The struggle is real. If your team is not accustomed to working remotely, cabin fever may be setting in and, now more than ever, you need to focus on CONNECTION. It’s more important than ever to maintain that sense of connection and camaraderie for employees. Social distancing can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, so team bonding activities can be incredibly helpful for making people feel like they’re not alone. Here are a few ideas to help you and your teams stay connected during this difficult time:
Please note that many of these activities assume the use of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Slack, or Google Hangouts to facilitate the group participation. There are many platforms like these available for free if your teams are not already using some type of video conferencing system.
Show and Tell
WFH Cribs. Much like MTV Cribs, have team members take turns showing where they’re spending all of their time.
What Is This Thing? Employees can take turns sharing a zoomed-in image of something. The rest of the team then tries to guess what the object is based on the close-up shot provided.
This Is My Workspace. Round up aerial views of your team’s desks and workspaces
Paint n’ Sip. These classes have become popular over the last few years, but you don’t need a class to take part. Participants can round up whatever paint and wine they have on hand, choose a subject together, and have at it.
Terrible Crafts. See which teammate can make the ugliest craft project. Uncommon national holidays like National Arbor Day (April 24) or National Superhero Day (April 28) offer some great themes for this.
Quarantine Karaoke. If your teams can’t sing badly together in person, they can still do so over video chat. Check out this popular Facebook group or use YouTube to find instrumental versions of your favorite songs and sing the night away.
Quarantine in Style
Full-on fashion show. Get your team to brush the dust off their fancy duds. Choose a theme or designer and watch your employees get all gussied up for a walk down an impromptu runway in their own living rooms.
Dressed-up Pets. Employees with pets can attempt a fashion show featuring their furry friends. Good luck keeping those furry friends on the runway!
Holiday Dress-up Party. This won’t be like your typical end-of-the-year shindig. Have employees dress up as iconic holiday figures and decorate their home workspace accordingly for a mighty festive Zoom room.
Rely on the old standard: Food
Pizza Party. If your employees have ingredients to make a pizza at home, try getting everyone on Zoom to make and/or eat the pizza together. If your company has the budget, pay for delivery pizza for each employee so you can enjoy it on a video call together.
What’s For Lunch? Prompt your employees to share their meals and inspire colleagues to eat well while cooped up.
New Week, New Food. Using the lesser known national holidays, choose a new theme weekly or monthly and integrate that food into operations wherever possible. Insert related emojis into internal subject lines where appropriate, or request photos from employees who enjoy any related meals.
Accept the Challenge
Conference Call Backgrounds. Whether they’re virtual or in real life, challenge your team to find the best background possible. Zoom has a feature that allows users to upload any image to use for a virtual background. If your teams don’t use Zoom, see how creative your employees can get using things from around the house.
Photoshop. Choose a theme like movie posters and watch your team create their own hilarious versions. Award the best or worst one (which could be the same one, honestly).
GIF Wars. This activity might be happening already, but involve your employees in an open GIF war so they can bask in their glory when they fight back with the perfect one.
Have a (Virtual) Night on the Town
Try out Netflix Party. The popular streaming service recently announced a Google Chrome extension that allows groups to view a movie or show at the same time while being able to chat about it.
Take a virtual museum tour. Take advantage of this opportunity and give your team an experience they won’t forget with tours of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, The Louvre, or Langley Research Center.
Go on safari. Give this one a try for an experience you’d likely never be able to recreate for your team in real life. Check out the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden every day at 3pm ET — while the program is geared toward kids, everyone loves some face time with animals. If this doesn’t resonate with your team, there’s plenty of webcams and tours set up that feature penguins, farm animals, aquarium creatures, and zoo life.
Play the Game
Whiteboard Pictionary. Like the classic game, players must guess the keyword their teammate is drawing. Technology like Miro’s whiteboard or Zoom’s whiteboard feature can help make this possible.
Zoom I-SPY. Best with medium-sized teams using Zoom’s gallery mode, this game relies on a good eye and the whole team being on video. Employees take turns choosing something they spy in the grid of faces while everyone else tries to guess what it is. This one really takes face-to-face connection seriously!
Museum Bingo. This activity works really well with the virtual museum tours being made available right now (like The Louvre). Prepare this for your team by creating bingo cards that include features present in one of the tours. Not only will your employees get to enjoy some culture, but they’ll also be prompted to look more closely at everything.
Sew masks. This one might require some upfront preparation, but teammates who know how to sew could come together to make masks for healthcare workers. Participants are urged to use whatever they have on hand at home as long as it meets the requirements available for mask creation.
Turn the video on for meetings: Enjoy the benefits of face-to-face interaction on a large scale by having regular company-wide check-ins over video. Seeing everyone in the company can help with the social isolation everyone is feeling.
Send out a daily newsletter. At a time when we’re all a bit unsure of what tomorrow will bring, having a recap of company news and internal updates can help your team feel connected and part of the larger team.
At a time when employees need to feel connected more than ever, it’s the experiences they share that help them get through each day. Hopefully you can help your team share some of these experiences as we get through each day of this together.
Beach, A. (n.d.). Virtual Team Bonding During COVID-19. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from https://justworks.com/blog/virtual-team-bonding-during-covid-19