Part 3 of a 3-part series
Stress in the workplace is not new. Then came the coronavirus pandemic shattering all workplace “norms”.
Nearly overnight, employees went from working in cubicles and offices to working in their pajamas.
COVID-19 created leagues of people working from home. Virtual teams are the new normal.
As I shared in my first two articles of this three-part series, this new norm is significantly disruptive.
Leaders who never led virtual teams scrambled to figure how to communicate and engage employees. And millions of employees now struggle to balance homeschooling out-of-school children, figuring out Zoom and Skype meetings, feeling isolated, or worrying about the health and well-being of loved ones.
In my previous article, How to Engage Your Virtual Team in Stressful Times, I shared several tips that leaders can use to connect virtual teams and build camaraderie.
Virtual Teams are the New Norm
As we enter another week of shelter-in-place, leaders across the U.S. work to create team cohesion.
This is a demanding time for leaders and their teams. The COVID-19 stress and uncertainty has increased anxiety for everyone. Employees are asking, “Is my job secure?” “How do I figure out Zoom?” Leading virtual teams is new for many leaders who are learning how to do it and what to do.
In this final article of the series, I share fun, simple ways to celebrate team members to reduce stress and increase connection and joy. Laughter is a great healer.
Three Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Team
Celebrations are powerful rituals to lift spirits, bring laughter, and acknowledge small or huge wins. Consistency is important for virtual teams. I recommend that celebrations become part of a daily, weekly, or monthly routines.
Start weekly meetings by having each team member share two or three things they are grateful for from another team member. A different variation is for team members to share a story or accomplishment that they are grateful to have experienced in their personal lives. Sharing things we are grateful for inspires us and brings us closer together.
It is easy to forget that people have personal lives when working remotely. Leaders may focus on task achievements (which are important, too) and forget about the personal achievements, milestones, or big goals that team members achieve in their personal lives. Learn your people. What amazing events are transpiring in their lives? Celebrate those awesome achievements before a meeting starts or during an impromptu Zoom call designed to connect your virtual team.
No Biz Hangouts
To really kick up the energy, laughter, and celebrations consider a monthly virtual “no biz” hangout to connect with fellow team members. This is an opportunity to let your hair down. Business talk is banned. Fun is the focus. Have a contest for the funniest costume, a friendly game of team Pictionary, or a karaoke sing-off. These are clean, fun ways of celebrating a big win or just a wonderful time to connect.
Celebrations Build Trust
Trust is the foundation of great teams. Celebrations are essential for the health and well-being of teams—especially virtual teams. People need time to build healthy relationships, learn about each other, and create trust. Celebrating wins, personal achievements, creating joy and fun at work is possible with virtual teams.
Celebrations require a little planning, consistent action, and creativity. If you want to increase joy, happiness, and inspire your virtual teams, celebrations will help your team thrive.
Jenny DuFresne, CEO, DuFresne Solutions Group, a training and leadership development firm helping leaders and teams grow people, profit, and impact. Jenny served for 10-years as a U.S. Marine. Learn more at www.SeekLeadership.com.