Missing the High-Fives

Our workplace is increasingly virtual. Nearly all of my coworkers are remote. The couple coworkers that were physically close were just downsized, and I’m missing the high-fives.

I’ve worked in virtual teams for years, but always had some locals nearby. A local coworker gives you that ability to step away, take a break, and celebrate each other’s successes, brainstorm your problems, or commiserate. This type of team building, while possible in a virtual setting, has much higher barriers. This type of communication is normally the lowest priority. It’s “break work” – work you do while technically on a break – but it can sometimes provide the exact breakthrough you need. Break work allows you to step back from a problem, see it from a new angle, or sometimes, just relax into the solution.

When I stay at my computer, it’s not the same as getting up, walking around, and taking a break. I’m still running my normal ‘background brain activities.’ Disconnecting from the computer, physically moving, and physically engaging someone else has power.

Is there a way to achieve something similar in a virtual work environment? How do you build teams that never see each other?

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