Human beings are social creatures, innately. When we do personality tests we are often sorted out to introverts and extroverts. Regardless of the results, if we are introverted or extroverted, we will still need to converse, socialise, and hang out with the people around us. As an HR recruitment agency in Malaysia, we care about how our employees are coping with the new changes.
Despite the pandemic, social interaction is important. No man is an island, even though we may be working remotely at home now, it is still essential that we communicate and bond with our colleagues. It may be physically impossible with the restrictions caused by the pandemic to meet outside, but it is still very much possible to bond virtually.
Here are some of the benefits of socialising and hanging out with our colleagues, virtually or physically:
Socialising increases motivation among yourselves, as you will be able to support each other through the tough periods at work, and render help for assignments that are tougher than most
Socialising translates to happier employees, which will also boost your work performance.
Socialising with your colleagues can help you reduce the stress caused by the increased workload, the unreasonable customers, or increased responsibilities from both work and home.
We understand that with the pandemic, things are tough now. But with the support from your colleagues and friends, we can all get through the tough times together. We have come up with a list of bonding activities that can be done through a virtual platform.
1. Team lunches
One of the ways that people can bond easily is through meals. When we are eating, we feel relaxed, and it instills feelings of content. Eating allows us to bond with others over a pleasurable event and help us feel that we belong because of the common interests we have in food with others. When we are eating, it puts us in a situation where we have to focus on the current moment, takes our mind away from what we were doing and what we are about to do later. By being present in the moment, it can help you reduce your stress and enjoy the good food in front of you.
How you can plan for team lunches while working remotely is that you can either choose to order food for yourself or you can choose to buy surprise lunches for your office buddy and conduct a Zoom meeting for you and your office buddies. While having lunch via Zoom, you can choose any random topic to know your office buddies better.
Here is a list of interesting topics that you can choose from:
What was the highlight of your week?
Did you do anything interesting or fun this past weekend?
If you had to pick any character in a book, movie, or TV show who is the most similar to you, who would you choose and why?
When you were growing up, what was your dream job?
What has been the best thing about working here?
If you had to pick one – skydiving, bungee jumping, or scuba diving – which would you do and why?
What is your go-to karaoke song?
If you had a reality TV show about your life, what would your theme song be?
It is, of course, not compulsory for you to converse with your colleagues during lunch, you can just look at each other, enjoy your food and the presence of your colleagues, and just understand that you’ve got each other’s back even during the tough times. Just be comfortable with each other, much like back in the days before the pandemic happened.
2. Zoom games
One of the best ways to unwind after work is to sit down and play some games, be it playing alone or with a group of friends. In the spirit of bonding with your colleagues remotely, there are many options online where you can play with your colleagues remotely.
Among Us!: no stranger to this game where people have to find out the imposter in a spaceship that players are supposed to prepare and fix for departure. But here is the twist! Crewmates (this is what the players are called in the game) can win the game by identifying the imposter and voting them off the ship.
Play Among Us.
Read My Lips: often during meetings, we forgot to unmute the mic and it ends in an awkward moment where you apologise for forgetting. Same concept for this game where a player will mute his/her mic and the other players have to guess the word. To make it more challenging, try to race against the time and set a timer for 1 minute.
Play Read My Lips.
Skribbl: this one is for the Picassos in your friend group. This game is much like Pictionary where a player is provided a word and they have to draw it out, and the other players have to guess the word before the timer is up! The quicker a player guesses it correctly, the more points they get.
Through these interactive and fun games, there will be no doubt that topics revolving around the games will be mentioned during lunch breaks.
What better way to check up on your office buddy than by having short little breaks during the workday. It is much like catching up with each other on the office gossips, but on a virtual platform, via a Zoom/Skype call, or Whatsapp/Telegram video calls. The benefit of working from home is that it is more convenient for you to do short activities to take a mental break from work.
Here are a couple of ideas for you to think about and do with your office buddies!
Short films: good ol’ short films that fuel the mind and the soul. There are some local content producers that specialise in producing short films, such as Butterworks.
Short exercises: nothing beats a good pump of adrenaline from exercising to fuel the mind and body. Exercises can increase alertness which translates to productivity. Exercises can also keep you healthy and fit, what a win-win situation!
There is nothing wrong with taking a short break every now and then, so there is no need to feel guilty for taking a break to fuel yourself. As the saying goes, take a break to walk an even longer road.
4. Check in on a 1:1 level
Sometimes keeping things personal and close is more effective for the colleagues that you know who prefer to be alone most of the time. Since the workplace is diversified with people from all walks of life, we have to learn to cater to the needs of others. Some people do not appreciate big crowds, while others thrive in them. So, for those who prefer to spend time on an individual level, you can opt to check in on them on a 1 to 1 level and find out how are they feeling.
By checking in, you can do it in many ways, it can either be a simple message to let them know that you are there for them whenever they need something, a short video call, or just by sending them a bubble tea, or their favourite food, to make their day a little better.
5. Listen to each other
Lastly, and the most important of all, listen. Listen to any problems that your office buddy might share with you at any point of the day. Listen to them when they share the happiest moment in their week.
Though most of the suggestions in this article are sharing with you to spend time with your office buddies, the most important thing is to be there, be present, and listen. We, adults, have a lot of things on our plates, we have responsibilities and jobs to uphold, it is inevitable that sometimes, we hear but we don’t listen.
To be able to bond and grow with your colleagues, it is critical that you listen to what they have to say when they have to say it. Listening is an art, it is not something that everyone is capable of doing right off the bat, and the fault is not yours to bear. This skill can be learned, so don't worry so much about it.
Times are tough now, but that doesn’t mean that bonding with your colleagues should be tough! Here at BGC Group, we believe that the bond and strength within colleagues are important, and the distance does not mean that we should stop showing concern for our colleagues.
Like what you read? Check out the BGC Malaysia blog for more information.