Following prevailing trends in the development of a modern company, we are constantly looking for new ways to build positive relationships in our team. Such activities are, at the same time, an opportunity to get to know each other better, not only in the context of projects that we are working on but also in other circumstances. That’s why we attach great importance to the development of team spirit. Here are six ways how you can improve the relationships between your co-workers too.
Remember about your team constant development
Attend and organize events
Events, conferences and workshops are great places to learn something new, but it’s even better when you do it with your teammates. We work hard, you cannot be bored when working in IT, and events give us time to look at our jobs from a different perspective.
That’s why the majority of our team takes part in various conferences – local and international. Some of the guys are the speakers, some are participants-only, and the others organize meetups and events like TedX Poznań, Hive61 or become mentors at Poznań Startup Weekend.
Our developers also help to organize typical IT events like Elixir Girls, NgGirls or RailsGirls in their free time. It’s an opportunity for them to share their knowledge and experience, to teach other people technology or language in which they feel good or which they adore. The best part is that they can feel that they belong to the community because they create it.
Develop language skills
We work with international clients so it’s necessary for us to keep up with international standards. That’s why our company supports financially employees who want to take part in international conferences. And so every year several of us attend at least one global event, like WebSummit in Lisbon, ElixirConfEU in Prague or Startup meetups in Berlin.
It’s crucial for both our employers and employees to keep developing our skills and to be up-to-date with current trends in IT and tech sectors. We’re happy to see them absorbing new knowledge and sharing their experiences with the rest of our folks. We can see the passion and team spirit especially during our weekly Lightning talks or when there’s an intern onboard.
Dedicate 15 minutes a week to Lightning Talks
If you think that weekly lightning talks are too often, then you should see our calendar, which is always fully booked in advance. Topics vary – you can hear and learn about different tools that may help you prepare technology stack, write code reviews, write tests, but also about project management, employer and personal branding, content creation or even about the best ways to learn. And believe me or not the latest topic was prepared by the developer!
During these 15 minutes long Lightning Talks we learn from each other but what’s more important, we always do it together. Everyone attends the meetings even though it’s not compulsory but we do it because we support each other and we want to improve our skills. – And that’s what we call the real team spirit!
Use the team budget
One of our awesome perks at Briisk is a team budget. We can spend it on various things that may help us at work.
We spend it for example on educational materials that allow us to broaden our knowledge, including software programs, subscriptions, accesses to platforms with online courses, books or e-books that later would join the collection of our company’s library. It’s super cool to have such a budget, especially that more than one person can use these resources and learn.
Our company also cares about our mental and physical health. Since our job requires sitting by the desk and looking directly at the computer screen for at least 6hrs each day, it’s important to have something that would help our eyes rest. It’s not a masseur (yet), however, as part of our team budget, we’ve invested in a table football. It’s particularly busy after lunch when the level of our energy and concentration decreases dramatically, but after one or two rounds, we definitely have more energy for work.
What’s more, once a year we check who trained the most over the year, as every Christmas we organize a Briisk Football Tournament. We pick the teams and after Christmas dinner, we gather around and play against each other. For those who are not so much into football, there are plenty of board games to choose from.
Games, books and other educational materials are not the only things that we spend our team budget for, however, these are the things that may improve your team spirit.
Organize regular team retreats
Once a month, after office hours we organize the team’s meetings. We like spending time together also after work so we regularly meet for drinks, squash, bowling, etc. We play board games and spillikins together. Sometimes we sit in the pub and just talk, but there are also times when we go to the trampoline park or take the high rope course. These kinds of regular meetings can definitely improve your team spirit.
But let’s go further. We also organize semi-annual team retreats. For this occasion, we choose something bigger, something that includes more physical activities, like sailing or canoeing. These activities provide opportunities not only to do sports but more importantly, to build a team, establish closer relationships and trust each other.
