Posts

7 Slack Ideas to Stay Connected & Engaged On A Remote Team

Easily build employee engagement and team build during your next virtual meeting with our help. One of the difficulties of remote teams is the lack of a water cooler. A place where people can casually chat about non-work subjects while grabbing a coffee or a snack. To help fill the gap left when we all left the office for the virtual space, we began experimenting with our interactions on Slack and in our daily team huddles. Here are our teams favorite ways to help build engagement, get smiles, stay in touch, and dig deeper than the work.

Our solutions use a combination of Slack, Zapier, Zoom, and more to get smiles.

Idea 1 – The Virtual Dance Party

cat dancingOur team uses Slack as our primary communication method. Once our team member Eunice introduced us all to Giphy on Slack things got way more colorful. Our CEO at FireFly Team Events created a channel called Virtual Dance Party. Anyone at Firefly can call for a dance party. Once it’s called everyone posts their best animated gif via Giphy depending on what is being celebrated. Wednesday there is a mandatory dance party. The rest of the time team members can celebrate all manner of reasons to dance from successes to recognition of failures. Everything goes in the Virtual Dance Party.

Idea 2 – Lightning Round Question Generator for Meetings

Okay, we are cheating. This one is not specific to Slack. But if you huddle on Slack this can be used during your huddle. We started asking random rapid fire questions during our morning huddles. Some mornings we choose one person to answer 3 questions (nose goes!). Or we might each answer one question. The questions are easy to answer, quick, and don’t slow down the work. They also give us a fun way to find out more about our team members. To make it easier, the team created the Rapid Fire Question Generator. Every time you click the button it pulls up a random question from our bank of questions (about 300+).  You can use it at huddles, mid meeting on a break, or even sneak questions in on client calls. Please steal this and do awesome things. Click here to use the Rapid Fire Question Machine

Idea 3 – Awesome Bot

This one is a bit nerdier to get up and running and requires the use of Zapier to connect to Slack. Awesome Bot is a chat bot that picks a random team member each day to either challenge or compliment. If you are chosen for a challenge it is completely voluntary. Here are some samples of the challenges that Awesome Bot might sling your way.

  • Ask @everyone in #General what you should have for dinner.
  • Post the following message in General Chat:  The last person to type “fluffy” in this channel is a goober
  • Please tell someone on the team that they smell fabulous today.
  • Share one piece of personal history with the the next team member that posts

We relied on Zapier’s Formatter to power the selection of random things needed to make this work. If you want to build your own Zap and would like to pick our brains, please reach out, we’d be happy to help.

Idea 4 – The Stoke using Workflow Builder

Workflow Builder is included with your Slack subscription and we love it. The simple explanation is that it lets you automate messaging and other processes without any code. One of the ways we utilize this is with The Stoke. Everyday at 9am a form is posted to our General Slack channel that asks, “What are you stoked about right now?” Only one team member can answer the question per day. It’s become a fun little contest to see who can answer it first. The answers are posted in a Stoke channel for the team to see and soak up the positive vibes.

We also use Workflow Builder to post our huddle link daily, remind us of our core values, etc. It’s a great tool to use with static information that you want to automate like weekly reminders. There are far more complex uses of it once you start adding some of the Slack Apps into the mix.

Idea 5 – Water Cooler Chats

We realized that outside of our daily huddle there was never any socialization that happened at team level, face to face. All day we chat and have fun on Slack but there is still a HUGE value to looking at someone and using your vocal chords instead of a keyboard. We instituted the random Watercooler Chats. these are a 10 minute video call hangout. The rules are:

1. Attendance is Optional

2. No work talk allowed until after the official end time.

3. Whoever scheduled is responsible for choosing the next host before the call ends. The host picks a random 10 minute slot and invites everyone.

We like to pick non-standard start times like 2:37 for the chats. Music is a huge plus (much easier to pull off on zoom). On a recent meet Paul shared out a Google Jamboard(shared whiteboard) for everyone to doodle on. The end result was a David Hasselhoff collage… no idea how we got there.. but it was epic.

