Working remotely has been steadily increasing over the years in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, but no one could have predicted the massive adoption in a span of weeks, due to COVID-19. It is uncertain how this new remote culture will shape the workplace in the long run, however, the quick transition has left a number of people feeling out of sorts – especially teams that had never worked remotely before. We know that the ability to collaborate and connect can foster effective, creative, and productive work environments, but in our current climate, where the majority are working remotely, here are some ideas to keep connected with your staff:

• We all know that which is omnipresent in every organization (including those that provide professional staffing services): meetings (or in this case, virtual meetings). During these virtual meetings, it can be a temptation for some to turn their cameras off and not share video. While this may be done with good intentions, such as sparing coworkers the view of a messy basement or causing a distraction due to kids at home, it enhances the distance between all of the employees. Everyone can still practice virtual meeting etiquette of staying on mute until needing to speak, but everyone having the video enabled will help the meeting feel more authentic and in-person.

Some creative ideas to build comradery with your team are as follows:

  • Pick a day of the week where those who wants to, offer a recipe with a picture. Participants cast votes until only one recipe is left. Everyone agrees on a future date when they will cook and eat the meal at the same time, and of course share their experiences.
  • Each team member pulls up a picture they would like to share with the team and explains the details of it: why they chose to share that particular picture, when it was taken, why it has special meaning to them, etc. If personnel from a professional staffing group are placed on-site with your team, try to include them too.
  • Show-and-tell may be something exclusive to kids in elementary school, but “bring your child or pet to work” day is easier than ever right now. It can be as simple as sharing a name/age/interesting fact about the child or pet.
  • You could play a round of name that tune
  • Have a creative virtual background contest

Be creative and have fun. There are common sense boundaries to observe and limits on the amount of time that can be dedicated to this type of activity because of mindfulness to the productivity or professionalism of the work environment, if even at home. However, a short time of sharing can help your team get to know one another better (perhaps in new and different ways), and also minimize feelings of loneliness or isolation.

While working remotely has become the new normal due to COVID-19, it may be the genesis of a widely practiced work culture. Time will tell the staying power of working remotely, but the sooner we can adapt, the better off our teams will be now, and in the future!