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Five social ideas for colleagues who work in different locations

31 January 2022 • 3 min read

Building a culture with your co-workers can be tricky if you spend much of your work time alone and have commitments outside your job.

But the effort is worth it. According to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, a positive work culture can reduce stress and safeguard your overall wellbeing.

It has also been shown to improve performance and productivity, which is good for both you and your employer.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with colleagues anytime and anywhere, is via your smartphone. Many phone apps are designed specifically for shared use.

In-person activities can be valuable, too – even if you’re only able to schedule them occasionally.

Ready to get connected? These five suggestions are sure-fire winners.

Create a team playlist

These days, using a streaming service such as Spotify is just as simple as tuning a radio or operating a CD player. (Even better, Spotify has a free membership option.) It’s straightforward to open a streaming app on your phone and play music through a hi-fi system or your vehicle’s stereo.

Sharing the DJing duties with your workmates is a great a way to learn more about them. Configure a playlist on your chosen app so that everyone can edit it, then take turns adding songs to build the ultimate workday soundtrack.

Or allow a different colleague to rebuild the playlist from scratch each week – guilty pleasures encouraged.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out this one we created for you!

Get creative with ‘stand up’ and ‘tool box’ meetings

Teams that are ‘on the job’ together can easily meet to resolve the day’s issues, but it’s not so simple for groups who work staggered shifts or in different locations.

As an alternative, consider ‘meeting’ each other on a video-conferencing platform such as Zoom at a regular time when you’re all off work: it’s quick and you don’t even need to leave the house.

Or take turns hosting a monthly team meeting at your home, with the option to kick back and share a drink afterwards.

Indulge in a bit of friendly competition

Whether you’re competing to capture the funniest end-of-shift selfie or trying to reach a performance-related target before your peers, contests put a social spin on your work life – and you can learn a surprising amount about your co-workers’ personalities in the process.

If you have a shared work premises or office, set up a book where your colleagues can log results or share their entries. Alternatively, track each other’s progress via a team chat or social media.

Stay in touch with a team chat thread

You can use a chat thread for much more than running competitions. Not only is it an efficient way to communicate relevant work information to people in various locations, it also feels more sociable than sending group emails thanks to instant-reaction features such as emojis and ‘like’ buttons. You can send video and audio messages, too, enhancing the sense of connection.

Put your own spin on team get-togethers

Office workers tend to congregate at the local pub at 5pm on a Friday, but if your workplace is less conventional, that might not be possible. Don’t give up on get-togethers entirely, though: psychology tells us that face-to-face interactions remain the most effective way to build camaraderie and trust.

Consider speaking to your boss about carving out a window of time – perhaps monthly – when the majority of your team can physically meet. The benefits for all involved could be significant.

Tags Business Wellbeing

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