How to maintain the fun in remote working

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A lot of our time is currently invested in video calls to stay connected with our friends, family and colleagues. Beyond online quizzes and virtual team drinks, how can we make work feel fresh and different to keep morale and productivity high?

As one of Capgemini’s seven core values, FUN is embedded in our culture, relationships and ways of working. It’s also an important part of the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) philosophy. We like to say: ‘if you can’t ​have fun with ​a problem, ​you will never ​solve it’. We mean: activities such as building LEGO models, or playing a giant game of snakes and ladders, allow people to detach from the norm, approach complex problems differently and collaborate more effectively.

Harnessing fun has a positive impact on people’s mindset, which influences the richness of group discussion. However, everyone’s motivations and learning styles are different. When a new activity is introduced some may feel uncomfortable while others jump straight in. It’s important we consider these differences to ensure everyone gets the most out of the activity and can contribute meaningfully.

The same principle can be applied to working from home. Everyone will require varying levels of intervention to help them manage their energy and productivity. The ASE have been experimenting with ways to bring fun to our virtual meetings and remote client events. Here are some of our ideas on how to boost the energy and engagement of your team.

Change your surroundings

One of Microsoft Teams’ newer features (many of you have now found it!) allows you to change your background to transport people to another world from the comfort of their own home. The fun really begins when you upload your own images. Ask your team to change their background to somewhere they’d love to be right now and spend a few minutes at the start of a meeting guessing where everyone is.

Include movement in your agenda

Take a few minutes out of your meeting to lead people through a physical activity to inject energy into a video call. We recently staged a ride on a rollercoaster – why not try that?! Encourage everyone to keep their hands in the air as you journey through the steep bends. For a sporty alternative, try competing in the Olympics: swimming, running a 100m sprint or throwing a javelin are all great to act out on camera. Alternatively, leading people through a few simple stretches is a calm way to bring restorative energy to a meeting.

Set a theme

Try introducing a different theme each week to your regular team meeting or stand-ups to encourage excitement and creativity. You could try ‘Fancy Friday’, when everyone has to wear something that makes them feel extra special. Or start the week with ‘Movie Monday’ and encourage people to bring along an object that represents their favourite film. Giving people the opportunity to share something personal will help them reconnect.

Build an ‘in the room’ atmosphere

We’ve become accustomed to turning off our webcams or putting ourselves on mute, and although this can make for a smoother meeting it can also make us feel disconnected. At the start of a meeting, encourage everyone to have their cameras on as people arrive. If you’re doing shout-outs, encourage people to stay off mute to so they can give a round of applause. You could even try co-ordinating a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ for a team member celebrating in lockdown, though hopefully you’re more tuneful than the ASE team!

Celebrate the weird and wonderful

There are all kinds of inspiring and amusing things happening as a result of staying at home. Sharing these with our colleagues is a simple way to bring us closer together. Whether it’s a rogue appearance of a pet on a video call or a new vegetable patch that’s began to grow, ask your team to share their working-from-home highlight of the week.

There are plenty of ways for people to have fun and connect properly even when we’re not in the office and trying out simple creative ideas could have a big impact on your team’s morale and your team’s performance.

 

Author


Grace Fogarty

Grace is a Co-Facilitator for the ASE, and has a background in Learning and Development and Event Management. She is passionate about designing fun, creative and engaging experiences to help people work more effectively

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