The trend towards working remotely has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, before 2020, working remotely was a rapidly growing implementation by many organizations around the world. 

Historically, shared in-person team-building experiences were effective ways of bringing together a group of colleagues outside of the mundane work environment. Unfortunately, this is no longer a possibility, at least not for a while. However, modern technology makes it feasible to spend time with work colleagues without being in the same location. 

Given the current global climate, team building is still critical. Team-building exercises, whether in-person or virtual, are more important than ever.

Why Hold Remote Team Building Exercises

While some see remote team-building exercises as wasting precious company resources, there are compelling reasons and hard data for holding them:

  • One conflict within a team of six high-level earners (over $100,00 per year) costs the company around $255,000.
  • Team building increases employee engagement, which can double a company’s profits. 
  • 94.2% of employees say that team-building exercises improve employer-employee relationships.
  • 94.5% of employees say team building facilitates open dialogue in the workplace.
  • 96.3% of employees find that team building has a positive influence on employee-employee relationships.

Other reasons why continuing team-building in a remote world is important include:

Building Trust

In the corporate world, trust is a major factor among work colleagues. As a team, you need to be able to rely on one another when working on projects, gathering information, or making presentations to upper management. Maintaining that sense of mission and unity is more difficult when the team members are seldom in the same room. Remote team building reinforces that sense of trust.

Increasing Communication

Communication is the backbone of any successful endeavor in life. In the remote office, being able to effectively communicate ideas is even more critical. Remote team building activities open the communication flood gates within departments or groups.

Stimulating Creativity

Even when sitting at a laptop at home, fun and interactive team-building experiences can get the creative juices flowing, 

Eliminates Silos

Many employees live alone and feel isolated and out-of-the-loop without face-to-face interactions during the regular workday. Team building exercises help many employees feel more included as part of the team, even if they are not in the same room. This is especially true for those dealing with family members that have substance abuse and need to find nearby Al-Anon meetings for their sanity.

Reveals Talents

As with in-person team-building experiences, virtual team building can help reveal to management and other employees who has hidden talents that could be an asset to the corporation.

Team Building Strategies

The lack of in-office social interaction has left large swaths of the population feeling like the metaphorical rug has been ripped from beneath them. Now, even more than in the past, it is critical to facilitate a healthy social environment, even when virtual.

Here are a few key strategies for remote team building.

Assemble a Pep Squad

Learning the new rules of virtual socialization can be so awkward and unfamiliar that there is less enthusiasm for remote team building. Combat this by recruiting spirited employees to motivate the rest of the team. Encourage employees with a positive dynamic and a knack for building up colleagues and socializing to volunteer for a remote team-building pep squad. They may be able to transfer their excitement to the virtual world.

Be Creative

While many companies feel that in most areas the best action is to play it safe, team-building exercises are not one. Try to innovate. 

Sharing a fun fact about oneself during a Zoom meeting is boring, unengaging, not specific to the company culture, and has been done a thousand times already. Find or create a more interesting activity, such as virtual trivia, a company talent show, or a public employee recognition program.

Prioritize Inclusivity

With employees performing their functions in different work environments, the importance of including everyone is higher than ever. Some employees are isolated in a studio apartment and others are attempting to balance a fused work-and-family life. When you plan remote team building activities, consider the following factors:

  • Communication methods
  • Family life
  • Seniority
  • Socialization style
  • Substance use
  • Time zones

Well-planned and -executed remote team-building activities have many positive aspects that can contribute to the morale of a department and be beneficial to those involved. Even though it may seem like a major investment in resources, in the long run, it saves money and leads to the best results.

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

 

Sources

  1. shrm.org – Building Team Bonds
  2. employer-employee relationships nulab.com/blog/collaboration/team-bonding-exploring-how-mandatory-and-optional-activities-affect-employees/ – Team bonding: Exploring how mandatory and optional activities affect employees
  3. fond.co – 4 Ways for Employers to Help Ease the Sudden Shift to Remote Work Because of COVID
  4. teambuildingwithtaste.com – Why Team Building is Critical For Virtual Teams