MUMBAI : Nithya S., a software developer with TCS, has attended more HR lead team bonding sessions in the past 75 days than what she did before the nationwide lockdown was announced in March because of the covid-19 outbreak. The one workshop she most excited about was an April session with former NASA astronaut Ron Garan, where he talked about his space journey and how he dealt with isolation in space.
“The timing of the session was perfect. It was just few weeks after the lockdown and the thought of being stuck at home was making me anxious,” says Nithya, 26.
Covid-19 has forced teams apart, and in an effort to hold them together during companies across sectors have been organizing a variety of activities to keep employees engaged and their morale high. These virtual bonding sessions are not restricted to group chats over Zoom or Teams. Organizations have been coming up with innovative ideas like cocktail or coffee-making workshops, virtual pet parties and PUBG competitions to add a fun element in the team building exercises.
For Delhi-based Himani Madhan, regional manager at DCB Bank, the birdwatching session organized by her company with WWF (world wide fund), renewed her interest in the hobby. She recalls feeding birds with her father as a child in her backyard.
“This is the first time I attended such a session, and it was fun and very informative. Earlier, I would notice birds around but didn’t pay a lot of attention. Now, besides having learnt to identify and search about different species of birds, I have started to notice finer details such as colour, sound, flight patterns,” says Madhan. It also led her to better acquaint with colleagues. “We now connect beyond work, and share our birdwatching experiences with each other,” she adds.
Nithya agrees that besides ensuring a sense of community, these unique workshops help boost social bonding among colleagues. Perhaps that’s why such activities are witnessing a spike in participation. DCB Bank, for instance, has seen a three times rise in the engagement activities and training sessions.
Besides feeling part of a bigger team, Nithya has been trying to implement the takeaways from Garan’s talk like keeping fear at bay and keeping faith in herself at all times. “Everything around us can be very stressful. So, these are moments where if I feel anxious, I zoom out so that I can see a clearer picture. Ron had said that you don’t need to be in space to zoom out, you can clear your mind on Earth too. So I do that now,” she says.
Sudhir Dhar, group CHRO, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, which has seen a 30% increase in engagement activities, believes necessity is mother of invention. “No one would have thought of downloading a Ludo app and play with their colleagues or participate in PUBG competition earlier. But with no work and time boundaries now, these fun, engaging virtual activities are required to reduce the high stress levels and break the monotony.”
This Astronaut talk to birdwatching, companies set up creative workshops for virtual staff bonding was originally published on https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/astronaut-talk-to-birdwatching-companies-set-up-creative-workshops-for-virtual-staff-bonding-11591532486529.html