The events of 2020 have led to remote working becoming the norm for many companies that are able to work effectively outside the traditional ‘office’ set up. Like iHASCO, a lot of businesses have seen the benefits and adapted into this new routine, but it is important to remember there are still some challenges that remote working can pose. One of these being maintaining a team culture.
Team culture is a massive part of any successful business. But with the reduced amount of face-to-face interactions and being in the same room as one another, more effort is needed to put into creating a strong and positive team culture. So what’s the answer? Virtual team building!
What is virtual team building?
The aim of virtual team building is to make remote working teams feel as tight-knit and unified as those working on-site together. They consist of activities/games/strategies that are meant to bring more human interactions into remote/virtual working environments.
The key to successful team building is a strong, committed and passionate leadership team.
How can it help?
Your teams will achieve deeper bonds and develop working relationships that allow people to communicate, solve problems and collaborate together - even though they’re apart through virtual team building.
The current pandemic has meant that more people are speaking about mental health and realising the possible ill effects it might be having on people’s lives (read more). These team activities will help remind people who might be feeling lonely or isolated, that they have their whole team behind them. It encourages interactions and communication that some people might be missing out on.
They’ll also help keep excitement and engagement levels up though exposing them to other excited and passionate co-workers, reinforcing the idea of teamwork and partnerships. It provides a way for employees to get to know one another (perhaps if there are new team members) and is useful for managers to look out for their team and show their support. If you do have new employees to welcome to the team, make sure they are introduced to their team and peers, it might also be an idea to assign someone in the team to mentor them virtually too.
These meetings could be used as a creative boost for your team if they are lacking motivation or inspiration too. Virtual working might mean that creative flows suffer because people are not able to bounce off one another like they would in an office environment.
Virtual Team Building Ideas
The kind of activity you do will depend on what you need it for. But you will need access to technology, good communication, enthusiasm from both the team and managers and a plan in place for what you want to do or achieve. For example, if you have a new team member, you might need an icebreaker activity at the start of your meeting, or you might want your team to work together on a task to build bonds and generate ideas.
But not all team building needs to be based around an activity. Perhaps you just want to have people all in one place to catch up on achievements, things happening at home or new projects. You could take a team lunch together and agree to catch up on things not related to work.
Some other ideas;
- Weekly Quiz - this could be based on the business (or not) e.g. ‘Who made the most sales this week?’
- Guess who’s kitchen this is - you could all send a photo of a room in your house and you need to guess who’s kitchen/living room/bedroom it is
- Personal facts guessing game - this would be a great icebreaker for new staff e.g. ‘Who has broken both their arms?’
- Childhood photos guessing game - you all submit them to your manager and guess who is who
- Two truths and a lie - you have to guess which is the truth and which is the lie!
- Virtual book club - the same as one in person, simply video calling instead
- Sharing thoughts - maybe you all read some articles on a topic you are focusing on at work and meet to discuss your thoughts
- Attending virtual conferences - attending different talks and meeting after to discuss what you learnt
- Or perhaps you have a whole company meeting that is never going to be easy to control and consists of people talking over one another - BUT, it makes people laugh and you get to see the faces of people you haven’t seen in awhile (see iHASCO’s Working From Home Team Meeting - Week 1)
Some things you might want to consider…
- Everyone has access to the same technology - and knows how to use whatever you might be using e.g. Zoom, an App for a Quiz or Screen sharing tools
- Finding a time to suit everyone - the best way to sort this is get it in your team’s diary a week or two before it happens so that they can plan around it. Collaborative calendars also allow for you to book these meetings around meetings your team might already have too. You might want to consider Time-Zones with employees too
- Allowing the right time for the activity - if its a project or collaboration you want your team to take on then you’ll have to allow more time than a quiz for example
- Should you split the activity into smaller sections across a week or two?
- Involving the quieter team members - if you have people you know are quieter than others, how will you ensure they are involved too?
- Make sure everyone is comfortable - you’re likely to have some tasks that would make certain team members uncomfortable, so make sure your bonding exercise considers everyone’s needs
- Talk about the benefits of your task - if your team know why this task/exercise is important e.g. you want people to take a break or have some fun, then they might make sure they make the time to participate
- Set some virtual team meeting rules - perhaps you all agree to be muted until someone needs to talk or you all need to come prepared with something?
How iHASCO can help…
Our Effective Remote Working Training is the perfect tool for those working remotely to ensure that they are working productively, happily and that they consider the importance of communication and creating social, physical and mental boundaries.
We also have a Managing a Remote Team White Paper for employers and managers to provide their team with the support they need to remain productive and motivated. Not to mention our other additional resources for remote or home working employees and employers too…