When our day-to-day life is more limited than normal (the case for a lot of us right now), the start of the work day isn’t as familiar as it used to be.
Many of us have lost our regular morning rituals — the first coffee drunk on the walk to the bus, the familiar twists and turns of a train route, or seeing people on our commute that we know only by face. We lack the mental reset that walking into a new space each day can give us, as well as the change in energy that a weekend filled with different activities provides.
This claustrophobic concoction can cause fatigue amongst even the most resilient and optimistic of us and can make it harder to dig deep and find that push to do good work - even when times are tough.
Here are five ideas for questions you can use to kickstart engaging conversations amongst your team and help start the day with a spring in their step.
1. What did you learn this weekend?
Knowledge is power, so empower your team by asking them to share a nugget of information with the rest of the group. It could be as simple as “I finally learned the difference between ‘Scandinavian’ and ‘Nordic’” to “I learned how to fold a fitted bedsheet” or it might even be work related — such as figuring out a smarter way to test a tricky line of code.
If there’s appetite for it, why not set up a weekly Whereby video meeting where your team members take it in turn to share a newfound skill with one another — it certainly beats a same-old, same-old status check-in.
2. How can we be mindful of you this week?
An easy way to build empathy and stronger support networks within your remote team is by asking your colleagues — whether individually or as a group — whether there’s anything happening in their personal life that they’d like others to bear in mind when working with them this week.
Depending on the dynamics of your team, it might be a simple — “All good for me”, but for others, having the space to explain that they’re worried about a sick family member, have a teething baby that’s preventing them from sleeping properly, or really excited about an upcoming event can be a quick, effective way to pick up on news that you’d otherwise hear at the watercooler, or gather through social cues (like body language or inflection) if you were meeting in-person.
3. What’s one thing you did last week that you’re feeling proud of?
Encouraging regular self-praise amongst your colleagues gives you a double whammy: your team is reminded that the work they’re doing is worthy of recognition, and you also get to keep track of all the good stuff they’re working on, too.
Taking time to talk about the great work that’s being done can help encourage a wider perspective beyond that week’s tasks. Companies hire people for the unique knowledge and perspective they possess; by making space to appreciate this fact, it can help remind everyone why they have intrinsic value to the team as a whole.
4. Tell us about the first album you bought?
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone’s first music purchase always has a great story attached. Not only does this question allow your team to share a fun fact about themselves, it also helps remote teams build connections — after all, music is the great equalizer.
If you really get into it, why not have a shared working session soundtracked by your team’s first album? Open your Whereby room and use the Share feature to stream music.
5. What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this week?
When the world feels heavy on your shoulders (and it’s all pretty heavy right now), a quick refocus to something positive first thing can make a big difference to the rest of your day.
Encourage your team to share something that they’re excited about this week. It doesn’t have to be work-focused, either — it could be a meal they’re going to cook or a movie they’re planning on watching. Setting aside time on a video meeting to allow your team to talk freely about something that brings them joy allows more space and variety in your day-to-day chats.
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