Team bonding in a remote setup is tough. Here’s how we solved it using our go-to tool!
Put a bunch of designers on a call for the first time, what’s the one thing they’ll have in common? Their love for Figma!
When members of the Product Design team at Meesho grew exponentially in a matter of months, we identified the need to connect with each other, beyond just pixels. Limited to a remote work environment, we did not have the joys of getting to know each other over a coffee break or post-work hangouts!
We recognised the problem: lack of opportunities to bond and inhibitions about personal interactions. While we brainstormed multiple ways and ideas to resolve this, we noticed that it was collaboration over Figma and struggles with Auto-Layouts that would create immediate bonds between us designers. Of all the ‘fun activities’; it was work that eventually made us come together as a team.
That’s when we decided to harness the power of Figma and make it our designated playground!
We decided on some common playground rules to make these sessions engaging and to ensure we add value to each other’s life.
#1 Defining the types of sessions
Organise two types of sessions Learning Hours and Happy Hours, alternating the sessions every week.
- Learning Hours: The aim of these sessions is to create a safe space for peer-to-peer/group learning. Topics can be span across design, personal stories, and even beyond
- Happy Hours: These sessions focus on team bonding, sharing laughs, and organising fun activities
#2 Taking Ownership
The sessions would be organised in teams of two. The teams will keep rotating so that we get the opportunity to work with different people.
#3 Engage, Engage, Engage!
While an initial list of ideas was drafted to help plan these sessions, the most important rule was to get creative and think out of the box to get the team to interact with each other. In the true spirit of engagement and collaboration, we also asked everyone to vote on what they’d want to learn!
With the rules in place and excitement at an all-time high, we let the games begin! Since January 2022, we have had over 10 sessions including puzzles and design critiques. We’ve had in-depth conversations on designing a better team onboarding experience and the future of design. We have also shared hearty laughs and now have a plethora of inside jokes! *wink wink*
Here’s a glimpse into some of the sessions:
Stories that Shape
As part of this activity, we learnt about our team members’ inspirations and things that have shaped their views and personalities. We spent time discussing Movies, TV shows, and Music, and it’s safe to assume one hour fell short for all the conversations we diverged into.
One Shape. Endless Possibilities
For this session, we were divided into groups of 2s and 3s. The task was to create as many distinct objects using a simple circle. We ended the session by upvoting the best creations and celebrating the winners with loud cheers and claps!
We divided ourselves into smalls groups as teams redesigned a news app. This led to a great discussion on new features, UI layouts, and even possible interactions!
Ice Breaker Questions
This session was organised to get to know each other better through interesting questions. To ensure that the session doesn’t become monotonous, we had colour-coded questions which were only revealed once someone had selected the number.
These sessions have not only helped us get to know each other better but have also uncovered each member’s unique skillsets and design thinking. Now we don’t shy away from getting on calls for project inputs and feedback. Our biggest win however has been that in our most recent session, all 15 of us voluntarily showed up!
A more tacit benefit of this battery of exercises was that the team leaders got a good sense of each member’s design sense and personality. This helped them assign projects and tasks effectively to individuals who they knew are best suited for the job.
We decided to keep these sessions on Monday so that we ease into work every week and are also reminded about the kickass team we are a part of! What can I say, we really do look forward to Monday mornings!
Want to work with us, share some laughs, and build for Bharat? Head to meesho.io and apply now!