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Current technology makes it easier than ever for employees to work remotely.
While this presents many advantages, like healthy work-life balance and increased productivity, employees and business leaders lose out on valuable face-to-face connection.
Without that connection, teams may feel isolated, lonely, and unmotivated – all of which can lead to a serious decrease in productivity and overall employee morale. Luckily, there is a solution!
Virtual team building exercises are created to re-engage teams.
These activities are designed to promote creativity, team cohesion, trust, conflict resolution, and healthy relationships!
That being said, it’s important to make sure that you choose fun team building exercises! Why? Team building exercises that are boring or feel like extra work are most likely to have the opposite intended effect.
Here are some tips to make sure your virtual team building exercises are fun and engaging for everyone involved!
1. Start with Ice Breaker Activities
Ice breakers are great for teams just getting started with team building because they, well, break the ice!
These are simple, fun, team building exercises that get groups warmed up and comfortable talking with each other. This is especially important for remote teams that haven’t worked in-person with one another in a long time, or those who never have before.
The best option will depend on the needs of your specific team. For example, a standalone ice breaker would be a great idea if you have a new team member and want to get them acquainted with the rest of the group.
Ice breakers work well to preface an event for teams that haven’t had face-to-face time in a while. These teams may need an extra push to get re-familiarized with one another before they start their fun team building event.
2. Schedule Team Building During Work
No matter how fun a team building exercise is, most employees would probably agree that they don’t want to participate in required work events outside of their normal working hours.
If you are keen to end the week by rewarding your employees with a fun team building activity, consider ending the workday an hour or two early so you can finish the event by 5 p.m. (or whenever your regular day is over).
Planning your work days around team building exercises will show your team that you value their happiness and time just as much as you value their productivity.
Think of fun team building activities as both a reward and a method of motivation for your team and you may be surprised with the results!
3. Ensure the Team Building Activity is Accessible to All
Virtual team building activities are great for all teams – even ones that primarily work in an office setting – because they are accessible to most people.
Events that involve alcohol leave out people that don’t (or can’t) drink. Games that involve physical activity exclude those who have mobile limitations. Destination events might be difficult for those who need to stay close to home. While fun, these types of activities can be exclusive.
Designed to be played from either home or the office, online escape games are excellent virtual team building activities. No matter what size your team is, a virtual escape room by The Escape Game can handle your team! Yes, even if you have thousands of team members, we have a fun team building exercise perfect for you!
4. Encourage Collaboration over Competition
Team building activities are meant to guide teams to work together towards a common goal, both productively and efficiently. Sometimes, competition can encourage this, however the utilized team building activities shouldn’t focus on winning vs. losing.
For example, you may choose a team building activity centered on solving a mystery. The activity itself doesn’t define a “winner” or a “loser.” It simply requires individuals to put their heads together, answer questions, and solve a problem.
However, you can encourage some healthy competition by breaking the team up into smaller teams, giving them each the same mystery, and seeing who can solve it first. This little bit of competition can encourage teams to work together more efficiently than if there was nothing at stake.
You can up the ante by offering a small prize to the winning team. Perhaps they get to choose the next team building activity!
5. Ask for Feedback
How do you know if people think a team building activity is actually fun? Ask them!
As a team leader, you likely already know how important feedback is. Feedback tells us what we’re doing right and where we can adjust. You may have heard of a team building activity that was fun at another company and worked really well for them. But it just might not translate well to your team.
After a team building event, send out an email with a custom-made survey (Google Forms is free) and ask your team what they thought!
You might ask things like:
- On a scale of 1-10, how much fun did you have?
- What did you feel you got out of this event? Check all that apply (creativity, conflict resolution, teamwork, bonding, trust, communication, etc.)
- Would you like to participate in this virtual team building event again?
- What virtual team building event would you like to try next? (provide a few options and allow them to make their own suggestion)
6. Plan Team Building Exercises After Large Projects are Completed
You don’t necessarily need a reason to plan a virtual team building event – you can really get your team together for one at any time! However, it’s a great idea to plan a fun team building activity after your team has been working long and hard on a particular project.
After your team has shown their dedication to each other and the company, it’s your turn to show the company’s dedication to them. Instead of giving everyone a three-day weekend or letting them leave early on a Friday afternoon, consider taking a Friday off to engage with one another in a valuable – yet fun – way.
You can plan a fun virtual team building activity in the morning or right after lunch, and then allow your team to take the rest of the day off once it’s complete. This will show your team thanks for a job well done and reward them with a little bit of downtime, too.
7. Utilize an External Facilitator
Bringing in a person from an outside entity can help a virtual team building exercise really feel like something that’s completely separate from work, which might help make the activity even more effective.
In addition, external facilitators are usually very good at getting teams at attention and ready to complete the task at hand. They have been trained to explain the rules for the activity and to help out if anyone gets stuck along the way.
Here at The Escape Game, each and every one of our online adventures comes with a live game guide that will talk your team through their fun team building event and help keep the energy in the room up! They’re there for anything your team will need for the whole hour of play.
8. Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page
If you’re managing a large team with a lot of moving parts, you might not be aware of everyone’s schedule. Before you plan a virtual team building event, it might be a good idea to send out an email or survey that asks everyone where they are at with their deadlines, what day would be best for them, and how much time they can spare in their schedule to participate in a team building event – especially if you want to plan one that takes up a good portion of the day.
Once you have everyone’s feedback, create an event on a calendar that you share with every team member and send out an email notifying them that the event date has been set. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page because a surprise event – even one that is meant to be fun – can throw a wrench in someone’s work if they are running on a tight schedule.
9. Don’t Take it Too Seriously!
Remember, team building exercises are supposed to be fun at the end of the day. If your team doesn’t seem all that into the events that you’re selecting, consider asking for more specific feedback or invite them to choose their own adventure. If you have a smaller team, you could allow one person to choose an event and continue until everyone has selected one. This will give you a better idea of what you team is genuinely interested in and what really works for them.
Ready to plan your next fun virtual team building exercise? The Escape Game is ready for you! No matter how large or small your team is, we’ve got the perfect team building solution. Check out our Virtual Escape Games for Teams and give us a call for more info!