With teams getting ready for the prospect of more working from home over the winter it's never been more important to recognise the need to make room for fun and play during the working week.
It's not just about team wellbeing and cohesion. Studies have found that teams that have fun together are more productive and innovative together. Creative thinking and problem solving don't happen if you just focus on the challenge or the tasks at hand.
Our own team at Shooglebox have missed some of the things we took for granted when working together in the same space – things like those spontaneous moments when someone kicks off a conversation about something completely unrelated to work ... and everyone stops for ten minutes to laugh and riff together on a subject no one could have predicted would have come up today.
It used to happen when members of the team went on their regular lunchtime walk together, or bumped into each other in the kitchen, or chatted after the weekly yoga session we've been missing since March.
Zoom meetings are great for conversations about tasks, who's doing what, quick and easy decisions on actions. The trouble is the combination of video calls and group messaging can be so productive it's easy to overlook the need to find time to just chew the fat together.
We're working with teams who are using Shooglebox as a way to gather and share all sorts of non-work-related things each team member comes across day to day. Just for the fun of it. They set aside chunks of time to talk about some of the things that have caught their eye. Sometimes it will just be a quick conversation over Slack, sharing links to cards they've made. Or it might be a different kind of Zoom session, where someone shares their screen and introduces a box of cards for everyone to explore and discuss.
A recent example here at Shooglebox was Rolling Stone magazine’s chart of the greatest 500 albums of all time.
A member of the team pulled together a box of 500 cards featuring all the album covers, created from links to online music sources like Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Deezer, as well as a couple of vinyl retailers. Shooglebox automatically adds embeds to the back of the card – including track samples, video or links.
He pulled it up on a Zoom call to show everyone else and kick off a few discussions – the usual things: "Why isn't x in the Top 10?", "How can anyone think y is better than z?", "I've never heard of them". It led to a whole series of follow-up conversations – and people discovering whole strands of music that had completely passed them by.
The visual nature of Shooglebox makes it easy to take in so much at once and spot things that catch your eye – a bit like scanning through a physical box of records. And members of the team can add information and notes to the back of a card – thoughts and insights that might inspire others to give an artist or album a try. Or copy cards to a box of their own – some of us have boxes of cards with all the music, films and books we want to get round to, adding ideas as we come across them.
Here's a read-only link to the 500 greatest albums box – see if your own favourites made the chart ... or whether there's a hidden discovery lurking in there to surprise you: