💡 Social connection has to be intentional! Don't expect it to happen organically, make time for this, once a week or once a month. In a small team, once a week works very well and is not time-consuming at all.
A lot of folks wonder how we build social connection and bonding in a Remote first company. This page is a fun guideline on options to do in your teams. The number one key to success, is to make sure your social connection is also inclusive across all timezones in the team, so start by rotating team bonding or social time, so everyone has a chance to show up
How to create social connection during 1:1’s
- We have a comprehensive guide for 1:1’s for People Managers, to summarize and to include for all 1:1’s (with peers/ colleagues), start every call with checking in with how the other person is doing, what have they been up to outside of work and ensure you start documenting what their favourite hobby is, what their pet’s name is or getting know their life dynamics and what their interest is.
- Share your fun social updates too and what you have been up to outside of work. This foster’s emotional bonding and connection and instills relationship building in a remote distributed environment.
- Take an extra step to share something you have been up to or something about your life in #s-my-world slack channel. This encourages others to make plans outside of work and sharing their beautiful stories with the rest of the company. It also encourages having a life outside of work.
Company wide Initiatives
- We have weekly Team Bonding Time sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays (these are also scheduled to include all timezones). To access these we use our company wide Team Calendar. This is time to connect with folks sync in a call and just socialise.
- We have weekly Remote-Plays-A-Game time! These are self-enabled sessions that often include VR games or fun virtual games. Anyone can start a game or bring a new game or idea to these sessions.
- A few of our incredible colleagues hosts virtual Mindful Meetups to the whole company on a regular basis. Although this provides time for connection, it also directly has an amazing impact on mental health and wellness.
- We have tons of social slack channels at Remote, from biking to food. We also encourage everyone to create a new social channel and to start a community around it. Shared interest and activities is a great way to meet folks outside of your day to day team.
Fun ideas on how to build social connections in a Remote first environment:
- During your weekly team meetings, start the call with an Ice-breaker question or a fun social activity. These work really well, for example: What is your all time guilty pleasure? or What is the one thing on your desk that you can't live without? Internally We have many more conversation starter questions.
- Consider rotating your weekly team call, give each person in the team an opportunity to lead the meeting, not just the manager. Every week, the lead that is on the schedule, comes up with a 7 - 10min fun social activity for the day that everyone can participate in. This provides everyone the opportunity to lead a social activity but also to lead the meeting and agenda for that week. It also reduces a single source of failure and creates shared ownership on everyone to build and instil social connection in a team.
- Games like: You can only choose 3 things to take with you to a deserted island, what will you take? or aeroplane for a 17 hour trip, is fun too!
- Live Trivia session!
- Non-VR games
- VR Games (we are lucky that at Remote, every hire receives an Oculus VR head-set)