Idea 6 – Non-Standard Slack Channels

We mentioned the Virtual Dance Party but we do have some other non-standard channels that boost moral and engagement. Here are some of ours to give you ideas on expanding your channels on your Slack.

  • Random – exactly what it sounds like. Random memes, photos, etc get posted here and usually have nothing to do with work.
  • Weekend Warrior – Post your photos or fun stuff that goes on in your life when you’re not at work.
  • Screaming – The rules are you can go in this channel and scream but you aren’t allowed to rant or give context. This is just catharsis.

Idea 7 – Slack Bot

Did you know you can have Slack listen for a keyword in all the chats and post a pre-typed message to the same channel it heard the word in? At FireFly this has never been used in a manner that is productive, only for entertainment. You have to be careful though. For instance if your CEO “alledgedly” makes the keyword your Sales Manager’s first name… that gets said far more often than you realize. Having a Slackbot message pop-up every time Michael is mentioned can be annoying and disruptive to critical conversations.

The cool thing about this feature is you can input a list of random messages for Slackbot to post. You could choose the phrase “job complete” and have slackbot choose a random congrats message from a list you provided anytime that phrase is typed in. To add your own slackbot message go into Workplace Settings and find Customize Your Workspace then select the Slackbot tab. Have fun! Here’s a tutorial

In conclusion…

These are some of the ways that Firefly Team Events keep the mood light, the staff engaged, and morale up while planning awesome virtual and in person team building events. One of our core values is “Everybody Plays” and each of these ideas/tools help us live that value. If you have creative ways that you use slack or other tools to stay engaged, please share with us we’d love to hear from you. You can email James at james@fireflyteamevents.com and nerd out.

company cultures

5 Company Cultures We Admire

With our team building work, we at FireFly Team Events have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of different companies. Often when searching for great company cultures you’ll find articles highlighting fun work spaces like Pixar’s breakfast cereal bar or Google’s colorful and spiraling office slides.  Now, I love playgrounds and sugary cereals as much as the next person, but how much engagement do those perks inspire?  The following companies have a culture that extend beyond flashy Instagram fodder. Instead, they focus on policies and procedures that inspire communication, creativity and group identity.

Zappos

Zappos is no stranger to top lists.  Whether measuring customer service quality or employee satisfaction, Zappos ranks high.  This is likely due to the apparent lack of office politics.  When interviewing, candidates are questioned not just about their qualifications, but their personality and values.  This unique personality test ensures they will be a good cultural fit for the office.  Zappos also rewards employees based on skill tests and reviews.  The clear paths to growth reduces nepotism and politicking.  They also have a strong unique corporate identity shaped by their core values including, “Create fun and a little weirdness.”  Staff are referred to and treated as family, which breeds immense loyalty and drive.

PepsiCo

Speaking of family, if you want to start one, you should work for PepsiCo.  It is one the few companies in the US that offers paid maternity AND paternity leave. PepsiCo’s commitment to family and diversity is more than just flowery language they add to their About page.  They are truly trailblazers of equal opportunity.  Diversity has been an integral part of their culture since the 1950s when they promoted people of color and women to positions traditionally held solely by white men.  More recently they sponsored the United State of Women Summit where they signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge.  PepsiCo’s culture is that of inclusion and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Fitbit

The new kid on the block, Fitbit unsurprisingly focuses on wellness of their staff.  What IS surprising is their program is so inclusive and encompassing that they’ve created Fitbit Group Health. This program has been adopted by many other companies as a part of their corporate wellness efforts.  Not bad for a fancy pedometer.  Beyond counting steps, Fitbit offers a diverse menu of employee perks. How do regular on-site workout classes, fully stocked kitchens with wholesome foods, and regular team outings sound?

