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Tristan White
Tristan White

three men laughing while looking in the laptop inside room photo

Tristan, our Senior Delivery Manager, takes a look at how to keep up the morale in a remote team.

I’m a big believer in trying to ensure that the team I work with is happy, it’s part of my job and I love it. 

One thing that’s come out from everyone having to work remote, to being stuck inside and not being able to socialise with people in the normal way, is that we’re now finding new ways to socialise, to stay engaged with each other, but it’s really not easy. 

I think people have come together beautifully in this crisis and have made some amazing lemonade out of those lemons. But there’s a very thin line between keeping morale high and actually killing it completely, by forcing people into having fun. 

Let’s take our personal lives for instance, I’ve never spent so many hours on Zoom before, chatting to family and friends, and to be honest I don’t feel like I have a weekend or evening anymore, especially because, as part of my job I spend about 4 hours a day on Zoom. And lets be honest, I’ve lost count of how many times I have had to tell my family how to use Zoom, which is draining. 

So how do you work it within a team?

I’m probably not alone in noticing that since we’ve HAD to go remote, the team has never been closer, you may sit next to someone in the office, but some days you never speak to them properly, so I think it’s nice. 

It also doesn’t come without its challenges. The constant ping of slack or teams, the constant conference calling or the phone going off. Nothing beats just a quick tap on the shoulder and then the problem is solved. 

The biggest thing that’s obviously going to be affected, is mental health, some people aren’t getting their daily dose of socialising in the kitchen as they make a drink, and especially aren’t getting away from their computers to take a lunch break to distance themselves from their work. 

Here’s what I’ve found works well at keeping the team morale up. 

  • Daily stands ups – These really aren’t uncommon at all, people have been doing them for some time, but I like to ensure that it’s not all about business. It’s almost that replacement for the time you wait for your tea to brew, chatting to your friends about something interesting or what they’re watching etc. Account for that time in the morning, sandwich the stand up with social to ensure that the team leaves that meeting on high.
  • Schedule in some fun in the days – It goes without saying that yes, getting work done is really important, but a negative team is an inefficient team. It’s better work together as a happy team, It sounds odd, but taking some time out of the day to bond as a team and play a game together on the face of it sounds nonsensical, but it has a major positive impact on the team, who as a result become much more efficient. We play:
    • A Quick 15 minute quiz
    • Drawasaurus (Online remote Pictionary)
    • Sharing GIFs or funny pictures to keep people’s spirits high, there’s a low cognitive load on looking at a picture but they’re very powerful to make people laugh, and we all need a good laugh every day. It’s good exercise…apparently.

Hero image by Priscilla Du Preez

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