In our day-to-day work, we place the highest priority on having a harmonious working relationship and solidarity within our team. While we were living these values before Covid started, they took on a new significance at the start of the pandemic, as remote work was implemented, bringing with it a whole new set of questions and problems. Since then, it’s become totally commonplace for colleagues to be living in every corner of Germany and for meetings to happen virtually. But do video meetings really cut it when there are no more daily interactions in the office? How can we create a healthy team spirit and ensure we address problems swiftly, despite working remotely? We think: New situations call for creativity. Our team leads and project managers give their all to strengthen team bonds even without an office presence, and to make sure that nothing stands in the way of direct and seamless communication.
Dailies: A daily chat to keep each other in the loop
Know what your colleagues are working on? Not hard in the office. You can start up a chat any time to get all the information you need. It’s much harder with mobile working. Purely virtual contact at precisely scheduled times can seem like more of a barrier than a help when team members have to talk about something right when it comes up. To help with this, many of our colleagues have chosen to implement dailies. Everyone on the team has the chance to talk about what they did the previous day and what they have planned for today. This creates transparency and helps everyone find the contact people they need. These scheduled chats are also often used as a chance to take a quick pulse check of the team’s mood. If things aren’t sounding too positive, everyone’s worries and concerns are taken seriously and we work together as a team to solve these problems.
Tea and Coffee Breaks: No work talk allowed!
To replicate the feeling of tea and coffee breaks in the office, many teams have started taking them virtually. These chats are a chance to discuss topics outside of work; anything office-related is temporarily set aside. Whether it’s weekend plans, the newest podcasts and TV series, or hobbies: Everything is allowed, and it all helps us get to know our colleagues better. It’s also a great chance for anyone who’s just started and hasn’t had the chance to meet everyone in their team personally yet.
Beer o’clock: Share the week’s highs and lows over a relaxed after-work drink
Beer o’clock can happen either as an alternative or in addition to the tea and coffee break. After the work week is over, colleagues can wind down with a beer and talk about the highs and lows of the past few days. Many teams have a system in place where a new person preps for the meet-up every week or that a bot chooses the topic for each day. This keeps it fresh and interesting!
Stay spontaneous instead of having set chat times: Integrating daily blockers
Some teams have a harder time with scheduled chat times than others. That’s when flexibility and spontaneity take centre stage! Daily blockers in the calendar give the team a chance to decide on a day-to-day basis whether everyone has time for a general chat about non-work topics or not. When work gets stressful and intense, this flexibility is a huge advantage.
Game evenings and team events: Three cheers for team spirit!
We would be remiss not to mention the fun factor! We regularly hold after-work events or game evenings in smaller teams. What are our favourites? The top choices are Skribbl, Among Us, Codenames, GarticPhone and GeoGuesser. Our Tech & Product department loves video games and digital board games, too. We often use these evenings as an opportunity to enjoy dinner together as well.
Team events are held twice a year in person, when possible. Every team gets a certain budget to make sure that colleagues who are based farther afield can take part. That way, both the trip and the event are financed for everyone participating, making it more accessible.
Jour Fixes: 1-on-1 meetings with the team lead
Jour fixes come into play when it comes to individual tasks or other subjects that don’t affect the entire team, but would be better off discussed only with your team lead. Many of our departments have a weekly jour fixe in place for every team member. These one-to-one meetings are a chance to go through the tasks from the past week and to talk about what’s currently on the table. This helps the team lead keep their finger on the team’s pulse as well as to support their team members if a realignment or change may be necessary. Jour fixes are the perfect opportunity to get feedback on your own work, as well as helpful suggestions, and also to talk about problem spots that arise during the day-to-day work.
Welcome aboard: We love bringing on newbies!
It’s clear to us that new team members don’t have it easy. Getting to know your new colleagues is so much harder to do virtually than in person in an office. But we put our full effort into making sure that everyone feels welcome from day one and they see themselves as a solid and important part of our company. Apart from the meetings and events mentioned above, some departments have a welcome presentation at the end of the working day which gives them a chance to welcome their newbies. Everyone introduces themselves, games are played, and the team enjoys a nice meal in each other’s virtual company. Newbies have the chance to get to know their colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.
Slack and Microsoft Teams: Our platforms for quick chats whenever
There’s plenty out there that just can’t be scheduled. It doesn’t matter whether you need your team lead’s opinion quickly, want to ask your colleagues a question, or have to talk about something private for a moment. Slack and Teams make written communication or a quick call possible at any time. These are also our main platforms for internal company communication. Sometimes it’s easier to clarify things with a quick call than with written contact. This matches up with our aspirations to facilitate as personal of an exchange as possible between colleagues, as well as to keep our work efficient.