Blizzard Entertainment

Tech often attracts a certain personality in its worker. Shall we say a certain….geekiness?  Rather than a derogatory term, this phrase has been celebrated and harnessed by Blizzard as a way to bring out the passion and creativity of its team.  Blizzard encourages the geeking out of its staff with GameJams (a competitive game development marathon), Activisionaries (a TED style speaker series tailored to the interests of Blizzard employees), and lavish launch parties of their products that include free swag which ensure the creators are as big of fans of the product as their customers.

Wells Fargo

Its hard to like banks, but Wells Fargo is far more compassionate than your stereotypical image of bankers would be. Often when speaking of engagement, we think of how aligned employees are with the core mission of a company. Yet Wells Fargo aligns itself with the personal missions of its employees.  Ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies as measured by donations, the bank’s giving is not just a smart public relations move. It’s an embedded element of the culture.  Employees get two days of paid leave every year for volunteer work.  The bank also offers sabbaticals for nonprofit work taking up to six weeks.  When staff do good, they feel good.

Boosting the Strength of Company Cultures with Team Building

Creating quality company cultures isn’t a cut and dry recipe to be followed.  The best culture is informed by those who live in it.  We admire the employee driven mentality of these company cultures and others. Anything that makes work fun and fulfilling is awesome in our book!  To make your work more fun and help build your culture, contact us to help plan a creative event. We especially suggest the creative uniqueness of Team Graffiti or philanthropic giveback events like our Bike Build.

office games

Build Employee Engagement With These 5 Office Games

Of course we at FireFly love playing games.  We take every opportunity to play-test new challenges we offer on events.  Games are more than fun, they are a valuable engagement tool.  According to a Linkedin study, 46% of workplace professionals report that having a good friend at work is important to their overall happiness.  Now, we’re not saying all your coworkers need to be BFFs, but engaging in friendly activities like office games can actually increase creativity and retention.  When choosing a game to introduce to your office consider staff personalities, afforded time, and resources so that you can pick something best suited to your office.  Here’s five ideas to get you started.

1. Office Games DIY: Mad Libs

Feel free to keep things simple with this idea.  In a common area have staff list random verbs, nouns and adjectives that you feed into an office Mad Lib.  At the end of the day or week, type it up and display it in the break room.  Staff will get a chuckle and will want to offer different suggestions the next time.  These are great entry level office games for employees who may not want to commit to something more involved. 

2.  You Think You Know Me conversation cards

We backed this conversational card game on Kickstarter because we loved how it gave players the chance to strengthen connections beyond what’s on their Twitter feed while still being fun and playful. Players draw a card with a prompt like “I know you wish you could write an episode of:____”.  They pick another player to read it to and guess how that person would answer for themselves.  The questions are meant to lead to conversations and a stronger awareness of those around us.  Consider playing a round or two during your weekly team meetings.  

3. Office D&D campaign

Not for the faint of heart, but perfect for small offices that aren’t afraid to geek out.  Dungeons and Dragons is a great game for coworkers to play. It requires cooperation, planning, creative problem solving and conflict resolution.  If you haven’t played or seen it on Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons involves a storyteller called a Dungeon Master. The storyteller describes situations the players, portraying a group of heroes, find themselves in.  Players choose how to respond to each situation. In fact, they employ strategy and roll dice to determine how successful their plan is.  If you don’t have the confidence or know-how to act as Dungeon Master, you can hire an experienced game master to run a singular adventure or ongoing storyline for your office game.  

4. Forbidden Desert (and other collaborative board games)

Collaborative board games are having a huge rise in popularity recently.  In these games players work together to accomplish a goal and beat the game.  My favorite of these is Forbidden Desert.  In this game players are each given a role that allows them one special ability.  This causes each player to be essential for their unique talent. Most of all, we think this is a nice allegory for the work place.

5. Sneaky Cards

Finally in what may be my favorite holiday stocking stuffer game ever, Sneaky Cards consist of a series of challenges meant to be stealthily completed.  The challenges are evergreen so when one is completed the card is handed to the target who can then attempt it.  This makes it great to play at the office because it doesn’t require everyone to focus on it at the same time.  In fact, the game works better when left to the periphery of memory so that players can be more sneaky!  

