How teams can meaningfully connect remotely?
That is for sure a frequently asked question I get these days.
I have tried out and experimented lots and lots over the last couple of years,
And today I'd like to share the best of 5 rituals to help you boost YOUR connections.
And build on the very human need to interact socially.
Which in the end, if you take this need seriously, will boost your peoples' motivation, productivity, and creativity.
This is not coming from me, but multiple research states that the level of trust and connection within a team and workplace determines your business outcome. So this episode might be a game changer.
1. Because ritualizing means it's something reoccurring. You don't have to explain away, fight for, and convince people to do it. Everyone knows it's happening. It's not questioned or replaced by some urgent fire you have to extinguish. Which, let's be real, often happens, especially in remote settings.
2. Also, the effect is way higher when what I'm about to share is not a one-time thing. But a ritual. When it's established as a mental cleanse. We all (hopefully) brush our teeth regularly to keep our teeth in optimal health. Staying mentally healthy is just as important. And remember: Human connection is a basic need. So whatever you choose, make sure it's once a week, or every two weeks of the first of the month or whatever works for you.
Ok, let's hit the list.
Ritual 1: The "Happy Hour."
Equivalent to grabbing a beer after hours. Tell everyone to mix their favorite drink and then meet Friday at 5 pm for a virtual Happy Hour.
And then not just sip and sit, let each participant explain why he/she choose this particular drink, what it means to them, and maybe even an anecdote about drinking this cocktail.
Sometimes this turns into a cool personality test. ;) You can find out a lot about people if you do that.
You can also exchange recipes for all the drinks. Or as an extended version, choose 1 drink that everyone mixes live while meeting remotely: Something quick and fun and of course, where you release the ingredients list upfront, so everyone has the stuff when they need it.
Ritual 2: The "Game Night"
If you know me, you know I take fun very seriously. And this love is not random. Not only because I love to live life, it's also because fun increases productivity. Think about it if you're having a great time with other people. It increases connection, trust, vulnerability. It's the glue to great teams. And I know I'm repeating myself here, but it's so important. We always think whenever we meet, we have to be productive, get things done. The truth is socializing and just socializing will help you, in the end, to be more productive because you need connection, a great team spirit to get there. It's not the other way round. Oxygen mask on first, then what needs to be done gets done quicker and easier.
Ok, so. Integrate fun rituals, game nights, for example. There are multiple, really great apps. Houseparty, for instance. It's an app where you can choose from a variety of really fun games. Or UNO, the remote version of the well-known card game. I'll leave a link in the description box to some of the top games I used.
Ritual 3: The "Gratitude Roulette".
Did you know that gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions? If you practice gratitude or thankfulness, however, you want to call it, you are able to decrease stress tremendously. Because you can not feel grateful and be stressed simultaneously. That doesn't work.
According to the studies by psychologists Robert Emmons practicing gratitude regularly also
- Heightens energy levels
- Causes Greater optimism and happiness,
- Increases self-esteem
- Strengthens heart, immune system and decreases blood pressure
- And Improves feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
So the social glue as some point out.
Now: How can you ritualize that: Simple!
Ask each and everyone to share 1-3 things they are truly grateful for this week or this month.
And after they have done that, show lots of gratitude for sharing their story.
Ritual 4: "The Creation Day"
Ritualize a day every couple of months or a couple of hours each month to random solution-finding.
This means: Ask a business-related question or a couple of questions. And let your team find solutions. Completely self-organized without any expectations. Set a time when they should present their ideas. And what you will most probably find is that because it's completely free and self-organized, with no pressure at all, they will bond super quickly. And on top of that, possibly find extremely valuable ideas for the business. This is regularly done in creative organizations, and sometimes the outcome is really no use at all, but the process was so delicious for the teams to connect over doing something meaningful. And sometimes, the outcome is just as glorious and giving you awesome new ideas catapulting your business forward.
Ritual 5: "Reflect / Connect"
You know, sometimes we need just time to share how we feel, what bothers us, how things, changes, are weighing us down. And sometimes, because we're so stuck in that negative spiral: "This doesn't work, this will never work," just 1-minute brainstorming (seriously 1 minute per issue with all team members) will give you new perspectives and solutions to your problem.
So, again, step by step. One by one, ask your teammates to share one thing that went really well. Start with the positive, so their brain already starts to focus on the positive.
And then one thing that really went wrong this week or month. However, often you do this cleansing.
Then go into brainstorming mode together. Asking: How can we help you solve this problem?
Give the team a minute. It often does not need more than that, 'cause you're so many wonderful brains. And then each team member presents their idea as a present. And then you carry on to the next...
My experience is that this ritual gives people so much energy and hope, and happiness.
So my dear Innovator. I hope these rituals rock your teams and make you happy as well.
For more awesome team building, check out my blog article on 11+ ways to energize your team with multiple embedded free videos.
Rock on and tills soon.