When organizations have switched to remote work during the pandemic, employees have rejoiced in the flexibility in their work lives. However, the positivity around remote work was short lived as employees soon experienced a disconnect with their employers. Research has also found that on-site workers feel a 64% more connected with their team members than remote workers do. Therefore, employers are turning towards team-building activities to improve connectivity with one another and the organization. These activities are considered crucial to productivity and employee morale. For example, team building activities for employees in Singapore have been a point of concern during the pandemic-induced lockdowns. However, facilitators were quick to pivot to virtual team-building activities that are tailored for remote teams. Ever since organizations have been keen on organizing virtual team-building activities regularly.
Here are 5 ways in which remote work can be more effective with the help of team bonding activities:
Improve mental health of employees
Contrary to expectations that remote work will improve employee mental health; remote work has caused a dip in employee mental health. Employees experienced feeling depressed, burn out, feeling lonely, disconnected from the organization, etc. As the trend and shift towards remote work accelerate, it is important for organizations to address concerns around employee mental health. Team building activities are one way to improve employee mental health. These activities act as stress busters and allow time for play and relaxation amid busy or long work schedules. While being stress busters, these activities also help employees feel connected, heard, and important. Examples of activities that improve employee mental health are virtual sports, virtual mindfulness activities, or virtual game days.
Build a positive organizational culture
The importance of building a positive organizational culture is not limited to physical offices. The need for positivity, trust, integrity, and empathy are heightened in a remote work environment. And owing to less interactions in a remote environment building a culture with shared values becomes hard. Virtual team building activities help in building a positive organizational culture by bringing together teams of different sizes and types. In remote environments, the scope for interactions and relationship building is minimal. Therefore, these activities are needed to act as the bridge between management and team members. Examples of activities that build a positive organizational culture are pitch nights, wellness days, philanthropic events etc. The difference between activities that help in building a culture and others is that culture-building activities must always align with the organization’s core values.
Break down barriers
Remote teams are prone to physical and mental barriers before they build a collaborative team environment. The barriers need to be broken for the team members to come together, share ideas, share resources, and be productive. Virtual team building activities are a great way to break barriers in remote teams. When the goal is to break down barriers, activities that involve playing or doing an activity with a diverse group of people can have a significant impact. Also, these activities help in alluding to fears and insecurities involved in interacting with a diverse group of people. Some examples of activities that break barriers are virtual world tours, cultural adventures, introvert-extrovert team games etc. The key in these activities is to bring together the differences and achieve a goal.
Align teams with the organization’s vision
Aligning team members with the organization’s vision is crucial to the success of any organization. When team members believe in the organization’s vision, they go the extra mile needed to achieve it. However, motivating employees to do so requires efforts towards employee personal growth and wellbeing. Team building activities are one way to emphasize the organization’s commitment to employee well-being. These activities bring together the organization’s leadership and team members to share ideas, visions, and opportunities for the organization’s growth. When the goal is to motivate employees and align them with the organization’s vision, the activities must be organized with the help of an expert facilitator and involve pre and post briefing. Without a clear objective and briefing, the activities will not be effective in motivating teams.
Improve team communication
Most of the communication in remote work is digital which reduces the scope for building relationships. Studies have also found that remote employees have been experiencing ‘Zoom Fatigue’. This lack of relationships or personal communication can be prevented through virtual team building activities. Participating in an activity or making time for fun, allow team members to understand each other better and forge long lasting relationships. Some examples of virtual activities that help in building relationships are icebreakers, virtual puzzle games, virtual scavenger hunts etc. Activities with the goal of improving communication do not necessarily have to be a game, they can also be organized as a weekend group discussion or debate too.
While virtual team building activities are not a foolproof way to boost employee productivity in remote work, they are sure to have a significant impact. Organizing them regularly, planning in advance, listening to employee feedback enhances the impact of these activities.