5 ways to bond with your team during a pandemic
I think it’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic (and perhaps this year in general) has brought out funny sides to all of us. I’ll put my hands up and say I, for one, have consumed more banana bread than I ever thought possible. By June, we’d had to implement a household-wide ban on ‘PE with Joe’ because my (very Canadian) flatmate had watched so many videos that she’d actually started to develop a Cockney twang. By July, things had got so bad that I genuinely had to talk myself out of making a TikTok.
There’s no getting around it – 2020 has been a weird time for individuals and companies alike. With the government advising employees across the country to work from home where possible, it doesn’t look like many of us are going to be returning to a physical office for the foreseeable. In some ways, this might be a good thing (shorter commute, less temptation to spend £10 on a singular oat milk latte in Pret), but it does also raise questions about how companies can encourage team bonding in this new, socially distanced landscape.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled five of the best ways below:
1. In-person meetups
Obviously, restrictions vary around the country, but depending on where you’re based, it may still be possible to arrange a socially distanced meetup with up to six members of your team! In the words of Oliver Kilshaw, Creative Director at Manchester-based travel startup, Trending Travel, ‘the key to boosting team morale is making sure the beer is cold and the pizza is hot’.
Even if local restrictions make physical meetups impossible, there’s no reason you can’t apply that ethos from the comfort of your own home! Why not give your team a budget for beer/pizza for them to enjoy while you’re video chatting?
2. Daily video meetings and catch-ups
As great as texting and emailing can be, there’s no substituting good old face-to-face (OK, screen-to-screen) contact. The team at learning and development consultancy, The Smarty Train, missed their daily morning catchups over coffee in their London office, so have since moved the practice online!
At BrighterBox, we also have a weekly Zoom round-up over drinks on Friday afternoons, which is a lovely, informal way to debrief with everyone and celebrate the week’s successes.
3. Online games
And no, ‘online games’ doesn’t mean ‘quiz’! (I think I speak for us all when I say we’ve done enough of those to last a lifetime.) Award-winning media agency, Space & Time Media, are huge fans of the card game, Dobble, which Senior SEO Executive, Danielle Ward, describes as ‘a trickier version of Snap’.
For other suggestions of activities that you and your team could adapt for online use, check out this blog from 2018: 10-minute team activities to boost startup work productivity.
4. Blind dates
Don’t worry; I’m not about to go all Cilla Black on you. However, one advantage of not being confined to a physical office is that you no longer have an excuse just to chat to the people sat on either side of you! PetsApp (a bit like NHS Direct, but for animals) organise weekly ‘Wednesday pair-ups’ for their team, which sees employees being paired up at random for a 30-minute conversation. The only rule? It can’t be work-related.
Lewis Martins, who joined the company as a Sales Development Representative a couple of months ago, says the initiative has really helped him to settle in, despite being onboarded remotely. ‘I haven’t even met half of my team in person, so this is a great way to get to know them.’
Prior to London moving into Tier 2, Gen Z marketing agency, Fanbytes, had also introduced something similar, by way of a ‘café budget’, which allowed up to six members of the team to work together for one day a week. ‘It’s done quite randomly with the idea of getting people from across the company to work together and not just teams,’ said Sarah Cran, HR Officer and former BrighterBox alumna.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that sitting at a desk all day isn’t great when it comes to preventing neck/back/shoulder ache, so it’s with this in mind that we at BrighterBox introduced a weekly Wednesday morning stretch session with resident yogi, Jake Bentwood. We might not be very good at balancing on one leg, but it at least makes us feel more balanced mentally, and at the end of the day, that’s what counts!
If you’re looking for better ways to connect with your team during this period, hopefully you found some of these ideas helpful! We’re always looking for new inspiration, so please do let us know if you have any more tips that we can add to the list.
Wanting to hire a yogi of your own? Visit BrighterBox to find out how we can support you with your next hire.