The 8% Rule

By: | Updated: March 08, 2022

The 8% Rule states that you should dedicate 8% of the time in any work meeting to making personal connections. For example, you could talk about your pets, do a quick round of icebreaker questions or play team trivia. The purpose of this rule is to consistently sustain peer-to-peer social connections, and earn benefits like increased job satisfaction, improved collaboration, and long-term retention. The 8% equals about five minutes per hour, which you can scale up or down for meeting length.

Benefits of The 8% Rule

The 8% Rule has many benefits, including:

  1. Promotes connectivity in in-person and remote workplaces.
  2. Encourages consistent application of best practices for employee engagement.
  3. Helps develop meaningful relationships at work, which improves job satisfaction and retention.
  4. Easy to follow and apply, with just five minutes for every hour spent in meetings.
  5. Speeds up meetings by specifying time allocated to small chat & social activities.
  6. Helps make work meetings fun.

These effects are similar to the benefits of team building.

Example Activities

The following is a list of activities and resources that can help create community in the workplace.

1. Icebreaker Questions

Icebreaker questions are quick prompts that you can use to facilitate introductions and conversations. For example, “what was your favorite sandwich growing up?” or “what’s your morning routine?” Icebreakers are great for The 8% Rule because you can start with simple ones and get more personal over time.

Here is a list of icebreaker questions.

2. Virtual Team Building Activities

The 8% Rule is especially important for remote workplaces and virtual meetings. Many activities have online equivalents, and so you can adapt your favorites for conference calls.

Here is a list of quick virtual team building activities.

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3. Improv Games

Improv games are great for quick social interactions because they are often flexible on time. You could do a game like “Questions Only” or “Sell It To Me” in 1 minute or 5. These games are also helpful for communication and skill building.

Here is a list of improv games to play.

4. Problem Solving Games

A great way to build connections at work is to solve problems together. For example, you can do puzzles, murder mysteries or escape rooms. These activities tend to promote communication, collaboration and cohesion.

Here is a list of problem solving games.

5. Question Games

Most people are familiar with games like “Twenty Questions”, and there are dozens of other fun question games too. These games often follow a strong framework and are simple to teach and play.

Here is a list of question games.

Tips & Recommendations

The 8% Rule is easy to apply, and there are a few best practices.

  1. The number is specific, but you can apply it with flexibility. If you use 10% of your meeting time for fun and engagement, it’s probably a good thing.
  2. Mix up your games and activities. You can do icebreakers one week, trivia the next, and so on.
  3. Work with your managers to implement The 8% Rule is their meetings. The more you apply to rule, the more benefits you will see.
  4. Focus on a few minutes of connection in every meeting you do, whether it is a 1 on 1 or a company-wide all hands.
  5. Tell participants why you are doing the activities. Your people want to support the organization.

Here are more tips for employee engagement.

Final Thoughts

The 8% Rule is a great way to boost social connections and engagement at work. You can start simple, with a quick round of icebreaker questions, and go from there. Spending just five minutes of every meeting hour on fun can help yield successful organization results for years to come.

Next, check out this list of quick team building activities for conference calls.

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I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.


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