Staying Connected & Working Remotely: Tips and Tricks for Keeping in Touch With Your Teammates

By now, the newness and novelty of working from home have probably worn off; if you’re an extrovert, you’re longing for human interaction (if you’re an introvert, your cat is probably serving just fine). You’ve likely discovered that your Keurig can’t possibly keep up with your caffeine needs and that it’s a lot harder to drink sixty-four ounces of water in a day than you thought it would be. Finding it hard to stay on-task? You’re not alone; we’re all feeling the struggle to stay productive.

You’re Still a Part of a Team

One of the most important things to remember during quarantine and isolation is that we are all still a team: you and your coworkers form a team for the business you are employed by, and all of us as citizens are a team, protecting those who are more vulnerable than us by staying home. Though you may not be sitting next to your cubicle buddy at the office, you and your team members are still one unit working towards a common goal. Even though it’s a little more difficult to stay connected, it can still be done.

Form a Group Chat

If your job offers a chat service to employees like Skype or another messaging service, create a group chat that includes each team member. Send daily messages, ask everyone how much coffee they’ve had, what they’re doing this weekend, and remind everyone to take stretch breaks! Perhaps one of your team members can post a daily riddle or meme.

Weekly Meeting

There’s no hard and fast rule that states you can’t have meetings more often, but weekly is sufficient for most teams working remotely. Discuss anything and everything at meetings; part of keeping in touch also involves catching up just like you would at the office. Inquire about everyone’s family, tell funny stories, but also discuss work-related things during your meeting time. Something like video conferencing is best, but expect some co-workers to want to stay off-camera (some of us are slacking in the hair department).

Detailed Notes

Since it’s not as easy to get a hold of a co-worker right now, make sure to leave detailed notes on any cases you work on. Make sure you’re available for questions on any difficult call you fielded or procedure you followed; this will make it easy for issues to be resolved within a timely fashion.

Use Your Tools

While group and individual messaging are easy and quick, it can be nice to receive a phone call from your co-workers instead. If you have a question, call them through your VOIP and ask your question directly; this is usually much quicker than text messaging back and forth with a co-worker. If you’re both feeling brave, video chat is a great option, too; make sure to check with the person before asking for a face-to-face, though!

Luckily for employees around the world, we live in an age of advanced communications technology. The same technology that allows us all to maintain our jobs at home can also be used to stay connected with our co-workers so that we still feel like part of a team. Human connection is more important than ever right now (for you, too, introverts!) and we just have to be a little bit more creative in how we approach teamwork.

How to Lead a Dynamite Remote Meeting

During this unprecedented demand for workers and consumers to stay home, it has become more and more necessary for meetings to move online and towards reliable video platforms. There has been an increasing demand for services like Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, especially for workplace environments. Since we can’t all meet face-to-face for business meetings, it’s important that your meeting time is managed properly and facilitated by the proper tools.

Choose the Right Tools

Before scheduling your first meeting, consider what platform will suit your needs best. How many employees or team members will need to be present? Does everyone need to be able to send video to the live feed? Will you need to share slides, notes, or mirror your screen for everyone to see? If necessary, reach out to your IT department for their opinion on what platform you should ask everyone to use; otherwise, do a little digging to see what will best serve you and your team.

Have an Agenda

One of the biggest tips that can make or break your online meeting is whether or not everyone is aware of the meeting’s topic. Everyone should be briefed ahead of time on what will be discussed; this way they can prepare their segments or questions prior to the start of the meeting. There’s nothing more confusing than logging into a private video space and wondering who is supposed to be doing what; give everyone a job for the meeting (taking notes, coming up with questions, etc.) to help your employees stay engaged.

Allow Time for Chit-Chat

Carving out time for ice-breaking is the perfect way to start a remote meeting. Ask everyone to get warmed up by running through a test sequence; have everyone state their name, talk about what they were working on prior to the meeting, and ask everyone if they can hear and see the feed properly. As the meeting leader, let everyone know what time you’ll regroup and begin discussing the agenda.

Decide on Meeting Etiquette

Depending on the type of meeting you will be hosting, you may want to ask members to hold their questions until the end of your presentation. If your style is more loose and informal, let them know in advance; most people will assume that they are receiving a lecture-type meeting unless otherwise specified. If you want interaction, say so!

