Last night, my colleagues at Rapid Circle and I took part in a fun online Trivia Night.
It’s now been four weeks since our Adopt & Embrace team were acquired by this new company and given that many of us were in lockdown in Melbourne, we were unable to meet each other in person. However, the fun online social activity that encouraged us and our family to participate was one way of being able to meet and connect with colleagues and have a laugh as well.
Trust me, after 208 days in lockdown, online events like these are valued distractions from the routine of staying in. It makes us look forward to doing something different, meeting our colleagues we may not have met yet, meeting their family and their pets.
It made me think about the importance of building in a bit of social time with our colleagues especially at a time when we can’t meet face-to-face.
I’ve often believed that everyone brings something of themselves to their work however, in some work cultures, this is stifled, hidden or frowned upon if shared.
Many employers may think of the social and connective events and activities as being a waste of time, frivolous and not conducive to achieving business outcomes however, I’ve never prescribed to that view. If anything, I see the social element as crucial in helping people to connect over shared interests and in so doing, they build connections and networks that they can use and apply in their own work.
It breaks down barriers, helps them build links into all parts of the business and you never know what may transpire when they meet and realise that they can share or solve a mutual problem that may help the business.
After all, people are social animals. They’ll connect far easier over a shared interest than say, something to do with just a work related topic.
Believe it or not, when I think back through all the different work I’ve done, it’s the EXPERIENCES I remember especially if they were unique, out of the ordinary or shared with others, and not the actual work, projects or clients.
A Yammer Book Club
This week, I decided to start an online book club on Yammer.
The reason was that I love to read as you know but wanted to also find out if there are others in our company who like to read as well. So I set up the Rapid Circle Readers, created an intro video explaining about the community and uploaded it.
Hopefully, over time, this Yammer community will grow where my fellow employees are sharing books of interest or those that can help us explore various themes. A colleague was interested in the community and offered do a monthly book club where we all read a non-fiction book and then talk about it and applications to work and business.
Over time, I know this internal community will grow but already, it’s a way where I am now being connected with wider fellow team members and which results that I don’t feel as awkward approaching them with work questions because that barrier has been broken.
In the past, I wrote about how workplaces can consider social activities such as Work Book Clubs as Learning Experiences that help people show, share and apply lessons learned in books to their work, projects and business.
A Lip Sync Dub
When I think back to one of the best course experiences was when I was undertaking a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Educational Technology MOOC facilitated by Professor Alec Couros. @courosa The course encouraged us to make our learning visible and to this day, many of the things I learned about working and learning out loud came from that course.
One of the ways that he and his team engendered a team spirit and to get strangers working and learning together on the course, was to inspire people to create a lip sync dub.
People all around the world who were doing the course, were provided a Google document with the lyrics to a Queen song and then had to record themselves lip synching that section and to send it in. They created this video below which was such as a hit and immediately created a bonded team experience that to this day, ETMOOC participants still talk about it.
The entire process of HOW this was done is in this post Lip Dub: I’m Having a Good Time.
Create a Show Where Your People Can Express Creativity and Bond as a Team
People are creative and amazing and it’s wonderful to see what they can come up with together.
A few years back, I had an opportunity to participate in creating a fake news show called CNT News with a group of people who I had never met and who were scattered all over the world. I had only known them from Snapchat and I explain more about how it came about in this post: What Business Can Learn from Fake News (a cheeky title) and also what being part of a team like this taught me to apply new skills in my own work,
Being part of this group taught me not only about myself but also stretched my creativity having to come up with weekly stories, planning, filming and doing the minor edits. This is where I learned to shoot video, edit video, use green screens, write stories, work in a creative team and to do it consistently every week for about 18 months.
I am incredibly thankful to all the team members especially to Cammy who was the brainchild of this excellent program and which allowed me to get out of my comfort zone every week and stretch my creativity.
So when it comes to work, don’t knock the power of the social and creative projects in being able to support your people to make connections with each other and to learn from and with each other. What may seem frivolous to you initially, the value will be seen over time as these people start to find each other, learn about their skills, talents, experience and connections and then create opportunities to work and collaborate on work projects together because they have built trust with each other first through some shared activity or interest.