Any tips on how to maintain this social element in remote teams?
Andrew: It has become more important that we intentionally create the space for informal conversations, and the remote set-up almost facilitates this. For example when the little one arrives on camera, or the cat comes across the screen, this sometimes allows for more personal conversations than we would have in the office.
We also had a great “Fika” (weekly Manchester team gathering) the other week: while we normally discuss halfway serious questions, this time we discussed our favourite sandwiches. It went down amazingly. We had people with the most creative top five, others were purely amused by the enthusiasm, and one person was thoroughly embarrassed to share their “dull” corned beef favourite – but then others went “Ah, I LOVE corned beef!”. And this really connected us all – and made us very hungry, too.
Dave: Indeed, informality can connect – and the leaders have to lead by example. We are in more informal times; it’s okay to relax, it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to say no. We have sessions now in our relatively young team where we set up our code of conduct and principles by which the team will live, and more of that is now focused on mental health than it has ever been before. And that’s for a good reason, it’s necessary. People are challenged in new ways, and we’ve got to be conscious of this and look out for the people who may need a little conversation or a bit of a time out. Because these are weird and stressful times for everyone.