THE NEW NORMAL 5 Fresh Activities To Make Remote Team Meetings More Fun
After months of working remotely, people are tired, burned out, and bored of having the same virtual meeting over and over. People join the call, someone asks how everyone is doing, a few people joke about how difficult home schooling is, and then everyone moves on to talking about work. However, virtual meetings do not have to be boring, and making them engaging does not need to be difficult.
Many leaders avoid planning activities because they either do not know what to do or think they do not have time. In my book about remote team building, I share the 1/6 Rule. For every hour of meeting time, ten minutes, or one sixth of the time, should be devoted to relationship building or having fun. This may be a quick check in at the beginning of the meeting or spread throughout. And, every six meetings, one meeting should be devoted solely to relationship building. (See my recent article “How to Run a Virtual Team Retreat” for ideas.) What is important is that leaders always carve out time to do activities that will bolster the relationships that help people work better together. Here are five simple activities that take under ten minutes that you can try today.
It’s rare to have a video call without someone’s screen freezing in an awkward position at some point. Turn this sad reality into a game by trying to fool each other into thinking you’re frozen. At your next meeting, stop mid-sentence in an awkward position and hold it. If someone says, “Looks like Kim is frozen”— that’s a point for you! Did your coworker’s screen freeze in an awkward position? Take a screen capture or a photo and keep a team collection of Best Awkward Freezes!
Help team members learn about each other through a couple of rounds of the Categories Activity. Simply ask everyone to turn off their cameras and then pose a question like “Are you an oldest, middle, youngest, or only child in your family?” After, ask just oldest children to turn on their cameras and, if time permits, ask them about what it is like to be the oldest child in their family. Proceed through each category until everyone has participated. Additional questions may be: “Are you a morning person or evening person?”, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”, “Are you primarily a coffee, tea, or water person?”. Or just make up your own.
Name that Tune
Start your team meeting with a little music and competition with a game of Name that Tune! Have everyone open up their group chat window, play the first 3-5 seconds of a song. The first person to type the name of the song in the chat box wins! Rotate each meeting so everyone brings their own song. Pick a theme like 80’s or 90’s, or pick an Artist/Genre based on the general music tastes of your team. After, make a team playlist of all the songs and share it out with the group.
Grab a die from around the house or use a virtual one for free at Random.org. One at a time, have people on your team roll the die and share the number they got and answer the corresponding question from below. You can use these questions or create your own.
1. What was one of your most embarrassing moments at work?
2. What is one of your proudest moments at work?
3. What made you laugh in the last week?
4. Where is your favorite place to be outside?
5. If you could go anywhere in the world today, where would you go?
6. What do you do to ground yourself when you’re frustrated?
Themed Virtual Backgrounds
Most platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams give people the option to upload their own custom background. Use this free feature to have fun by hosting themed background days. Prior to the meeting, send people a message like “Today’s Background Theme is…” and insert a theme. Here are a few fun themes to choose from:
· Favorite restaurant as a kid
· Most awkward school photo
· Best Halloween costume
· Place you want to travel next
· Under your desk right now
· What you thought you would be when you grew up
Surprise the team this week by implementing one of the five ideas above and bring a little more fun to your next virtual meeting.