Keeping Up Team Morale While Working Remotely

Director of Communications and Public Engagement Janina Stajic's at-home work space.

April 16, 2020 - 4:30am

As we settle into working remotely, teams across the university are coming up with creative and funny ways to maintain and build important ties and relationships with colleagues.

We checked in with a few areas across VIU to find out what they are doing (if you have any other ideas you’d like to share, please let us know at

1. Regular meetings: This might not sound exciting, but employees have said it is valuable to have regular meetings with each other and/or one on one with their supervisor.

2: Themed meetings: If your team is suffering “Zoom fatigue” bring some laughter and lightness to the meeting by introducing a theme. Teams at VIU have had crazy hat days, sunglasses day, sock puppet day and ‘come as your favourite Netflix character day’ (although probably want to avoid potato head day).

3. Don’t just sign out after the work part of the meeting is done: If people have time, invite them to stick around and chat with each other as they might in a ‘normal’ office environment. OR end the meeting with talk about possibilities for the future – what opportunities might come out of this situation that could positively change the way we work.

4. Book a ‘hallway meeting’ or Happy Hour with colleagues: When we are at work we go for coffee, lunch or after-work drinks with colleagues. We also have chats in the hallway or when we bump into each other on campus. Replicate this online by arranging a Zoom get-together with your team or colleagues you miss - make it a goal to not ‘talk work’.

5. Go retro: Send cards (or books, or seeds for gardens or other paraphernalia) through mail with funny messages of support.

6. Do something fun after work: If your team likes to get together after work – organize an evening activity such as an online board game night.

7. Set up a text chat tool such as Slack: You can organize this into different types of chats – for example, one for work issues, one for social fun and supporting each other, one for sharing online professional development opportunities.

8: Email updates: Another email may not be what most of us want, but a weekly update to larger teams on what is happening around the university (i.e. what supports are available, what other areas are doing etc) can help larger teams feel more connected.

9. “Wine’d down Friday”: If you have a colleague(s) you work really closely with start a “wine’d down Friday” (or tea or coffee wind-down) and chat about the struggles and successes of the week.

10: Share your talents with your team: Are you a great cook? Share your favourite recipes OR do a cooking demonstration during a team meeting (can apply to other skills, too!).

11. Start a blog: Instructors in VIU’s Trades and Applied Technology are blogging about their adventures in the switch from face-to-face to alternative delivery teaching and assessment. Follow along to learn about what tools, technologies and Zoom backgrounds are working for them.

Tags: In the Community