Virtual teams under Lockdown find themselves forced to work under certain restrictions. Technology has for sure made it easier to work from home. But it’s not very good at allowing us to have “real” interactions. We can’t see our team members’ body language during virtual meetings. Often, we don’t know much about the others on our team, and we can’t connect with them. Online team-building activities can go a long way in compensating for these problems. But first, we have to understand what exactly affects team performance in situations like the pandemic.
Does The Team Trust The Leadership?
There’s no question good leadership is vital in virtual teams through the lockdown. Leaders strongly influence how teams work virtually, how they adapt to challenges and tackle hurdles. A good virtual leader is, for instance, someone who hosts online fun team building activities to bring the team together, who slips in and out of group windows checking in on each group. A good leader curates activities tailored for the team. They keep individuals and cultural expectations, etc. in mind when planning activities. They draw out each member to let everyone get a chance to participate. In this way, the extrovert doesn’t hog the discussion or the introvert doesn’t take a passive back-seat.
When it comes to communication and work, type of leadership plays a big role. Since it’s impossible to hold virtual meetings for every small decision, operational leaders who give clear tasks to team members may improve team performance. But this type of leadership can take away from team members’ contributions, which democratic or coaching leaderships support. There can be a negative impact on performance.
Each type of leadership has its pros and cons when it comes to virtual teams. A good leader needs to find a way to adapt their leadership style to work for virtual teams. One way to build the team’s trust in the virtual workplace is to host regular online team-building activities. Melbourne virtual teams can benefit from an hour or more of time spent getting to know each other, guided by a strong leader with clear ideas of their team-building goals and objectives.
How Cohesive Is The Team?
Team cohesion is how much members feel like they’re valuable members of the team. There’s enough evidence to tell us that the ability of team members to get along is vital to the team’s performance. One way for the team to be cohesive is through tasks that every member identifies with and finds rewarding. The leader’s ability to motivate and value members play a big role here of course. But so does the trust among members.
How will the team get along and trust each other if they barely get to see each other? Distance increases psychological distance. It’s the leader’s job to help develop cohesion in the team through the lockdown. Teams with members scattered across the globe need close coordination and effective communication to achieve goals together.
How Empowered Do Team Members Feel?
When the team leader favourably acknowledges team members and allows them to participate in decision-making, members feel empowered. They trust the leader. When the leader asks them for comments and opinions, they process the decisions based on the leader’s suggestions.
Evidence-based studies have shown that teams can be empowered in a few different ways:
- autonomy or decision-making freedom
- power or faith in the effectiveness of the team
- meaning, or how much do team members care about their tasks
- impact, or how far team members believe their tasks make important contributions
When the team feels empowered, it can even substitute the leadership tasks of a team leader. Regular communication with the leader and a shared vision builds trust, which is key. One of the ways in which the leader can keep track of how team members are feeling is through online team-building activities.
How Well Does The Team Communicate?
Virtual team members are generally unable to communicate in a deeper way as compared to members present at the same place. If there are mixed teams, where some members in countries without lockdown are able to meet, while others in restricted areas can’t, this can cause friction and conflict.
It’s crucial that team members communicate, share knowledge and coordinate to be effective and efficient. The more team members trust each other, the better they can coordinate.
How Much Do Team Members Trust Each Other?
Trust is built in various ways on a team. Open communication is important. So is responding to messages in a timely manner. Receiving feedback is also important for team members to feel they trust the others on the team. A positive tone of communication also helps.
Is The Team Helped With Skills Training?
Through the uncertainty of the lockdown, it’s become more important for team members to feel they are not sitting still. Skills training has become an important incentive for companies to offer their virtual team members. In fact, experts say skills training may be more important than leadership in building trust in the pandemic situation.
Why Is Virtual Team Building Important?
In a nutshell, we see that team performance in the lockdown depends on trust, communication, cohesiveness, and leadership. How do we achieve ideal levels of these factors when we’re restricted as to time and resources? The answer lies in virtual team building.
Virtual team-building gives leaders a clear avenue to pursue to build up trust and a sense of belonging. It helps to reduce conflict and increase creativity. It helps your team members understand one another better. They get more used to working remotely. Overall, virtual team-building boosts performance.
Benefits Of Virtual Team Building Activities
Online team building activities planned can help to build trust, if done right. Everyone is aware of the virtual happy hour on many Zoom meetings these days. They may have a good intention: to give team members the time to talk about their personal problems. But how often do we roll our eyes at the happy hour and think of things we’d rather be doing? Like catching up on the new Netflix show?
It’s important for cohesiveness that team-building be fun. Online fun team-building activities can range from scavenger hunts to virtual escape room games. The benefits of virtual team building are really felt when the strategies are effective.
- Helping remote workers feel less isolated and lonely
- Helping remote workers feel supported
- Rekindling excitement and motivation by connecting with excited team members
- Offering members the opportunity to build trust and gain more trust for more autonomy
- Helping strengthen relationships among team members
- Improving productivity
- Promoting teamwork and encouraging better communication & coordination
- Reducing stress and helping with mental health
Ideas For Effective Online Team Building Activities
Games engage team members better than free talk can. Not everyone is willing to share during happy hour. On the other hand, the team leader can find online team-building activities that are engaging and inclusive for all.
A good place to start is with trivia nights or escape games. Ice-breaker questions are great to start with, such as 2 Truths and 1 Lie games. Escape games need team members to follow clues and get out of locked rooms.
Online lunch dates are solid options, but they are lower in fun than games. Online movie nights are likely to be more fun than lunch dates. There are plenty of movie hosting options online for virtual teams.
Video charades are another fun game to bring into virtual happy hours. Remote teams are also enjoying games like Photo of Your Life Challenge, in which each team member sums up their life through a photo taken on their phone. This can be a happy hour exercise where team members get to share their stories. It’s more organized and fun than an open free-for-all happy hour where the extroverts tend to do most of the talking and the introvert sits back.
One of the most popular online fun team-building activities is online Bingo, which is high in fun and low in effort. Also fun and impactful is War of the Wizards, an engaging game globally popular that involves wizards and minions, storytelling, solving puzzles, and more.
Scavenger hunts can be a lot of fun if done right. You can have team games or individual games. A fun virtual team-building activities night needs good organization, and there are services that can take on the job of planning and host for you.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around the pandemic and lockdown. It’s unclear when travelling to workplaces will go back to being the norm and not the exception. Remote working has its benefits for many teams, but for others, it doesn’t work as well. With online team building activities, Melbourne teams can make remote work more tolerable and productive.
Games that bring the team together can help alleviate loneliness and foster a closer bond between members. There are a lot of ideas out there, you just have to find the team-building activities in Melbourne that can work for your team.