Remote work has become the new normal due to pandemic restrictions forcing people to stay home, but as restrictions ease, remote work seems to be here to stay. Since 2009, remote work has sky-rocketed, increasing 159%, and currently, 62% of workers between 22 and 65 can work remotely. From the initial video interview to the virtual training, every aspect of a remote job can be navigated from anywhere.
There are many benefits to the change in our work environments as well, with remote workers reporting they are more productive and have fewer distractions while working from home. Overall, remote work also seems to offer a better work-life balance, leading to happier employees and less turnover.
But one of the major components of the workplace people miss when working remotely is interaction with team members. It’s hard to get to know people or a company’s culture through a screen, but not impossible. One of the best ways to encourage your team to interact is by hosting virtual team-building exercises. Below, we’ve compiled 5 tips to help you host a virtual team-building exercise that will have your team feeling stronger and more connected than they ever thought they could.
Choose the Best Platform
Making sure the virtual platform you chose is the right fit for your event is crucial. Find out how many attendees you’ll be having, what format the team-building exercise will follow, will there be a speaker before or after the event begins, will you need a chatroom feature, these are just some of the questions to ask yourself. Third-party services such as BigMarker or GoToWebinar allow you to post slideshows and engage with the audience, however, these platforms do limit the number of attendees.
Platforms such as Zoom or Skype allow for more attendees but are more likely to fall victim to technical difficulties. Discuss which platform works best with your group’s needs and the exercises you pick and go from there. You can also use a screen recorder to organize and communicate elements of your team building exercise, such as sharing detailed instructions or allowing other team members to submit screen recordings of their own as part of the exercise.
Let Your Team Members Have a Say
Before the event, ask your team if they have any ideas or suggestions for team-building exercises. You can even offer a pre-selected list of team-building ideas and ask for them to vote on their favorites. Having an idea of the type of environment your team is interested in entering will make everyone more comfortable on the day of the big event; the last thing you want to do is host a virtual karaoke team building event when your team is consists of mostly introverts who would rather bond over more tranquil team building exercises. Letting your team members have a say in the events not only guarantees their interest but also shows them that you value their input, which, in turn, helps your team get stronger – wins all around.
Be Sure Your Activity Makes It Easy to Build Relationships
The purpose of the event is to create stronger relationships amongst your team, so your activities should reflect that wish. Think about starting the event with ice breakers, a common but useful way to break down walls when first getting to know people better. Encourage intermingling between team members, break it down into smaller chat or video groups so people have more one-on-one time to speak with each other. If you’re hosting a competition, make sure it’s team-based and not individualized, you want to make sure everyone has a buddy they’re learning from and with to ensure relationships can be built amongst your team.
Make The Event Fun & Personalized
People make stronger, more personal connections with their team members when they can relax a little and let their guard down. While team-building exercises can and should include some focus on the company and the company’s goals, it’s also important to focus on creating a fun environment for your employees. Rather than having a brainstorming session of the company’s brand, do something fun and creative like hosting a virtual karaoke party or scavenger hunt. Send out personalized email invites to your employees, maybe even send them some company merchandise so they have a physical representation of the event.
Host During Work Hours
One of the downsides to remote work is that people have seen an increase in their work hours, as they have everything they need to work with them 24/7. People value their time away from work, and it’s important to respect that boundary with your employees. Not only will people appreciate a little time away from the normal workday, but employees are also far more likely to come to an event during work hours.