Hands up — who secretly hated their Christmas party this year? It just was a bit meh, right? Don’t get me wrong, there were some great looking ones posted across LinkedIn but what are the chances that that’s it for team building for another year?
It’s not that we don’t know how important it is to do it consistently, but we’ve all been guilty of getting too caught up in sales targets and project delivery. Companies could get away with sidelining teambuilding activities when we were working in the office. However, now that we’re working remotely, it’s never been more important.
If you’ve felt isolated and stressed this year, don’t worry you’re not alone.
A study by Ginger found that 69% of workers said “this was the most stressful time of their entire professional career, including major events like the September 11 terror attacked and the 2008 Great Recession,” and 70% of workers reported being “significantly less productive because of stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19.”
It’s during these difficult times that friendships at work are the most necessary. We’re all going through it together and we’ll likely be collectively dealing with a lot of anxiety for quite some time to come.
Friendships form the building blocks of a successful and unified team. It not only makes us feel more fulfilled in our working lives but can even help give the company a competitive edge. A team which has a culture of candor, is one which trusts and like working together through the good and the bad.
The Advanced Workplace Institute found that the biggest factor of company performance was social cohesion between people at work. It is a critical factor for knowledge-based companies because it facilitates things like sharing knowledge with a colleague (instead of hoarding it), helping to shoulder workload, and providing emotional support when things get tough. (via Andrew Mawson)
The magic of social cohesion is that it creates a psychologically safe environment. This is essential for stoking the flames of friendship.
So how do you create social cohesion? First, we need to understand what goes into forming friendships.
Consistency + Vulnerability + Positivity
Any team leader who wants to encourage and promote these behaviours must be willing to give the time needed to make it a consistent part of their working week.
What we’ve found most effective with our teams on HomeWerk is that a minimum of 30mins p/week on the same day and same time makes it simple for everyone to stick to a routine of socialising.
Yes, we know the idea of ‘routine socialising’ instantly kills the vibe, but when working remotely you do need to make an effort — but trust us it’s well worth the reward. We guarantee an instant mood boost, feel more productive and connected to with your team.
So what about the activity? Well, at worst you can do a Zoom call with no agenda. At best you use HomeWerk (we’re not biased, promise 😏)
In all seriousness though, here are some factors you want to try and focus on when getting your team together for any social engagement:
- Plan ahead 📝
No one wants to jump on a zoom with nothing to say.
- Standard teambuilding rules apply 🧑🤝🧑
Try and keep the numbers to a maximum of 8 people. If you’ve got a large team it’s best to separate into smaller groups.
- Level the playing field 🏟️
Create an experience which welcomes all personality types. Remember not everyone feels comfortable on video calls.
- Do NOT talk about work ⛔
It’s easy to fall into this trap but avoid it at all costs, now is not the time!
If the above already sounds like too much to handle, just make it easy for yourself and let HomeWerk do the hard work.
Consistent teambuilding initiatives should no longer be considered just a nice-to-have. Or reserved for special occasions like Christmas. It should be seen as vital for the success of any remote-first company. Need more convincing, well let me leave you with this last point:
Scientific studies have proven that neurologically we expend less cognitive energy working with people we like, as opposed to people we don’t! 🧠 🚥
If you’d like to find out more on this topic, check out ‘The Serious business of fun whilst working remotely’ ✍️