Every team tends to rely on meaningful interactions. Having friends and acquaintances at work strengthens our relationships, builds trust between team members, and supports our well-being. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most teams worldwide have been pushed to go remote. How do you build a team bond while being remote? You can use different virtual team building games and do just that.
What Is Virtual Team Building? Why Is it Important?
In essence, virtual team building creates human-human interactions and connections between your remote team members. It is necessary to have a team bond because it not only increases motivation but also boosts productivity. Research has shown that remote workers tend to have weaker relationships than traditional teams who work onsite together.
Business Insider reports that many companies around the world have extended their work from home policy until 2021. Hence, as a team leader, it is your job to prioritize virtual team building for your members. Having a connection with employees you have never met can make your employees feel valued and like a vital part of the company.
What Are Some Common Problems That Remote Employees Face?
- Limited communication between fellow workers and management
- Low engagement
- Lacking company culture and values
- Technical limitations, such as having no company computer or email
- Longer working hours
A study by Harvard was published, which indicated that, among the 1,100 remote employees from the sample, most of them felt left out and did not feel as though they belonged to the team. Fifty-two percent of them reported that they are not treated equally, and they are often mistreated. Hence, working remotely might give them the freedom to work from wherever they please, but it makes their work more challenging.
What Are the Top Challenges When Managing Remote Employees?
Internal Communication Problems
Communication barrier is the biggest problem when managing remote employees because these remote workers might not understand the mission statement for the company. They might not realize who they can communicate to when they want to share their thoughts, reach out for support, and get feedback.
Research also showed that 85% of remote workers feel that communication that they receive on the job is not enough. Eighty-nine percent of companies compete for customer experience, and without driven employees, it can seriously hamper their performance and the company’s brand loyalty and profits.
Many companies report a lot of hiccups. Scheduling meetings with them can become an issue. If your employees are scattered around the globe, they might be clocking in at different times; hence, it becomes a task to schedule appointments and meetings.
Language and Cultural Differences
If you have a diverse staff, then you might also face language or cultural barriers. These differences can have a significant effect on their interactions, their priorities, and what they value the most. As a manager, it becomes vital to bridge these gaps between your employees.
All of the above factors only point to the fact that virtual team building activities are vital for your company and your employee’s performance. Let’s see which virtual team building activities can be a good choice for your company.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing an Activity
Real-Time Versus Asynchronous
Firstly, consider if the activities you choose need to be done simultaneously, or whether each employee can opt for them in their free time.
Practical or for Fun?
Does the activity you have chosen have a purpose, or is it intentionally unproductive? Choosing an unproductive activity might not be a bad thing because it can free up some time from the busy working day. Still, of course, purposeful activity can be more beneficial for your company.
One-Off or Regular?
Is the activity that you have chosen going to be a one-off thing or will it happen on a daily or weekly basis?
Once you have considered these questions, let’s move on to activities you can choose based on your needs.
- Icebreaker Questions
Tools Required: Video Conferencing
Time: 5 minutes
This is a classic activity that cannot be overlooked. You can do this activity every week, and asking specific questions can reveal a lot about the employees and their thought processes. This can also make your team members feel connected.
- What are the best qualities of your partner or friend?
- Put these things in order of your morning routine: deep breathing, checking your phone for emails, breakfast, exercising.
- What frightened you as a child, and how did you overcome it?
- Have Lunch Together Online
Tools Required: Video Conferencing and Budget
Time: 30 minutes to an hour
Once a month, you can have a team lunch, even though your employee might be apart, they can undoubtedly have lunch together and share those moments of happiness. Each team member can be given a certain stipend for lunch once a month. They can enjoy lunch at their favorite cafe or restaurant or even cook their meal themselves while being online on a video call.
This can tell the members a lot about the kind of cuisine they prefer and their liking. Having a conversation over food can never go wrong, and it builds a strong bond.
- Photo of Your Life
Tools Required: Video Conferencing and a Photo Gallery
Time: 30 minutes to an hour
In this activity, each team member can share a picture of something special from their life. It can be anything that can describe their life, their pet, their kids, their favorite TV show, or even their most memorable travel experience. This can also be a great icebreaker when you hire a new employee or are getting to know your old employees. Each team member can get to learn more about one another through this.
- Virtual Games Online
Tools Required: Having a complimentary subscription to the games
Time: 30 minutes to an hour
There are many popular games that you can play virtually among your team members, such as Pictionary or even charades, which can be played together on video chat. You can also play a communication game that is describing a picture, where one team member can describe the image, while others draw according to the description. They can all then share what they drew, and this can lead to a good laugh among the team members if something unexpected is drawn.
In conclusion, virtual team activities have the power to transform your remote employees by making them feel connected, engaged, valued, and happier at their work. Hence, paying attention to such activities can only benefit your company in the long run.