9 Ways to Connect Your Team While Working From Home

April 2, 2020

If you’re new to working from home due to COVID-19, you’ve probably read lots of articles with practical tips for adjusting to remote work – create a schedule, get dressed (ha!), etc. – and how to keep your remote teams engaged

Aside from missing your dedicated workspace (and perhaps some peace and quiet!), you’re likely also missing the most beautiful part about being in a physical office – connecting with your team. 

Here are 9 ways you can stay in touch and close with your colleagues during this crazy time: 

1. Be real. 

This is a challenging time for EVERYONE. Don’t pretend that life is normal. Check in with how people are doing daily. A quick 10-minute video call can help everyone feel a sense of connection and normalcy (and embrace the unintended interruptions…)

2. Question of the day. 

At Brilliant Ink, we always begin our weekly team calls with a fun question for everyone to answer. It keeps things light and is a fun way to get to know a bit more about your team. Here are a few to get you started:

  • What item do you want to hoard?
  • If the quarantine were over tomorrow, what would you do first? 
  • If you could be a part of a TV family, which would you choose?
  • Would you rather… be quarantined with Donald Trump or Kim Jung-Un? 

3. Share moments from your real life. 

Social distancing is weird and isolating. Sharing real-life photos and videos via Slack, Teams or Zoom helps us to feel connected. You could do a weekly series where each person shares something about their life at home – a picture of their work set-up, a favorite dish they have cooked or a cameo of their pet on a video call. 

4. Have some fun! 

We all need a mental break throughout the day, find something fun to do together:

  • Have a virtual happy hour and award a prize to the person with the most creative quarantini 
  • Add a Slack channel for entertainment where you can share suggestions of activities or even play a game (Wordsgame, Botzee, Tic-tac-toe and Codenames all have integrations for Slack).
  • Create a WFH playlist on Spotify and share with the group 
  • Play a game of Pictionary or trivia via video call or get everyone in on a round of Remote Work Bingo

5. Set Up A Virtual Co-Working or Water Cooler Space

Setting up a space for your team to work together and engage in friendly chat can be a great way to bring back some of the focus (and welcome distraction) your onsite office offers.

To get started, create a Slack channel for #coworking or #watercooler. The first person who’s online that day can create a video room that’s open for anyone to join. Be sure to distinguish whether the purpose of the room is to get work done or to be a little social.

Pro Tip: For the best of both worlds, have everyone on the call try the Pomodoro method: 25 minutes of working followed by a 5-minute break. This helps everyone focus on the task at hand and then enjoy some banter.

6. Get moving. 

Physical activity is great for physical and mental health, and even better when you do it together!

  • Schedule your 1:1s as walking meetings 
  • Challenge the team to a daily step challenge 
  • Do a virtual yoga session via Zoom (we love Krystle Sarkissian!) 

7. Give together. 

We all feel pretty powerless right now and being able to do something to help unites your team. If your company is in a position to give back, set up a donation matching program (Brilliant Ink has matched employee donations up to $100/employee). 

8. Break bread. 

If your employees are missing lunchtime in the company cafeteria or their morning Starbucks run, find ways to share a meal together. Order in food from the same restaurant and have a virtual lunch date over a video call. 

Or if you prefer to avoid the awkwardness of eating on camera, send everyone a DoorDash (or Uber Eats/Grubhub/Seamless) gift card and share where you choose to order on your next team call. Bonus, you’ll be supporting local restaurants who are suffering right now!  

9. Practice gratitude. 

While it feels like the world is falling apart around us, take a pause to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Create a gratitude Slack channel, or take turns sharing on a call. 

However you decide to do it, you’ll find that gratitude is contagious – once one person gets the ball rolling, you will be amazed by all the things that the group comes up with (to name a few: the internet, wine… toilet paper).

In closing

Have patience with others. Everyone is fumbling through these unprecedented times. But at the end of the day, we’ll get through it together. 

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