The Lockdown hasn’t been good for the morale of many teams working remotely. Past the honeymoon period of work-from-home – though it continues to save us time and energy by cutting commute – the strains of remote work are apparent. Partly it’s because our current crop of virtual meeting apps doesn’t support the complexity of human interactions. It’s now more than ever we’re missing being able to pick up on the nuances of body language when we pitch an idea to the team. Virtual work-related meetings are often awkward and unappealing. Plus, the team-building exercises are no longer possible – or are they? We recommend virtual team-building activities as the juice to fuel good teamwork.
It turns out it’s possible to enjoy creative virtual team building activities on Zoom or your preferred team meeting app. It’s easy to turn around with cynicism and say – how do we work out online fun team-building activities when we can’t even talk over each other and conversations feel like an awkward script we haven’t seen before? Or when just one person does most of the talking to give the meeting some structure? Or when team members are in different time zones and some are fighting sleep?
With a little creativity and help from pros in the field, team leaders can get around these problems and host virtual team-building activities that bring the energy back. In fact, it’s highly recommended to do so, if you want to get your business back on track despite the Lockdown. If they do it right, team leaders can take the pressure off the team with online team-building activities. Melbourne’s virtual workplaces need a boost, and team building is the way.
Why Are Virtual Team-Building Activities Important?
Remote teams don’t have opportunities to socialise, or if they do, these are few and far between. It’s hard to get to know each other or get acquainted with new members through the boxed windows of the virtual meeting app. It can cause team members to feel disconnected from the team. New team members may feel isolated if they can’t join in on the (virtually limited) camaraderie between old members who know each other well.
Such feelings can lead to conflict. And these negative feelings can spiral into unproductivity that hurts the team and hits the bottom line.
On the flip side, online fun team building activities can help work-from-home teams overcome these challenges. They help build a shared understanding between members and spread a sense of community, both vital to productivity.
Let’s take a look at certain scenarios and why team-building is important in these scenarios.
Teams that have never met before
When teams in medium to large businesses go virtual, it’s quite possible members have never met each other before. This scenario also applies when remote workers from all around the world get together for a meeting. With online team building activities, Melbourne teams can get to know each other better and work better together.
Opportunities to build rapport in person don’t usually exist on virtual platforms. Getting to know team members and establishing genuine, respectful partnerships with them is the basis of open communication. Team members with good rapport perform better and move towards growth.
Studies have shown that team-building exercises help to build a positive work environment and trust between team members. When team members know and trust each other, they work better together in a more straightforward manner. No matter how much a team member says they work better from home, they still need to be open with other members, ask for help and receive feedback graciously. Without rapport, it’s not possible to establish a positive and supportive team.
That’s where virtual team-building exercises come in. Instead of allowing technology to rule us, we can make technology work for us and build effective teams remotely.
Teams that know each other
Even teams that are familiar with each other are bogged down by the restrictions of virtual meetings and the stresses of the Lockdown. People stuck at home all day, every day, with their personal lives pushing into their work lives are stressed. Unable to share this with the team in the setting of a virtual meeting may isolate them and make them feel disconnected. There’s definitely a place for a happy hour in your work schedule when the team can talk about personal things. And there’s a place for organised online fun team-building activities.
How to Set Up Online Fun & Team Building Activities
- Goals & Objectives:
The first thing a team leader will need to do is define their objectives and goals. What’s the purpose of the team-building exercise? Do they want to improve the team’s negotiation skills or their project management skills? The outcome to aim for in the team-building exercise needs to be aligned to these goals. It’s possible to develop virtual group team-building activities for the workplace to target different areas of team and individual growth.
- Time Allocation:
The team leader will also need to keep in mind how much time they have for each of the activities they are planning. “Icebreaking” activities will take less time than problem-solving activities involving collaborative efforts.
Always allow time for introductions, for virtual ice-breakers so team members who’ve never met get to know each other.
- Cultural & Individual Considerations:
The team leader must also take into account cultural considerations and the personalities of individuals. Do you have a team member who must take an hour for evening prayers? Don’t schedule a team-building exercise at that hour. Are there some extroverts who always take over discussions? Do you have introverts on the team who tend to be slow to join in on discussions?
Always take into consideration the different ways in which people can contribute. The team leader must make sure everyone has a voice.
Virtual Group Team Building Activities for the Workplace
It’s to be expected that most virtual team-building activities today will be held on Zoom. It’s easy to find ways to engage the team through fun games like the following:
Online scavenger hunt: Scavenger hunts are always fun and a staple on many physical team-building exercises. Take the game online in an easy variant. Divide the team into groups, and hand them a list of items to find around their home. Whichever team finds all the items on the list, wins!
You could make the reward something special, like the choice of movie for Movie Night (see below.)
Solve a mystery: Based on the thrill of escape games, you could set up a virtual mystery for your team to solve. Start with a story, give the teams clues, and let them play detective.
Virtual Employee Engagement Fun Group Activities On Calls
You can also design online team-building activities Melbourne teams will enjoy for conference calls.
Twenty questions: A childhood game with a twist can be turned to good use as a virtual team-building activity for slow days. All members will send in certain details about themselves to one person, privately. The person who leads the game will ask questions, allowing the other members to guess who is being referred to. This game helps members find out interesting details they never knew about other team members.
Share a funny memory: This one is a no-brainer. Let team members polish up their story-telling skills and share a memory that makes them laugh. There are few online fun team-building activities as simple and effective as this game. Team members get a glimpse into the lives of the other members, which is always useful.
Other virtual group team building activities for the workplace
Here are more virtual employee engagement fun & group activities to be enjoyed by Melbourne teams.
Movie nights: Set up movie nights once a week and bring the entire team together. There are plenty of virtual solutions to host virtual movie nights with modern technology. Have members choose a movie to watch through a poll or give the winning teams from other games the right to choose for the week.
Trivia night: A trivia night can be played as teams or as individuals. Make sure to have a good blend of questions that include everyone on the team.
Ice-breaker truth & lie: Every team member has to tell a truth about themselves and a lie. The others have to guess which is which!
There are plenty more such ideas for virtual employee engagement & fun group activities to bring the team together for as long as it takes for the Lockdown to be lifted.
Team leaders should check in often, rotate around the teams and see how they are getting on.
When the exercises are done, it can be helpful to ask participants how well the structure worked. Ask them relevant questions to identify areas that need improving: listening, offering feedback, etc. If a team is not forthcoming, the facilitator may want to speak directly and get involved in encouraging more engagement.
In a nutshell, virtual team-building activities offer the following benefits:
- boosting team morale
- increasing collaboration
- increasing productivity
- fighting loneliness
- encouraging creativity
- increasing motivation
- improving communication
- reinforcing positive behaviour
- offering growth & development at a low cost
There are no limits to the virtual team-building activities that can be organised online. The key is to keep these exercises regularly, not just a one-off thing. Rapport must be maintained, especially in these challenging times. It’s easy to slip into isolation without the help of other team members, especially for employees who are living alone.