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Guest Writer
August 2, 2016

Five ways to create more connection in the workplace

Happy Thursday! Today we’re having our first guest blog, written by Tom Laterveer & Hagar Michel from Animo. Animo is a Berlin-based organizational happiness and teamwork firm that facilitates, trains and consults companies in building an organization people love to work for. ...

In our previous article A plea for more connection in the workplace we made clear why connectivity in the workplace is important. We spend most time in the office, but don’t know our co-workers that well at the end of the day. This while science and practice prove that feeling connected has many benefits in fueling personal and organizational performance. From our experience in helping teams work better together, we’ve selected a few very effective tools to inspire more humanness and connectivity in your team. Introduce them in your workplace with consistency and verve — and we are positive you will soon see the effects in your team.

1. Do a daily huddle

Ever seen a team sport that doesn’t do a huddle? Or Japanese children, for that matter? By gathering together with your team for 5-10 minutes every morning, you can do a quick check-in on how each of you feel and what you’ll be working on today. This office-huddle encourages you to share information with your colleagues, and at the same time helps you to be up-to-date on how they are feeling and what’s going on in their (working) life. It will take some deliberation and practice to get used to the huddle, but it soon becomes second nature and a cornerstone in your day.

2. Display your mood on a mood-board

The IT department of a Danish company decided to place a mood-board in their office. Upon daily arrival, employees place a green or red tag next to their name. Green means “I’m having a good day”, while red means “I’m having a bad day”. The mood-board helps the team to share important information on their mood, giving space to making their member feel trusted and valued. This method also provides little space for people to walk around feeling bad for weeks. After somebody has put up a red marker for about a week, people come up to them and ask (and listen!) what’s up. We all have bad days, and they all pass. Instead of feeling the need to put on a happy-face, openness on their mood makes it easier for them to get out of a negative mood-state. In a way, it also gives people permission to have a bad day.

3. Start your meetings with a check-in

People can bring a lot to the table when they enter a meeting. Maybe they’re tired, or generally have a bad patch or bad day. A check-in gives room to these feelings, so that they do not have to be brought into the meeting (and maybe hi-jack it at a certain point). During the check-in that takes place right before a meeting, people just exchange information on how they feel. This requires no prior time-investment, no agendas, and no resolution on topics. These short periods allow people to identify in which ways they feel connected to (or disconnected from) the work at hand, the group process and their colleagues. Next to this, minor issues can be easily resolved through this face-to-face contact.

4. Build your companies’ ‘Wall off Praise’

Remember how good it feels to receive praise? To hear that you’ve done really well on as task, or in a relationship with someone? (Hint: glowing, beaming faces. Yes?). A London-based innovation agency invented the Wall of Praise. The idea is that every employee can nominate any other employee for their good deeds. The best nominations are pasted across the walls and ceiling in the busiest area of the office in big and colorful letters. The Wall of Praise, as the name easily suggests, gives us a hand in telling each other what we do well. We are all good at criticizing. Let’s talk about what others (and ourselves) do well. And what better place to see this in your meeting and reception area? Now all you need to do is to place a jar where people can put in their nominations, decide how you’ll determine the ‘winners’ and put them in the spotlight.

5. Do a level 5 greeting!

So we just talked about the mood-board displaying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ moods. What about ending our list of tricks with a trick that will enhance the likelihood of you and your team having (or getting) a ‘good’ mood? You surely can relate to the following list that sums up the different approaches to saying good morning at work:

Level 0: ignoring others completely.

Level 1: grunting to the others.

Level 2: saying hi or good morning. Avoiding eye contact is key at level 2.

Level 3: Level 2, only now including the eye contact.

Level 4: Adding an extra verb or sentence. Maybe even asking a question like: “how are you?”

Level 5: Mix in some touching, a handshake or a pat on the shoulder. Hugging is allowed (as long as the other person agrees, of course).

How often do you approach your good morning ritual at work with a level 5 approach? How often did you think about your morning greeting at all? Just try the level 5 greeting, and find out the effects yourself.


Tom & Hagar would be curious to hear about your experiences with the tricks they gave you in this article. You're always welcome to share experiences, or give suggestions, or just randomly talk to them. Feel free to shoot them an email here. Also, if you enjoyed this content, you can click here for even more insightful articles.

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Photo by Lea GK

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