Bored of Zoom Quizzes - Here’s What to Do to Boost Your Remote Team
Lockdown 2.0 has commenced in the UK, but if you’re anything like us, your team dropped the zoom quizzes months ago.
In the peak of lockdown, it appeared that company cultures hung on to the team building and social element that zoom could provide. There was everything from virtual zoom tours, live zoom gigs, to the classic pub quiz.
But as we delve into another lockdown, in a new season, it’s now time to put aside the novelty games and get serious about what it really is our remote teams need in order to thrive during another month of isolation.
Unfortunately, many businesses have still been putting their heads in the sand about how long COVID-19 would have an impact on our work-life. And the truth is, nobody has the answers to how long it’s going to last, or how many times we will be in and out of these lockdowns.
All we do know is that we’ve been through one lockdown, and with the potential of these becoming a regular occurrence over the next year we can no longer wait for things to go ‘back to normal’.
What we have to do now is embrace the present, and make plans for the future.
To help you shape your remote culture, and boost your remote team, I’ve listed some of our top culture ideas to bring your team together, re-energise them, and get them better connected to each other and the company’s mission.
Commence a Culture ‘Hackathon’
Traditionally a hackathon is used in the tech or digital sector, whereby teams come together in a sprint-like manner to design and develop new programmes. They are given a problem and a deadline, and together they must each come up with a solution. If you’ve never been part of one or seen one in action, it’s quite the buzz.
However, this problem-solving and creative event can work wonders for anything – not just software.
In order to make this effective, bring together teams of people and give them one common culture problem you’d like them to solve.
It could be something simple like; how do we improve our team meetings? Or how can we ensure our values are put across to our customers more effectively?
Alternatively, you might want teams to go wild; what do you envisage our future office looking like?
A culture hackathon gives everyone the opportunity to break away from their normal roles, and step into something different.
And as we know with any lockdown; breaking up the monotony of the same four walls is essential in maintaining both our mental resilience and our motivation.
Innovation sprints such as this are becoming increasingly popular within company cultures as they look to tap into peoples innovation and creativity to keep the business moving forward and competitive in a face-paced world.
The beauty of these innovation sessions is that they can be held remotely, so teams can come together via video conferencing tools such as zoom to collaborate and pitch new ideas.
An added bonus to these culture hackathons is that your team becomes increasingly aware and involved in the company’s mission and values; they feel part of them and can provide a unique perspective on how the business is currently meeting, or not meeting its goals.
Encourage Learning Breaks
If there’s one thing we hear a lot from businesses; it’s that they struggle to support people in their learning and development journey. It’s a more common issue than you may imagine.
As an employer, you want to show your team you take their development and learning seriously, and that you’re committed to helping them become their best selves.
On the flip side, your team want to learn and develop, but they struggle to find time to dedicate to their learning journey. Meaning months down the line they’re still not where they want to be.
The honest beauty of being remote is that we can switch off. We can turn off the Slack notifications, put the phone on silent, and we don’t have any customers or colleagues in our environment to distract us.
So in many ways, lockdown is actually the perfect remote environment to finally commit time to their learning and development.
Encourage your team to block time out daily or weekly for learning breaks. This could be anything from watching a TEDTalk, reading a book, or taking part in some online learning for an hour.
Coach your team in blocking out dedicated time in their diary to truly enjoy some learning and development that can help them.
The added bonus of learning breaks is that it breaks up the day once again. Rather than being sat in the same place for eight hours straight, they could go for a walk and listen to a podcast, or get cosy in a different space to read.
Learning and development doesn’t need to be made complicated right now, but it certainly should offer some variety and growth during this time where many people may feel stuck and demotivated.
Get Creative with Show & Tell
There is only so much Netflix you can fill your evenings up with, and when work is over, your team might be climbing the walls in sheer boredom.
To support them even in their free time, suggest for your team to flex their creative muscles. Again, this could be anything from knitting, baking, to throwing some dance shapes.
Tapping into more of our human creativity has been proven to massively improve our wellbeing, and enable us to become more creative. It’s a win-win for everyone who wants to take part.
As well as encouraging your team to take up a new hobby, put the extra effort in by getting them to share it with the team.
Connecting with each other in this way creates a deeper sense of connection, empathy and compassion. We start to learn more about each other, which in turn supports our communication and collaboration—key ingredients for any remote working team.
Provide Mental Health Support
By far, one of the most critical components for a remote working team is mental health support.
In the UK, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant rise in cases of anxiety and depression. People are feeling stressed, worried, and severely isolated.
Plus we have to remember that the current state of remote working is enforced – this is not something everyone has chosen, and many people are missing being able to come to the office for those small interactions we all take for granted.
While your team are remote working, ensure that you have support in place for their mental health.
Many businesses I have worked with have partnered with third party mental health counsellors, whereby teams are provided with free and confidential mental health counselling whenever they may need it.
For those who are struggling during this time, mental health counselling has become a lifeline of support in a very dark uncertain time.
Without a doubt during this lockdown, mental health support is a must-have, not a nice to have.
Plan the Future Together
During the first UK lockdown, there was a sense in the UK that we had to just ‘keep calm and carry on’. But as we see that these lockdowns may be here for a while, many businesses are finally starting to realise that they can’t keep working the way they were, nor can they pretend that everything will just click back into place post-covid.
From our experience in building company cultures, nothing frustrates or annoys teams more than a lack of direction or momentum in the business. People want to know they are working towards something, and that there’s a future.
And let’s be honest, if there’s one thing COVID-19 took away from us, it was 2020, so while we’ve been hurt by our plans being cancelled, what we need now is fresh plans and new ideas of how we can begin to move forward.
While your team is remote, getting them together to work on how the future of your business or your company culture may look is a fun and inspirational experience in helping everyone to see that this will all be over one day. So where do they want the business and culture to be?
I covered a number of different future scenarios in my recent podcast season. You could take one of those trends and play with ideas on how it may shape your business.
Alternatively, if you know your company culture needs some readjusting, you can get your team to take part in some company culture training to inspire them and help them to come up with fresh ideas.
Zoom quizzes are dead and over; now is the time to be offering remote support that really means something to your team.
If you’re stuck for ideas, do something wild and ask them, you may be surprised at what they can help you come up with.