Keep an Eye on the Introverts

Everyone on the team is valuable – they were hired or promoted for a reason, and their shyness shouldn’t hold them back from contributing. While you don’t want to call out the introverts specifically, try to think of a way to encourage everyone to contribute. Perhaps you may wish to ask team members to take turns providing input (or building upon previous information); this will push the less talkative members out of their shells and encourage them to share what they are thinking.

Be Prepared

Above all, be prepared for everyone to connect and work together; if you bring the right tools, the conversation will follow. Right now, the biggest hurdle for offices seems to be getting the technology right. Ask your team members to test call you in advance, or set up a mock meeting with your employees so that things go smoothly on the day of the big meeting. Upload any documents necessary ahead of time and run through your slides to make sure they will be legible through screen sharing. Take the time to plan now so that your meeting will run like a well-oiled machine!

Your Guide to Working From Home: Part Two

It’s just another day at the office – but you’re sitting in your pajamas at home. The motivation has all but left your aching back as you sit at the kitchen table with a fortress of pillows and your aging work laptop. Thousands of Americans are sitting right there with you, struggling to stay focused and bringing in the money for the family during this odd period of COVID-19 quarantine. As we discussed in the previous segment, it’s incredibly important to maintain good ergonomics, allow yourself some grace, check on your mental health regularly, and get outside a few times per day. 

There’s more to working from home than meets the eye, as we’re sure you’ve noticed. Here are some more tips and tricks to help you be the best at-home worker you can possibly be!

Phone Calls? No Problem

If you work in an industry that requires chatting with clients, you know how important it is that there be little background noise or distraction. This might be a cinch if you live alone or with other older individuals, but it’s nearly impossible if you have a family with young children or dogs that like to bark at every wild thing that zooms by. 

First and foremost, warn your clients in advance and ask what they’d like you to do if your environment suddenly becomes loud. Honestly, most customers understand the difficulties we’re all facing right now and will, more than likely, be fine with the background noise. However, allowing them the opportunity to address this themselves will help build rapport and boost their confidence in you.

Another trick you can employ in your house is a lighting system. For less than $50, you can purchase an LED lamp with different colors that can be controlled with an app on your phone. This light can be placed in a central part of the house to warn others when you need as much quiet as possible. This won’t work in every situation; toddlers really don’t seem to care if daddy is on the phone when they are impatient about snack time! Again, a little grace from clients will go a long way.

Set Reminders

One of the simplest things you can do for yourself during your workday is to set little reminders: bathroom breaks, refilling your water and coffee, grab a snack, pet the dog, hug the kids, pop outside for a breather, stretch… etc. It’s all too easy to get lost behind the screen (whether you’re working or watching cute cat videos, no judgment here) and to emerge from your daze stiff and hungry. Distractions are inevitable, so don’t beat yourself up over them, just move on and take a sip of water.

Socialize

If you feel like you’re going a little stir crazy from a lack of human interaction, reach out to your colleagues and see if you can join a group conference chat to work together on a project or ticket. Make sure to attend meetings that you’re invited to and participate in them. It might be easier to sit back and listen, but contributing will help you feel like you’re still part of the team even though you aren’t all sitting together. Furthermore, dress up for meetings and video calls – it will help boost your confidence and show that you are invested in your job.

Begin and End with Routine

This is so important in maintaining that workday-weekend separation; follow your same morning routine and modify it where necessary to accommodate the lack of driving or coffee-shop pit stops. Use an alarm, make coffee, eat breakfast where you normally do, shower, dress up (maybe not all the way, but don’t stay in your pajamas), and listen to music before you log in to your work computer. Try to maintain the “normal” that you had before quarantine as much as possible; more importantly, keep each weekday the same if you can.

At the end of the day, follow the same procedure. If you had a drive on the way home, make sure to step outside, even if it’s just to check the mail and take the dogs out for a walk! Listen to music for a few minutes before you leave the office to wind down, just like you would listen to the radio on your way home. Call a family member for a chat if you use your driving time to catch up. Get creative and make sure you follow the same routine each weekday.

Hopefully, you can start to see a light within these strange times as you optimize your work environment. Remember to keep your mental health at the center of your focus; if you aren’t feeling your best, you can’t give your job 100% either. Your mental health also has an effect on the family members you live with. Allow yourself some room to learn and grow throughout this transition, and you’ll be owning remote work like a boss!

Your Guide to Working From Home: Part One

If you’re one of the lucky Americans who are able to work remotely from home right now during this time of volatile employment, first and foremost, take a moment for a deep breath and a pat on the back; send your boss a thank-you email or note, if that’s your cup of tea. All of this aside, working from home isn’t as easy and care-free as you might have once thought – you might be in the process of realizing that right now. 

It’s tough to stay focused and productive when you are surrounded by distractions: the pint of ice cream, your photogenic dog, the toddler throwing a tantrum in the room across the house. So, how does one actually stay productive in an environment that’s not 100% akin to a workplace environment? We have some tips and tricks to help keep both you and your family sane.

Block Out Time for Distractions

That’s right – allow time to pet the dog, visit your toddler, and eat that ice cream after your lunch break. If you are smart and limit your time spent on these relaxing activities, you won’t feel deprived and unable to focus during the day. Allow working from home to come with perks; if you don’t, you’ll struggle to stay focused and feel locked in your office space. If you were at the office, you would be taking bathroom breaks, stretch breaks, and trips to see co-workers. Use your time wisely, but don’t feel like you need to be chained to your computer!

Get Outside

This easily becomes the most difficult thing to do during quarantine, especially for those who are working remotely. Experiencing the great outdoors can have significant mood-boosting effects, so don’t forget to peek your head out into the sunshine at least twice per day; this is what you would have done going to and from work each day anyway! Take your fifteen-minute breaks outside with a cup of fresh coffee, or eat lunch outside with your family. Choose to view these in-between moments like coming up for air – you’re at home, so make good use of the time you have!

Ergonomics

If there’s one thing that will make or break your time spent working from home, it’s an efficient workspace. While most of us don’t have the extra cash to spend on a work set-up right now, it’s still extremely important that your desk doesn’t cause you discomfort or pain. Remember to take frequent stretch breaks so that your muscles don’t tense up, sit up straight, and keep your keyboard and mouse at elbow level. If your feet are not gently resting on the floor, find a way to elevate your chair or feet so that there isn’t any extra strain on your back. 

Working with a laptop? Consider investing in a mouse and keyboard that can be repositioned to allow your screen to be at eye level. Contact your HR department to see what they can do to help you work from home more comfortably – most companies are aware of the increased strain on ergonomics during this awkward time.

Above all, remember to keep an eye on your mental health during this time. Many people are struggling to adjust to the major changes that COVID-19 has forced upon them; set up a telehealth appointment with your physician if you think you might be having more difficulty than usual while working from home. Give yourself some space to try things out; be prepared to take a few days to get into a rhythm. This is all new to you, your co-workers, and even your superiors!

Office Hygiene: Protect Yourself, Protect Others

It’s cold and flu season, as we’re all aware; with the novel virus running around, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant about hygiene at the office. While you and your co-workers might be young, fit, and healthy, you don’t know what kind of situation their friends and family might be in this year. Immunosuppressed individuals and the elderly generally have a harder time fighting off pneumonia-like symptoms, so it’s very important that these people stay healthy. You can do your part to protect them by not spreading germs.

Wash Your Hands

We know you’ve heard this a million and one times, but it’s a dead horse that must be beaten. Since the common cold, flu, and other viruses are spread through droplets and surface contact, anything picked up on the hands can be spread to twice as many surfaces within minutes. Whether you’re in the restroom, breakroom, or simply at your desk, take every opportunity to wash your hands with soap and hot water to stop or slow the spread of surface germs.

Cover Your Mouth

Even if you don’t feel sick, you should still cover your coughs and sneezes. Aside from being standard etiquette, this is an immensely effective way to prevent the spread of germs you don’t even know you have. Since viral illnesses can be active and spreadable before the onset of symptoms, it’s best to exercise 100% caution at all times.

Stay Home

If ever there was a time to play the “sick card,” it’s now. As mentioned, it’s not just your health at stake if you enter your office feeling ill. With the common cold, most people recover fine, but some workers might have a lower tolerance for illness than others. Generally, employers are understanding about illness and wish to prevent the intentional spreading of viruses through the office. The issue, really, is when employees misuse the company’s sick policy. 

Cold and flu season is upon us, and being amplified by nature’s latest novel virus. During times of sickness, it’s easy to get anxious and concerned; take matters into your own hands – literally. Keep your body clean, your insides nourished with healthy, vitamin-rich food, and avoid heavily populated areas. Be smart, don’t misuse company leniency, stay safe, and keep others safe in the process.

Easter At The Office: Spread the Spring-Time Fever

Easter is a time to celebrate the return of life to the Earth, and many of us celebrate for religious reasons; regardless, Easter weekend is a fun time to enjoy candy and cute bunnies, right? There are few places that fun holidays shouldn’t find their way into, and the office is no exception! What are you doing at your office building to get excited for Spring and Easter Sunday?

1. Good Old Egg Hunt

Surprise the office with a giant bag of stuffed eggs this year; you can buy empty eggs and fill them yourself with wrapped or individual candies. Get creative and place raffle tickets in some if you’d like to give away a big candy bar or gift basket! Arrive at your office early one morning, or stay late the night before so that you can hide eggs; make sure to hide them in great spots – you aren’t all still kids, after all!

2. Oh, Where… Oh, Where

For this fun game, pick up several cheap stuffed bunnies, or other Easter characters, and hide them in precarious places around the office. Make at least two of them extremely difficult to spot! Ask everyone to keep an eye out for the naughty bunnies, and have them send a list to you at the end of the day describing where each of them is. Offer up a prize for everyone that finds all of the dastardly bunnies!

3. Decorate!

Honestly, it won’t feel like a special day or week unless you toss up some decorations, everyone knows that! Pick up some cheap paper lantern-type eggs, glass clings, and maybe some pastel-colored tuille. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to bring some festivity to the office; keep it simple, and don’t overdo it!

4. Pot/Snackluck

The holidays are about getting together and sharing with friends and family, after all; why not extend that to your co-workers and employees? Let the office family in on the food fun, too, by setting up a potluck that everyone can share. Send out an email in advance so that everyone can plan, prepare, and coordinate dishes!

5. Gift Baskets

Themed baskets filled with joy and love; what’s better to put together and give on Easter than a gift basket? Treat these like a Secret Santa event by asking everyone to sign up in advance. Have everyone pick a name, set a dollar limit, and decide on a day to exchange baskets! Ask everyone to decorate their basket with fun Easter colors and stickers, just to make it a little bit more fun.

What other fantastic things have you and your office set up for Easter? Take some time this year to step-up your holiday game!

Spring Break “Staycation”: 10 Ideas to Keep the Littles Busy

Whether you’re looking to stay in small circles or hunkered down at home while the virus passes, one thing is for certain: it’s easy to go stir-crazy with children in the house for a week or more at a time. Typically, it’s fun to plan trips and vacations during spring break, but 2020 doesn’t seem to be shaping up as the perfect year for that – if you catch our drift! Check out these six ideas to help keep the kids busy – and safe – this spring break.

1. Tournaments

If you have older children, this can be a blast! Spend some time one day during the week to learn how to play their favorite video games, or pull all of the board games out of the cupboard. See who can win the most games in 2-3 hours, offering the winner some kind of prize. Make sure all of the rules are outlined ahead of time; consider altering the rules a bit to make the games more fun or silly!

2. Not-So Out and About

Does your family like to hike? Do you know about a secret swimming spot that no one else does? This is the time to visit the old gems from your childhood – share them with the kids and make a special day of it; you could plan a picnic at the top of a small mountain peak or along the beach. Just because it’s best to avoid contact with sick people, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get out and enjoy nature – don’t go stir-crazy!

3. Backyard Bash

Rummage through your basement and attic for odd objects that can serve as obstacle course objects. Paper plates on the ground could work well for hopping, a long plank across the grass is perfect for side-stepping. Old tennis balls and 5-gallon buckets can be used for short-distance hoops. Use your imagination, but try to keep it safe! Time the whole family and see who can set the fastest record!

4. Homemade Game

Now’s the time to get crazy! Ask the kids for ideas, but make sure you have supplies on hand for the basics; this activity is best planned in advance so that you can order your cardstock, poster boards, die, and other game pieces a few days before. The sky is the limit for this fun-filled day of excitement!

5. Movie Marathon

We know parents usually try to limit TV and general screen time per day, but let’s all be honest with each other for a second: that’s going to be pretty impossible this year during Spring Break. Try your best to keep the kids off the screens if you want, but keep in mind that they might be an absolute lifesaver during the lie-in. If your kids have a favorite movie series that they haven’t watched in a while, rent or buy it to watch this week as a special treat! Oh, and don’t forget the popcorn, that should still be in stock online!

6. Craftsy Camp Day

See if your friends or family members will let you borrow some camping gear during the week. Kids love campouts, even if they’re right outside the house! Have a campfire, make hot dogs (if you could find them at the store), s’mores, and tell stories!