Whatever games work best for your team we hope you take the time and allow yourselves to have fun with them.  We spend too much time at work to be bored!

Halloween office costumes

10 Office Halloween Costumes That Are #OfficeSquadGhouls

It’s scary how excited I am for my favorite holiday at the end of the month. Halloween is a devilishly good excuse to get sugared up on candy, despite being a fully grown adult. We understand Halloween is on a spooky Tuesday this year, so you’re probably still expected to get SOME work done at the office. You can still embrace the spirit of the season and have some frightfully fun workplace play by dressing up in office Halloween costumes. I’ve compiled what I think are some awesome and creative ideas. I’m simply a foolish mortal though, so please share your wicked costume ideas in the comments or by tagging us on social media. We’re sure you’ll all look drop dead gorgeous.

Game Show Contestants

gameshow office Halloween costumes

Image source

Sometimes costumes are great for their simplicity.  Your team can make this photo op with bright t-shirts, card board, and construction paper.  Don’t forget to be overly excited about kitchen appliances for the authentic feel.

DIY Video Games

Mario Party office Halloween costumes

Image source

Who needs electronics?  Play your own round of Mario Kart with these outfits- dangerous projectiles not included.

Lunch Suggestion

sushi office Halloween costumes

Image source

This adorable costume may inspire a wise choice for take out AND you get to carry around a back pillow all day!

Guess Who?

group office Halloween costumes

Image source

In case your staff is REALLY bad at learning names, this group costume will help your team pick out faces.

Mother of Doggos

GoT office Halloween costumes

Image source

A great pop culture reference from Game of Thrones and an excuse to bring your puppy to work- who could ask for more in a costume?

The Best Camouflage

Waldo office Halloween costumes

Image source

They’ll never notice you coming in late for a meeting in this outfit.

Big Head and Tiny Arms

t-rex office Halloween costumes

Image source

There is no reality in which a T-Rex attempting to type on a keyboard is not hilarious.

Everyone’s Favorite Paperclip

Microsoft paperclip office Halloween costumes

Image source

When wearing this you’ll need to intrusively offer assistance to your coworkers only when they need it least.

Social Media Mavens

social media icons office Halloween costumes

Image source

For any marketing teams out there, this is a great way to remember all your platforms!

Case of the Mondays

Office Space office Halloween costumes

Image source

I’m sure your workplace is more fun than Ini-Tech, but you may need to steer clear of the print room while wearing anything from Office Space.

 

Whatever you dress as this holiday, don’t be afraid to bring some fun to your office Halloween costumes.  If your team can’t get enough of dressing up, consider learning more about our themed Techno Rallies or Totally 80s DecathaLawn by contacting us at james@fireflyteamevents.com.

 

 

 

office team building nerf battle

Office Team Building Idea: Stage a Nerf Battle!

Here’s your excuse to buy that rotating triple barrel precision shot Nerf blaster you’ve been eyeing in the toy section.  Play, such as firing foam darts, is a valuable office team building activity that can actually increase productivity by providing employee fun.  And yes, I’m serious about this.  I never joke about fun.

The Power of Play

As children we are encouraged to play to strengthen our creativity, build problem solving skills and improve communication.  Once we grow up however, we’re expected to stop playing and focus on “work”.  Work tends to involve using creativity and communication to solve problems, so why does play suddenly become unimportant once our ages pass the range listed on toy packaging?  Scientists like Stuart Brown have been studying the correlation between play and success at the National Institute for Play. Psychologists have begun encouraging adults to harness the power of play so that we can continue to reap the benefits of it.

