Foster the Human Connection in Remote Work — 5 Small Ideas

Are you working from home yet? If Covid-19 has taught us something it is that most jobs can be done remotely. I love the option of remote work and there’s a ton of videos and articles out there that can help you improve productivity, especially if you’re new to remote work and virtual meetings. One thing I haven’t seen a lot about is the human factor.

I like connecting with my co-workers on a more personal level, I like going to meetups and conferences to learn about the industry and I like meeting new people. How do we do that in times of corona and self-quarantine?

Here are 5 small things you can do to connect with humans around you. Even though this should go without saying, always (!) turn on your camera in a video chat, no matter if it is work or fun.

⛸ Ice Breakers In Meetings

We start every team meeting with a little ice breaker to get everyone’s mind off of other things, engage with the group, get comfortable with the tool(s) and learn something interesting about each other.

We use Mural as an online whiteboard and have a dedicated area for the ice breaker, we have used some of these prompts in the past and had a ton of fun:

  1. Drop a pic/emoji here to describe a place you’d love to visit.
  2. Drop a pic/emoji here to describe something unexpected about yourself.
  3. Drop only emojis here to describe your favourite tv show.
Sample from our team meeting (missed a few people due to sick leave)

Find 300 ideas for ice breaker questions here.

🎲 Play a Game in Slack

That last prompt we have used as an ice breaker was so fun, that we started a thread in Slack: Since it was so much fun in the team meeting, guess the movie 👨 👩 🛳 🏔 🌊

Two simple rules: Emojis only and whoever guesses first can do the next one.

Here are some that popped up in our thread, can you guess all of them?

🦈 🌪

🔍 🐠

👽 🚲 🌕

Feel free to join this Twitter thread and play with us there.

☕️ Virtual Coffee (Or Tea)

This one is great if you feel like you need a small break or like it’s time for a cup of coffee or tea. We meet for 15 mins max in a Google Meet or Zoom. Whoever wants to initiate one gives everyone else a heads up to prepare their beverage and meet in 5 mins. While everyone is sipping their hot drink of choice we chit chat — any topic goes, it just cannot be work-related.

🍝 Have Lunch “Together”

Agree on a time and meet in your video chat of choice for lunch. Not great if chewing sounds are your pet peeve 😉 but other than that this is a nice opportunity to connect, especially for people who are alone at home.

We will be trying a huge company-wide lunch together on Thursday which I am excited about. This does not have to be limited to co-workers. How about trying this with a meetup group or friends?

🍷 Meet Up After Work

This one is for everyone: friends, family or a meetup group. Agree on a time and meet in a video chat of your choice and talk in a group setting over a glass of your favourite beverage.

I run Women in Product in Berlin and we usually meet up around once a month for a dinner we had to cancel for obvious reasons and will now try a virtual alternative using Zoom.

With friends and family, I have also used Houseparty which is fun and has some integrated games.

👻 Bonus: Snap Cam

You can download Snap Camera and use it in any other video chat application. It can be fun to play around with this and take a group picture when everyone is a pickle 🥒

The pickle wasn’t available anymore so I went for pizza face ✌️

Have you tried any of these before or do you have other fun suggestions?

Wash hour hands & stay safe 🧼

Written by

Product strategist, decision facilitator, team enabler, problem solver, design sprinter, agile enthusiast, intersectional feminist.

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