In this increasingly virtual world, how are you staying connected with your team? Sure, we can have Zoom calls, email, and use collaborative project management tools, but after a while, doesn’t it feel like something is just…missing?
Personal interaction. It’s an important (and often underrated) part of business. And, during these COVID times, it’s easier than you think to make virtual interactions more meaningful!
Here are six ways to stay connected:
It’s so important. Communicating (and doing it well) can make or break a project. Half Half Travel shares these helpful tips on when and how to communicate when working remotely:
- Communicate often.
- Communicate when you have doubts.
- Communicate when you have questions.
- Communicate when you have concerns.
- Communicate when you have feedback.
- Communicate when you have results or successes.
- Communicate your schedule.
- Communicate updates.
- Communicate eloquently.
- Communicate clearly. (In fact, we’d move this one to the top of the list.)
In addition, consider implementing a project management tool that fosters communication among employees. Whether you use Slack, Basecamp, Monday.com, or Microsoft Teams, there are a slew of options available to keep everyone on the same page.
2. Conduct regularly scheduled meetings.
It sounds obvious, but scheduling regular meetings helps keep projects on track and ensures that everyone is on the same page. At NB, we replaced our (pre-COVID) Monday morning weekly status meeting with daily status meetings every morning at the same time. It’s a great way to kick off each day, set expectations, and stay in touch about deadlines, project updates, employees’ workloads, schedules, and more.
Plus, short, daily meetings are a great way to reduce any potential over-communication throughout the day (I’m looking at you, overflowing inbox!)—so the rest of the day is more productive.
3. Then, think beyond meetings.
To be clear, yes, definitely have meetings. But also consider other ways to engage your team and encourage interaction!
Virtual platforms like Vizzi can help you create any type of custom virtual or hybrid experience for both your internal team or your employees and your clients—from branded conferences to product launches, happy hours, live virtual contests, interactive games, and more.
Or, create a custom gift to send to your team members.
- Virtual Happy Hour Box: When the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) wanted to host an engaging Executive Staff Strategic Planning Meeting during the pandemic, we created “Employee Strategic Care Packages” (ahem, happy hour boxes) to all executives attending. Each box included a branded cocktail glass and bottle opener, recipe cards for drinks featuring economy-themed names (e.g., GDPjito, Strategic Smash, Econorita, and Data Crusher), mixers, snacks, a branded note pad and pen, a scavenger hunt inviting recipients to locate hidden images on the recipe cards, and custom packaging.
- Custom Retirement Gift: When a BEA director was retiring, we worked with them to create a custom gift—a crystal decanter engraved with a farewell message and a bottle of the director’s favorite liquor, all housed in custom-crafted packaging.
- Swag Boxes: NB has a soft spot for custom gifts—in fact, we often hand-craft boxes filled with a curated collection of treats and send them as holiday gifts. In that spirit, we’re digging these clever swag boxes by Gifts for the Good Life—they’re perfect for today’s remote world!
With the limitless possibilities offered by virtual and hybrid events as well as tried-and-true, snail-mailed gift boxes, there are plenty of ways to encourage interaction, boost team camaraderie, or show appreciation for their hard work while your team works from home.
4. Have some fun!
We all spend a lot of time delivering quality work to clients. But sometimes, it’s important to look inward and spend some time nurturing your own team.
- Make time for celebrations. There might not be cake in the kitchen at noon, but we can still celebrate! Show some love by giving employees shout-outs for their birthdays and work anniversaries. Or create a video montage of team members sharing celebratory messages. Win a new contract? Host a virtual happy hour to toast the good news!
- Bring back the water cooler. Provide opportunities for employees to socialize. Ask a “question of the week” to get everyone talking on Monday morning. Organize a midday coffee break. Schedule a virtual lunch. Host a pre-game tailgate call for fan bonding time (or good-natured rivalry!).
- Hold a company-wide contest or challenge. Build rapport by hosting a contest (e.g., best costume, impression, design, joke…the world is your oyster) or posing a team challenge. It could be internal (via video call) or external (shared publicly on social media platforms). For example, the NB team recently participated in the Maryland Department of Health’s #MasksOnMaryland social media challenge to encourage Marylanders to wear face coverings in public.
5. Conduct team building exercises.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting trust falls and ropes courses. There are lots of ways to foster teamwork—even remotely. Outback Team Building & Training offers a list of 164 team-building questions to foster collaboration when working remotely. Set aside 30 minutes and ask a few questions—you might be surprised what you learn!
Or, use this time to take an honest look at your brand. Ask employees if they think your logo, tagline, and messaging share your brand’s story and unique differentiators. (And if the answer is no, give us a call! We’re always up for creating a new brand identity or brand refresh.) Team exercises like this will help ensure that your employees know their voices are heard and that they are a valued part of the company.
6. Focus on Well-Being.
It’s so important to carve out time for our individual wellness and mindfulness, yet it can often be the first thing to fall by the wayside as other priorities take up our time. And as we navigate the strange world we find ourselves in today, it’s more critical than ever to nurture our mental and physical health.
As more and more of us are working from home, this work-life balance is more important than ever. Consider offering flexible work hours for those juggling parenting, work, and at-home learning. Encourage employees to end down their workday by a certain time, as we know how hard it can be in this digital world to “unplug.”
And, as simple as it sounds, encourage employees to focus on their wellness—either individually or via a virtual group setting. Launch a fitness challenge or incentive, host a virtual yoga session, or gift your team members a monthly subscription to a meditation app. A gentle reminder to take care of oneself might be just what we all need to clear the COVID brain fog!
We’re all in this new normal together—working remotely, getting it done, adapting and evolving…and even succeeding. And with a bit of communication, routine, interaction, team building, and self-care, it’s easier than ever for teams to stay connected while working safely from home.