Do you remember your first days of school each year growing up? For most of us, these days were filled with getting to know our teacher, classmates, and basic classroom guidelines. Diving into real schoolwork didn’t happen for at least a few days. Instead, time was invested in games, crafts, and other activities that allowed classmates to build relationships and form a close-knit classroom family. The more comfortable you are in the classroom and with your fellow students, the more likely you are to participate, ask questions, and be an active player in the room.
A similar approach can be applied to workplace settings as workers engage in team building activities. All great leaders recognize the importance of having a team with a strong cohesive dynamic. A team built on talent alone can’t perform to the same capacity as one that also includes trust, understanding, and psychological safety. Leaders seeking to create deeper relationships with and between team members know that taking time away from typical work to connect with others is crucial in forming meaningful connections.
Team building is not a new phenomenon by any means. However, team building is seeing new circumstances as workers are communicating and meeting new hires from their computer screens. With more people working from home now more than ever, the necessity for team building has reached an all-time high and is accompanied by a new set of challenges. For tips and ideas for virtual team building, follow along below.
Kick Things off With an Icebreaker
To start off group meetings and check ins, begin with a quick icebreaker question. We’ve all participated in icebreakers before, so the concept should be familiar. Questions can be quick and simple, taking up only about 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the conference. The idea of starting with an icebreaker question is to get everyone engaged right off the bat and learn new facts about each other. Icebreakers are a fun and casual way to create conversation amongst team members and kick off a meeting.
To switch things up and invite creativity, take turns coming up with an icebreaker question. Questions can take on different structures (two truths and a lie, would you rather, etc.) as long as they’re inviting conversation, so have fun with it! Here are a few examples…
Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled?
What’s the last concert you’ve been to?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
For more ideas, check out Brightful Meeting Games, a company specializing in free browser icebreaker-style activities.
Grab a Bite From Across the Screen
Having lunch with a colleague or meeting up for Friday happy hour isn’t as feasible in a virtual work setting, especially in a pandemic world. Grabbing a bite in the middle or at the end of a workday has a way of relieving stress while also creating an opportunity to bond with your colleagues.
A similar effect can be experienced by moving the meal to a virtual date. Whether it be a monthly virtual luncheon or a weekly coffee chat over video conference, joining a team together in a casual setting will be a breath of fresh air for everyone.
Learn More and Get Social
On a more productive note, team bonding and skill building don’t have to be mutually exclusive. One way to intermingle the two is to ask team members which aspect of their job they’re most interested in learning more about, and break into groups based on common responses. During the work week, groups can meet virtually for an hour or two to research new information, share their findings, and discuss the topic further. While learning more about an important part of their job, individuals are also connecting with others who have similar work aspirations.
Implement an Adult Show-And-Tell
Here’s an activity that will flash you back to some of your earliest days in school: Show and Tell. Since everyone is already in their home, the setting is perfect to grab a personal item that holds value to you or has a fun story behind it. Storytelling is a fun and effective way to create relationships, and this activity will show you another side of your colleagues. By implementing this activity through a video chat once or twice a month,a lighthearted vibe will be added to the day.
Team building has been an important concept in the workplace for quite some time, but the landscape looks different now than it did even just a year ago. Companies, teams, leaders, and individuals alike are all adjusting to the new reality of workplace culture as it makes a full transition to the online world. Creating strong personal relationships with coworkers has never been more important than it is now. For more guidance on navigating the virtual work world, read up on the products and services that Knowted offers.