by Chee Wen Qi on

How is working from home in this circuit breaker treating you? Do you miss connecting with your colleagues and having that physical human touch? If you are managing a team at work and if you think that team building is the last thing on your task list, think again.

Recently, I was reminded of the importance of showing care and concern to one another during a team catch-up video session with my colleagues.

Although the call didn’t turn out to be as free-flowing and spontaneous where everyone could openly share and update about their lives, it got me thinking in the shoes of my colleagues. While we may all be in the similar situation of working from home, we all live in different circumstances.

There are the heroic mums and dads who have to juggle their children’s home-based learning and keeping them occupied while having to meet their work responsibilities. And the singles aren’t without any stress either as we deal with the day-to-day routine of spending prolonged periods of time at home, made more challenging when our parents may not be the most cooperative.

Being cooped up at home certainly takes a toll on one’s mental health. The uncertain outlook of the economy, together with the extension of the circuit breaker with tighter measures can inevitably get us feeling negative.

Why employee well-being is important in the long run

Research has shown that morale affects an employee’s efficiency. As much as most employers’ immediate concern right now is cash flow to help them stay afloat, failure to maintain morale can lead to longer term human resource issues.

Here are some suggestions for team bonding while working from home. Different people have different working styles and comfort levels, so we have separated the suggestions based on your level of familiarity with one other:

1. The “Strangers” Team

One wellness tip a day keeps the doctor away

work from home team building wellness tip
Image source: Shutterstock / Artur Szczybylo

Create daily ice-breaking conversations within the group. Is there any online content you find useful and would like to share with the team? It doesn’t have to be work-related as long as it is something that inspires you. Each co-worker can take turns to share one wellness tip (an article, video or even encouraging quotes) on the team’s group chats or even over e-mail.

Integrate quick ice-breaker questions before a meeting

work from home team building ice breaker questions
Image source: Shutterstock / FotoDuets

Simple prompts can help you get to know someone a little better. Questions like “what do you like to eat for breakfast?”, “what’s your dream vacation?” or “cats or dogs?” can help everyone connect on a personal level. Focus on creating questions that have potential to spark great conversations, so personalise one for your team.

Tip: Start with one person and have that person decide who is next to share. It doesn’t have to take too long: Keep it to 30 seconds per person. You can also try this on coffee breaks during long virtual conferences.

2. The ‘Well-acquainted’ Team

Group fitness workouts/ dance

work from home team building group fitness
Image source: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

There are many mental health benefits to exercise and while some in the team may be keeping up with their daily fitness routine, others may find it a daunting task.

So why not do it together! Set aside an hour either at the start of work, during lunch or before the work day ends to engage everyone in a group workout. The endorphin rush won’t just help you feel better, it would bring the team closer too!

Virtual game rooms

work from home team building virtual game rooms
Image source: Shutterstock / Gal Amar

Consider playing games in a virtual conference room like on Google Hangouts or Zoom. Try “Can You Hear Me Now”, where one person describes an image while the rest try to draw it. The catch? Create your rules to limit the speaker, such only being able to use geometric shapes to describe the object. This not only can be a fun way of loosening everyone up, it’s a great way of training communication within the team.

Or try creating a virtual bingo board. This is also a chance to get updated on each others’ lives and find out if anyone shares a similar home routine. You can also come up with action items that you engage in as a team.

work from home team building bingo
Image source: Online Team Building Bingo

3. The ‘Family’ Team

Post pictures of you or your pet, on Padlet

work from home team building padlet
Image source: Padlet

If you’re part of a team that is very chummy, you must be missing your friends at work. So create a weekly dashboard journal where everyone can share about their week and get updates at the same time. This online virtual bulletin board allows easy posting of images and text. It allows team members to like or leave comments on each post!

MTV Cribs: Remote Team Edition

Have you become more conscious of items at your crib as you spend more time at home? How about bringing back that 90s vibe for your team video conferences? Open up your homes to the team by taking them on a home tour a la MTV Cribs style!

Have team members introduce items around their home that hold some story or significance or showcase everyday trusted items like that amazing frying pan or magic cleaning equipment. Remember to share some house hacks along the way and get everyone engaged in a conversation about themselves and their lives!

We live in unprecedented times. When else can you find a better time to get everyone so engaged in personal interaction? Take this remote working opportunity to forge a team so strong that everyone will emerge from the circuit breaker even closer than before. Till then, hang tough, until we meet again.

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