Recently, I was particularly inspired by a thought-provoking comment from renowned speaker Sam Glenn: “Humor is a sign of a healthy working environment. Take a look around your workplace and assess how much fun everyone is having. The presence of humor is a great indicator of positivity. You can still have a great time at work without compromising on productivity.” This quote has made me reflect on the importance of a positive and enjoyable atmosphere in the workplace.
It is wonderful to have a workplace environment where one can relax and have fun with colleagues. Research has shown that laughter can not only reduce stress, but can also boost immunity, and enhance feelings of wellbeing. It is only when you have the opportunity to be part of a team that genuinely cares for one another and supports one another, that you can truly understand the meaning of belonging.
Upon reading the phrase, I found myself pondering the feasibility of achieving the same dynamic with remote teams. It is not often that one would hear their colleagues laughing and even more rare for a workplace prankster to bring about a simultaneous release of stress, unless all team members are connected by video chat.
The question then becomes how to facilitate a shared sense of humor among dispersed workers. Ideas we preach and practice in our far-flung business are presented here.
Spend Some Time Laughing
The formality of professional interactions can often be a hindrance when conducting video or conference calls. When our appointments remind us of an upcoming meeting, we connect to the call and wait for everyone to join before getting started. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
It is important to factor in some time for socializing before and/or after the meeting if necessary. To help facilitate this, it is beneficial to encourage your employees to discuss their own interests and experiences; this will not only help to build relationships, but can also provide a light-hearted break from the business of the meeting.
An exercise which encourages teamwork can be conducted online. Why not try something traditional such as identifying the baby in a photo? Upload the material, which in this case would be baby pictures, and then allow team members to provide their guesses by adding virtual post-it notes to a web-based collaboration platform, such as Ideaflip. Moreover, there are various other teamwork games which can be played virtually.
Let There Be Memes About Telecommuting
In order to enable expedited communication and efficient problem resolution among members of geographically dispersed teams, the vast majority nowadays employ a chat solution. You can maintain contact with your team by making use of several available communication technologies, like Slack, Zuplip, or Rocketchat. Furthermore, it is suggested that you create a separate channel within any of the aforementioned applications to discuss topics that are not related to work.
Organize a telecommuting meme battle and ask your teams to showcase the best memes they have come up with, or challenge them to invent new ones. It is not difficult to create your own version of a famous meme like “Sad Keanu,” “Distracted Boyfriend,” or “Boromir” (one does not just start a meme war) using any of the multiple meme generators available online.
Let’s Raise a Glass
It is indeed difficult to comprehend that office-based teams are the only ones permitted to enjoy a drink after hours. Yes, this is indeed the case, however, the wrong perspective is being taken. To ensure that everyone can join in the fun, arrange a specific time where everyone can connect online, whether virtually or through a video conference, and take it in turns to pay for drinks (alcoholic or not). Prepare yourself for a great night; why not make it a competition to see who can come up with the best David Bowie costume or themed outfit for the evening? Let the fun begin!
Although it may seem uncomfortable initially, the benefits of having a unified team will soon be obvious if the team leader takes on the role of facilitator and encourages all members to contribute. Not only alcohol can be consumed during a team event; it is possible to have a meal together or simply meet up over coffee and snacks. The team should research the time difference between their respective locations in order to determine the most appropriate way for communication.
It’s Game Time!
Why don’t we all come together and have a great time by playing a game together? There are plenty of free Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) available, such as Neverwinter, World of Warcraft, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Tanks and more. If you would prefer to avoid other players joining in on the fun, why not try something more classic such as Quake or Doom, and host the game on your own servers?
Asynchronous gameplay is an engaging and enjoyable experience. Games that allow players to form guilds or factions are ideal for fostering cooperation and communication between players. Players can choose to take on the role of a mobster in Torn City, form an alliance in Nation States or take a solo approach in Travian – the choice is entirely theirs.
It is common for organisations to recognise significant holidays and observances such as birthdays, Christmas, Diwali and Ostara. However, there are many other opportunities to be positive and celebrate. Day of the Year is an excellent website which provides a comprehensive list of both serious and light-hearted awareness and celebration days.
To mark the occasion of October 1st, which is Older Persons’ Day, Lincolnshire Day, World Vegetarian Day, and CD Player Day, there are a multitude of ways to celebrate. For example, employers could reimburse employees for coffee to mark the day, and could even offer a prize for the most creative photos taken of coffee shops. Alternatively, all employees could be encouraged to submit pictures of their families, or bring in their best vegetable recipe. Finally, as a group, everyone could make a Spotify playlist based on their first ever CD purchase. These are just a few suggestions, and there are many more ways to celebrate this special day.
In order to foster a sense of unity and camaraderie, it is suggested that each team member is issued with a challenge to select a meaningful holiday and plan a group celebration around it. This event could be something light-hearted, such as National Walk Around Things Day, or it could be an opportunity for the group to engage in a serious discussion around the importance of mental health. Ultimately, the aim of this challenge is to help the team to become closer as a collective.
Prepare the Environment
It is essential to create a working atmosphere that encourages employees to enjoy a laugh together in order to develop a positive group dynamic. This can be achieved not only by displaying good humour when others make fun of you, but also by making appropriate jokes yourself. To inject some humour into your meetings, join in with the jokes and share your own (unofficial) memes and jokes.
It has always been, and will continue to be, the people that make up a successful team. With the growing trend of remote working, associated disadvantages such as social disconnection and communication challenges can present themselves. This can make it difficult for those who are working from home to feel connected to the rest of the team.
If you decide to join Works, we will begin our search for an ideal candidate who has both the technical knowledge and the capability to work remotely. Alongside these skills, we look for attributes such as effective communication and a positive attitude towards the job. If this sounds like something you and your team could benefit from, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.