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April 27th, 2020     4 MIN READ

#WFHtips: Remote Team Building Hacks, by Stéphanie Dullin-Brulé

Are you used to your #WFH routine yet? We’re sure by now you probably have the hang of Zoom and other essential cloud-based tools to streamline digital collaboration

But, maybe you’re missing the more humanistic side of working in the office? The coffee breaks with colleagues or the after-work bonding activities are usually absent when working remotely!

As #WFH experts — 90% of Centric Software® employees had already been working remotely for years before the lockdowns — we wanted to bring you a series of tried-and-tested tips

For this fourth edition, Stéphanie Dullin-Brulé, Marketing Manager Southern Europe, opens up on how to continue team building activities while working from home.

Remote Team Building Activities & Tips

Your first few weeks of remote working are over! By now, you’ve probably adapted to this new #WFH lifestyle.

Yet, even though you might be used to online meetings, webinars, remote collaboration and messenger tools, you might be neglecting a very fundamental part of what makes teams work together well, despite the distance. 

As a seasoned #WFH professional, the below advice is what I’ve found to be helpful and necessary, in order to effectively work together even when physically dispersed. 

1. Pick up the phone

The transition from office life to working from home is far from easy! You have to learn to work alone, and your reflexes aren’t as innate as they are at the office. 

You soon realize that asking your colleagues for help — a simple question for which you need an immediate answer — is not as straightforward anymore. You may have been used to getting up from your seat and walking over to your colleague’s desk, or relied on coffee breaks to casually chat about any issues… options that no longer exist when you’re home alone. 

I know the feeling. You’re hesitant to “bother” your colleagues (especially since you can’t see if they’re in full-on concentration mode), so you prefer to try and solve whatever issue you’re dealing with. Maybe you’re trying to find your way around a new application, but 45 minutes go by and you’re still fiddling around. So, you finally decide to reach out to someone in IT, but instead of making a call, you send an email or ask a question via instant messaging (and they answer 50 minutes later…not so instant anymore).

remote-team-building-activities

Moral of the story? Sometimes a call is more efficient.

Be just as spontaneous at home as you would at the office. Instead of showing up at your colleague’s desk, pick up the phone and give them a ring.

Not only will you save precious time, but you’ll also build rapport. It’s much easier to make small talk and ask each other how you’re dealing with confinement when it’s over the phone, rather than via text. The colleague you once referred to as “Bernard from IT” (who you thought was devoid of any social skills) could turn out to be someone you relate to and confide in. 

2. Don’t eliminate socialization time, go digital! 

We’re now several weeks into confinement, and let’s face it… it’s not easy! It feels like we haven’t hung out with our office colleagues in ages. No more coffee breaks, no more team lunches, no more after-work activities, or chit chats… it’s starting to weigh on us all.

That’s why it’s vital to replace your office socialization time with virtual coffee breaks, every week! You can even “have lunch together” over a Zoom call. 

But, if you want these virtual breaks to work, make sure to set some rules in place:

  1. Everyone must have a coffee or tea in hand when they join the call. 
  2. Work-related subjects are banned! 
  3. Everyone’s camera must be turned on. 

It might be a bit awkward at first, and some colleagues might feel shy, but after a few sessions, you’ll realize how beneficial it is for team building!

And speaking of the camera…

3. Turn the video feature on! 

When you make a call, turn the video option on, and let the other participants choose whether or not to do the same. Seeing the other person’s facial expressions and reactions will help you find some warmth in your exchanges and build closer relationships.

If there’s one unexpected benefit of using your webcam to make calls, it’s certainly the fact that you’ll have to swap out your jogging gear for more appropriate, professional outfits. The upside is that taking more care of your appearance in the morning will help you keep a structured routine, and feel even more ready to seize the day!

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