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Team building is an important aspect of running a business that should always be a priority. Due to the unfortunate occurrences of 2020, the traditional forms of team building have been made impossible in most cases. The global pandemic has caused a huge disruption to most of the world’s industries, and it has negatively affected teams and individuals in various ways. With the help of remote team building specialists like Zing Events, businesses can offer virtual events that help their staff stay connected and positive.   

The challenges

Doing anything remotely can represent various challenges when people are accustomed to actual or real-world settings. The first barrier to overcome is in introducing employees to a slightly different and modernised format. Here it is important to focus on the benefits of the changed experience while also being mindful of the difficulties. 

Some people find team building sessions enjoyable because they involve a change of location and environment. This represents a break from the normal working routine and a temporary change of perspective. 

The social element is the most important factor in team building sessions, and for many people socialising in a virtual space is much more challenging. When people connect in person there is an extra dimension that is missing from virtual connections. This should be kept in mind when planning and organising remote events, but it should not be enough to prevent people from participating in events. 

Although virtual events may not have some of the benefits of events in the real world, it is essential that we stay connected with our social and business networks. This helps people to stay motivated in their tasks, be assured by the experience of others, and it prevents feelings of loneliness and isolation in those working remotely. 

The advantages

Team building in a virtual space comes with a series of additional benefits when compared with traditional team building. These can be to the advantage of both employers and employees, and they can be applied to an appropriate degree. 

All kinds of team building are shown to improve employee motivation and help to develop a positive company culture. Team building is also proven to increase productivity by enabling employees to work together more effectively and efficiently. 

Team members are better able to communicate by understanding each other better and breaking down barriers of mistrust. It also enables improved collaboration between coworkers through trust and knowledge of the experience and abilities of others. 

In addition to this, team building provides employees with positive reinforcement by giving them recognition for their contribution and behaviours. This can be built into team building sessions and act as a way of affirming company values. 

Team building sessions can also help businesses to develop innovativeness and creativity. Fresh team building activities can present employees with new challenges that require team members to use their skills of imagination and lateral thinking, and inspire others. 

When team building is carried out in a virtual space there are extra benefits that can be realised by everyone. 

2020 has seen a new trend of people that are forced to work from home. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression which can have detrimental psychological effects and lead to reduced productivity. Virtual team building is a way that people can feel they are in touch with others and part of a community. Especially in difficult times when there are common experiences of stress and anxiety, individuals need to socialise with their colleagues to share feelings and show sympathy or solidarity.   

Virtual team building is more flexible and convenient for people to organise in a space that suits them. This means they can be more comfortable, relaxed and ready to participate. 

For businesses that are trying to cut costs, remote team building has the added benefit of making savings in different areas. This includes the cost of hiring a physical space for a team building event, as well as snacks and drinks and additional costs. Money can also be saved on travel expenses, for employers and employees alike. 

The approaches

For those uninitiated in remote team building, software tools are required for video conferencing, collaboration and screen sharing. 

For video conferencing and screen sharing, popular tools include Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and WebEx. For collaboration, tools such as Slack, Google Docs, Trello and Microsoft Teams are popular. For more complex setups, hiring an IT company should be considered. 

For virtual team building there should be a leader who will encourage participation, facilitate exercises, manage involvement and communicate tasks and activities to be carried out. They will also need to manage time effectively so that activities can be completed and outcomes reached. 

The types of activities used in sessions can vary depending on the objectives, the number and the familiarity of participants with each other. 

In activities that are intended as ice-breakers, participants can share photos of themselves or things that relate to their lives in some way. Other members can guess at the significance of the pictures, they can ask questions, or the owner can simply explain. This can be an effective way of introducing members to each other, or becoming more familiar. 

An example of a more task-based activity that involves communication skills, participants can be asked to draw five simple images that best represent the company. The participants take turns to present the images and effectively communicate the images and the reasons for them, as if to aliens who have just landed on earth. 

It is sometimes a good idea to carry out a scavenger hunt where different teams are required to complete various tasks, such as taking a photo in a mirror or wearing a silly hat. 

While there are some barriers to team building in a remote space, there are also numerous benefits when it is managed in the best possible way. Provided that the essential resources are in place, and employees are under the guidance of specialists who are experienced in the field, remote team building events are sure to be successful.