The recent pandemic has changed many people’s work life. One big change is that a number of employees are now working remotely. While this comes with benefits like decreased overhead since the company won’t have to purchase office supplies or pay as much for utilities, remote work makes team building tough. Activities like trust falls and coal walks aren’t going to happen over Zoom. This means that you’ll have to use your creativity to conduct virtual team building activities.
What You Need to Know About Virtual Team Building
Virtual team building is the process of establishing connections between employees who are working remotely. Team connections are important because they inspire harmony within a team while encouraging better communication and more productivity.
How can you promote team building remotely? To effectively build a team virtually, it’s important for the members of your team to know that they are seen and heard. Do this with team building activities. Here are five suggestions for virtual team building activities.
1. Ask Icebreaker Questions
You can ask icebreaker questions on Zoom or video conferencing, and even if your team knows each other really well, there are always new things to learn about people. Ask your team members questions like:
• What was the last series that you streamed on Netflix?
• What is the scariest movie you’ve ever watched?
• How many places have you lived?
• What kind of music did you listen to in high school?
2. Allow Some Time to Socialize
Consider hosting a virtual lunch. Encourage your team to keep the conversation light and away from work projects. Exchange recipes, suggest great television shows and talk about workout routines.
When you promote team building activities, you’ll be developing a team that is engaged and ready to work toward specific goals. You will also be creating a strong team structure. Team building helps your teams form a shared mindset. This element inspires a mutual identity and understanding.
3. Host a Virtual Bingo Game
Team building ideas include setting up a conference call with your team to host a virtual Bingo game. Most people know how to play, and since Bingo has been around forever, the game will likely make them feel a bit nostalgic. Search for work-based Bingo templates online for ideas. Then, create your own.
Include game spaces with statements like:
• Has more than one pet
• Got up before 7am this morning
• Can speak more than one language
• Enjoys eating kale
If your team is large, create breakout Zoom rooms to make the game more fun and intimate. Offer prizes to the winners.
Team building exercises inspire teams to set better goals. They also enhance problem-solving skills and help determine each person’s roll on the team.
4. Have a Scavenger Hunt
Encourage laughs and exercise by having an at-home scavenger hunt. For this type of game, ask team members to scour their homes for certain items. Whoever appears back on camera with the item is the winner of the round.
Select a number of items that you want your team to find, and if your budget allows, offer a gift card to the team member who is able to locate the most items. Your virtual scavenger hunt can consist of list items like:
• Self-help books
• A VHS tape
• Company swag
• A Beanie
• An item that lights up
• Funny socks
Team building ideas like a virtual scavenger hunt can overcome some of the issues that you may be facing by managing a remote team. Often, remote team members feel socially isolated. They may also experience more insecurity about their job performance.
Other ways to help your team connect remotely is to host meetings online frequently. Make sure that everyone has a chance to participate in what you’re discussing. Use Zoom or video conferencing as much as possible. Encourage your team members to keep their cameras on. This can help everyone feel as though they are in the same room.
5. Play Something in Common
This is a great team building game if you have employees who live in different parts of the country or world. Create breakout rooms to form small groups. Then, ask them to find three things that they have in common. For example, a group might discover that they all played the piano when they were kids or that they all hate cauliflower.
Plan Team Build Events
The pandemic has had an impact on people’s wellbeing. According to one workplace study that took place during the fall of 2020, an estimated 85% of those who were surveyed admitted to feeling less happy. While laughter doesn’t fix everything negative that people feel, research shows that laughing reduces depression and anxiety. Your teams are sure to benefit from laughing more together.
Instead of planning one or two short team building exercises, consider having team build events. This can be a continuous game that takes place over a full month or one entire day. If you decide to plan a day-long event, then consider theming it. For instance, plan games and activities that help your team learn more about one another or choose things to do that require team members to pair up.
It’s important for team managers to foster a good remote team culture. Do this by putting aside more time to have fun and laugh. Shoot for the rule of 1/6. This means that for every hour that your team spends in a team meeting or completing a work project, plan 10 minutes, or 1/6th, of the hour for team building.
Better Connections Equal Better Teams
Use these five suggestions to bring your team together. Virtual team building is possible with a little inspiration and creativity. If you need extra support and guidance, contact us at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.