Outside of working hours and work related tasks, how often does your distributed team meet to take part in group activities ?
For most virtual teams, the answer is not often enough.
This is because there are many advantages to be gained from bringing your virtual team together. If your team struggling to collaborate on group projects, team activities or socially distanced virtual get-togethers could be a great option to help your group take projects to the next level.
Because we've heard from and provided service for so many companies who are looking for virtual team events, we have some experience in this arena.
So we thought we'd take some time to share some of what we've learned over the past several years of in-person and virtual team events.
Here are some of the pros and cons of team building for your distributed team.
Employees enjoy remote positions because they can work from anywhere in the world. In theory, this can boosts productivity, cut time that your team spends commuting, and can reduce expenses in the office (providing coffee, or copier paper, etc.).
In an equivalent way, employers can benefit by accessing a talent pool from around the world. Finding the right team members from virtually any part of the world can lead to increases in productivity and cooperation.
Virtual teams also offer unique challenges for employers.
If a team is composed of people from different countries, getting everyone to work together can be difficult due to cultural differences, time zone challenges, internet connection issues, and different understandings of what work is and means.
This is where we have been able to help fill a gap for many distributed teams with a fun activity pretty much everyone enjoys - chocolate. But before talking about that, we'll share some things we've learned about what comes from spending some time and effort looking for ways to bring your team together.
Virtual team building helps team leaders and team members many ways. here are three of the most foundational ways that helping your team connect socially helps your business..
Let's take a deeper look at how team members can receive benefits from virtual activities.
Completing any project with a distributed or international team requires collaboration. But it is difficult for a remote team to build deep connections with one another. Email, instant messaging, and other collaboration tools are often impersonal.
Hosting team activities over video conferencing platforms lets team members form stronger bonds. Without team building activities, these coworkers may otherwise never have face-to-face contact. It removes the formalities of collaborating and builds personal connections between coworkers. Plus, team building also allows team members to involve other family members. This works to build a meaningful coworker community where everyone is valued.
An office environment forces coworkers to interact with each other during the workday. And yet remote teams can build relationships with each other between major projects. They can take part in activities on their own time. Once the activity is complete, they can log out, which provides flexibility. You will find that even introverted coworkers enjoy group activities over video conferences.
A typical office environment can sometimes be cold and impersonal. However, with a remote team the conveniences of home also happen to be in their workspace. Thus, they are more likely to feel comfortable meeting and interacting with others. After all, every team member will be in an environment they are familiar with. This natural comfort of being in their own space will provide a sense of belonging. These safe spaces make it easier to share thoughts and ideas with one another.
Remote team building can help your team create an inclusive community. This happens in several ways. First, group activities help team leaders discover how their coworkers solve problems. As a manager or company owner, you can set policy based on how your team prefers to work. Second, activity moderators can guide social interactions with smaller group activities. This prevents cliques from forming and stops team members from isolating.
Virtual team building can benefit your whole workforce in separate ways. Here are a few ways that specific groups can benefits from team building exercises:
Busy executives often work independently on high-pressure activities that move your company forward. Yet, this isolation makes it challenging for team members to connect with others. Virtual group activities solve this problem by providing unstructured time to build relationships. It fosters growth between executives and team members. Virtual corporate team building will improve communication and promote active listening. Plus, executives will understand how to work effectively with the rest of your team.
Distributed and international teams will benefit from remote team building activities. When team members work in separate locations, it is easy to feel isolated. Hosting activities for team members in a low-pressure environment will build workplace culture. It also minimizes isolation, which is a frequent problem for a remote workforce.
team members might find it easier to communicate during virtual activities. However, this is not always the case for those who are shy or isolated. Fortunately, team leaders can identify situations where shy team members flourish. With this information, managers can plan work in a way that reduces panic and anxiety. Without team building activities, it's challenging to understand how people prefer to work.
Do those on your sales team seem to work best individually or as a group? Salespeople often find motivation from competition rather than collaboration. Unfortunately, this can often be to the detriment of the group. Working together on virtual team exercises, can teach salespeople the value of collaboration. Plus, they will develop presentation, communication, and listening skills. These valuable skills benefit both the group as a whole and the sales team’s prospects and clients.
Now that you know the benefits of team building, what are the potential challenges? Sometimes holding virtual activities can backfire if not implemented correctly. Here are some pitfalls your team may experience, and what you can do to overcome these problems:
Zoom Fatigue – If you notice that team members seem tired during team building activities, it might be from “Zoom fatigue.” To stop this from occurring, you should limit your video conferencing time. Allow plenty of breaks during long activities. Also be sure to not host so many team events that it starts to feel like a job. Keep team building separate from work and lighthearted if possible.
Failure to Break Through the 2-Dimensional Screen – It is easier to lose focus during a virtual call than it is with a face-to-face conversation. For this reason, a moderator must use dynamic presentation skills to offer variety. One way to keep things exciting is by changing activities often. Likewise, you can ask open-ended questions to enhance engagement. Another strategy is to break your team into smaller groups for certain activities.
Virtual team building helps coworkers learn more about each other. Although virtual team member engagement is challenging to maintain, it is not impossible. With enough preparation you can help coworkers form stronger bonds with each other. This will enhance your company culture, engage employees, and improve collaboration. With this in mind, do you want to improve the results of your remote workforce? If so, consider hosting exciting team building activities. They are an excellent way to keep remote workers engaged with other team members and with their position in your company.