Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Fun ways to keep your team motivated and connected whilst working remotely
Whilst we watch Government's around the world react to the continuing threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), by restricting flights, closing schools and even locking down entire countries, we are also seeing businesses implement their own strategies. Separating workforces, implementing travel bans and even putting in rotational work from home weeks, are just a few of the approaches which we have heard of.
With all of this going on, there is a very real threat that entire office's may be closed down and entire audit teams required to work remotely for long periods of time.
So what happens if your audit team is forced to all work remotely? For the sceptics like me, I always wonder how much work really gets done from home. Ultimately, as long as the work is being completed and to a good standard, I guess there isn't really too much of an issue, however for some people (like me), working from home can become boring. We crave interaction with other people and enjoy the run to the kitchen for another cup of tea and a good chat along the way.
So how do you ensure your team members are still working (without being over bearing) and yet provide enough social interaction to make sure your team members don't become demotivated or bored? Here are a few suggestions to keep your team productive, but happy and connected all at the same time. You may have other ideas (please add them to the comments below), but here are a few of ours using tools and system which your workplace may already have, or are free online. Here we go.
The Virtual Coffee / Tea
Using your Skype, Microsoft Teams or Hangouts, set up a 10 / 15 minute video call each morning for the team to have a virtual cuppa. A prize could be given to the person with the most creative / unique mug collection at their house. Not only is this a good way to check in and make sure everyone is ok, it's a way for team members to know each other that bit better.
There are multiple apps out there but for this, we will use Microsoft Teams Planner and Trello. These two programs allow you to essentially create a whiteboard and assign tasks to individuals. A weekly meeting can be set up so that team members can all view and edit their tasks for the week.
As per my earlier post about COVID-19 (which you can read here), audit teams may need to move resources around and change audit priorities. Having a weekly team meeting and using a dynamic planner such as Microsoft Teams or Trello, can help ensure that our resources are in the right place, our audit priorities are correct and team members are actually working and not having a 'Netflix and Chill'.
You can see how Microsoft Teams Planner works by watching the below video.
Alternatively, you can watch the video on Trello below.
The Daily Poll
Again, Microsoft Teams has a great feature where individual teams can create a 'Channel'. Within the Channel, there are a number of things which can be done to encourage team communication and collaboration. One such thing is Polly; essential a poll app.
Take it in turns among the team to create and post the daily quiz. If you do the morning cuppa, it might be worthwhile to make the poll in the afternoon. This way, we are ensuring active involvement of team members throughout the day.
Fire around the quiz to all team members and see who gets the highest score. We wouldn't be accountants if we didn't have a spreadsheet involved, so feel free to create a leader board. Become the 'cool team' in the office also and make it known about your little team challenge, and potentially even invite other teams to join you with your Sporcle quizzes.
This is my absolute favourite and something I which I use often for team presentations and audit feedback sessions. Mentimeter is an online quiz platform where individuals can join a quiz and play the quiz via their phone. It's free, easy to set up, and actually a lot of fun because its different and there is nothing else like it out there. Instead of a Sporcle, you can create a Mentimeter and even tailor it to a specific theme or challenge people's understanding of the audit methodology or good audit practices (#exciting).
You can view how Mentimeter works by watching the video below:
These are only a few suggestions. It would be great to know what suggestions, tips, or tricks you have for creating a fun remote working environment.