The coronavirus pandemic has caused a sea change in workplace culture not seen since the Industrial Revolution. In just a few weeks, we’ve had to entirely rethink not just how we work, but how we work together, even when we’re apart. And we’re also beginning to see that many of the changes we’re making—from improving the work-life balance to using team bonding activities to bring workers closer together—are really good for us. Not just for now, while we weather this storm, but all the time.
Our work improves as a whole when we as individuals are happy, healthy, and included in the bigger company picture. When your workers feel they can openly communicate and that their voices will be heard, they feel a greater sense of loyalty to their company. When colleagues from different departments mingle, a cross-pollination of ideas can happen that would have never taken place if everyone stayed put within their designated teams. And the closer and more deeply connected your workers are, the better in sync they’ll be while they work.
A Close-Knit Team Runs More Efficiently
Imagine if your business could run like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows each other already, so there’s no awkward small talk between asking for favors or checking in with deadlines. When someone gets stuck, they know exactly who to go to for help. Miscommunication is rare and easily resolved and no project ever gets lost in the shuffle.
You simply can’t have that with a group of strangers. People need to know each other to feel comfortable working with them. That’s where initiatives like team bonding activities come in.
But team bonding activities aren’t all equal. You want to choose activities that will encourage everyone to participate on their own terms, while also nudging people ever so slightly outside their comfort zone, since that’s where growth happens.
What kind of things can you do to bring your employees closer together? Here are our favorite suggestions.
1. Team-Based Challenges
The best thing about challenges is that everyone who participates gets to discover what they’re truly capable of. Gather your employees into teams and put their skills to the test! What you challenge them to do is up to you. How about productivity challenges? Which team can complete the most tasks in their backlog? Who can do the most favors for their colleagues? Who fell victim to the fewest distractions while working during the week?
Or, maybe your challenges can be wellness-based. Which team can walk the most steps in one week? Or raise the most money for the local food bank in a month? Who can pack a lunch with the most fruits and vegetables? Get creative and remember to celebrate everyone’s efforts!
2. Breakout Meetings
Chances are, your company is already doing daily standup meetings, where your teams report on past work progress and future plans. These meetings are important for keeping the company as a whole informed of workplace activities but they don’t always inspire conversation.
So, when the official meeting is over, consider scheduling unofficial and more casual breakout meetings to discuss whatever they like. Shuffle people into groups they wouldn’t normally form to encourage new connections; you can do this automatically in Zoom if your meetings are remote. Topics don’t have to be work-related; the idea is simply for your employees to get to know each other.
3. Different Work Zones
Sometimes, people need isolation and deep focus to get work done. Other times, people need a more creative and collaborative approach. When these two groups mix, it can cause frustration on both ends; the deep focusers just want to be left alone while the collaborators feel ignored and stunted for ideas.
That’s where creating different work zones comes into play. When people have designated areas to go for the kind of work they need to get done, it eliminates the pressure of having to set up a space for themselves, or risk invading someone else’s. Collaborators can flock together to bounce ideas off one another while focusers can have some much-needed one-on-one time with their personal projects.
This can be done in both a remote setting, too. Try setting up “water cooler” and “deep focus” channels in Slack or on Tandem for people to use.
4. A Company-Wide Wellness Program
While even smaller companies often work in teams, it’s good to remember that you are all one united group, and company-wide initiatives are a good way to bring everyone together. A wellness program in particular unites everyone under the same umbrella of wanting to be their best selves. People can build each other up, celebrate each other’s successes, and mentor each other through struggles. And since everyone is in the same program together, everyone is on the same page. It’s much easier to fight the temptation of office birthday cake if everyone is fighting it together!
5. Game Night
Nothing brings people together like games do. In fact, when we play games together, our bodies literally sync up. Our hearts beat at the same tempo. We breathe at the same rate. We move and think in tandem with one another. Playing a game together, especially a cooperative game, can lead to total synchronization of body and mind. You won’t find that during a standard corporate icebreaker!
Host game nights for your workers. If you physically work together, try an escape room or party games like Hot Seat or What Do You Meme? or even old-school classics like Charades or Musical Chairs. Remote workers might enjoy an online party game from the Jackbox Party Box game series, or maybe something more creative, like a company Minecraft server or Animal Crossing: New Horizons meetings. It’s less about the game itself and more about participating in something fun together, but the more cooperative you can make it, the more social benefits you’ll reap!
Getting Started with Team Bonding Activities
Each and every one of your employees is valuable and special in their own way. But, when they’re united and working as one, the whole becomes greater than the sum of their parts. We as humans evolved to be at our best when we’re working together toward a common goal.
If any of these team bonding activities sound like ideas you’d like to bring to your workplace, you’re certainly welcome to do so on your own. But if you’re interested in a complete transformation of your company’s culture to one of connection and collaboration, you might benefit from some support. Luckily, we know just the thing to help, and it’s Fabulous. Literally!
Fabulous for Work is designed with your workers’ wellness in mind. We’ll help your employees achieve their personal goals while also encouraging them to participate in company-wide challenges, competing with their colleagues while also building them up and supporting them on their own personal journeys.
In just 8 weeks, Fabulous users develop keystone habits that make them happier, healthier, and more productive. And with Fabulous for Work, they can do it while also forging deeper and more meaningful bonds with their colleagues, which will make your company that much stronger.To learn more, visit thefabulous.co/work, or click here to get in touch with us!