How To Create Serendipity on Remote Teams

  • Coffee Breaks — Schedule recurring 15–30 min calls where anyone can jump on and talk about informal topics
  • Lightning Talks — Each week, a person presents on a topic they’re passionate about for 15 minutes (it doesn’t have to be work-related), then answers questions for 15 minutes
  • Chat Office Hours — One hour a week where everyone commits to being available and checking Slack at the same time
  • Interest Group Slack Channels — Allow employees to create clubs around their interests (book clubs, tv shows, hobbies, etc.)
  • Virtual Coworking Space — People can drop in whenever to cowork together
  • Internal Podcast — Record conversations with team members and share their stories internally
  • Slackbot Connections — Use a Slack bot like Donut to connect random team members together to meet
  • Meetup Budget — Budget for coworkers to get together for lunch/coffee when nearby
  • Experience Bonus — Reward team member wins with a day off and a budget for a nice experience out of the house (ex. Day trips, nice dinner out with family, mountain climbs, etc). Have a channel dedicated to sharing experience bonus trip stories.
  • They’re optional. People can attend if and when they want. The above ideas will be good for some people and bad for others. That’s normal and okay. Offer a variety and let people choose what’s best for them. Serendipitous moments will never be created through forced interactions (like icebreakers).
  • They’re regular. People know what to expect from them, and they are consistent. Serendipitous moments will only happen if team members can count on your chosen structure.
  • They’re not about the work. You’re building connections by encouraging people to get to know each other on a personal level. Serendipitous moments will not happen without letting your team members be human.

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