We spend the most time with our coworkers; but how much do we really know about them?
The best way to relate to someone is to get to know their story. Businesses often overlook the importance of understanding one’s past; not only will employees overlook pet peeves in their colleagues to ultimately work better together, but these exercises can truly change the work environment for the better.
- The ball. In college my advisor had a ball with things written all over it. She threw me the ball once and told me to answer the question my thumb was closest to when I caught it. Create your own ball with your own set of questions—this can be as light or as serious as you want. Ask questions like “What sort of legacy do you want to leave?”, or “If you really knew me, you would know _____,” and “Share a defining moment.” And don’t shy away from asking people to dig deeper if their responses are one word answers or seemingly superficial.
- Speed dating. No, this isn’t a date, but more like a rapid-fire 20 question session. Set up team members with 20 questions to ask one another, and after five minutes, switch up the partners. Do this until everyone has spent five minutes (or whatever amount of time you chose) asking questions with every coworker.
- Encourage play. One of the hardest things to do in a workplace is to break down the barriers of being in a professional setting to see people create things together. One of the best ways to do this is through play! Although this is the most light hearted of the three team building exercises, it can change the work environment the most. Have your team create a video about why they love their industry, task them with building a tower out of marshmallows and noodles, or have them design their own board game! The options are limitless and the more you sell the narrative of acting yourself during the sessions, the more your team will buy into showing more of themselves.
The power of creating together is more impactful than it seems (view this article on the power of play, or watch this Ted Talk). Whether that be creating moments, or creating with our hands (as most Quilt Retailers love to do!) the effects of working together can make work feel more welcoming and more like home.
If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.