The rapid move to remote work is resulting in some unanticipated — yet beneficial — side effects. We’ve crowdsourced some of the most innovative ways startup teams are connecting and growing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The morning commute may technically be shorter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use that time to connect with a crowd. The “morning train” is a 15-minute open zoom call for colleagues to drop in, drink their coffee and chat about anything other than work or COVID-19. It’s a great chance to talk to kids about their latest Lego project and give virtual nose boops to all the best dogs.
If your office workstation offers a snapshot into your personality, a home setup is sure to provide the high definition version. Take turns giving (edited) cribs tours for a fun way to get to know each other better. Show off your favourite spots in your home. Are you a kitchen counter surfer or a basement dweller? Do you do the dishes after each meal, or wait until the end of the day? Is that a picture of you in grade 9? So many questions will be asked, perhaps not all will be answered…
It’s easy to forget to take breaks when working from home. Refuel your brain and connect with your coworkers just like you would in the office lunchroom. If you have extra time on your hands, you can test-drive new ideas. Share your creations with fellow foodies during a virtual lunch date and pass along the recipes.
Who doesn’t love a good round of trivia to show off the size of your brain? First of all, it takes the focus off heavy topics, which can be overwhelming. Whether your team develops custom games or makes use of an online tool, make time for trivia or other frivolous fun — and if you can, sweeten the pot to encourage participation and friendly competition. Create a virtual trophy, feature winners (or losers) in playful ways or send small denomination gift cards through email! Check out Lovatts, Sporcle or Triviaplaza for pre-built quizzes, while SurveyMonkey or Kahoot are great DIY options.
With fitness facilities and yoga classes on hold indefinitely, many are craving their usual workout at a time when it’s more important than ever. Physical exercise provides a much needed outlet for stress release and it can also be a lot of fun when done with friends. Trainers and bloggers worldwide are offering free online classes (our favourites are: Nike Training Club, CrossFit and, for all the yoga lovers, Corepower Yoga) so why not try it out as a virtual team? If you aren’t into classes, challenge one another to a daily circuit of squats, pushups, crunches, or even a good old step challenge to get heart rates up? As spring weather arrives and we grow tired of our own four walls, it’s a great time to get outside.
We all know how much comfort pets can bring. Why not share the love with your team? Start a dedicated Slack channel featuring furry friends to share pictures and tell stories. Cameo appearances during Zoom meetings are encouraged in the name of lowering blood pressure and warming hearts.
Find ways to spark conversation and connect around common interests and hobbies. We’re all probably reading a lot more right now, so start with a book club (just talk about the books you are reading, you don’t all have to read the same book!). Or for the movie and show lovers, how about a Netflix Party once a week? If you can decide on what to watch, you’ll have bonded in a meaningful way already. Game lovers can unite with a virtual round of Monopoly or maybe even a high stakes poker night — you decide.
The events and milestones we would celebrate together in the office are still happening, so don’t let those practices wane. Look for creative ways to make announcements, host virtual birthday sing-alongs and collectively cheers with a virtual beer at the end of the week. The good times need to continue, stay close to your people and find your own unique ways to make the very most of this strange time we find ourselves in.