Each company has (or should have!) well-defined criteria for selecting future members of its team. Among other traits at Mirego, we value team spirit. We strengthen this unity daily through activities that generate group pride. These activities allow us to share our passions and celebrate the achievement of common goals.
We collaborate to break out of escape rooms, outdo ourselves by biking between our offices in Montreal and Quebec, and with the same passion discuss our days over beer during happy hours.
It can be easy to come up with great ideas when everyone is gathered under one roof, but what happens when the team is scattered? Faced with the new reality of everyone working from home, we must discover original ways to bring our team together. Reinventing the virtual happy hour, working out collectively from a distance, and moving from in-person conversations to slack messages to convey the excitement of an informal chat, this has been an interesting challenge!
More than a happy hour
Videoconferences where everyone cheers in front of their cameras are popular when it comes to coming together without leaving home. These types of meetings are essential because they allow us to maintain social contact while opening up the discussion to subjects outside the workplace - despite the distance. We believe that while it is important to integrate them into a team that is working remotely, we can take the concept of happy hours even further.
To find singular topics that will join several personality types, it is essential to follow the news. We find our inspiration reading traditional media, subscribing to newsletters, and browsing through social media. To seize the most interesting opportunities, we follow everything closely or remotely related to culture, tourism, and even gastronomy.
To build strong relationships with our colleagues, we place value on laughing and having a good time together. Several well-known games can be transformed and played digitally. A little research or imagination will help teams play HedBanz, Cards Against Humanity, or even Pictionary. It is by diligently following the news that we will also be able to take advantage of sporadic and free initiatives, such as the many local quiz nights which now have virtual counterparts born during the pandemic (thanks to Randolph and Birra, to name a few).
Happy Hour can also be an opportunity to come together around a common interest. For example, our literature fans have created a virtual book club: everyone chooses a book to read, then, on a selected date, we all connect to discuss it. Several passions lend themselves well to this type of grouping such as: movies, TV shows, music, etc.
Move as a team
Pushing the happy hour further is one way to make meetings more memorable. Getting out of this time slot opens up even more original ways for our team to come together.
Bringing the gym home can be a challenge and getting motivated to work out alone can be an additional barrier. To eliminate these obstacles, we select a couple of exercises that can be done with little or no equipment, and schedule the training session on the calendar, as we would for a meeting. During these WOD (Workout of the Day), we all connect via videoconference to follow the same pace. The group effect is stimulating and leads us to surpass the goals we’ve set for ourselves. This can also be applied to hosting online yoga, kickboxing or zumba classes as a team.
To reach an even wider range of people, it is also possible to create ongoing sporting challenges. Before, we used to write these challenges on a whiteboard at the office. Now that we are all working remotely, we have moved the content of this board into a Google Sheet. Thus, each participant has their own section of the online board and follows their personal monthly goals, while their colleagues can do the same. By having this shared document, we can encourage or even tease a teammate who is dragging their feet when it comes to their resolutions.
In the same spirit, several tools exist to monitor our performance and that of our friends. At Mirego, several runners use Strava to see the routes and statistics of group members, and we use Inkin, a step calculator, to encourage us to take steps outside. We are not fools; if at 4 p.m. someone walked a total of 121 steps, chances are that they hadn't strayed far from their office chair ;)
Stimulate written discussions
Working from home can create many communication challenges, but it also opens the door to invaluable opportunities to bring people together, regardless of geographic distance. This way of getting in touch not only allows discussions without time constraints, but it is also very effective in reaching people who are a little camera shy.
We use Slack for most of our written communications at work, and that same platform is very useful to discuss any other subject. By creating channels around common interests, each member of the team can discuss their passions with their colleagues, whether they live on the same street or on different continents. Without gathering around the coffee machine, or through video, we can feel a certain closeness with our colleagues by sending each other inspirations for a week’s meal or a Friday evening feast, asking for advice because our seedlings are not growing as we would like, exchanging knitting patterns found online, or chatting with our friends about the latest playlist we discovered to energize us on Monday mornings.
Gather the team just as much
Team spirit has always been at the core of Mirego's values; it’s what moves the group towards a common goal and leads us to give the best of ourselves every day. We have always thought that we excelled in terms of team cohesion, but once we were limited to the space of our homes, we cut down the boundaries of our offices. Now, no matter where we are physically, we can team up with Joey in Quebec to win a quiz, challenge Florence in Charlevoix to take more steps, and we can discuss the last album from our favorite band with Romaric in Montreal. All this, on the same day.