Building rapport and encouraging teamwork among employees in a world of hybrid working.
Probably one of the most memorable buzz phrases of 2020 will be “let’s schedule a Zoom” whether it was work, socialising or education – everything moved online and Zoom became the norm. There were, or still are, Zoom seminars in place of large conferences, Zoom workouts, Zoom book clubs… the list goes on. All as we as colleagues who are working apart adapted.
Now, one year on, even the CEO of Zoom has admitted he has Zoom fatigue (we’re right there with you!) and while the return to the office won’t be instantaneous it will be great to have some real life, personal, interaction again. But for some, the return to the office will be minimal or not at all. Employers and employees have embraced remote working – but is this really going to be better – or will it come at a (hidden) cost?
When working remotely we don’t have to physically move to a different meeting room often missing out on the ‘water cooler’ chat with colleagues, which means the relationships between colleagues who are working apart are much more functional and lacking in personality. In a digital environment it’s hard to bond with colleagues in the same way as you would in an office, so creating opportunities for colleagues to talk about something other than work really helps to unite teams and strengthen teamwork.
So, how can we bring colleagues who are working apart closer together?
buddyboost is workplace a challenge where people are asked to buddy-up and support each other to complete 26 minutes of exercise a day for 26 days. It’s designed to be inclusive – you can do any exercise you like; there is no competition for how far or how fast; and a 3km walk at lunchtime counts the same as a 50 mile bike ride. The buddyboost leaderboards show which team or department has completed the most days of activity. The app, complete with your company branding and private community feed, gives colleagues a company network to share pictures from their daily exercise, encouraging them to talk about something other than work, and to motivate each other and cheer each other on whether they are together or apart.
There’s nothing new about remote working
For some companies working apart has always been a reality, like UK bus operator, Stagecoach, who have been running a buddyboost challenge in May. Stagecoach’s network extends from Cornwall to the far north of Scotland and their employees often work alone – driving a bus, for example – and only see their colleagues briefly at changeover time. Having their own Stagecoach community feed inside the buddyboost app has been an incredibly powerful tool to create and strengthen connections between colleagues with everyone cheering each other along as they take on the challenge.
Stagecoach Group Managing Director Carla Stockton Jones said, “We wanted a challenge that could help us be healthier, happier and able to connect in a fun way with colleagues that we haven’t been able to see over the last year. During May, in teams of 6, we’re challenging everyone in the organisation to get moving for 26 minutes every day. Our social network is buzzing with posts about how well people are doing and Importantly it’s also bringing together people that wouldn’t normally work together or have any reason to connect.
Our teams have boosted their mental wellbeing as well as their physical wellbeing which in times like these is such an important thing, living a better life at work away from the steering wheel and the pc screens”
The benefits of buddyboost – uniting remote and in office employees
Happier and more connected employees are more productive employees. We’ve got some brilliant stats from our previous challenges at buddyboost with 90% of participants saying it helped them to be more active which is proven to help improve mood and reduce stress and 60% saying it improved their workplace relationships.
Download our latest insights from our corporate challenges, and learn more about how you can use buddyboost to unite remote and office based colleagues below.