Fostering team culture while working from home

Fostering team culture while working from home image

Tribe's Nuala McClinton shares her tips and tricks for coming together as a team while working from home. 

Anyone that knows me, knows I love a good chat. I’ll talk about anything. I may not be highly knowledgeable on certain topics, but as my Dad always says, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

I’m lucky to be in a work team that I genuinely adore. The six of us in a room are mayhem. It rarely happens in recruitment - we’re usually out and about meeting candidates and clients, stuck in traffic, working from home for productivity or in a quiet room screening endless CVs. When our team gets together I feel sorry for the rest of the office listening to our cackles (actual cackles...sorry Lorrae, I think yours is the loudest!). When we’re busy, we shout updates across the room, our candidate referrals are verbal, when something goes wrong it’s verbal expletives, and when we’re celebrating wins, it’s hugs and smiles. 

You can imagine our despair at 9pm on Tuesday night when ‘The Dog House’ was interrupted on TVNZ for an urgent Government update to announce Level 3. There were instant WhatsApp group chats, Slack messages and phone calls between us all, wondering how we were going to get through this all over again. It got us thinking about all the positive communication methods we had set in place over the last lockdown. As we ‘level up’, we’re back to ‘levelling up’ our comms. 

I’ve been asked multiple times by clients how businesses are keeping their team culture alive while working from home. Who is doing things differently? What about the people that don’t want to Zoom on Friday at 4pm for an alcoholic beverage? What about businesses who have given up office space? How do we stay connected? 

Here are some ways we keep our team culture alive while working from home:

Slack

We’re heavy Slack users. HEAVY. Memes, videos, emojis – you name it, anything we find amusing goes on Slack.

I’ve heard of businesses using Slack or MS Teams for their dose of daily funnies – one business in particular has a weekly meme competition. A photo is sent out at the beginning of the week and whoever has the funniest text inserted by Friday gets to pick the winner the following week. Once back in the office, they have vowed to showcase the best memes on an infamous meme wall. This will likely involve a laugh at you or your colleague’s expense, so make sure you’re all thick skinned before trying this one! 

Zoom

We’re back to catching up every morning to check in on yesterday and set our focus for today. Mostly, it’s to check in on each other. Six women, varying emotions daily - there’s always one of us that needs a leg up! 

I’ve heard of businesses creating an open meeting room on Zoom for people to jump in-and-out of daily, if they wish to work alongside a teammate. It’s an easy way to feel like someone is in the room with you while working…even better, you can mute them! 

The Scrabble app

My fiancé’s company started this trend and of course I jumped on the bandwagon. Add your work pals. You never know when someone will play their turn – and it’s weirdly addictive. 

Zoom workouts

This time around, businesses are more prepared and will likely have already engaged with someone internally (your very own yoga instructor, Pilates guru, HIIT warrior) or locked in daily sessions from an external coach – you can turn the camera off and lie on the ground for 30 minutes if you want, but a sense of camaraderie and a boost of endorphins helps get us through the mid-arvo slump. 

We’re very lucky to have our very own Tribe PT - Micha Swallow. Not only is she our temp recruiter who never sleeps, she also keeps us in check with Zoom workouts. If you fancy joining us – get involved! It's open to everyone – and the workouts are unbelievably good. 

If you detest zoom and HIIT, I’ve heard of Auckland teams having a lot of fun doing the step challenge. One team in particular has a goal of one million steps collectively in a week...prizes are included if you reach that goal and the best prize for whoever contributes the most! It’s a great initiative to get outside of the small box room for some fresh air. If it was Tribe’s Business Support team, it would be 23,809 steps EACH per day. What do you think girls?! (Cathi, what's the prize? And no, Claire, part-time isn’t pro-rata steps). 

Of course, if all else fails by Friday 4pm, there is the trusty Craggy Range Pinot Noir at $44.99 delivered to your house free of charge by Glengarry’s. Let’s face it, you would spend that on one round in the pub with your work pals. And who goes for just one round…

I would love to hear your thoughts on what keeps you and your team motivated, connected and in a positive mindset. And if you want a Scrabble pal…well I would be honoured.

Get in touch with me at nuala@tribegroup.com.