My most recent post on LinkedIn cross-posted here.
In light of what is happening, creating opportunities for your distributed team to connect personally is more critical than ever. In the spirit of this, I’ve collated various work rituals from customers, friends and others to share.
Why are rituals important?
In-office teams have the benefit of natural camaraderie and human connectedness. Your colleague may talk about a fun new board game they’ve recently played while you’re having a conversation in the break room; the next thing you know, every Tuesday is Board Game night at the office.
These non-work related rituals create opportunities to strengthen team bonds, morale, communication, and connections outside of typical work interactions. In distributed teams, rituals don’t tend to form organically because there is simply less opportunity for serendipitous connection. As a result, it is critical for leaders, managers, founders and the like to be more proactive in creating opportunities for team members to connect.
Here are some ritual ideas to consider for your team
In no particular order, choose 1 or more and start doing it, regularly!
🥡 Weekly team virtual lunch – even better, fund their Doordash or handle their food orders
🖼 Share a photo of life at least once a week – it gives team members a glimpse into your life beyond work and will almost always spark some conversation. You can even make it themed each week (eg messy desk pictures)
🧘🏿♀️ Zoom meditation or yoga sessions – this may sound a bit crazy but the teams that we’ve spoken to that do this, love this
🎧 Live DJ on Fridays – it’s fun to just watch someone spin on Zoom as you wrap-up your week
👥 Arrange hyper-local meetups – this may only be possible if you have distributed teammates in similar regions – make sure to fund coffee, drinks or meals for them to meet on some regular cadence
🍕 Virtual brown bags – I’m sure this came with free pizza when held in the office but keep it going when virtual. It allows those who don’t normally get to present opportunities to present + you can pair it with your weekly team lunch. Also, it doesn’t just need to be about work, just have someone “Share a skill” (eg how to make sourdough bread 🙂
🎮 Gaming sessions – this might be the most obvious and I am working to aggregate some online games that are fun and team building. At Loop Team, we most recently finished, 2 Truths, 1 Lie and a virtual escape room with Puzzle Break. We’re about to start some virtual quiz/trivia games.
🔥 Wednesday bonfires – yes, that may sound crazy but we heard a team that set up a bonfire in their backyard and they do a regular virtual camping trip with their team. It’s a good opportunity to have “watercooler chat” while watching the fire.
🗣 Start some recurring meetings with ice breakers – each week, choose a new ice breaker question and lead with it. It’s a great way to learn more about teammates, especially those that work across teams that you don’t normally interact with.
🎼 Collaborative music playlists – lots of different apps to make this happen but it gives different team members an opportunity to be DJ for the day
🌅 Meme/GIF and/or Zoom background battles – it seems Instagram celebrities have also picked-up on this and custom Zoom backgrounds are now a business!
🎁 Play White Elephant – yes, this is the same game you may already play over the Christmas holidays but do it with your team virtually. Once you finish, have the gifts shipped out.
☕️ Virtual coffee chats – on Slack, you have great plugins like Donut but take this a step further and make it live. Each week randomly pair with someone you don’t work with closely that you can chat with for 15 minutes or more. It’s a great way to connect and gain empathy with other teams in your organization.
📚 Create a book club – with less commute, many of us have more time to read. Create a recurring event to chat about recent books and share.
🏅 Start a challenge – not everyone may be up for a fitness challenge but simple out-of-box challenges can be helpful each week. For example, one team recorded jumping jacks done each day.
Above is just a sampling of ideas we’ve curated from our customers and networks. The beauty of rituals are that they are unique to your team and culture and in this fully distributed environment, more critical than ever to make your team more connected.