Like many other companies, at Smunch we take pride in our company culture. We have many team events, such as a weekly breakfast, a team lunch, and our Friday beers. These events are a great opportunity for all teams to bond cross-departmentally.
Then, out of the blue, Covid-19 made an appearance. And everyone was working from home.
No more table-tennis matches, no more water-cooler banter. How do you bring your team together when they’re miles apart? We’ve tried a few things that we want to share with you.
Here’s what to expect:
- Creative (and fun!) ways to bring your team together
- Virtual team activities
- Healthy habits you can implement together
- How to ensure good communication
- Ideas for helping others as a team
Let’s dive right in!
Bringing the team together
At Smunch, the kitchen truly is the heart of our company. It’s where we chat while the coffee’s brewing, where we have (intense!) battles at the pingpong table and where people find a quiet moment for a private chat on the couch by the window.
All of this is out of reach now. But our team spirit is still going strong!
- Create a virtual space to hang out in
We’ve started off by creating our virtual kitchen, which is essentially a Google Hangouts Link that is permanently active. Anyone can drop in at any time, see who’s online, and enjoy a moment of care-free banter.
We also use this space to have lunch or a beer together. Having a hard time motivating yourself in the morning? Make plans with your colleagues to have coffee or breakfast together as you go over your plans for the day.
- Add some fun (and funk!)
If you’re used to a little background noise in your office, why not ask your team to collect a shared office playlist on Spotify? Anyone can add song ideas. Find a good title, too - may we suggest “You’ve got to Smunch it up”?
We (already) hear many complaints that “all those video chats are getting lame”. Fair enough. Add a little action to spice it up. Instead of a ping pong tournament, you could challenge the team at Lunch & Games through the Houseparty app.
Find strength within to be strong outside
Days like these can be worrying for some and downright scary for others. Not everyone will shrug the current developments off with a laugh. Be understanding about the fact that every teammate will handle things differently.
- Don’t neglect your mental health
To offer some support and grow stronger together, you could get together online in a mediation group or for virtual yoga classes. Remember to laugh, too - now more than ever! Share a meme or a funny video, or start a lip dub challenge.
For a more powerful and energetic approach we’ve found exercise groups extremely helpful. You can get apps and challenge yourself to see who takes the most steps every day. Or if a colleague lives nearby, you can meet up in the park and work out together (with a distance, of course!).
- Talk. Listen. Answer.
Team leads should be available for their team and schedule regular meetings where news can be discussed. At Smunch, our CEO has regular Open Hours where anyone can approach him and raise any question or concern. Many employees prefer this over asking questions in our weekly All Hands meeting.
Offer even more anonymity by creating a virtual suggestion and question box. Questions can then be answered in a meeting or a regular email to the team. More often than not, other colleagues will be happy someone brought up what they had in mind, too.
Do something social together
You don’t want to be lonely and isolated right now - and others feel the same. Why not take your challenges beyond your work surrounding? Many people could use a helping hand or a caring gesture right now.
- Grow together over helping others
Find areas in your city where you could drop off bags with goods for homeless people. In many cities, some fences or bridges are popular for this. Then create a map and based on where your teammates live, you can cover these locations between you (go alone, of course!). Have a video call as you pack bags with toothpaste, wet wipes, snacks, etc. And then spread some love.
(Picture credit: Leipziger Internet Zeitung)
Feeling arty? Create a handicrafts group and make Easter decorations for your houses - or sweet cards for elderly people in local retirement homes. They can’t receive visitors right now and will be touched to receive a little note - albeit from a stranger.
You can do this. You have to.
As intimidating as the current situation may be, all we can do is make the best of it. As Angela Merkel said in her speech to the German nation: “Show you care by keeping a distance.”
However, it’s also hard times like these that bring people together. And we are sure that your team will emerge from their isolation stronger and more connected than ever. And while you’re at home, why not plan something cool for the post-Corona days? We’ve got some creative team event ideas!
Hang in there!
The Smunch Team