Imagining New Opportunities For How Teams Connect Post-Pandemic
Have you found yourself reminiscing about distant end of the week happy hours lately? Longing for summer nights spent at a Rockies game overlooking the beautiful Colorado mountains? Us too! While it’s important to express gratitude for our health and good fortune, it’s also OK to miss the activities that are on hold for now. We are all looking forward to chances for our teams to connect post-pandemic with a greater sense of safety. While the lockdown won’t last forever, some of the changes incurred this year are here to stay.
In many industries including tech, this year has been a catalyst for change including flexible work policies, normalized virtual meetings, and a growing desire for strong, comprehensive benefits. In a post-pandemic world, connecting teams will include a myriad of approaches and hybrid blending of virtual and in-person spaces. From the most far out-there scenarios, like all offices becoming obsolete, to simply looking forward to having happy hour again, we’re day dreaming about all the things teams can do to connect when it’s safe to socialize more openly.
Redefining Connectivity and Teamwork During A Pandemic
In 2020, businesses have needed to be more original than ever when it comes to connecting their teams. We’ve heard from people across the Denver tech industry about their virtual karaoke nights, at-home scavenger hunts, virtual coffee hangouts, all-company fitness challenges, and new mental health care programs.
Let us start by saying we are incredibly proud to be a part of the bigger Colorado tech community. There has been an immense level of camaraderie, collaboration, and creative endeavors to keep businesses running and Coloradans working over these last few months. In order to redefine connectivity in a virtual space, we foresee businesses putting forth a continued effort to keep dispersed teams engaged and motivated.
Mental Health Care Becomes Increasingly Prominent
One aspect that will help teams connect post-pandemic and remains very important now, is the need for companies to support mental health in a greater capacity. Companies are taking notice that increased stress and isolation take a toll on productivity. Therefore, investing additional resources in supporting people during and outside of work is beneficial because it helps prevent burnout.
We asked a hiring manager in the technology and health care industry about how her company was supporting employee’s mental health. Stressing that their goal is to help families more holistically, she said, “we provide TalkSpace, a platform for tele-therapy, for all employees to have access. During this time, we opened access for spouses and dependents as well. We also use the Happify platform, which basically game-ifys a positive approach to well-being. It’s been great for our relationships, and a lot of employees are using these platforms.”
She also mentioned her company was providing additional days off for mental wellness, and extended weekends. In order to accommodate a greater work-life balance, our new normal will see even more flexible work opportunities. Company leadership can also prioritize mental health by offering access to digital wellness programs, boosting employee incentives, or simply continuing to check-in throughout the duration of the pandemic.
Breathing New Energy Into Virtual Events
We are seeing the future unfold before our eyes as mega-conferences, in the US and globally, move to online platforms. When it comes to providing seamless digital material for thousands of dispersed, live viewers, there is no shortage of learning curves. But, nothing is impossible. From boutique gyms to services like therapy, many businesses have managed to find their digital coming of age.
Here in Colorado, our very own Denver Startup Week has taken the virtual conference by the reigns, and thousands are expected to attend their online speaker and lecture series. For the fifth year in a row, DSW is currently taking submissions for its Pitch Competition. The DSW Pitch Competition is different this year as it will “highlight and harness our city’s entrepreneurial energy” by inviting its 20,500+ virtual attendees to vote for this year’s six finalists.
While Zoom fatigue is a real thing, we are grateful technology allows us to stay so interconnected. Can you imagine if we were all still writing letters? Despite video-feed fatigue, we must find renewed energy for virtual meetings, and engaging with one another. As it was once described to me, tiring social obligations, even if virtual, require us to “turn on our red,” or be our best and most passionate selves in order to receive the same from others.
Social-Distance Friendly Activities For Now And Post-Pandemic Life
If you’re still imagining potential ways for your team to connect post-pandemic, one of humanity’s best qualities is continued adaptability. As we have seen, people have learned to cope with ingenuity and hope. The wheels of every leadership team, HR manager, and general optimist have been churning on how to keep spirits high and friends connected. To those out there making a difference, we see you.
Here’s a quick list of how teams can connect now and post-pandemic, from practical to whimsical:
- Set up an outdoor movie projector, bring your own snacks. Outdoor gatherings will continue to be great, safe way to connect with coworkers. Hold a survey at the beginning of the week so everyone can vote on which movie to watch.
- If America’s got talent, your company definitely does. Host a virtual talent show by organizing a Zoom showcase for everyone to join. Create a virtual sign-up page for time slots so people can share their latest song, juggling act, or pancake art skills.
- Who let the dogs out? Organize a group dog-walk, and pick an open space or park with space to roam, and social distance. Besides, puppy love brightens everyone’s day.
- Even if you aren’t a 5-star chef, everyone can cook something! We suggest starting a recipe share in your team. Dedicate a Slack channel to sharing all the delicious recipes everyone is making at home, from summer grilling to easy baked goods.
- We’re never opposed to classic outdoor fun like mini-golf, or a BYO picnic in a park. Check out this list of social-distance friendly yard games that are fun for everyone.
- If you can’t bring a box of donuts into the office, we may have found an interesting digital replacement. Donut is a fun application for Slack and other messaging tools that is specifically designed to build bonds between coworkers and strengthen collaboration. For example, Donut randomly pairs two coworkers to chat in order to provide those needed social breaks in their day.
- We all love a good podcast or interview on an interesting individual or topic. Create a discussion group Oprah would be proud of reflecting on a cool podcast, video, movie, or book. Have talking points and prep questions for your team to break down a stimulating subject that isn’t work.
- Bring on the virtual classes. There may be a lull in online activities as the weather remains nice, but we can’t wait for fall cooking classes and wine tastings. Invite a coworker to join you virtually for an experience, of if you’re in leadership, consider providing a fun experience to your team.
So How Do Teams Connect Post-Pandemic?
The short answer is that we will have to proceed with patience when it comes to connecting in person, in a post-pandemic world. On the long-term, doubling down on efforts to take care of your employees or coworkers is the most important takeaway.
For us at BWBacon, the most encouraging part of looking ahead into the post-pandemic lens is that in the meantime we are still here, churning out new ideas and optimism for what’s to come. We still have the opportunity to connect with and serve our clients, and the larger Colorado community. As much as teams connecting post-pandemic feels like a far-off reality, there are still ways to experience togetherness virtually, and outside in sunny Colorado.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!