With the COVID-19 Virus global pandemic outbreak, team leaders have been forced to imply remote employee team building activities to continue building a strong relationship between the team.
Many organizations have been forced to change to working remotely. And because of the different conditions that people are currently working with, it is safe to say that the workflow is not as smooth as it used to be.
What is Team Building?
Team building refers to the different activities used to enhance the relationship, innovativeness, communication, development, and cohesiveness of employees in ways that will contribute to employee growth.
As any team leader would agree, the employees’ success is highly equated to the companies’ success. And often, employee relationship determines the employee success levels, a reason to invest in team-building activities.
The global pandemic has brought with it profound changes; however, we can also say that it has opened greater windows for employee team-building where employees get to interact on a more intimate level.
Six Segments to Incorporate in Remote Team-Building Activities
Think about someone you’ve worked with for two years, and you know almost nothing about them because of the professionalism maintained in an office. But now you will have a pet pop up in a zoom meeting, or a child wanting some mommy attention. That brings us to the first point.
1. Ice Breaker
Let people introduce their spouse, pets, or kids when they pop in instead of the prolonged awkward silence as they hush them away. Ask more about their family and have a mini session with them.
When starting the meeting, it is an excellent way to pass the buffer zone before everyone settles in.
Regularly, we do not know what the other individual is going through. But now, with the pandemic, we can say that that has scaled higher, considering the limited interactions. The best way to handle this is to check-in and know precisely how each team member is feeling.
Some of the things you can work on understanding about your colleagues include:
- How are they feeling, mentally, and physically?
- Who do they live with?
- Can they access basic amenities such as the internet, shops, food stores?
- Do they have any family member that has been infected?
- Do they have a child or older adult to look after?
- If yes, can they get things done during the day or do they need more flexibility with their schedule
- Ask if they need more support and regularly check in with them.
During this crisis, you want to recognize the effort that your employees are putting in place by appreciating them and acknowledging the circumstances they are working under.
It could be a single mum with a toddler, understand that they can’t get anything done without getting a nanny without risking their loved ones. Recognize the effort they’re putting into, let’s say by working late at night.
This is also the time to acknowledge the different dynamics and that things are not going to be the same. Someone might have to step away to make sure everything is okay, or another team member has business wear at the top and sports at the bottom.
Use such instances to make your virtual meetings a safe space for all your employees. Be sure to reward the results and check out ways to reward your employees remotely.
4. Organizational Updates
In this segment, make sure that each team member gives an update of their progress as well as challenges that they could be facing. Organizational updates help in keeping every team member on the same page—any new information, updates, and also time to ask questions.
5. Play Sector
Meetings are as dull as they can get, and virtual ones are no exceptions. So the play sector brings play or fun into the sessions. So what are these fun activities that you can incorporate into your virtual meeting to encourage remote team building?
a. Word of the Day
In this game, you pick a word and make sure that each team member employs it randomly during the meeting without getting noticed. For example, “brown.” Use; “We had a client, Mr. Brown, requested to change a few things on the software.”
b. Dress-up Day
Have your team members dress up as anything or someone they find amusing. It brings out their character some more as well as helps in creating a bond between the team members.
c. Question of the Day
The question of the day aims at asking questions that progressively make your employees vulnerable. At some point, you would be surprised at how much will contribute to your team building.
Some of the questions to ask your remote employees are;
- What have been your biggest struggles since the pandemic began? How are you dealing with them? What can the team do to help?
- What did you overlook before this pandemic began?
- Should you wake up and find that things are as they used to, what would you do differently?
As you ask such personal questions, remember that each team member is different, and their approaches would vary. Let people share what they are comfortable sharing.
d. The Merry Go Round
The merry go round is such a fun way to incorporate fun and team building into your virtual meeting. In this game, you can have one team member begin a story, i.e., “Once upon a time there was a boy. “and have every team member contribute to building the plot and finishing it by the time it gets to the last person.
Another form of the merry go round is having a team member begin a sentence with the same sentence that the previous team member ended with. This should also be continuous until all team members do so.
It naturally increases the concentration span of each member and lights up the whole meeting.
e. The Guess
Here, you have one team member hide a peddle and one with nothing to hold their palm as if they are hiding something. Then have the other team members take a guess who between the two has the pebble.
f. Happy hour
The happy hour is where you share a glass of wine, coffee, or a snack and catch up at the end of every week. During this time, you talk about everything but work. This could be a bad joke that you heard somewhere, fashion, or watching a game together.
6. Team Appreciation
Be sure to thank your remote team members and let them know that their effort is appreciated. If it was submitting a report, understand that they submitted the report with 3 kids running around.
Pro-tip. When thinking of team building activities for employees, remember that questions are key.
“Virtual teammates are 2.5 times likely to perceive incompetence, broken commitments, mistrusts, and bad decision making with distant colleagues than those co-located. Worse, they report taking 5-10 times longer to address their concerns.” Joseph Grenny-Virtual Smarts.
According to Grenny, that observation was before the pandemic, when business was as usual. Now with the epidemic, you want to put more work in ensuring that team members are working cohesively to meet organizational goals.
As a team leader, take advantage of the pandemic and use it as an opportunity for team development.