Office Team Building Nerf Battle: A How-To

Meanwhile, foam violence has been sweeping across the offices of America with widespread popularity. Online retailers like ThinkGeek have even developed sections of their websites for the sport of Office Warfare.  Rather than stage a potential HR headache-causing battle between staff, we love Dude Perfect’s use of a challenge course and competitive play in this YouTube example-

While Dude Perfect’s intensive setup is awesome, don’t feel you need such a big production for some great office team building.

  • Try scrawling target designs on Post Its and stick them around the office.
  • Once someone hits a target, they collect it as a trophy.
  • At the end of the event you can tally up the scores by counting the collected Post Its.

For an ongoing team building game, stick targets up unannounced.  Staff can race to be the first to notice and shoot the new target.

For help getting your play on at your office, sales meeting or conference give us a call at 877.267.1939 or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

is pokemon go a better manager than you

5 Employee Engagement Ideas vs Pokemon Go

Now that Pokemon Go has decimated the US workforce’s productivity, it’s time to talk employee engagement. Pokemon Go has done what you as a manager need to be doing – it’s building engagement. It provides users with value, exercise, recognition, anticipation, and a sense of purpose. How can you as a manager help your staff discover value within your organization? What can you do to encourage strong interpersonal relationships? With the rise of the millennial work force employees are starting to care less about what they’re doing and more about why they’re doing it. The ability to find meaning and purpose in one’s work is rapidly becoming the number 1 reason for staff retention. If you can tear your team away from Pokemon Go try these 5 employee engagement ideas. (battling in a Pokemon Gym doesn’t count)

1. Develop a Health and Wellness Initiative
Employees recognize and appreciate when their company cares for their well-being. Not only does having wellness programs demonstrate that you value your staff, but healthy employees tend to be more productive and less absent.  Work with your staff to develop a wellness program that aligns with their interests. You could organize a kick ball team, have a weekly yoga class, or even offer healthy snack alternatives at the office.  Your employees will feel better about themselves, and about the company they work for.

2. Recognize Staff Accomplishments
I’m not saying gather your staff in a circle and sing “kumbaya”. Unless everyone wants to, then definitely do that and send us footage.  Instead, ensure that your employees know YOU are aware of their hard work and achievements. It should be a clear recognition and a regular occurrence.  Defeat divisive competition by making individual accomplishments team wins and celebrate them together.  Promote a culture of encouragement and congratulations.  Many offices have a seldom used compliment box, punch it up by having an occasional drawing and offering gift cards to the complimented and the complimenter.  This spreads goodwill among all the staff.

3. Align Your Staff Behind a Common Mission
During their first day of orientation Disney instructs its cast members that every person’s mission, no matter their job title, is “we create happiness.” It is this common goal that inspires staff and reduces turn over.  This same unifying idea can be accomplished through a company’s CSR commitment, career development resources, or conservation initiatives.  By promoting a positive common mission, staff can feel proud to be a part of the team that works toward such admirable goals. It was revealed in a Gallup poll this year that only 40% of employees know the company mission or vision.

4. Generate Excitement
Wouldn’t it be great, if every morning you woke up excited for work? Ideally we are able to find employment in a field that generates that excitement for us, but you can do some things at the office to help build that energy.  A key component of excitement is anticipation. What can you do that staff can look forward to when they come into work?  These can be classic casual Fridays, or something more unique.  I once worked for an office that ended every day by blasting a song over the PA while everyone danced together.  Nobody ever left early, because we all wanted to be at the end of day mini party.  This tiny thing caused us to feel like we worked for a fun company.

5. Make Your Staff Feel Heard
Your suggestion box may be collecting cobwebs, but that doesn’t mean your staff don’t have passionate ideas about the company.  Give importance to your staff’s voices.  Have an office newsletter with open contributions.  Keep your staff “in the know” on industry information.  Take time for office hours like your college professors had.  The goal isn’t to get the best ideas on business from your staff, but to allow them to feel like they have a say. You can also consider a service like Tiny Pulse – https://www.tinypulse.com/ . Use it to develop a highly accurate snapshot of your engagement in real-time. Studies have show that highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.

