Meeting Your Team for the First Time In Real Life? Here's How to Make It Work By Jules Robertson

Right now, there are many teams meeting for the first time in real life. (Add that to the list of weird and wonderful things we’d never have said before Covid.)

After over a year of video calls and remote working, it can feel kind of nerve-racking to be meeting up with your coworkers for the first time. Anxiety-inducing, even. There’s the matter of making sure everyone feels comfortable. And actually finding out how tall each other are?

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Ok, we’re kind of joking with that last one, but the sentiment remains the same: meeting up with your team for the first time in-person matters. Here, we’ve gathered five expert tips on making the most of your first-ever team meeting. Whether you’re looking to book a meeting room or want a creative space to get together, Tally Market is here to help with our choice of over 400+ venues. We’re rooting for you.

Start by celebrating everything you’ve achieved together

It’d be easy to use your first in-person meeting to go through to-do lists and company priorities, but don’t. Instead, start by taking the opportunity to celebrate everything you’ve achieved together.

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It’s been a tough time for so many people. Acknowledge that in the most positive way possible; by focusing on the wins you’ve achieved in spite of the pandemic. That, right there, is how you rebuild team culture, inspire each other and make each team member feel at ease and appreciated. Boom.

Create a sharing circle for everyone to get involved with

The pandemic, for all its flaws, gave every one of your team members something in common: a new way of working and living. Now you’re meeting in-person, why not create a sharing circle to discuss how it really was? As a leader, this is your chance to really listen.

One activity worth trying is to prepare a list of questions in a hat or a bowl and have one team member at a time choose a question at random. You can mix it up with serious questions about what your team has learned about themselves over the past year, and fun questions about quarantine rituals and the first place they want to travel to when they can.

Ultimately, the questions matter less than getting your team talking and, most importantly, feeling listened to. Try it. See how it goes.

Switch up your environment with a creative meeting room or workspace

The environment you choose to meet up in matters. Rather than going back to your office or picking a corporate space, try somewhere with character and creativity.

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At Tally Market, we offer a selection of spaces at coworking spaces and hospitality venues for team get-togethers. Some of them are even hybrid venues, meaning you can work there by day and have dinner or drinks come evening.

A few favourites for you to consider include Colony The Astrey in Manchester for its brilliant location overlooking Great Ancoats Street and near the Northern Quarter, Squareworks in Bristol to socialise in a beautiful, newly-renovated Grade II-listed townhouse, and Mama Shelter in London for its amazing food and fun communal spaces.

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Acknowledge that meeting up in-person can feel overwhelming

Psychological safety has never mattered more at work. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to create working environments that are inclusive, fair and considerate.

In the context of a team get-together, it helps to ask your team to vote on what they may want to do. That way, you learn more about your team socially and you give each person a say. When sending out your invite to your first team get-together, add a note to say that anyone who has concerns or questions can reach out to you directly.

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We also recommend always having two parts to any team get-together: a few hours of daytime team-building, and an optional evening social with drinks and/or dinner. That last part is important. Making an evening social optional helps people who don’t drink feel less pressured and helps people who need to get home feel more included.

Organise a speaker or a ‘lunch and learn’ session

We’ve all been to a team-building event that feels forced or, worse still, cringeworthy. One way of shifting the focus from your team to a shared experience is to organise a speaker relevant to your industry.

Alternatively, why not give members of the team who wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to share what they’re working on a space to do so? An agenda that’s enlivening and full of different voices is always a good idea.

Getting ready to be together for either the first time ever, or the first time in a long time? We’ve got you covered with our selection of 400+ creative venues, fun workplaces and coworking spaces. Get in touch with Emma, our Customer Success Lead, and she’ll help find the perfect venue for you and your team – [email protected]. You’ve got this.

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