Given the recent global developments with the COVID-19 situation, numerous companies have decided to shift gears and invest resources into remote work management. According to Small Biz Genius, by 2028, 73% of all corporate departments will rely solely on remote workers. In addition, 18% of people work remotely full-time regardless of the situation, with 86% stating that it reduces stress and 77% that it improves health.
However, maintaining the morale, productivity and teamwork among coworkers can be difficult if there is no physical contact and office camaraderie to be had. Yet employee engagement is still important, even in a crisis.
While remote work is highly beneficial, especially with COVID-19 baring teams from meeting physically, implementing virtual team building activities should become standard practice. Let’s take a look at the benefits of virtual team building, as well as activities which you can implement with your remote team in 2020.
The Benefits of Virtual Team Building Activities
While the remote work environment is more than mandatory in recent weeks, what are some of the benefits of virtual team building for the people involved?
Just like in any other work environment, people who cooperate on long-term projects should get to know each other better in order to perform well. Over time, stress and anxiety can creep in, especially if there are no breaks, casual talk or personal sharing between coworkers.
Kristin Savage, Chief of Content Department at Top Essay Writing and Head of Content at Studyker spoke on the topic: “Mutual support is everything. Remote work conditions can be difficult for people who are used to spending time with coworkers in a 9-to-5 workflow, especially for extroverts on your team. Implementing virtual team building can alleviate the shortcomings introduced by the current social distancing norms – take the initiative and do so for your team members.”
No one says that you should be best friends with the people you work with – every person is unique in their own way.
However, there is no reason to let work quality and morale suffer just because there is a lack of communication present in the remote team. As such, several concrete and highly essential benefits of virtual team building can be broken down into the following:
- Very low-cost system of boosting each other’s morale
- Individuals fight off home office loneliness more successfully
- Increased overall cooperation and teamwork across the board
- Encouraged creativity and freedom of expression between coworkers
- Improved communication of information, duties and project goals
Virtual Team Building Activities to Implement
1. Deserted Island Wish List
Let’s start small and move on to more complex team building exercises for your remote team. As we’ve briefly touched on, virtual team building is highly cost-efficient – all it really takes is for you to join a group video call. The first order of the day in terms of team building involves a deserted island item wish list.
You and your remote coworkers can take 5 minutes to come up with 1-2 items which you would take to a deserted island with you. The point of this exercise is prioritization, as well as critical justification of why that particular item is necessary for you. This is a great, fun little way of breaking the proverbial ice with your coworkers in order to get to know each other more closely.
2. Virtual Reciprocity Ring
Implementing Virtual Reciprocity Ring from Give and Take may be a great opportunity for your coworkers to grow as a cohesive team focused on a common goal. The Virtual Reciprocity Ring represents a revolutionary team building exercise mechanism which can be used by businesses of various scales and industries.
The Virtual Reciproity Ring not only builds teams, it builds individual relationships as coworkers learn to trust and rely on each other more.
The Reciprocity Ring has proven to be a productivity booster for numerous companies and classes of university students, making it both informative and transformative for teams that use it.
In addition, new elements and analytis have been enabled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the perfect time to check this team building activity out.Learn More about the Virtual Reciprocity Ring
3. Simulated Problem-Solving
There will undoubtedly come a time where your remote team doesn’t have pressing deadlines or KPIs to chase.
This lull in productivity can be used to exercise through simulated, fictional problem-solving scenarios.
The best way to take advantage of this virtual team building activity is to present your team with an impossible task. Estelle Leotard, Head of HR and contributor at Write Scout spoke recently, stating the following: “Making the most out of remote work conditions is essential. Given that people are able to work from the comfort of their homes, problem-solving exercises can be beneficial for their continued development as a team. You never know when fiction might become reality, which is why your team will be more prepared than most if the unexpected happens.”
For example, imagine that a valued client asked for immediate changes to a project and expects results in 24h or less – what do you do? These simulated exercises are a great way to practice teamwork and communication under pressure without the concern of failure. Likewise, they will help prepare your team for real-world crisis scenarios more efficiently, making this a win-win team building activity.
4. Personal Bucket List Sharing
In order to become as familiar and friendly with your remote team members, you can introduce a bucket list sharing to your team building activities. A bucket list represents all the things you want to do before you leave this world one day, making the list highly personal.
Bucket list activity can help you understand what motivates your team to work hard, what their goals are and what they hope to accomplish. You can make it a habit to share one item on your lists per meeting or work session as a break from professional work activities. Alternatively, you can dedicate a longer team building session to bucket list sharing and really allow your team to grow as a group.
5. Book Club Discussion
With social distancing and personal quarantine in effect, now is a good time to pick up a book and expand your personal horizons. You can introduce a book reading activity to your remote team by deciding on which book to read next as a group.
Anything from personal development, fiction or historic literature can work, as long as you can all access the same book. Implementing such a team building activity will allow you to grow as a speaker and learn how your coworkers think and which details they annunciate. It will also do you good to simply read a book and get lost in fictional worlds for an hour or two due to quarantine.
6. Remote Team Lunchtime
Lastly, it is said that we grow closer to the people we share meals with. Since personal meetings are a no-no at the moment, remote lunchtime is the next best thing we have available. We all have to eat at some point during the day, and turning it into a virtual team building activity is a great growth opportunity.
Arrange lunchtime video calls with your coworkers to simply sit there and eat together while casually chatting. If you are all moderately good cooks, you can arrange thematic food activities or ask each person to cook something specific to their background. Alternatively, you can all order from the same place as you do when typical office hours are in effect prior to social distancing. There are no rules to remote team lunchtime, so discuss it with your coworkers and come up with a mutually-agreed on way to do it.
Focus on the Positives (Conclusion)
While working remotely may not be ideal, it’s important to focus on the big picture when working with distant coworkers. Everyone on your team is there for a reason, and virtual team building activities can help you synchronize individual goals into mutual aspirations.
While you may not be on the best of terms or friendly with some of your team members, team building will alleviate that over time. Focus on the positives of remote work conditions and offer a friendly hand to your coworkers – they will assuredly accept it in these difficult times.
About the Author
Marques Coleman is a professional Content Creator and Editor at Classy Essay and Subjecto writing services where he aims to build his content marketing career. He is a contributor to 3to5 Marketing where he explores the trends in digital content creation in the form of blog posts and essays. In his spare time, Marques enjoys reading relaxing novels and listening to soft music.