little bit better.
BOOK WEBSITE CLUB
Get everyone in the team to seek out the most weird and wonderful sites they can (SFW of course!), then have a virtual get-together with a drink and snack of their choosing, and peruse each website collectively, commenting, and definitely having a good old giggle at the bizarre world of the web. After 15 minutes, move on to the next weird website find!
You don’t have to go out to go out anymore, there are so many activities that can be enjoyed as a group from your computer.
You can add a touch of sophistication to your event with a museum tour! Visit The Louvre, or take a stroll through The Metropolitan Museum of Art together. Go to a streamed concert, or even go on a Safari!
You can enjoy an online performance OR get involved with an online performance game! So many interactive live games have popped up over the course of the last couple of years and that’s yet another brilliant way that a team is able to do something fun, social and engaging. Creating a shared experience that the team is able to talk about and bond over. Wanderlust Chloe has listed the 20 best Online Escape Rooms here for your ease!
With the world as we know it changing, adapting and growing, it feels like there are so many more exciting new ways for working teams to bond and build relationships that just weren’t around before, even if they are a remote or hybrid team.
Thank goodness we are out of that dusty old boardroom and into our (if I hadn’t mentioned it yet), pyjamas!
Don't forget to check out our Missions page if your team fancies being secret agents for the day.
By Jenni Lea-Jones