Virtual team building – fighting for the team in the home office
This year had only just begun when businesses had to suspend office operations and move to a home office. Some were already used to this type of working, others got used quickly, and others had to work harder to cope with the new reality in the corporate world.
Regardless of which category you and your team fall into, like any other person, you need a social life and active communication with people outside the family. We need to feel love and belonging and that is what the team can give us.
The challenges in front of remote teams
Working from home, you have fewer opportunities to spend time with colleagues and socialize. Remote teamwork can build in you and the team a sense of isolation and exclusion from teammates.
This will affect team cohesion, increase the chances of possible conflicts, and reduce your productivity and efficiency. What’s worse is that disputes can’t be resolved in private at the moment, but by chat and phone calls, which can lead to further confusion.
Why use virtual team building?
The virtual world is transforming much of the business, including team building. Let’s look at why virtual team building brings tremendous benefits and can be crucial to business right now.
Why should you make an effort to develop your virtual team?
Undoubtedly, remote work is supporting the business from a financial and operational point of view.
The cost of office space and utility bills can be drastically reduced, and According to Global Workplace Analytics, employers can save over $ 11,000 per half-time telecommute per year.
Along with that, everything you need is at your fingertips, thanks to online platforms other than our phones, such as well-established video conferencing software.
As mentioned earlier, due to the lack of face-to-face interactions between you and the team, building relationships to develop good working relationships can be challenging.
What are the prospects and how can you encounter difficulties in communicating with colleagues and the team?
The perspectives for virtual team building
Physical meetings and team building in the office and outside are not feasible under the current restrictions. But should we use Slack only for video conferencing, professional, and personal social purposes? Why not combine work and teamwork with the available online platform to conduct team engagement sessions in the comfort of our own homes?
Some consider virtual team building ineffective, but numerous studies show that:
- It allows teams to become stronger while also contributing to an individual’s overall wellbeing
- Virtual team building activities present an excellent opportunity to leverage engagement
- Integrating team building into a remote team will pay enormous dividends both in terms of lifting spirits and improving company culture
Also, teamwork can help build trust among colleagues. Entertainment makes us more open and communicative. We are open to enjoy the activities with the team even digitally.
Maintaining a strong relationship with the team during this trial period will help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which according to experts affects the quality of our thoughts, actions, and improves results in the organization.
A comprehensive guide to conducting online team building sessions for and with a remote team
In this guide, we will share our expertise and how to conduct amazing online team-building sessions with your team to engage colleagues, with minimal costs.
Virtual team building – Remote team building session step by step
What is one of the common features of the leaders in the Industrial world? Apart from the fact that they are multibillion-dollar corporations, another common feature is their strong corporate culture. Team building is one of the most effective ways to attract company culture through team-building activities.
Let’s summarize the content and see what kind of road map can you use to integrate your team into the corporate culture and reach their full potential:
- Step №1: Objectives of the online session
- Step №2: Choose a platform and technology
- Step №3: Prepare a program and structure for online team building
- Step №4: Make time for rest as well
- Step №5: Choose team building activities and activities
- Step №6: Comply with time zones
- Step №7: Send the invitations for the team building session
- Step №8: Use the extra tips like the icing on the cake
Step №1: Objectives of the online session
In the beginning, you will feel overwhelmed with thoughts about what you will do in the team building sessions, how you will conduct them, for what purpose.
Our advice is to start with the last question – for what purpose do you want to engage your team. It will serve as a foundation for everything else.
Do you just want to have fun or make the session more focused to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills?
Some examples of team building objectives are:
- Breaking the ice between the members and achieving maximum comfort between them
- Exercising tolerance and smoothing differences
- Welcoming new employees to the team
Keep in mind the length of the session, as it can affect the commitment of the members and the outcome of the activities.
Step №2: Choose a platform and technology
Many communication platforms have been discovered, rediscovered, and used for the home office environment. The most common are:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
How important can virtual team building software be for the team? The right platform will become a digital place that connects your team. All systems need to communicate smoothly with each other to help teams perform their activities well and intuitively.
Learn in detail about the advantages and limitations of the various platforms on the market. Don’t forget to look at the customer reviews online, then test the platform and introduce the team to it.
Step №3: Prepare a program and structure for virtual team building
Once you have established your main goals and chosen a suitable platform, it is time to plan the team building session.
You can use Google Spreadsheets for this purpose by writing down a breakdown of activities and on which platform they will be hosted. You will need to make a detailed plan with time intervals for each aspect – the duration of each team building activity, breaks, etc. Here is an easy outline you can use:
- The topic of the team building session
- Date and Time
- Number of participants
- Goals & Objectives
- Team building activities and activities
- Necessary accessories
- Session reflection and conclusions
Be sure to share the team building schedule in advance with your team to avoid confusion and overlap with other activities.
Step №4: Make time for rest as well
If the team building will last more than an hour, it is important to schedule an “intermission” that visitors can use at their discretion. Whether they are drinking coffee, writing an email, or bouncing in the bathroom, the team will be grateful for the opportunity to rest.
Step №5: Choose team building activities and games
Once you have set the goals for the session, you need to specify the following details about the team building activities:
- How many will there be?
- What will be the duration of each of them?
- What kind of games are you going to incorporate?
- How many are the participants?
- What additional accessories are needed?
- How does each game contribute to achieving your main goals?
All you need is to know the behaviour of teammates and the possible effect of team building activities. With these two things, you will be able to establish the necessary logistics that your team needs to achieve the required results.
Step №6: Comply with time zones
When we talk about a remote team, there often are teammates who are in different countries, and in different time zones. Depending on the distribution of the company’s staff, it is important to take into account the different time zones when creating the team building program.
Consider the following things:
- When everyone is awake?
- How late in the day is the session planned?
- What part of the team may be meetings / working on projects?
Step №7: Send the invitations for the team building session
In the end, it is time to send the invitations! It is best to send them at least 4 days in advance so that participants can plan their daily routine, especially if you want to conduct the team building session outside of regular business hours.
Include this information in the invitation:
- Date and time
- Link to download the platform
- Link to join the meeting
- Manual(s) and guide(s) to be read in advance
- Registration form / survey (if required)
- Other additional requirements
Consider sending one or two reminders before the date of the session so that participants do not forget and are aware of changes in the status of your team.
Tips for a unique remote team building session
Here are some concluding tips we would like to share with you:
- Make sure everyone on your team (including those abroad) has access to your chosen online platform. Conduct training so that everyone can understand how to handle the software and what its benefits are.
- Don’t miss the ultimate goal of your online team building session. Evaluate if the session is enough to reach the objectives. Consider whether regular activities are necessary to maintain the quality of work relationships and team processes.
- Pay attention to the dynamics, cultures, and personalities of the team members. This will help you in conducting team building sessions and optimizing them. One example is, how can you engage and engage introverted team members, balancing their energy with that of extroverts?
- If new members are joining, it is essential to introduce yourself to everyone and help them join the team. This provides an opportunity for them to have a voice in the engagement session. Try a few icebreakers before the session.
- Include the CEO! It’s important to include the CEO in team building activities to help build a strong company culture and show people how much they all matter.
Your presence is the most precious gift you can give to another human being. Marshal B. Rosenberg.
What to do next with your virtual team building?
Working remotely in your own home can be lonely and demoralizing at times. So why not conduct virtual team building sessions to engage your team and enjoy the pleasure of being with the people and colleagues who support and motivate you to grow! That’s our goal when creating KissTheFrogNOW – to avoid disunion at the workplace, develop your team’s emotional intelligence and empathy while having fun.
Take advantage of the situation and find your inspiration and motivation together with the team and build a quality working relationship.