Published: 29 Jun 2020
Updated: 24 Dec 2020
Category: Team Building , People Management , Human Resources

Unconventional Virtual Team Building Ideas to Enhance Team Collaboration

Unconventional Virtual Team Building Ideas to Enhance Team Collaboration

Following COVID-19, companies have had to respond quickly to identify ways to adapt and keep work running smoothly. It saw the rapid shift of employees moving into remote working situations and catapulted offices into moving their day-to-day work onto the Internet.

One thing that has suffered is the team-building exercises companies structure for their staff. However, the new norm needn’t spell the end of such exercises. Companies can adapt their regular activities and continue team building by making use of new media platforms such as video conferencing software.

This emphasis on media-driven collaboration can even be an opportunity beyond the COVID-19 outbreak to move towards encouraging collaboration among remote teams in general. Consider some of the following areas companies can work to use as innovative tools in strengthening their teams.

Virtual team building activities

Use virtual team activities to familiarise your team with working online in groups. Such virtual team activities can include whimsical exercises like story sharing or playing games. While it may seem irrelevant to the scope of a company, the point of such practices is to help employees get acquainted with the conferencing software while simultaneously helping to build good virtual team dynamics.

Remote workers have cited loneliness and difficulties collaborating as the biggest obstacles and it is where the human resource focus should be. Employers can consider off-hours activities in different approaches to help address the problems.

Popular activities to allow employees to interact in a shared and informal environment online are such as virtual Friday happy hour or movie nights with films voted by employees. Novel solutions companies can explore include team efforts through multiplayer online games, fitness challenges (e.g. electronically track progress of a selected exercise, and the team with the highest endurance or count wins), virtual cook-off, and more.

A popular activity can be a virtual Friday happy hour to allow employees to interact from their homes in a shared and informal environment, movie nights with the films voted by employees, but a novel solution a company can explore is introducing multiplayer online games among teams – it encourages inclusion and engagement, and promotes communication as a team, among other advantages.

Virtual team bonding

With remote working employees, many employers are adamant to keep team unity strong through means of virtual team bonding. In live team bonding exercises, many revolve around problem-solving activities. This can be emulated online through games such as puzzle solving and simulated problem-fixing, which can enable teams to really open up and work together. It will also add some excitement if there were team incentives to the activities. 

While a company team might be experienced in working together, time and effort is needed for them to adapt to group problem solving where physical meetings are not possible. Dropping by the desk of another, pantry and water cooler chat – many informal avenues where conversations used to take place are currently not viable, but employees can supplant some of these options. They can have private video conferencing channels for one-on-one discussions or conferencing systems for brainstorming sessions. The key in these is to practice and reinforce.

Familiarity is Key

To get the maximum benefit from virtual meetings, employees will need a level of familiarity that makes them comfortable working in the medium. Employers might initially want to focus on virtual team ice breaker ideas. To ease into it, some neat ice-breaker ideas can be as simple as employees showing their remote workplace, or a show-and-tell of their choosing (e.g. sharing of recipes, gardening tips, home improvement hacks, pets etc). Make it informal and open to some QnAs and the conversations might just flow. A lot of this can even be expanded into virtual clubs. Colleagues with common interests can explore book clubs, movie clubs, virtual band (making music together remotely), and more.

How these meetings take place, and the context, is less important than the goal of getting employees relaxed with the new communication medium and accustomed to communicating with it. You could even try virtual team outings, letting employees share a virtual trip to a holiday destination to give them some relief from the confines of their home to dream and plan their future vacations. The focal point is to get the employees used to the virtual medium as a team.

A Chance to Grow and Succeed

While companies and employees has been driven to accept remote work at a quicker pace, Covid-19 has also inadvertently hastened the remote work trend that was already in the process of growing. The pandemic can either be seen as something to be survived or as an opportunity to thrive and innovate. Effective utilisation of remote tools such as media conferencing software can be a significant deciding factor in how well companies can meet the challenges at this time.

The simple truth is the current pandemic will cause some businesses to fail. Moving the company’s day-to-day to a remote platform may not suit all companies, but for businesses that can survive and excel, a quick transition of technology that can make a difference is necessary, and video conferencing software is just one of the central tools for business continuity. The sooner technology adoption can happen, the faster employees can learn to embrace the proper use, and in turn, the company will come out even stronger post-pandemic.


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