Try using Microsoft Teams to translate office social activities to an on-line environment. Sustaining a sense of normality and camaraderie might require unconventional activities. IT Services’ Guide to Departments recommends that every unit (department, college, other) sets up an ‘All Staff’ Team which they can populate, create ‘channels’, and run the social activities below (as well as formal activities).
- Celebrate birthdays, give public praise for goals reached and projects completed
- Add a separate ‘social’ channel on Teams for non-work chat within the immediate work team, where you might share pictures, jokes, anything of a light-hearted nature. It is helpful to keep morale up, whilst keeping work going.
- All-staff social Teams channel: this is aimed at encouraging social interactions across departments rather than for departmental announcements. It's an opportunity to ‘meet’ together while we are away from the office and maybe take part in some wider social activities. While there might be no moderator staff are expected to behave with the usual etiquette.
- Team world news. Pandemics are scary: some people will want to deal with this by discussing it (perhaps particularly those living alone) and some people will find it a worrying distraction from work. You could have a separate channel for this discussion to make it optional