Encouraging Team Building During Lockdown
Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks that bring teams closer together. Wikipedia
How is this achieved if everyone is working in isolation?
Well, Heres 10 tips to get you started.
Communication is a vital part of survival, cavemen communicated with grunts and noises and pictures drawn on the walls. In order for us to have a team that not only survives but thrives in this time of lockdown, it is important to keep an open line of contact on projects, ideas, plans and connect socially in order to maintain a good work culture.
2. Be Kind and understanding
It takes nothing to be kind to one another and its something which makes a huge difference. Understanding that we are all in this together and there are new challenges we have to face such as working from home, family responsibility, concerns about family, friends, financial worries, external stresses, and workload are enough to affect our mental health negatively - your attitude towards your colleagues can make a big difference and make their day brighter, so choose to be a kind, caring and compassionate.
3. Regular video catch-ups
Sometimes technology can be scary especially if you are new to using online video programmes but google is your friend. Youtube tutorials are also a great way to learn how to use a new form of video programmes such as Zoom, Skype, Teams or FaceTime.
Depending on the nature of the work, this can be a quick check-in or catch up, seeking advice or brainstorming together or plan ahead and make yourself a cuppa and join in on a good yarn.
4. Get Physical
A great part of staying mentally well is getting some fresh air, it is almost too easy to work the entire day without stretching your legs or going outside - Challenge yourself and your team by posting daily or weekly motivations to get your body moving - this can be some morning yoga, a walk around the block, 10min exercise with your kids or lunchtime workout. Take this time to get into a new routine and encourage your staff/ colleagues to stay mentally and physically healthy.
5. Keep the traditions
Whether it's after work Friday beers or Monday morning coffee catch-ups, keep the fundamental culture of the team going. It's important in this time to hold onto what brings us together. A beautiful way to start a morning meeting with your team is by doing a Karakia (Māori incantations and prayers) together, joining in on a waita and discussion about any updates you may want to share with your team and if you open with a Karakia, you may want to end the meeting with a Karakia too, sending your team off with good wishes.
Here are some examples of Waita you may want to give a try :D
E hara i te mea and Te Aroha
6. Theme of the day
Create a theme of the day or week and get your workmates to join in.
Keep it fun and casual, nothing too demanding that will take too much time out of their day, this can be as simple as asking everyone to share their favourite inspirational quote, recipe, post a picture of their isolation buddies, send pictures of their bear hunt, workspace, coffees, brain teasers or something with a bit more effort such as dressing up for a team video meeting or sharing what activities they have done with their family to keep sane.
7. Healthy Eating
Sharing pictures or recipes of your food is a great way to challenge your teammates to eat healthier and get the conversation flowing around healthy body healthy mind concept. There's also nothing wrong with sharing your favourite scone recipe too ;)
8. It's ok to not be ok.
Working as a team not only means being there in the good times but also having the courage to say I am not ok and I need some help. This may be a conversation to your direct report or work buddy. It can also be asking for some tips and tricks on how to manage your day better/ ideas around what others are doing or simply taking a Mental Health day and giving your brain a break. Being there for your team and offering support in times of need is one of the pillars that hold up an organisation. Take time to be present, accept the 'new normal'. Help yourself and others to feel, think and adjust to new realities and a new feeling.
9. Managing conflict
No doubt people will be feeling the pressure and this may cause some to be reactive, conflicts do not just disappear if you ignore them; issues become harder to handle the longer you wait. Deal with the problem as soon as it has been brought to your attention and not leave it till it escalates. Put in place an ‘open door’ policy, (in this case, an always answer policy), provide support and resources, listen with a good intent to resolve any conflicts or misunderstanding. Again... Be Kind. Remember to address the problem, not the person – one thing you cannot change is the fact that people have different personalities and opinions, so do not judge them. Instead, focus on identifying the cause of the conflict, promote tolerance and understanding, and aim to reach a solution or compromise. Lastly, be supportive.
10. Get Social and have some fun.
Update your calendar with fun events, highlight employee birthdays or other celebrations that will get people interacting online. Share quotes and motivational messages to brighten up everyone's day. Share informative and inspiring videos. Get out of your comfort zone and join an online zoom meeting, meet new people over LinkedIn and share some professional development links. Use this time to get to know your team on a different level.