Remote teams have become the ‘new normal. Working from home has resulted in a higher productivity rate, less stress levels, and better business for organizations. We can see a clear shift in the work culture all across the globe. Employees have been able to maintain a better work-life balance, save more, and work with added zeal and enthusiasm from the comfort of their homes. However, this new change in the work culture that was caused by the pandemic has also posed new challenges for managers and employees alike. Hiring a virtual employee and ensuring clear communication, the flow of work, and the well-being of the resource is one of the key concerns for employers today. Along with that, a lack of professional support or guidance can also demotivate or negatively affect an employee’s performance.
In order to meet these challenges, companies have adopted different methods and techniques of team building and communication. They can not only solve the underlying issues but also boost employees’ morale, making them feel more involved and supported, and create a healthy work environment despite the physical distance.
Building a virtual team and turning it into a community/group of people who share work experiences, ideas, and also personal challenges is what all team leaders should work towards in the current circumstances.
Here are a few virtual team-building activities which are easy to implement and will surely leave a good impact on your team members.
- Plan a happy hour – We are aware that long working hours and challenging assignments can drain energy levels and concentration ability. Planning a virtual happy hour to meet colleagues and unwind can be a good idea. While we were working from office spaces, we had access to coffee shops and cafeterias for breaks to bond with colleagues. A virtual happy hour can be a time to do just that. Using any of the available online video tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts, you can schedule these calls once/twice a week or short break every day. Avoid talking about work and try to utilize this hour for team building and social conversations.
- Online fitness club – Physical fitness directly affects our mental health and productivity. The lack of movement and long working hours take a toll on our health and to solve this problem, teams can keep each other motivated. They can form groups to discuss and share information about their fitness regime, share record challenges for running, walking, Fitness apps available in the market can help you keep a tab on your daily exercise score and if you wish, you can share it with your group to motivate them.
- Virtual Coworking – Thanks to technology, you can still work alongside your teammates on the same project and discuss ideas and suggestions without any hassle. Team leaders can guide and mentor their team throughout their project timelines. This ensures that employees don’t feel alone and receive the same support and guidance to finish challenging assignments successfully.
- Book Club – This never gets old. A virtual book club to share book recommendations, reviews, and experiences about reading always proves to be a great way to rejuvenate. Book reading also has added benefits like an increased knowledge base, vocabulary, and gain in perspective, which not only help you evolve as an individual but can also inspire your team to do the same.
- Online drawing activities – It’s a virtual team activity that is engaging, simple, and can help relieve stress. You can access software for drawing like Drawsaurus or Drawsize, choose a multiplayer option and start playing drawing games.
- Virtual celebrations – Team leaders should encourage birthdays, festivals and other occasions to be celebrated among the team. It’s a great way to learn about the members in your workgroup, share the joy, and find new sources of motivation for work.
- Online games – There’s an endless list of icebreaking games, virtual tours, and word games available. You and your team members can choose any to start with and explore. Playing virtual games together can provide an environment for colleagues to open up and feel comfortable. This will also reflect positively during work.
- Organize a workshop on holistic wellness – The pandemic has brought everyone’s attention back to the basics of living a healthy life. Physical, mental, and emotional well-being form the core upon which a person can build a life and achieve goals. Work performance can increase up to tenfold when we take care of our well-being in a holistic manner. Having discussions on mental health, physical fitness, yoga practices, and mindfulness can help a team grow dramatically. Hosting online workshops or webinars can be a great way to approach this and educate your team.
- Movie night – If you have a team of movie lovers, this exercise can be fruitful in many ways. Your team can decide upon a movie/show and watch it on the same night or over the weekend. This can be discussed during the happy hour or in a separate group for movies. It is a fun and insightful way to learn about each other’s perspectives and strengthen your bond as a team.
- Group calls and meetings – Last but not least; something as simple as connecting on group calls with your team often and having meetings about any small or big issue that they might face while working remotely can go a long way. Individual calls with office friends is also a great way to feel supported and guided while working remotely.
Summary – Hiring a virtual employee can be easy and beneficial in many ways but it comes with a few challenges of its own. If you are determined to make a successful collaboration with your team and clients, a transparent and continuous flow of communication is key. While the virtual world gives us access to most things, it cannot give us insight into a person’s mind unless we make the effort. That being said, if the basics of remote working are established from the beginning, it has proven to be a more productive option. Companies receive better results and have happier employees when they are taken care of and given the space and liberty to work remotely. Creating a virtual team and still maintaining good productivity and performance rate is a sign of a company’s true organizational and team-building skills.