Let’s Get the Band Back Together: Staying Connected in Remote Work Environments
Since most of us have been separated from our work teams during the pandemic, it might start to feel like your band has broken up. Let's get back together.
“Music is always fleeting. Bands break up, artists retire, sometimes with dignity and sometimes in disgrace. The string of reunions this past year has only shown that temporality of music.” Some get back together for the fans. Some because they “miss playing with the guys.”1 Whatever their reasons, we’ve all felt the excitement when our favorite band from the 80s or 90s [or whatever decade!] got back together, even if it was temporarily for a reunion tour. Better yet if a new album came out of it!
Since most of us have been separated from our work teams during the pandemic, it might start to feel like your band has broken up, how you made better music—or created better products, or completed more exciting projects—when you were all together in one physical place, and now it’s kind of fallen flat. Is there a way to recreate those times remotely? I think so. Here are a few ideas on how to stay connected when working remotely:
Have a virtual jam session. Schedule a good couple of hours to work on a particular project together. Everybody login. Let your “producer” review everybody’s part and then get to work! You may find that there are some quiet times when everyone is focused on their particular part of the project and you’re not interacting. But you may also find that someone may start the equivalent of a drum solo, like showing a completed design element on a marketing piece or highlighting the code that will fix a software glitch. And then others will chime in. Pretty soon it will feel like a full-on jam session—a freestyle collaboration when all of the parts come together in a beautifully unorganized, yet organized way.
Host a game night. There are many board games that translate well virtually. Charades, Cranium, and Taboo come to mind. 20 Questions and Who’s Most Likely To… are easy to play virtually and give you opportunities to get to know each other or get reacquainted. Make sure everyone has their favorite snack and beverage on hand.
Throw a Party. For Real! Let’s face it, pajamas are not clothing. Throw a party where people actually have to get dressed as if they were really going to a party. Ship everyone a party box complete with a mini disco ball, snacks, and cocktail mixers. Assign someone to be a DJ. Dance together. Sing Karaoke. Talk amongst yourselves.
These types of virtual events will serve as more than getting the band back together. For one, it’s important for new team members that have come on board during the pandemic to get to know you as co-workers (or band members), even if they’re just a roadie at first. It will remind you that enjoy working with people. And it will encourage you to reach out more often to collaborate. Who knows, it may end up being more permanent than a Reunion Tour.