HYDERABAD: Work from home (WFH) truly sounded too good to be true at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. You can be in your pyjamas the whole day, save hours every day on the commute and be safe from the virus, of course. What’s not to like?A few MNC giants have already announced a permanent WFH schedule, stating that their employees do not ever have to log into physical offices. So far, so good.
However, as the year rolled on, both corporates and employees realised how daily interactions in office, coffee breaks and being physically around people are necessary for workers to put in their best work.
Meeting colleagues helps build trust and develop problem solving skills in teams. Working long hours remotely can be isolating and result in mental burnout. That is why, it is necessary that managers think about ways in which remote working teams can brainstorm on topics and exchange ideas. One of the best ways to do this is to keep aside some time every week to play team building games.
Vinay Joel, a software professional, who works for one of the IT giants in the country, says: “Our company realised the need for intra-team interaction early on. Over the past one year, the human resource department has been conducting at least two such activities in a month. We have quizzes, online training programmes and yoga sessions. I even won a gift voucher during the Republic Day quiz.” “These are mostly conducted on Fridays. We are notified about the event beforehand via emails. There are certain quizzing apps available and we are asked to download them. The winners receive gift vouchers, food vouchers and other small surprises,” adds Vinay. Apart from these measures, a few companies introduced ways to take care of the well-being of their staff.
Poduri Chandrasekhar, who heads the HR department in Hyderabad-based Sub-K Impact Solutions, says: “With the onset of Covid-19, healthcare access and physical doctor appointments for our employees have been a challenge. So, we partnered with a telemedicine platform to create awareness and provide them subsidised consultations. On Women’s Day, we held a webinar on financial literacy for women. Besides these, we launched a Buddy Up programme to initiate learning and stimulate empathy. Among these, our most popular event was the singing competition we conducted in February.”
When you start thinking about online fun activities, the sky’s the limit. Apart from games and webinars, there can be exercises to understand team members at a deeper level. An HR manager, who works for a digital marketing company, says: “Food can bring remote team members together. Ask teams to make a dish from their native state/country and narrate the memories associated with the delicacy. They can also explain the history and significance of the food item in their culture. Such a team building activity can help remote workers understand the cultures of their colleagues better.”
Fun team-building exercises
Find the common link Divide the teams into groups and send them to different online rooms where they can discover and write down 10 things they have in common with each other
Showan embarrassing photo: An amazing way to dig up hilarious back stories and bring co-workers closer, sharing an embarrassing photo can be a great team building activity.
Gift a fitness class
Gifting a fitness/dance/aerobics class to your team is an excellent way to get that post-exercise glow and also bond with team members.
Make your own logos
Asking team members to come up with logos to describe themselves or their dream companies can be a great way to let their ideas flow.
— Kakoli Mukherjee