During the day leading up to your campout, make a bunch of homemade crafts that the kids can play with: modeling dough, paint by numbers, mad libs, whittle sticks into wands and have the kids color them. Rummage through your paper products and craft items and come up with something new! The great thing about kids is that you can get them excited about almost anything if you hype it up enough.

Stay safe this Spring Break, but don’t sacrifice the fun! Luckily there are lots of exciting things at home if we take some time to look around. Don’t forget that there’s some safe space around your home, too! Take a walk in the woods to get some fresh air – it’ll help everyone’s mood.

5 Dynamite Gift Baskets for Coworkers

There’s nothing more thoughtful and sweet than receiving a homemade gift basket from someone. The personal touches are proof that you were the center of attention for a moment or two, and this can go a long way to boost your mood at work! If you’re looking for ideas on how to make your next round of gift baskets special, take a peek at these nifty – but easy – ideas.

Thanks Crate Basket

You know your employees are awesome, so prove it by showing them a little love! Our monthly subscription packages make sure you never miss an opportunity to make your employees feel special on their birthday and company anniversaries.

Homemade Soap

It’s far easier to make your own soap than you realize! Craft stores generally sell melt-able (also called “melt and pour”) soap base that you can add your own fragrances and lotion to. Buy fun molds, or go simple with a rectangle! Simply peruse your craft or superstore for essential oils to add to the soaps (but don’t use cinnamon oil, please). Do some research on fragrance combinations, but the tried-and-true fragrance will always be lavender! 

Homemade Lotion

Another handmade gift your coworkers will love, lotion is an amazing product we should all be using – especially during the dry winter months! There’s something soothing about knowing the ingredients that went into your skincare products, so make sure to keep it simple and make custom tags for your friends in the office. There are many different oils and butters you can use in your recipe, so take some time to try some out at home!

Homemade Muffins

Baked goods always seem to bring a smile to people’s faces. Excitement always fills the office when a coworker brings in a sheet of cake or homemade cookies! Likewise, your coworkers will be thrilled to receive something baked with love in an adorable gift basket. Fan favorites are blueberry, pumpkin, and chocolate chip; feel free to experiment! Zucchini muffins during the summer can be a great way to banish your garden surplus!

Crafty Diffuser

What is it about pleasant scents that we all love so much? With all the rage that diffusers and essential oils have been receiving lately, it only makes sense for you to get your coworkers in on the bandwagon. Even better, it only takes a few minutes to put together an easy, DIY oil diffuser! Pick up some wide glassware with a narrow opening and some diffusing reeds. Pack your gift basket with a few oils you think your coworker will like, and you’re ready to gift! 

No-Bake Cookies

It doesn’t get much easier than no-bake goods; they don’t take much time and they will stay fresh for quite a while. Be careful when selecting a recipe if your coworker has food allergies! No-bake cookies often use peanut butter as a binding agent, although you could substitute it for something else. Get creative and decorate your cookies if you’d like – if you aren’t that type of “cook”, decorate your gift basket! The possibilities are endless, so have fun!

At the end of the day, it’s the thought that your coworker will really appreciate. Have fun creating your gift baskets as it’ll show how much you care; mix and match the ideas above to create a truly amazing basket of joy, or select one item to spend extra time on. It’s up to you; don’t worry about getting it wrong! 

Spring Break Fun – At The Office: It’s Not Just for School Anymore

It’s guaranteed that we all remember the allure of Spring Break every year; did your family plan a vacation or a weekend getaway? Perhaps your week was filled with outdoor activities or camping! Regardless, Spring Break was the perfect time to relax and unwind – a time to reset and recover before diving into the next months of school before Summer. Now that we’re all older, we don’t necessarily get that same breather; why can’t we enjoy a little “r & r” at work for the week?

1. Jeans All Week

Whether your office is business casual or simply casual attire, odds are most people at least wear khakis. Let everyone take a breather by encouraging employees to wear the clothing they would be most comfortable in to run errands or drive in. Most people will opt for jeans or nice leggings if allowed, so suggest whatever you feel comfortable with for your business.

Hawaiian Shirt Madness!

To kick up the Spring vibes a notch or two, ask everyone to wear a tropical-themed shirt! You could even hold a contest for the most colorful outfit each day of the week. It’s your office, you decide how crazy to be!