Employee engagement programs don’t need to break the bank or be complicated.  Allow your staff to develop a vested interest in the company, value them as more than resources and always make time for a bit of fun.  If you want to get a jump start on your staff engagement program contact us for team building event by emailing james@fireflyteamevents.com

team building graffiti group of adults posed in front of graffiti mural for corporate event

Team Building with Creativity, Color, and Graffiti

Put a spray paint can in your team members hands for an unforgettable graffiti team building outing!

Amazon.com’s App Store team asked us for a unique team outing in Dana Point. They’re a new team that works well together but their manager is working to elevate them to amazing. He wanted to dig a little deeper using creativity as a vehicle for interaction. Our Team Graffiti paired them up with a facilitator and a world class graffiti artist, ManOne Graffiti Artist. The team explored the concept of individual identity through graffiti “tags’ in Lantern Bay Park by the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. Each member created their own graffiti name, called a “tag” in the graffiti world. A tag is more than just a name it’s an identity much like a corporate brand. Colors, letter style, and writing style are important to establishing identity. As they shared their new tags with each other ManOne offered tips and technique mixed with colorful graffiti history. Markers in hand they turned our graffiti walls into a colorful feast for the eyes.

Graffiti artist writing tag names for team building event

Corporate Teams in the Graffiti World

The graffiti equivalent of a team is known as a crew. Every artist has a one or more crews that they identify with. Crews provide safety, inspiration, help on large pieces, and family. The correlation with a project team resonated strongly with Amazon. The Amazon.com group was now a graffiti crew and ManOne graduated them to spray paint. After an interactive graffiti lesson, together they chose a word that has meaning and relevance to the team and their goals at work. Using the word “craft” the crew chose their colors for their final masterpiece on canvas. ManOne sketched it out in paint on a primed cotton canvas and the crew took over. They filled in the piece taking turns using the colors they’d chosen. ManOne took over after all the color was filled in and showed us why he’s a master of his craft. Hey added outlines and depth that made the canvas come to life.

3 adults standing around table for graffiti team building corporate eventEngage Your Team

Building engagement amongst team members is more than theme days in the office. It takes effort and additional investment by management. Finding unique ways like our Team Building Graffiti event is a great direction to go. Ready to plan your next meeting? Call us and let us help you get the most out of your team – Firefly Team Events – 877.267.1939

 

woman spray painting on canvas during graffiti team building corporate event

group cheering on the beach

Stay Engaged With These 3 San Diego Team Building Ideas

If your group is lucky enough to be in San Diego we have some great team building ideas for you. Of course there’s the beach, Sea World, the Wild Animal Park, and Comic Con, but when you really want to learn more about both the town and your team consider these San Diego team building activity suggestions.

Scavenger Hunt in Balboa Park or Gaslamp District
San Diego is a big city made up of awesome areas and neighborhoods. Our favorites are Balboa Park and the Gaslamp District. In Balboa Park you’ll explore the lush gardens, Spanish architecture, and numerous museums. If you’re wanting an evening team building activity we’ll send you on a culinary adventure through the Gaslamp District. Hop on the trolley to see the sights and enjoy the culture of the town. Our San Diego scavenger hunts don’t just send you to look at cool stuff though, you’ll be completing challenges and snapping pictures to win your team 1st place.

Beach Olympics
Fun in the sun is the idea behind our Beach Olympics. Gather your crew, slather on the sunscreen, and hit the beach ready beat the competition in team building challenges you’ve definitely never played before. Get to know your team in a totally different environment and engage in friendly competition.  Our Beach Olympics will have teams cheering as they build trust, communication and strategy.

Mural Madness
As you explore the city you may notice beautiful works of art spray painted around the town. Our professional graffiti artist joins us to help your team create a custom street art image. Teams enjoy expressing their personality while having fun with the paint. This unique lesson in creativity  will spark conversations on innovation and vision. Engage your team with this unqiue San Diego team building activity.

To book your San Diego team building event click here.