Creative Ideas for Connecting with Your Team Remotely | Interview with Doug Platts

Working remotely has entirely shifted the way individuals across the world are experiencing their workday, work environment, and working with their team. With Covid19 actively changing what the average workday looks like, it’s important to find ways to connect with your team despite being physically apart. 

This week, we teamed up with Doug Platts, the Chief Operating Officer of Gardenuity, to talk about creative ways to engage with your team while working remotely. Keep reading to find out how engaging in group activities (virtually) can keep your team working cohesively and creatively. You’ll be pleased to find that gardening is at the top of the list!

The Importance of Engaging with Your Team

During this time of working remotely, one of the most important things to maintain within your team is the sense of humanity. One thing that Platts does every day is have a video call with his team, so that they can all see each other and have face-to-face conversations as they would pre-covid; it’s imperative to adapt while still maintaining a sense of familiarity in daily tasks. The important thing to remember is that working remotely is the new normal; the strategies adopted now should be viewed as long-term solutions to “bringing the humanity back” into a remote working environment. 

“When people start to think about what their job means”, says Platts, “people are going to pick the company that is already working with and adapting to this work from home economy”. 

The emphasis on an engaging company culture is great, now more than ever. As we adapt to this new norm it is important for us all to consider what we can offer to each other to stay engaged and connected.

Creative Solutions for Connecting with Your Team

The time has come to put the Zoom happy hour call to rest. “Forced Zoom happy hours are not so happy,” states Platts, “We want to think of a creative way to engage with the team and drive conversation”. People need a creative way to connect with their team that is mentally stimulating, as well as something that can keep their hands and body busy. 

“When people have been sitting at their desks all day, we want to give them a reason to get up and get their blood pumping”, says Platts. Gardenuity’s solution to this has been to host team-building workshops. 

Gardening, cooking, creating anything together is a wonderful way for teams to bond while working remotely. Creating something together also allows for a team to learn each other’s problem-solving skills and refine the ways in which they communicate with one another to complete a task.

Creatively Connecting through Workshops

Platts emphasizes that it is important to continue to strive for different ways to bring people together. One way to do this is to take into account a wide range of people’s interests. Gardenuity is doing so by hosting creative workshops in three main categories: Cut to Cocktail, Patio to Plate, and Growing Greatness. These workshops span the topics of mixology, culinary arts, and gardening and wellness.

“The workshops give people something to talk about that is organic; gardening, sharing recipes, the weather. The goal is to engage in natural conversation with your colleagues”.  

These workshops have hosted anywhere from 20-200 people, and they range from private to public events; you can team up with Gardenuity to host a workshop for your company, or take part in Gardenuity’s public workshops as well. Workshops are a great opportunity to engage with your team because they are accessible to each individual involved. 

Hosting creative workshops is a fantastic way to facilitate remote team engagement because it gives people the chance to work on a project together, face to face. This is an aspect of creative task-oriented working that can be lost in remote work. By working on a project together, people can share their ideas, success stories, and even have the chance to work with people on their team that they haven’t met before!

Being Aware of Covid Fatigue

There is an abundance of exhaustion that comes along with seclusion and ever-shifting norms. For many, transitioning to working from home has meant taking on more or different responsibilities within their positions. In this case, it’s important for everyone on the team to feel supported and creatively inspired.

“As a leader or a member of a team, there’s a lot of different things to be looking out for”, Platts reminds us. “You’ve got to realize that a lot of people have been home for over one hundred days. That in itself is super isolating.” In order to engage with your team from home, it must not be forgotten that support is imperative. Platts emphasizes that engaging involves paying attention to what people are saying, as well as what people are not saying.

Conversation Cures

A great solution for when you recognize Covid fatigue is participating in the conversation! Perhaps you find yourself in the Zoom call five minutes before your meeting or event. This is the perfect opportunity to ask someone a question that everyone can get involved in. What are they cooking? What types of plants have they been growing? In this way, people feel united by something other than work, and everyone can join in on the conversation. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty

The next time you’re invited to or hosting a team-building event, consider how you can engage creatively with those around you; what can you create together? What can you grow together?

Ideas for Connecting with your Team