Team building is vital for those working in a group setting. Employees who work together seamlessly can be highly productive. On the other hand, employers who have remote workers will have reduced office expenses and see individual worker productivity increase.
The downside to virtual teams is that members can feel isolated from one another. An office environment lends itself to trust between coworkers because they see each other every day, and this makes communication easier. By watching each other and speaking together, they know that deadlines are being met and conflicts get resolved
Virtual teams tend to communicate through email and phone meetings. Emails are very impersonal and don’t allow people to get to know each other very well. Video meetings do let coworkers see each other but are usually focused on getting important information across.
In phone meetings, there’s little to no chance of coworkers getting to know each other. Since employees of a company who work remotely don’t tend to get to know each other very well, it’s hard for them to learn how to trust one another. This lack of trust can hinder overall productive and open communication.
Employers should keep an eye on their virtual teams and look for the warning signs that the team is lacking trust. A few of these signs are: failure to share information with each other, conflicts that don’t get resolved, or issues that keep cropping up. Members are openly critical, productivity is low, and deadlines are missed.
There are ways to build trust among virtual coworkers. One way would be having the team meet face-to-face early on.
Though in the current climate, in-person meetings are unfeasible. Don’t let this discourage you. We can hope that in-person meetings won’t be out of the question forever. Other things can be done to build team relationships and trust.
Things employers can do to help build communications and trust between their virtual teams are:
- Promote informal conversations for getting to know and understand each other.
- Have a place dedicated to biographies, pictures, and experiences for coworkers to share with each other. Some kind of forum or instant messaging would be a good place for sharing all of this, plus backgrounds.
- Give your employees the ability to make decisions and control how work products will be delivered.
- Encourage coworkers to partner up to use their combined skills to overcome obstacles.
There are also team building activities that can help build trust. While people may cringe when hearing that they will be doing team building activities, employers can make these activities fun for their teams. These team building activities don’t have to be in a camp setting and don’t have to be cliche.
Getting together in a camp setting isn’t always possible but employers can still build effective teams through virtual team building.
Team Building Activities
Employers are having to adapt to a new level of getting work done virtually and may not be familiar with what activities can be done through distance meetings. Here are some virtual team building activities that employers can have their virtual teams do.
Crime Junkie Virtual Icebreaker
Crime Junkie Virtual Icebreaker has been adapted from Clue Virtual Murder Mystery. The game takes about an hour to complete.
You send a link to those who are playing and then log into the app with it. Your group will be split into teams to examine clues, review case files, and race against the clock to figure out who did it.
Open Mic Virtual Icebreaker
Everyone’s heard of Open Mic Night. Give your team a chance to showcase their talents, perhaps at the beginning of the meeting.
Dance Party Virtual Icebreaker
The Dance Party Virtual Icebreaker only requires five minutes or however long your chosen song lasts. The host will want to make sure that everyone can hear the music they’re playing. Then everybody dances and has a few laughs.
Challenge your team to do a code break game. Give your team an online puzzle or some riddles to solve in team building competitions. This is an excellent activity for those who love solving complex problems and enjoy friendly competition.
Virtual Happy Hour
The Virtual Happy Hour does require the employer to find some kind of Happy Hour box to send to the virtual team. Once everyone has their box, you use this as an icebreaker and have everyone share what they got.
Game Time with Playingcards.io
Game time on the Playingcards.io platform can be a great option to do. It has a variety of card games that your team can play with each other during a game time meeting. It could set up as a regular game night or as a midday break to help your team relax and recharge so they can finish out their day with less stress.
Wellness or Fitness Challenge
The Wellness or Fitness Challenge does require the team to accept a fitness challenge to complete. Specify the goal, and as team members check off the goals, they will know that they’re not alone in achieving the goals.
Daily Gratitude Commitment
Daily Gratitude journals can help your team have a positive outlook. Have them commit to doing a journal for a month. They don’t have to share it with anyone but knowing that others are doing it will help your team stay motivated.
Daily Writing Prompt
The Daily Writing Prompt is another month-long commitment. Sending out journals would be a nice gesture, but only if you have the budget to provide your team with them. If not, give everyone a daily writing prompt. At some point after the month is done, if everyone is up for it, the team can get together to talk about what was created.
Meeting Face to Face
The best way to build team unity is to get them together in person. While this isn’t always possible, if you can do it. Sending the team on a weekend getaway is one of the best things you can do, because it starts the process off on an excited and positive note. Utilize opportunities such as Cancun Airport Transportation, or sky miles accumulated on the company credit card to lessen costs and make this option more realistic.
Virtual team building is important because it builds trust and better communication between your virtual team. This trust and communication will lead to happier workers and increased productivity across the board.
Team building, especially for remote workers, gives employees a chance to feel connected to each other, as well as engaged and appreciated. These kinds of employees are happy to be a part of the team and willing to take on the challenges you place in front of them.
So, employers who bring their teams together in virtual team building, can celebrate the success the team achieves as a cohesive whole.