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Virtual team building can be very challenging since workers are working from different locations. Yet, it is necessary for building work relationships that bring about team harmony, improves communication and collaboration, and ultimately, productivity.
So, how do you incorporate team-building virtually? The best place to start is to aim at addressing the challenges that come with working with limited physical interactions. For starters, remote workers want to feel seen and heard. They also want to beat isolation and loneliness that often leads to disengagement from the team. When thinking about team building activities, they should mitigate such issues and encourage workers to form social bonds that make them feel like a part of the greater picture.
What you need for effective team-building activities
For virtual team building to be effective, you need to have a few things. One, you need reliable video conferencing technology. It should have features such as telecommunication, screen sharing, and collaboration abilities such as instant messaging. In addition, every member should have the skills to use this technology. As a leader, you should have strong facilitation skills to ensure that each member stays engaged throughout the exercise. Most importantly, you need the right people who are cut out for remote work. You can work with a reliable PEO services provider to help you hire the best team. Besides this, a good PEO services provider also helps with managing the HR department for your remote team to ensure that you are compliant regardless of where your workers come from. This goes a long way in improving your market expansion strategy in that you are able to focus on other important matters once the HR department is taken off your plate.
Now to the best virtual-building activities for your team:
Fact guessing game
Building trust requires people to connect with each other from a personal level. This activity gives each member a platform to share his or her personal information with the rest of the team. This can be great when the team members don’t know each other well or when a new member joins the team.
What happens is that each person writes 5 facts about him/herself, including one that is a lie. Once they are done, the facilitator asks them to read these facts out. The rest of the team can then start guessing which facts are true and which one is not. Alternatively, you can compile these facts in a single document with an empty column next to the facts. Share the document with members and ask them to fill in the names that they think the facts belong to. Share the right answers after each member is done guessing.
Icebreaker activities/happy hours
Icebreaker moments at the beginning of a meeting can be overlooked, but they contribute greatly to making individuals feel connected. Regardless of how long they have been working together, there will always be something new to learn about each other.
Before kicking off a meeting, start with icebreaker questions that let the team share a little bit about themselves. You can ask questions such as which music they are currently listening to, what they love about their parents, their best childhood memories. You can also ask them to share what has been going on in their lives recently, the challenges and what they are doing to overcome them.
In addition, you can have virtual happy hours where members chat virtually over a drink, coffee, or lunch.
Besides building relationships, this activity teaches the importance of listening as well as asking for feedback. What you need to do is put participants into groups and then appoint a leader. Send origami instructions to the leaders of the groups. The leaders can then guide the group members through the steps. All this should be done with the cameras off, so the guidance can be done via a messaging app or phone call. The aim is for members to create an origami structure with the instructions shared. Here, you expect a lot of questions for clarification. When all members are done making the structure, turn on the cameras to see who got it right.
Non-work related chats
It is not all the time that you will have your whole team together for virtual activities. This is especially true where the team features people from different time zones. Non-work-related chats don’t have to be real-time. You can have a dedicated channel for non-work discussions. You or any member can start a chat on any topic and the rest can contribute their views and opinions. Team members from different time zones can join in when they log in or when they have the time. The trick here is to keep the conversation going and to encourage the team to make it fun.
Weekly trivia contests
Most people love trivia quizzes. Making it a contest makes it more enjoyable and hooks every person to it, and have them looking forward to it every week. Choose a day of the week to post the trivia. Give your team time to compile their responses. After each member has sent in their responses, you can send the results. The aim of weekly trivia contests is to trigger fun conversations among the team members. These conversations can be ongoing throughout the week, which is important in bringing everyone together.
Virtual team building can be hard, but it can be done with creative ideas. Start by ensuring that you have everything you need to hold virtual activities. Empower your team with the right skills and tools necessary to make it happen. You can start by holding icebreaker moments before meetings or happy hours. Include games such as fact guessing, trivia contests, or blind origami. Keeping non-work-related chats going at all times also helps teams stay connected. Check out this article on managing remote workers.