A contribution from Michaela Rhein in the category #News from 15 May 2020
In a survey* we conducted, 82 % of the participants stated that they miss their colleagues most while working from home. Although meetings start with a quick check in, between reduced hours and a poor internet connection, informal water cooler chats are absent.
We’ve got 5 great tips to help you stay in touch with your colleagues despite home office and social distancing:
1. Make virtual appointments for coffee and lunch dates
Invite your colleagues for coffee or lunch using Google Hangout or zoom. Make a fixed appointment and talk for 15 minutes. Just like in the office, sometimes it’s good to change locations. Chat in the kitchen or on your balcony. The same applies to lunch breaks. Prepare lunch together or order from your favourite restaurant. Once you have found the right solution for you and your colleagues, try to find a rhythm and repeat your coffee and lunch dates regularly.
2. Plan online team activities
Team activities bring employees closer together and keep the motivation up. To ensure that your team comes together, despite the current home office situation, relocate your team events to the virtual world. Meet online for a beer after work, coffee workshops or yoga classes. Activities of this kind enhance the team spirit. Apps and programs, such as Trivia, support with games for a fun evening together.
3. Turn on your camera during video calls
Of course not only you – ask your colleagues to turn on their cameras during calls as well. If many employees are in home office, it is essential for the sense of belonging to see each other from time to time when there is no other personal communication. Gestures and facial expressions are part of our communication and a part of how we express our feelings. Turn on your camera so that these natural gestures don’t get lost.
What it can look like: Good vibes in a meeting
4. Team spirit through messaging tools
Your company already uses Slack or a similar messaging tool? Great. If not, now is the time to start. Messaging tools offer you and your colleagues the opportunity to exchange information quickly and easily. Similar to WhatsApp, there are private chats, group chats and public channels. Different channels offer a platform for topics that have no place in the normal working day, but support and connect us interpersonally. For example, at Coffee Circle we have a channel called „look-random“. From articles about the Corona crisis to coupon codes for a new yoga online platform and funny GIFs to cheer up the team – everyone is allowed to post, share and comment. Who knows, you might even find new common interests in your team.
5. Virtual coffee kitchen
For most employees, the office kitchen is the number one meeting spot for chatting informally to colleagues over a cup of coffee. Many home office employees particularly miss these kinds of informal conversations. Create this place virtually for your team and use tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, zoom or similar. This is how it goes: Create a daily repeating all-day event called „Virtual Kitchen“, add a Google Hangout link and invite your whole team. That way, every employee can dial into the office kitchen and meet colleagues for a cup of coffee whenever he or she wants to. We’re currently testing this idea in our team and are eager to see how it will turn out.
Conclusion: The new remote work situations require new measures to keep in touch with colleagues. Although the effort is higher than before, you can even get to know your colleagues better. Video calls suddenly reveal homes, children or hobbies. All the best for your team and have fun trying out new things.
*Survey on Linkedin, April 2020 with 54 answers
Micha arbeitet bei uns als UX Researcherin im Experience Team. Am liebsten trinkt sie fruchtige Filterkaffee Röstungen aus dem V60. Bevor sie nach Berlin gekommen ist hat sie die Welt bereist und gibt gerne Geschichten zum besten. Ansonsten ist sie auf ihrer Yogamatte oder im Park anzutreffen.