How to stay connected with your team during the pandemic?
One thing most people say they miss about coming to work in the office is the real connection, the spontaneous, generous, and free flow of connections you create at the office and maintain every day by “showing up” during a coffee break or just running into each other in the hallway.
Strong connections in teams and between teams can instill a sense of belonging and allow people to rally behind the cause of delivering value for the customer and the company that employs them. Today, many Agile Coaches and managers are looking for creative ways to stay connected with their teams and allow people to connect during the day, without controlling them or ordering them to do so.
If you are an Agile Coach and you want to find ways to help your team (re)connect, perhaps these tips may inspire you:
Schedule a daily group check-in. Turn on your camera and say hello in person
Accept that not everyone will call in every day, it is not a control mechanism, it is a quick coffee you grab together to catch up. You can schedule two of these sessions to give more cadence to the day!
Leaders, implement open office time so people can dial in and discuss whatever topics are on their mind.
Having a walk-in scheduled for people to “bump into you” online! I keep my Teams channel open (Chit Chat channel meeting) and shout out to the team that I am in the coffee room
Use Slack, or Teams to discuss complex concerns and questions so others can join I the discussion. Create a shared sense of belonging to the team and allow the team to actively participate in difficult decisions or questions.
Talk through responses on team calls or in small groups; offer support where possible.
Be an advocate for healthy life style.
On a daily or weekly basis, encourage team members to create challenges for each other, that champion healthy lifestyles. Perhaps Dirk might do a “cookie-less” week or Tanya wants to stay on top of her “Running Lunch hour” challenge. Making it fun with a “Miro” board that allows you to tick the days, just you would if you were in the office.
Host a virtual happy hour, coffee, or lunch break, with everyone bringing their beverage or food of choice to a video chat room.
You can also order food to be delivered to your team’s door, that is a special extra attention!
Daily Nature Standup Walk
Instead of everyone looking at their screen, take your phones outside, earplugs in and let’s walk while we keep ourselves updated!
Virtual Safe Space work Charter
Make sure everyone feels comfortable showing their room. I always request people to put their camera’s on, work time means showing up, with your entire self. We don’t mind if the Make-up wasn’t fixed or there is a child in the room. Make sure you allow your team members to voice their concerns and listen. The most important thing is that people feel safe to share their personal space with the rest, so that means the messy hair as well sometimes!
Host a PopQuiz event
Host an event in which you invite spouses, children, friends even to join the fun. Using breakout rooms with different themes, books, movie props….
Virtual Water Cooler Hang outs
We all crave connection. Having a channel in Slack or Teams for people to hang out and freely run ito each other is just the best for team morale at times.
Invite a coach
Allowing your team members to talk openly about their challenges and work towards better ways of dealing with them is a priceless investment in creating a happy and engaged team. As the coach to host a workshop on how to coach each other, and you will have invested in long term healthy, happy and engaged teams.