How did you celebrate the holidays with your remote team?
Today’s technology and tools make it possible for a completely dispersed team to share meaningful moments with each other. As a company who helps businesses find remote workers, we at Bolton Remote see the positive impact of celebrating events and milestones.
Carl Dierschow of Small Fish Business Coaching previously shared with us how Amazing Celebrations Keep Morale Up. Now, he shares with us his first-hand experience about planning and execution as well as the impact it has between remote collaborators. He participated in a virtual celebration which was held just a few weeks ago, involving all the clients going through a program with a coach.
Planning the Party
As with most things, success comes with planning. This includes celebrations with your remote team. Carl attributes the outcome of their event to thoughtful planning by their coach:
- Goal setting. It’s important to identify what is being celebrated. In this case, Carl and company were celebrating accomplishments in the past year. Their coach took it a step further by asking them to list down achievements and progress their most proud of, as well as what they appreciate about each member of the group.
- Personal invites. Their coach contacted them one by one, expressing how their attendance would be valued. This personal touch could mean a remote staff’s attendance or not.
- Special party instructions. It felt like an office party because their coach paid attention to details. They were asked to bring drinks of their choice and to dress up a little. Just because they’re not in one venue, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t dress for a good time.
- Technical preparations. Their party will greatly depend on the tool they use. They chose Us, an inexpensive video conferencing platform that can be used across devices.
When there’s only a limited amount of time where people are online, planning allows focus. They only had two hours for their party, and a plan ensured they make the most out of their time together.
The Big Event
Carl shares his account of the night:
“We started out the evening with the usual informal chitchat. Once everyone was connected in, the party got rolling. For the first hour, volunteers shared their achievements and their appreciation and learnings from the group. It wasn’t highly formal, but there was plenty of supportive comments made.
For the second half of the party, our coach had designed a trivia game that was more about reminiscing, having fun, and interacting with each other.
Ten minutes before the end, our coach took the opportunity to give awards for the progress we’d each made in the last year, and the challenges we’d overcome. These awards were quite meaningful to each individual and connected to the strong bond we’d made with each other and with our coach.
Before wrapping up, our coach showed us a short video of pictures that she’d captured during our group retreats. It was interesting to hear people commenting as the pictures and music went by – like we were in the same room together.
She then spent a few minutes conveying why she, personally, appreciated this group so much, the lifelong friendships that had been forged, and her joy in supporting our successes. It was a tearful moment, and such a great way to end a joyful celebration.”
“It felt a little chaotic at times,” confessed Carl, “but that was part of the playful nature of this experience.” It’s a party, and just as co-workers would let loose at the office party, so can they during a remote celebration.
What We Can Learn
All work and no play puts too much pressure on your staff, so much that “it can reduce people’s desire to help each other and take risks,” shares Carl. There’s a need for a positive, uplifting, and energizing activity when you expect your staff to constantly perform in high-stress situations.
Celebrations show employees that “leaders care about each and every person, that contributions really do matter, and that we’re stronger as a team.” The event was so successful that it left a lasting impression, with Carl and his team discussing it and showing gratitude long after the fact.
“There’s no question that this was one of the most appreciated and powerful events of the year,” he shares. “This is the kind of activity which builds great connections between individuals, focuses everyone on group goals, and puts them in a positive frame of mind.”
Taking away the in-person interactions doesn’t mean your team shouldn’t relate to each other in more meaningful ways. There may be times where they must “step back from their immediate work and relate to each other as helpful, valuable human beings,” says Carl.
What better way to connect than in celebration? Done right, it can even be a powerful part of maintaining morale and momentum among your people.