2. Coloring Contest

Print out some adorable spring pictures and purchase some colored pencils for the office to share. Ask everyone to color a picture and submit them for judging; the best-colored picture could win a prize as elaborate or simple as you wish. Keep things fun and exciting – the goal is to help employees relieve stress this week, just like when you were all younger.

3. Cornhole Champions

If we’re all being honest, who doesn’t love a quick game of cornhole? You get to throw things and show off your aiming skills! Set up a cornhole area in your office and encourage people to practice on their off-time. Print out some sheets that outline the championship, and ask people to complete their games throughout the week. Who will be left standing?

4. Murder Mystery

There are pre-made packages you can buy for office teams, but you could always make up a mystery on your own, too! Bring everyone in for a team meeting at the beginning of Spring Break week to brief the teams on the clues. Allow teams to work on the mystery throughout the week, and set up a meeting every day to discuss the mystery. You can continue the murder mystery as long as it takes to solve or provide hints depending on how much time you’d like your employees to spend on this.

5. Volun-team!

For the week of your office Spring Break, set aside some time to do community volunteer work; not only will this help boost your local company image, but it will also help your employees get outside for part of their time at the office this week. Depending on what you choose to do with your team, you could follow up the day’s good deeds with a cookout or other outdoor event.

Get creative and have fun! You might want to ask your employees for ideas as well. Whatever you plan for your employees and team, make sure it includes some time – even if it’s just ten minutes per day – for extra relaxation outside of break time. Your employees will appreciate the breather and effort you put into planning off-time for them!

The Best Team-Building Ideas: Bring Your Employees Together – the Fun Way

It’s far too easy for us to get stuck in the daily grind at work; Monday through Friday, chugging along to get through to the weekend. As we start to fade into this pattern of thinking, it’s easy to forget our unique position as part of a team at work. If the focus is on making it through to the weekend, it’s difficult to maintain a positive, stress-free work environment. This is of the utmost importance since the quality of our work environment directly impacts our productivity. 

So, what can you do, as a business leader, to help bring the awareness back to the team? You can encourage interaction between team members by workspace organization and desk positioning, but the best way to get people to open up and let others in is to host team-building exercises.

Sales Pitch

Divide your team up into groups of two to three members; it’s best to randomly select the group members so that your individual teams aren’t simple office niches. Give each team a standard office tool or object and ask them to come up with a brief sales pitch for it. You can give each team a set amount of time to prepare or ask them to come up with it on the fly, depending on whether you are interested in improvisation or strategic thinking.

During the sales pitch, the other teams will be given an upper limit that they can “invest”. The team that gets the most money in “investments” wins.

Office Trivia

Using notecards, jot down little-known facts about your office or company. Feel free to include small observations about the color or theme of items and rooms; this will test your employees’ memory and observational skills. If you’d like, you can break the office up into teams and ask them to discuss the answers to each question before they pipe up.

Puzzle Party

As if puzzles weren’t fun enough, puzzle party will take teamwork to a whole new level. You will need one puzzle for each team that participates in this exercise; teams should be no larger than 4. From each puzzle, remove 10 pieces and place them into a bowl. Mix up the bowl and return a random ten pieces to each puzzle. 

If you’d like to add some intrigue to the exercise, pick up some chips for bartering, but don’t explain what they are for – simply include them in the puzzle box. Set a time limit and see who finishes their puzzle first!

Once Upon a Timeline

This exercise can help put the lives of others into perspective with the company they work for. Sometimes it’s easy to feel disconnected with your coworkers and employer – especially if you don’t know much about the business you work for.

Start by drawing a long timeline on a whiteboard; label the right side as the present moment, and the left side as the company’s founding date. Add any pertinent business-related information to the timeline and ask employees to share important events from their life and add them to the board. Don’t force coworkers to over-share, but ask them to share at least one important event from their lives.

Tangled

For this ‘game’, you’ll need some balls of yarn; if you visit a craft store for new skeins of yarn, you may need to roll your own balls. Break your team into groups of 6-8 and give each a ball of yarn. Have the team form a circle, and choose one person to be blindfolded. Start the yarn ball with one member of the team and inform them to all roll the ball to someone new, ending with the person who is blindfolded. 

Once the yarn web is formed, it is the remaining team members’ job to help the blindfolded member untangle the web! Clear communication will be required, and team members who can see cannot move.

Try these out on your team and see how it affects performance and openness at work!