With the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many are finding themselves working from home for the first time. This can be a huge change, one that naturally requires some time to adjust to, and it can be hard to feel like part of a team when that team no longer sees each other daily.
For years Collaborative Solutions has maintained a hybrid workforce; that is to say, many of our employees work from home several days a week and some work remotely full-time. Even though some of our teams are scattered across thousands of miles, we are still able to have fun and keep in touch with each other. While it isn’t always as easy as, say, getting up from your desk and bumping into someone at a water cooler, it also isn’t hard.
Here are some recommendations for staying social and having fun with coworkers when everyone is working remotely.
How to Have Fun While Working from Home
Meet for coffee virtually in the morning. Consider carving time during the workweek for team members to have a conference call in the morning with only two items on the agenda: drinking coffee and chatting about personal lives. This is a great way to check-in with coworkers and see how they are doing on a personal level. The breaks can be scheduled or spur-of-the-moment affairs.
After work cocktail hour. Similar to the virtual coffee break but with adult beverages involved. Instead of going out and grabbing a drink at the new beer garden around the corner, jump on a video call and pour your drink of choice.
Make meetings and presentations more engaging with quizzes. Any opportunity for gamification can go a long way toward keeping remote coworkers engaged. The next time you host a meeting or presentation, include a quiz. This will spur healthy competition while keeping coworkers invested in meetings or presentations. Just make sure to give the top performer an award. Quiz apps such as Kahoot! can help take the meeting to the next level, creating a game show like experience.
Have theme days. Just because you can’t have an office luau doesn’t mean you have to skip the event entirely. Team members can still dress up and take selfies, then share their pictures on company chat threads. Theme days can be a fun way create a sense of community, even when everyone is separated. For example, on St. Patrick’s Day, Collaborative Solutions team members dressed in green for our conference calls.
Challenge each other to keep fit. We live in an era of connected fitness, with hundreds of different fitness apps and solutions available. Many of these, such as Fitbit, allow users to compete with each other remotely and can be a great way to keep coworkers active.
Make meetings more human. At the start of a video conference call, take a few minutes to check in with each other and ask questions such as, “Today I’m excited about...”, “a good thing that happened to me today is...”, or “I would like to thank....” These moments humanize meetings.
Host cooking competitions. Encourage better eating habits and have fun doing it by hosting cooking competitions and awarding the winner. These competitions can be held over video conference calls or you can simply ask everyone to send pictures of the cooking process and final product, then judge the winner.
With the current crises, it's important to maintain human connections and do what we can to reduce the anxiety that reminds everyone that they are not alone. Taking active steps to keep coworkers connected and building a sense of community helps keep everyone happy, motivated, and engaged.For tips on maximizing productivity & well-being while working remotely, watch our remote work toolkit video: