Last week, one of my clients reached out to tell me pulled out her decks of ponderfy cards to help her team reconnect. In the last two years, while her team spent a significant amount of time away from the office, people left and moved on, meaning new team members joined. While a good connection was made via Teams and Zoom meetings, she wanted to further build the trust and rapport in in a face-to-face setting.
She found the cards acted as a tool to accelerate connection between team members as it opened meaningful conversations in a safe forum. I picked up on that term ‘accelerated connection’ and said ‘oh, like connecting at speed’. ‘Yes, exactly!’ was the enthusiastic response.
So, the ponderfy cards help you connect at speed!
This scenario is common. After a long period of mostly working remotely, teams are returning to the office for a hybrid setting. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘busyness’ of the day-to-day buzz in the office and overlook opportunities to further build our workplace relationships. We forget to pause and reflect on what’s on our minds, what’s getting in our way or what we’ve accomplished.
We know we did pretty well working from home. Most of us set aside time during virtual meetings to get to know each other, introduce fun quizzes and other ice-breaking and rapport building activities. But, something is missing when it’s not face-to-face.
Many workers reported that they feel lonely and isolated when working remotely for extended periods. For people who are energised by regular social contact, hybrid or remote are not preferred ways of working. A recent article in Sloan Review identified that isolation is a downside of remote working. Without face-to-face interaction, we miss the nuances of eye contact which is essential for building trust and relationships.
Collaborating with other people in an office environment means you can enjoy the social advantages of ad-hoc chats, impromptu meetings and catch ups over coffee. A 2021 survey of workers further suggested that it’s easier to gain support and collaborate when you work alongside your co-workers. Interestingly, support from colleagues more than managers helped overcome loneliness.
The ponderfy cards have been designed to help you reflect on your past actions, what you’ve accomplished and what potential you have for more in the future. The questions and reflection prompts have been carefully crafted to encourage deep conversations, disclosure and mindfulness. Disclosure builds trust and helps people find common ground and empathy. They offer a framework to bring up themes and questions in a way that is provocative, yet safe.
In a workshop or meeting, a team may decide to discuss a particular theme that is relevant to current challenges.
Here’s a couple of ways to use the cards in a team setting:
Random one card pick In a workshop or a meeting, pick one random card from the ponderfy deck and ask each team member (or volunteers) to share their thoughts or response to the question.
What resonates now? Issue each team member with a ponderfy deck. Ask them to pick a card that resonates with them right now? Ask team members (or volunteers) to share their selection and why it’s on their mind. This often opens a conversation on how other team members can provide support.
Team pulse check Issue each team member with a ponderfy deck. Ask them to pick a card which is nudging them to do try something new or do something differently. Then ask them to write the ponderfy question or reflection on a sticky note and post it on a wall. Compare and observe if any themes emerge.
Curious to know more?
Watch a short clip of a team brainstorming how to use the ponderfy cards
Find out more tips on how to use the cards
Grab a deck or more for you and your team
Duetch, S. The Splitting Headache, HRM The magazine of the Australian HR Institute, May 2022, Issue 87, pp28-30