The Importance of Virtual Team Building

2021.03.25.

The world of work has changed rapidly over the past year. In fact, the move from workplace to home office has been the most marked change we're witnessed over the last 50 years. Thanks to the pandemic and the social distancing necessary to combat it, many workers have been forced to swap their normal working environments. For many people, especially those living alone, this has resulted in a drastic loss of social contact. Because many employees are fixated on the weekends and holidays, many forgot just how much the chats around the coffee machine and other social interactions make up the working day, and make it all the more pleasurable. 

With so many employees and their respective teams working remotely, it's becoming more and more imperative that their managers understand that they need to ensure all workers are kept engaged and able to collaborate with each other. In the office environment, being able to see each other every day meant that keeping a team's interaction and motivation at the forefront of people's minds was relatively easy. Hanging out together and socializing after work was also conducive to this process. Getting people together for even the simplest team-building exercises was as effortless as sending around an email stating a time and a place. Unfortunately, and sadly, all of these activities are now things of the past.

There are any number of team-building activities you can implement in a traditional office environment. Whether simple ice-breaker games for new employees to more complex activities to enhance and encourage certain aspects of team goals, being together on a daily basis makes the life of the organizer that much easier. But now that everyone is working remotely and online, your approach may need to change to take into account the home office, as well as ensuring your choice of team-building activity doesn't lead to a high-scoring cringe factor along with the rolling of eyes. 

Why Virtual Team Building Matters

For many team leaders, focusing on team building isn't really a priority and many assume that remote workers don't care about connecting to their co-workers. This is a mistake in that it fails to take into account that people need contact with each other, both for mental well-being and to connect over shared projects and work tasks. Being able to have remote employees collaborating with each other, even in the home office environment. There are a number of important reasons why encouraging remote virtual team-building is hugely beneficial to everyone concerned. In fact, during these days of social distancing, we feel that team-building should be prioritized as its benefits will reveal themselves almost instantly. Let's have a look at some of these in more detail.

Building Relationships

It's easy to make the assumption, that just because all your team members don't work in the same office, that they don't share a strong relationship between themselves as a group. In a real office situation, there are a huge number of opportunities for them to meet up during normal working hours to discuss common projects, as well as interacting on a social level. Now that everyone's working remotely, it's important to continue that easy-going and comfortable communication that would normally take place from one day to the next. And not just on a surface level, but one in which a sense of collaboration on future projects is an essential part of the meeting. 

Help Combating Loneliness

Loneliness is a very real thing. Some will be perfectly fine working remotely. But at the other end of the scale, there will be those who will find the whole situation difficult to cope with. With the social pressure of not speaking up about feelings of loneliness, there can be many who are literally suffering in silence. For many employees, especially those who live alone, being unable to see other people during the working week is mentally very unhealthy. If they are all working separately and are unable to communicate with each other informally, then the willingness to engage with work will start to wilt. There's also a very good chance that they will start to experience lower levels of job satisfaction. Trying to keep everyone engaged during these trying times is not easy. And this is where remote virtual team-building can fill the gaps left in the working life each day. Never underestimate how some people are affected by being alone for long periods. 

Improving Productivity

Providing that all the remote working employees can feel engaged in their work, then there's a good chance that everyone will feel productive and get more things done during the working day. But nothing happens in a vacuum. In order for people to feel good about their work, and therefore themselves, they need to be seen and appreciated for their efforts. In effect, team members need to be able to cheer each other forwards to even greater heights.  

Measuring the Effectiveness of Virtual Team Building

There are two major ingredients for a successful remote team building. One is the ability to create natural and meaningful conversations with all team members. The other is to include a certain amount of visualization. This means that team players/members can see each other, as opposed to sending written communications. For a connection to be meaningful, it needs to be visual as then there's no room for misinterpretation. With all of the conference apps available today, there's no excuse for not encouraging all members of your teams to get in touch with each other on a regular basis throughout the working day. 

Many employers have a frankly dated and totally wrong-headed approach to employee communications. They believe that allowing workers to be able to stay in touch with each other will somehow result in less work. They are paying by the hour and so expect every single minute to be productive. It's difficult to know where to start with such foolishness. A truly productive individual is a balanced one. As the saying goes; all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In reality, all work and no play makes Jack have a nervous breakdown or simply experience work burn-out. By enabling employees to remain in touch helps everyone as a rising tide lifts all boats.  

Remote Escape Room Games

If you want to organize a team-building exercise that will bring out the best in everyone, then you can't go wrong with an escape room game. Thanks to social distancing these can no longer be played in a natural room environment. But thanks to conferencing apps, the games can be played by anyone with an internet connection from their own home. There are many different scenarios for these games, from breaking out of prison to escaping a laboratory seething with a deadly virus. the part of your eyes and eyes are taken by a game master, who's actually in a physical room, armed with a camera and microphone. He will take your commands and show you all the clues and puzzles necessary to make your escape. It's all incredibly immersive and you'll certainly have sweaty palms as the clock counts down the remaining time. 

It's a team game, and as such allows all the members to play their own part in the narrative. Some of the puzzles will require logic, others visual awareness, and yet more will need all the player's combined brainpower. Because the game has a definitely defined goal, everyone knows what they're working towards. Of course, there are many activities you could use in order to help employees remain in contact and even build stronger connections. But the most meaningful ones will involve some sort of task, where only a combined team effort can find the solution. As a means of encouraging and promoting team-building, virtual escape room games are second to none. 


 

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