Staying connected while distancing from your lovely colleagues

Agile

Seems that the effects of COVID-19 are here to stay. Although the effect is heavy on all of us, one doesn't have to take it all negatively. Apart from people getting to spending more time with their families(fortunately, or unfortunately😉), it’s time to get creative. Activate that right side of the brain. It's time to think out of the box.

What we need to do is virtual team building and also, looking out for our colleagues who are a bit more affected by the situation than others. I had the opportunity to work with 2 teams in this time. Also, had a chance to witness how my spouse, who is working with multiple teams, is continuously striving to improve the team spirit.

The age range of all colleagues I came across with is 24-50ish. And the living situations differ from living alone in an apartment in Amsterdam to living with a family of 7 and a newborn. Some people were doing just fine, while others were struggling to find motivation to do their daily tasks.

During these times, I felt blessed to see how humane all the colleagues around me are. Their actions brought the remote teams together and helped build a trustful, meaningful connection through the team. And I can ensure you that the whole team felt valued and seen.

Few issues people are facing is the feeling of being disconnected, unmotivated and unsupported. Virtual team building can be used as an alternative to the “watercooler” to reduce these effects. It can provide an intentional space where remote co-workers get to catch up and socialize and connect in a way that they might not have considered otherwise.

The requirements for our story: –

A leader – Probably the team manager/scrum master or anyone who keep the ball rolling in usual times.

Time – Set aside some dedicated time for the team building. Team members must give undivided attention during team building. Otherwise, members will fall off uninterested or uninvolved.

Screen-sharing tools or some collaboration platform

 

Now, here are a few things I saw work, and a few more that I thought of –

  1. Really KNOW your colleague – Some questions to start the meetings with. Get everyone’s attention and get the brain going.
    1. Name one random thing on your desk that doesn’t belong. And share its back story.
    2. what is the food that you could eat every week for the rest of your life?
    3. What is the best trip you have ever taken?
    4. Who is wearing pants 😛 (Use with caution)
    5. Tell us 3 things, two of which are false. Let the others guess or let them keep guessing which one is true.
  2. Share your baby photo. Who was cutest in good old days?
  3. Share a goal
    1. Let’s do the standup in tree pose and build up strength. Will keep stand ups short for sure. 😉
    2. Who can do max push-ups? Let’s work on it and compete weekly.
  4. Hobby talk. Everyone gets x minutes to tell about theirs.
  5. Cooking (themed)competition. Points for presentation. Spouse rates the dish and the kitchen mess 😉
  6. Virtual happy hour. Get those bottoms up at the end of the week, or day!!!
  7. Virtual walk – take your phone and your colleague on facetime outside for a walk.
  8. Marco Polo Check-in – Video Walkie talkie. Got your attention. Didn’t I? Get your team to download the app and every morning, record a message with the day’s check-in/ prompt. Then invite everyone to respond with a short video.
    1. One word to describe your morning
    2. Bird making music outside your house
    3. What are you having for breakfast?
  9. SURPRISE in May/Jun/… With the Easter that went by, my husband’s company sent the employees an Easter breakfast basket. It was awesome. My company personally delivered pizza ingredients for a virtual pizza session one afternoon. It was both a surprise and a particular valued feeling we got from those gestures. It doesn’t have to be the management to do it. You can do it for your small teams too.
  10. Never Have I ever – Play a PG-version of it with your team, no matter what field you are in.

The times have changed. Although sudden, we can still make the best out of it. We can aim to help each other try. It’s time for collaborating and compassion. Stay healthy, stay safe. 🙏

Agile