(This article was written by Shelcy V. Joseph and appeared on forbes.com.)
Leaders around the world are struggling to connect with their employees, having to rely on communication tools like Zoom or Slack to stay in touch. Still, it’s possible to foster strong team relationships online and uphold a strong work culture that will keep morale and day-to-day productivity high. In fact, now more than ever, managers need to come up with fun creative ways to maintain authentic connections with their employees.
It’s true that technology doesn’t fully make up for real-life moments, but just because everyone’s working remotely, doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with your team.
These ideas will get you started:
Host Virtual Happy Hours
Everyone pours themselves a drink then meets on Zoom. To break the ice, you can have each person say what they’re drinking and if applicable, how they made it. Take it a step further and ask your team about their drink of choice. You’ll be surprised to find out that you have more things in common!
Virtual happy hours are an engaging way to recreate the bar experience online and those signal the official end of the workday.
Schedule More Creative Brainstorms
These are my favorite team meetings as there’s generally no pressure to be right or even have a lot to say. The format is also pretty casual—someone shares a prompt and people volunteer ideas that may or may not be acted upon. No forced participation, just pure creative flow in an open space. While it may be different over Zoom, you can leverage features like the chat box to keep the conversation going.
These creative brainstorms can bring some much needed levity to your team and relieve stress.
Have Individual Check-in Meetings over Facetime
I call these the “how are you really” meetings, which can make everyone on your team feel cared for and supported—from having a space space to be honest and vulnerable. Just as an experiment, try changing up the medium of your one-on-one check-ins and use FaceTime for a more personal approach.