If you are like many managers out there, you haven’t seen your team members in-person for months. And your team haven’t seen each other in-person either. While many team members may have slipped from discomfort to comfort with working from home, and have maybe found their (tenuous) ‘work from home groove’, the pre-existing team dynamic can inevitably change with this physical absence.
Sometimes, with physical absence, teams lose their emotional and personal connection with each other, and that can have all sorts of unintended consequences for the individual, the team and the organisation as a whole. For individuals – depression, loss of energy, and loneliness can grow. For teams – everything from greater miscommunication and subsequent ball dropping, through to greater team conflict and general employee dissatisfaction can occur. And for organisations – engagement, productivity and discretionary effort can decline. However, it can be difficult to facilitate virtual team building to help bring things back to normal.
When we know that one of the most powerful and informing employee engagement questions is the answer to ‘I have a best friend at work” it’s not hard to see that a breakdown in or distance with collegiate relationships can have serious impacts on employee engagement and commitment to their tasks and the wider company. No longer are the incidental watercooler conversations, or the adhoc over the desk jokes, enough (if they ever were) to keep the team goodwill and mojo alive.
The Answer, Virtual Team Building Activities
Throughout these unusual Covid-19 times, I have been executive coaching senior managers to be more intentional and deliberate in how they manage their virtual team dynamics.
One way you can intentionally keep the team dynamics strong despite the physical location being apart is to organise some virtual team building activities. Lately many clever businesses have pivoted their offering to provide fun virtual group events that can be run remotely while people are safely in their homes.
Virtual team building activities for remote teams
Here’s some I know of:
1/. Gin Tasting events – a small kit of different gins is delivered to your team members’ homes and over zoom a Gin Tasting Session is facilitated. Check out The Fox Hole or Bass and Flinders Distillery
2/. How about a virtual cocktail party where everyone gets dressed up in their finest racing attire?
3/. Or a murder mystery night where Groups of up to 11 (with one person running it providing you with additional clues as you go). You get your character bios a couple of days before so you can get dressed up as your character. You can have a few drinks as you go. It takes about 2-2.5 hours and is great fun.
4/. Or a trivia event which can be either organised in-house or outsourced.
Alternatively you can form a group and do it with others via Funky Bunch virtual pub trivia. Another alternative is to use Kahoots – where you can use this to pull together trivia, multiple choice questions quizzes etc. Kahoots also integrates with Microsoft teams so can use within work infrastructure. Nice to get to know each other with a new team remember etc.
5/. Of course, if you are looking to do things cost effectively there is always Virtual Bingo which can be easily organised internally at very little cost.
6/. The app ‘Houseparty’ is a video conference facility that has locked rooms for privacy. The app also provides the opportunity to play some fun games likes Heads Up. Recently it introduced the game Uno to its suite of games.
7/. How about a group pasta making sessions with a real Italian Nonna? Or get Pasta delivered to everyone’s door and cook a virtual dish together? Chef Amato delivers fresh pasta to people’s door.
8/. If you want to fancy things up there is the option of a Formal Dinner party – where the meals are partially made and you finish them off at home together with a chef group session over zoom. Alternately try Providoor for high end meals and chef cooking classes.
9/. House Items Treasure Hunt where a list of household items are shown on the screen and the attendees have to complete to see who can bring them back to the table quickest to win often brings about laughs. The list might be *something purple * *something that rhymes with spaghetti*, *something you’ve had from a child* and *something someone on the call bought you*.
10/. Events such as ‘Bring Your Dog to Remote Work’ day, ‘Pimp Your Home Office’ day, ‘Best Bogan Outfit’ day, a ‘Guess the baby photo’ session , a ‘Where was I? When this photo was taken?’ session and the like can all the done as humorous events very quickly and cheaply. With a bit of creativity the possibilities are endless to create a bit of fun.
11/. You could all go walking the Scottish highlands together virtually https://worldwalking.org/
12/. And lastly while all the above suggestions provide the opportunity to just have some relaxed fun together, it is also always possible for Let’s Talk Career to run Myers-Briggs or Team Management Systems sessions via zoom where staff can learn more about their work styles as well as their peers. These sessions provide the opportunity to learn and discuss just how the remote work environment is impacting them. The difference between introversion and extroversion, flexible and organised planning styles and communication styles is a very useful aspect to explore within this new remote working context. While the sessions don’t come with cheap mints you wish you hadn’t eaten, they can come with some fun and energy as well as usual insights into what each person in the team needs right now to be at their very best.
If you would like to know more about this option contact us at info@LetsTalkCareer.com for a quote.
Let’s Talk Career is a leading executive coaching firm which services all of Australia