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Corporate culture

Three activities to drive engagement in remote workspace

Cimon Tremblay
May 20, 2021 ∙ 3 mins
women in a remote conference

I’ve been working remotely for the past year, like most of you. I miss the office. I’ve been hearing and thinking constantly, “I want to be back at the office”. However, no matter how much we look forward to that, it does not mean it will happen any sooner.

So while we are at the home office, why not bring the office home? When all of us think “I can’t want to be back to the office”, we are clearly not missing traffic, but our colleagues! So, maybe there is a way to bring our colleagues, virtually, to our remote workplace.

In this article, I want to share a few activities that we have at Osedea that helped me go through this difficult past year in remote work.

Friday Lunch & Learn

One of my favourite moments in remote work is Friday Lunch & Learn. It’s the time of the week where all the team gathers. For us, for many years, Lunch & Learns have been a key way to engage with our colleagues through different presentations. Every team member can participate by sharing anything they like! All they have to do is book a 5 to 15 minute period in the calendar to introduce the subject.

Here are some topic examples to help inspire you: news in the world of tech, a person’s professional path, a recent trip, the recipe of a top secretary tomato sauce, why the Leafs constantly choke in the playoffs? etc. We also use these connects to communicate important updates to ensure we are all on the same page.

Weekly Lunch & Learns are effective, as the whole team is present. They also give us a stage to practise our presentation skills. This weekly hangout is one of the most ancient traditions at Osedea, and a lot of our team members have uncovered a passion for public speaking and entertaining a crowd, even in remote settings.

Post Daily Scrum coffee

When we say daily scrum, you immediately think: 15 min meeting! It’s an Agile ritual essential to our ork. For me, even on weekends I spend 15 minutes thinking about what to do, like washing my windows or if I should wash them this weekend! The quick coffee break after a scrum meeting was also a ritual for us. These informal chats improve collaboration and team spirit. It was key for us to transform them into remote work context.

You can name this ritual whatever you want: virtual coffee break, water cooler talk, etc. By creating that 2nd daily scrum in the morning or afternoon, we ensure that the same collaboration happens virtually. You can catch up on the project and also on your life. The goal is to share anything and connect with your colleagues in addition to discussing work.

Coffee with coworkers

Another activity that involves catching up with colleagues and coffee! Our coffee with coworkers means you get to meet with 4 to 7 team members randomly. Topics vary and people can talk about anything.

This type of activity enables us to meet new colleagues or catch up with those that we did not have a chance to connect with recently. Don’t know what to talk about? No problem, we are sure you’ll quickly find the right topic. Take the time to learn about new projects, the roles and responsibilities each person has or their hobbies.

Final words

It’s clear that a virtual happy hour is not the same as an in-person event. We can be tempted to decline the offers. Yes, it can appear more fun to join an event in person, but the reality is that the workplace of tomorrow will be different from the pre-pandemic one. Remote work will stay in various shapes and forms. Let’s all commit to engage with each other, even if the setting is not as ideal as we would hope.

If you want to learn more about other initiatives, do not hesitate to look at our blog.