25 ideas to keep your team connected when you’re working from home

May 11, 2020

Navgati is a very closely bonded team; if you’ve ever been around more than one Navgati facilitator in the same room, you would have sensed that :). Our team meeting agendas often start with an admonition for people to come 15 minutes early so everyone gets to hug everyone else (awww). So we resonate very much with the challenges, that managers are facing today, of keeping teams connected when there is no face to face contact possible.

In a virtual environment, there is a tendency to focus too much on tasks and too little on relationships and it is important that leaders put in extra effort to alter that balance.

In true Navgati style, here’s our list of 25 things (created as a collective exercise) that managers can do, on calls, to help teams feel a sense of personal contact, even when they haven’t left their houses for days on end. Please do add your own ideas in the comments section below. And ping us if you try any of these, we’d love to hear how they work. (For those of you who don’t know us, we’re a leadership development organization – look us up on www.navgati.in)

On that note, heading off to gargle to prepare for our virtual Antakshari tonight 🙂

1. Start with each person showing the others their favourite spot in the house

2. Bring in a child/pet/parent/potted plant to say hello to the rest

3. Give each person one minute to share what’s on their mind right now

4. Ask everyone to take a picture from their window and take 30 seconds to talk about it.

5. Share one moment of joy and one moment of despair/horror from the last x days of working from home (one of us did a solo battle with a rodent who sneaked into her house, emboldened by the quiet)

6. Take a poll on how many hours they’ve spent on video calls in the last 7 days and the one(s) with the most hours can be given permission to turn off their video for 20% of the call.

7. Get people to share one significant insight they’ve had about their family members as a result of being locked down with them.

8. Ask people to talk about a challenge that they worked through to get people to not disturb them during the call

9. Have warm-up calls before the main conference call – randomly zoom call a few participants one on one to check connectivity, test volume etc.

10. Ask people to put out all their worries about what could go wrong (their neighbour may start drilling any moment, dogs may start barking etc)

11. Take a poll on what is the first thing they will do after this situation is over. Something they really missed.

12. Get people to sign in with an alias, without the video on, and everyone has to guess who the others are based on chat

13. Have a prize for the most glamourous/strangest expression (to be judged by screenshots of all attendees taken by a designated picture taker for the meeting) – I would love to share some of ours but I fear I would never be forgiven

14. Ask people to introduce themselves using an object in the house.

15. Get people to share one new thing they discovered about themselves since they started working from home

16. Constrain each person to using just three words in response to a question; it can be a fun activity and functional too to limit air time.

17. Ask people to pick an object in the house that represents their opinion on the topic being discussed

18. Play conference call Bingo (crediting some unknown and brilliant person for this)

19. Ask people about goals they have achieved or have set for themselves or are in the process of setting

20. Have a prize for the maximum number of movies watched. Or tv series completed.

21. Use music to add to the flavour (songs or just instrumental), especially during breaks

22. Get people to send in their favourite cartoon about working from home or videoconferencing

23. Use the poll feature in fun ways

  • Have you showered today
  • Is what you’re wearing below the waist matched to the above?
  • How many times have you washed your hands today
  • What’s your favorite hand sanitizer?

24. Ask people to have tea, coffee, snacks with them and describe very poetically to others what they are eating or drinking

25. Ask people about experiments they have carried out while staying at home

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