Worksprints are a great way for organizations to replicate 'hallway moments' and 'watercooler chat' in an online, virtual environment.
For remote or hybrid organizations, these spontaneous moments of innovation and problem-solving may feel like a thing of the past and are often cited as the most valuable missing element in this new work model.
Your team can replicate these team-building moments online through what we call worksprints. It's an activity that pulls everyone together in one virtual space at the same time, encouraging collaboration and breaking down silos.
The overall strategy is flexible and can be tailored to any organization of any size. The only requirements are a group calendar, a host, and a Zoom account (or other virtual meeting platform).
- At regular intervals (we recommend a minimum of once every three weeks), block 2-3 hours on the entire team calendar as a recurring event.
- One person hosts the event and is responsible for greeting the participants, facilitating breaks, and providing technical support, such as access to breakout rooms.
- You might find it helpful to start the event with an icebreaker or a swift call for announcements to encourage workers to engage with one another.
- Close the meeting by reminding the team of the next event date and time.
This is NOT an all-staff meeting; it is a virtual workspace, like a bullpen. This space is strictly for people to work on their projects and tasks as they would in the office.
When launching this program, it's important to emphasize a few things in the event invitation and subsequent conversation.
- Make sure to remind people about the events in team meetings and all staff meetings
- Get your managers and team leads on board to support the overall initiative
- Emphasize that this is not a meeting and not about monitoring productivity; it is a time for people to have access to one another and create a sense of community within the workforce.
There are few hard and fast rules because worksprints are designed to reinforce the overall feeling of community.
- Assurance that this activity is not about monitoring productivity.
- Participants can leave their camera or mic on or off, depending on their work.
- Encourage individuals to talk or work collaboratively in breakout rooms as they would use conference rooms.
- People can do their usual work but should use the opportunity to connect with others in spontaneous, useful ways.
- The host will call a five-minute stretch or entertainment break once or twice per meeting.
Whatever community or culture fits your organization, use this activity in the spirit of team building and in a way that best suits your needs.
- Gather feedback from your staff to customize and improve the participant experience.
- Consider playing music requests during the breaks if people are not engaged in an activity such as chair yoga, trivia, or a raffle.