Thanks to our semi-annual team retreats, we are able to get to know each other from the other side – the one which has not been known to us yet. Some of us show their competitiveness, they reveal leadership skills and yet the others can be known as empathetic or sociable. We are not able to observe many of these traits in everyday work or while talking in the kitchen when brewing the coffee. So consider spending a little bit more budget on having fun with your teammates too.
Our bi-annual team retreats make our teams stronger and help improve the team spirit. Everyone has the opportunity to get involved in achieving a goal we planned together. We can get to know each other better and better, and still discover something new about ourselves. Spending time together, and not necessarily working can build positive relationships in your team.
Make team breakfasts
Another way to improve your team spirit is to invite your colleagues to join you at breakfast. At Briisk, we organize Briisk breakfasts once a month before the standups start.
The thing that brings us closer as a team is that everyone tries to bring something for breakfast. Something that they made or cooked at home by themselves. And believe me or not, home-made meals really make these types of morning meetings more attractive and the food just tastes better.
Sometimes you can feel like at home. Everyone enjoys breakfast as there’s a lot of fun, laughter and many amusing conversations. It definitely brings the team closer.
Like every good party ends up in the kitchen, ours is also a place for best chat and a coffee break. If someone happens to forget their breakfast I’m sure they won’t starve before the standup as there’s always something tasty and healthy to bite into. We have fresh fruits delivered every week, many kinds of cereals, biscuits, chocolates and even milk for vegans. You should pop into us for a cup of coffee sometimes (and stay forever!).
Eat Birthday cakes
What’s nicer than a surprise party in the office on your birthday? Who wouldn’t appreciate that? Let’s be honest, it makes us feel really good and special when our teammates remember about our birthday. Cakes and gifts? – Event better!
At Briisk, we celebrate birthdays with our mates. There’s always a delicious cake with a candle – only one, as we don’t want to reveal their age. And there are these amazing customized gifts for everyone, and each year they are different!
Last year it was this cool, huge personalized beer mug. This year everyone gets personalized crazy socks with funny quotes of their own written on a small wooden board.
It’s already a Briisk tradition, and we know our teammates appreciate it. Yours will too.
Have a common goal
Finally, make something that the whole team stands for. I know that choosing the cereals’ flavour can be challenging but I mean something bigger. Something that you can be proud of as an individual, as a team and as a company.
Here’s what we did for Christmas last year.
Instead of calling a random charity and sending them money, we’ve decided to do some research first and engaged the whole team into this social project.
We found out that the biggest need in many orphanages is for cleaning and hygiene products – the reason is obvious, these are the most expensive products in the household. And so this was our goal: to find one orphanage and give them what they needed.
Since Christmas is the time for reflection, people are more friendly and open to help others and they are more willing to share. Therefore, we didn’t have to ask twice to chip into our X-mas Jar for the gifts – our team was happy to do this and even more.
As a result, we had a car full of cleaning products like washing powders, detergents, paste and toothbrushes, tissues, etc. But it wouldn’t be Christmas for kids if there were no gifts under the Christmas tree. So as a team we bought and wrapped up huge boxes of things that teenagers usually need but may not get in the orphanage and could not afford them themselves – the girls received make-up tools and cosmetics, and the boys got sport and shaving cosmetics. We didn’t forget about chocolates and other candies of course! We hope that the kids from this orphanage liked the surprise.
Our team on the other hand really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together on completing personalised gifts and preparing the parcels for these children. It’s an amazing feeling when you know you’ve built such a great team where everyone wants to be a part of this kind of project and help.
Common goal achieved!
It was an unforgettable experience that showed us that we can get together and work for such an important cause. Our goal was to do something together and what we did was something beautiful out of the goodness of our hearts and made our team even stronger. We definitely have plans to do it again.
The happy team works better
It’s important to us that we work with happy people who treasure the rest of our teammates and the work culture. We care about our employees’ constant development so they can become experts in their fields but we also care about a positive atmosphere in the office.
Spending time together at the conferences or lightning talks or just hanging out after work can make your team stronger and happier. The more they know each other, the stronger relationship is between them. Try out our tips and spread positive vibes throughout your workplace.