By now you’ve probably participated in your fair share of team video meetings and the initial novelty has worn off.
As we begin to embrace the new world of work, organisations will need to consider how they’re cultivating connections and strengthening team culture when working from home.
It’s times like this where we can slip into having purely transactional conversations with our team and only speaking with people in our department or group.
No team member is an island, and working in silos pulls your team further away from working in a high performance culture.
So, what’s the solution? Today we’re going to share fifteen different team activities you could coordinate to bring your distributed workforce together, even if only for 30 minutes.
We’ve broken this down into three sections; quick virtual team activities, fun virtual team activities and culture building team activities.
Take your pick and experiment with a couple of these. You might even find one or two new team rituals that will become part of your weekly or monthly routine.
Activities for bringing connection and community to team video meetings.
Quick virtual team activities:
WORD OF THE WEEK
A great way to set the tone for the week ahead during your first virtual meeting as a team is to go around sharing your chosen ‘word of the week’.
It’s simple really – ask everyone before the meeting begins to think of a word they’d like to use as a ‘north star’ to drive their behaviour and focus for the week ahead. This is a clever little method that helps shape your team’s cognition beyond the default; allowing them to step into a new week with a fresh set of eyes.
If your team enjoy this video meeting activity, make it a weekly team ritual.
Catching up with your team on a personal level is just as important as talking about the BAU task-based stuff. It comes back to the Losada Ratio – if you only talk to your colleagues about work, you’ll edge towards a purely transactional relationship that leaves you both feeling disconnected from your work and each other.
Up the connection and build rapport with your team by encouraging everyone to share one great thing that they did or enjoyed about their weekend. This one’s great as a pre-Monday meeting conversation starter as people begin to sign onto your video conference call.
VIRTUAL TEA PARTY
Do you encourage your crew to get a cuppa before jumping on to your team video meetings? Well, why not go around sharing what you’re each sipping on?
You might discover something new about your crew; a couple of peeps avoid coffee at all costs while another group guzzle it like it’s the elixir to immortality. They might even share where they’ve been commandeering their delicious beverages so they can all enjoy the same brew even though they aren’t in the shared office kitchen.
CRAZY HAT DAY
A really simple team activity that you could try is a crazy hat day.
It might be a once-off occasion, but we’re sure you’ll get a ripper of a video call selfie (also known as a screenshot) with this activity.
Like us, you might end up with a few people donning their cycling helmets or better yet, Shakespeare-esque theatre masks. It’s definitely a conversation starter!
WIN OF THE WEEK
This quick team activity is great for rounding off your work from home week. By rallying your team to share their ‘win of the week’ (personal or professional) you’ll create a shared sense of progress that’ll increase your team’s motivation levels and make them feel like rockstars.
It’s one heck of a way to increase employee engagement while working remotely. If you find it effective try creating a dedicated team chat space (like a Slack channel) for your team to share a daily win.
Fun virtual team activities:
PETS AT WORK
We reckon at least a handful of your crew have got cute dogs or semi-friendly cats (are any of them actually friendly?) that would be able to make an appearance on your team video call.
Furry friends raise our oxytocin levels, the bonding chemical, and will generally help to raise the spirits of your team during these challenging times.
While there may have previously been debate over the office soundtrack your crew will now likely be jamming out to their playlists at full-blast in the comfort of their own home offices.
Why not spread the joy of music by encouraging your team to share a link to their Spotify Playlist or get them to each list out their top three work from home tunes.
THEMED VIDEO CALLS
Going on from our Crazy Hat Day idea, you could challenge your crew to themed team video meetings once a week (maybe on Wednesdays) to boost the mood and give your team something to look forward to each week.
Themed video calls allow people to bring something funny to the table while also getting them to partake in the same activity which is a culture-binding strategy all on its own.
SEIZE THE MIDDAY
Getting up and moving in the middle of your workday will help you and your team to release some endorphins and come back to your afternoon sprint with a second wind of energy and motivation.
This is a great team ritual that can help to connect your team in a shared activity, even while working remotely.
We’re all watching a little bit more Netflix these days, right?
To bring some rapport-building, water cooler-esque conversation to your team video meetings go around and get everyone to share their favourite series or movie of the moment.
You might just find that someone else loves Tiger King as much (or as little) as you do…
Culture building virtual team events:
Want to rally your crew together for a virtual team event? Experiment with a crafternoon session.
It’ll get your creative juices flowing and the art you create as a team could be shared and displayed in your offices when we’re able to work from our usual co-located desks.
THE GREAT AT-HOME BAKE-OFF
Got some savvy bakers in your team? Why not set up a monthly bake-off challenge for your team to participate in? Nominate a panel of judges for each month on rotation and come up with a fun prize for the winner of each bake-off round.
The truth is since we’re all working remotely, you probably won’t be able to taste the baked creations; you’ll just have to go off the presentation alone.
To keep things fair and square give everyone involved a recipe, a brief (i.e. yellow cupcakes) or a Pinterest snap to re-create.
This is sure to result in some laughs, some delicious baked goods and maybe even a few kiddos and spouses getting involved in the baking fun.
Would your team usually gather around a lunch table at midday?
While you might not be able to organise one every day of the week, choose a set day for your team to have a ‘virtual lunch’ and come together to connect and chat.
ZOOM BACKGROUND COMPETITION
Did you know that you can change your background on Zoom using their green screen functionality? It’s a fun little feature that sets the stage for one heck of a team activity.
Challenge everyone to come to the morning team video meeting with a customised background. Set some ground rules beforehand and give your team a quick run-down on how to set up a virtual background.
SHOW AND TELL
For a personal, connection-building virtual team activity give ‘Show and Tell’ a try. Ask everyone to bring something to the video conference call that they can share a story about.
Go around the group and give everyone up to five minutes to share a story about the item they’ve brought along.
Here are some ideas for Show and Tell themes:
- A souvenir from a holiday
- An actual real-life printed photograph (we still have those right?)
- A home decor piece
Did you find a couple of team activities that’ll work wonders in your workplace? We sure hope so. If you try any of ’em out be sure to give us a buzz and let us know how you went.