Rituals are any activities or habits your team employs to foster culture, collaboration and connectivity. Below are just a few of our favourite rituals developed by Cosmic Centaurs and our community.
Many of us have felt the shared excitement of seeing a teacher roll-in a television to a classroom. Who says we can't have that while distributed? All you need is a shared movie platform and 10-15 minutes to arrange this activity. Agree to watch the same movie during the week or during class time. Challenge students/team members to share and compare their feelings about what they saw. Share your own review and get requests for the next movie night selection! Source: Hygger Blog
Celebration Video Call
Has your team reached a goal or target? This calls for a celebration! It's easy to get so caught up in work that you forget to take a moment and appreciate how far you've come, but it is important to make time in a team to feel happy together, and proud of one another. Invite your team members to a celebratory video call when it is the right time, and just let yourself experience this joy together!
Gaming - But Virtual
Companies around the world began to add bean bags and video games to their offices, creating space for employees to play, connect and take a break from work while in the office. This is easily replicated at home, whether it is a Words With Friends game or a Call of Duty tournament, this in-office ritual is super easy to create and helps employees with shared hobbies connect outside of 'working' hours.
During an onboarding exercise, or at a team building workshop, give each team member 3-5 minutes to think about a few important things they would love to do in their lifetime. Then, everyone shares the list. If some people have overlapping activities, you can ask them to play together. For example, two participants want to attend 10 professional courses in 2020. Your aim is to challenge them to do it and support each other. Hold them accountable by asking about their progress. Source: Hygger Blog
Community, Remote Learning
Ask students or colleagues to share 3-5 unusual facts or fun stories about the city or country they are from that are not commonly known. It is a good way to learn something new. You will improve your understanding of the place and cultural environment where your team members and students are from/live. You may also ask them to prepare and share a one-page slide or short presentation that will include a map of their favorite places in their place and relevant pictures.
Lunch & Learn
Lunch and learns are a great way to promote knowledge sharing and improve presentation skills. The idea is simple, a team member creates a presentation about any idea and presents it to teammates. Topics can be related to the nature of work, or of an entirely different subject.
Welcome New Employees
Find a special way to welcome new employees, beyond the usual introduction email. Assign a buddy to help them navigate the company. Invite team members they will need to interact with to a (virtual) lunch on their first day. Send them a t-shirt or a plant to make them feel part of the family.
Meet the Pets
Our team has a slack channel called 'CosmicKitties' where we post photos of our pets (those who started the channel happened to all have cats at home). One quick, easy ritual to create a more cohesive team is to dedicate a channel or thread for people's pets. It's a good way to get to know who is keeping your colleagues or classmates company at home. And let's face it - everyone loves sharing photos of their furbabies so this ritual will create a time and place for it making sure that the WhatsApp group isn't spammed with photos of your manager's parrot Ruby.
Playing online Pictionary is a great way for remote team members to have a fun time together! Thanks to the whiteboard feature on Zoom and random word generator websites, it's very easy to play this game virtually. Get into two teams, each team gets a word from the random word generator, and has exactly one minute to draw it on the whiteboard.
Two Truths & A Lie
This activity is a great ritual to wrap up a busy week, start a workshop or introduce a new joiner. The idea is simple, ask people to come prepared with three facts about themselves, two of which are true and one is a lie. When it is a person's turn, the group has to guess which of the three facts are false. Individuals will get creative and share something about themselves that others may not learn otherwise.
Performance, Community, Remote Learning
Guess The Desk
The main idea of this online game for remote employees and student to get everyone organized about their workspace! Teachers or managers request all individuals to take a photo of their desk, arranging all items in a 'flat lay' and upload the photo to a presentation. Individuals can guess who the workspace belongs to and share their 'must-haves' in terms of remote work and learning accessories. We all know that a clear physical environment can mean a clear mind, leading to better performance overall.
Burn The Argument
If an argument between team members breaks out and is resolved, those involved write their feelings and sentiments on a paper. The wider teams comes together to watch them tear up the paper and discard of the argument, putting it in the past and focusing on a way forward.
Thank God It's Thursday
"To ring in the weekend, our team hosted a small TGIT (TGIF) celebration. We hosted a game/activity or invited an internal/external guest speaker. These were usually friends or acquaintances who are happy to share their story, adventures or cause. At the end of this session, we brought in lunch for the entire team which was a great way for colleagues to gather in the canteen and socialize."
- Submitted by Rami, KSA
Beyond our work titles, we are all humans with families, friends and hobbies outside of work. Check-in and ask questions about colleagues who are expecting kids, getting married, moving into a new home or going through a hard time. These lifecycle transitions are meaningful, easy ways to connect with your colleagues.
Begin meetings or brainstorms with one question everyone needs answer. These 'Jeffersonian' conversation topics can be your most embarrassing story, or the best piece of advice you have been given, or even your favorite quote. These activities establish common ground, create a safe space and evoke a sense of psychological safety, nurturing stronger team trust.
This ritual ensures you ceremoniously send off your departing colleagues. During a team time, host a graduation ceremony animated around a virtual white board where colleagues can share memories, parting thoughts and advice to each other. First, you will need to create a virtual whiteboard (we use Miro) with 2 fields; one to be filled by the team and the other by the departing team member. In the first field, colleagues share the person’s greatest contributions, things they love about them, and their superpowers. In turn, the team member leaving will fill in their field with the most important lessons they learned, their favorite moments as well as advice to the team. It’s a great way to show appreciation for their contributions, create a space to document aspects of your culture, and send your colleague off on their next adventure
Picture of Your Life
Ask team members to take a picture of something important from their private life. It can be their family portrait or a photo from the last vacation, a shot of daily activity or a new pair of shoes they have recently bought. This pic should reflect one of their interests and passions.
Ask everyone involved to post the picture during an online meeting. Each person should take a turn discussing their choices. It's great way to get people to share their important stuff without making them feel nervous and can help introduce new joiners to a team. Source: Hygger Blog
HubSpot hosts an annual #GrowDay for customer-facing employees. These teams spend a full day disconnected from their work and instead, invest their time in personal and professional development. HubSpot hosts sessions for employees to learn about and up-skill themselves in areas such as negotiation, consulting and inclusive leadership. This year, the remote off-site was orchestrated around 25+ time zones from around the world!
Conflict Resolution, Performance
Clearing the Air
If your team has not been performing as well as it should be, because of problems having to do with trust, it might be the time for a call to clear the air. It can be difficult to approach trust-related topics, so we suggest that you start the call with some ice-breaking to ease up tensions. Then, you can set the issues at hand, and have the team recognize what is the root problem. Each member should openly talk about how they feel about it, without any interruption. After that is done, the team leader suggests a path forward to unanimous agreement, and offers everyone a last change to disclose their feelings. This ritual is helpful with settling passive conflicts, as it allows team members to own up to their mistakes, have/give transparent feedback, experiencing relief instead of bottling up emotions, and improving empathy to one another.
Set up a way to collect innovative revenue or cost management ideas from all employees, create a committee to select some of these ideas for implementation, and provide a small budget for each idea. You never know which one ends up being what helps you grow or save the business.
A Personal Welcome
A simple and easy way to make new employees feel at home is to send a short and personal welcome email. Sent before they join or on the eve of their first day, these messages are a great way to show you care about new joiners and that you are excited about having them on board.
A great way to make sure we learn from both the great and not so great aspects of our teamwork is to have a bi-weekly retrospective where the team can share the best and worst parts of working together. A good framework for this conversation is to list the things that as a team we should stop doing, start doing, or continue doing with clear action points for the next cycle. Check out our insights for more on retrospectives.