Working from home can be a grind. For many teams who are accustomed to working alongside one another, this unprecedented time of working from home due to COVID-19 has come with a high price tag. The price has been felt in a variety of ways:
- increased stress,
- increased loneliness,
- decreased engagement at work, and
- decreased overall life satisfaction.
Simply put, we don’t feel like our normal selves because our world has dramatically changed, our work habits have been greatly altered, and the healthy and energizing social interactions that sustain us have morphed into mere shadows of their former selves. As many of us make our first forays into our new world, filled with mask-covered faces and hand sanitizer at every pit-stop, we most likely feel nostalgic for the “good ole days,” when we shook hands or hugged frequently and shared germ-y pens with strangers.
However, there are ways to break yourself and your team out of this stifling box that limits our physical proximity and seems to create emotional distance.
Below are three ideas to help your team connect on a deeper level.
- Create a book club: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers: The Story of Success“, Daniel Coyle’s “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups“, or Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” are three prime examples of easy and fun reads that can get your team literally and figuratively on the same page when it comes to instilling new habits that can increase productivity, spark new collaborations, and even decrease stress.
- Take the TED Talk Challenge: Ask each of your team members to prepare a TED Talk of their choosing and present their talk to the team. Openness to learning from each other – especially from our work colleagues – is a critical ingredient in the recipe of high performing teams. If your team members are less than enthusiastic about preparing a novel presentation, ask each team member to nominate his or her favorite TED Talk, and dedicate group time to watch and discuss each nominated talk over the course of a few weeks. Whose TED Talk had the biggest impact? How can any of the lessons learned be applied to the team? (A quick hack for this is to check out the most popular TED Talks or Oprah’s favorites.)
- Carve out time for a Virtual Team Strengths Training: Do you understand what makes your team tick? What strengths make your team special and unique? How have today’s workplace changes impacted your team’s work mojo? The first step to better understanding your group is to uncover the strengths of each team member. The second step includes sharing (via a virtual team meeting) how team members can support each other, rely on each other’s strengths, and move to the next level of productivity. The Virtual Team Strengths Training Package includes: CliftonStrengths assessment codes for each team member, individual virtual coaching meetings for each team member, a 1.5 hour team meeting to debrief the strengths of the team, and a book for each team member (either “Unstuck at Last: Using Your Strengths to Get What You Want” or “FRESH Leadership: 5 Skills to Transform You and Your Team”).
Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to put a plan in place, transform your team, and break out of the box.