Team building activities are a great way to connect with your team, establish or improve relationships and build trust and company loyalty. They are absolutely essential for any company to work smoothly, boost productivity and improve team collaboration.
However, as working from home became the new norm, many aspects of our well-established company life changed, including team building activities. Adding a global pandemic into the equation didn’t help either. Many employees are experiencing the remote work lifestyle for the very first time, causing a lot of stress, uncertainty and even employee burnout. Managers, on the other hand, are facing a new set of challenges as they have to learn how to manage teams remotely, keep productivity levels as high as possible and preserve good working relationships between team members.
One way in which managers and team leaders can ensure that their teams are in high spirits during this turbulent time, and have good working relationships is to engage them in team building activities during quarantine. In the pre-pandemic world, these types of activities usually consisted of workshops, retreats or even casual drinks after work. But in the current state of pandemic, this is not quite possible.
Of course, companies can always put things on hold and not worry about virtual team building activities during quarantine. In fact, many managers think that as long as the employees have a working computer and a communication channel, everything is perfect. They think walking that extra mile and coming up with ways to show that the company really cares about the wellbeing of their employees, remote or not, is absolutely redundant in the current situation. Well, they might have to think twice.
It’s important for teams to feel connected not just on Skype but on a personal level as well while working from home. Working from home is stressful and if managers or team leaders don’t pay attention to their virtual teams, their business will inevitably suffer due to low productivity and work efficiency. That’s why, we’ve come up with 5 great virtual team building activities during quarantine that every manager can use and every team can enjoy. Let’s go
What are the Benefits of Virtual Team Building Activities During Quarantine?
Remote team building is powerful enough to build strong working relationships, which in turn will inevitably improve productivity, employee retention, engagement and morale. That’s why it shouldn’t be so easily overlooked.
Team building activities over Zoom, Skype or any other video conferencing platform can turn into a fun and exciting weekly ritual that will bring team members together and make them feel less isolated. This can have a huge impact on how well they work together and coordinate tasks and responsibilities.
If we have to come up with a list, these are just some of the positive outcomes of having virtual team building activities during quarantine:
- Improved communication
- Increased collaboration
- Increased motivation
- Improved productivity and efficiency
- Positive reinforcement
- Identify leadership qualities
- Bonding and better relationships
- Energy boost
- Creativity boost
- Manager approachability
- Fun and excitement
As you can see, there are definitely one or two benefits of conducting team-building activities, whether it’s with remote teams or in-office teams. However, in a highly disruptive environment, such as your home, a quick team building exercise can do wonders. A 10-minute check-in to see how everyone is doing working from home is sometimes all that’s needed. Provide a safe space for your quarantined team to vent and you will immediately see the difference.
Last but not least, it’s important to mention that virtual team building activities during quarantine will cost managers and companies almost nothing. The following part of the article will explore five great ideas that companies from all over the world are using to motivate their remote workers. Check them out!
5 Best Virtual Team Building Activities During Quarantine
- Virtual Quiz
A favorite pre-pandemic Friday night activity, loved by many, used to be attending a quiz night at a local bar. Good news – quiz lovers can still enjoy a quiz night while staying at home. Whether it’s a quiz afternoon or a quiz evening, a virtual quiz is definitely one of the best virtual team building activities. It’s also quite simple.
Divide your team into several groups and prepare a lot of questions. Make it a theme quiz night (movie quiz, music quiz, world events, celebrities, etc.) or you can even make questions that are about the team members themselves.
Make the game even more exciting by creating your own rules. Come up with fun nicknames and make buzzer noises. Get everyone into a competitive mood by adding rounds for extra points and bonuses.
The great thing about having a casual quiz event on Zoom or Skype is that it’s relatively easy to prepare for it and navigate it. If you’re the manager or team leader you will be in charge of making and asking the questions. The rest is pretty straightforward. The quiz will build healthy competition between team members and will inevitably strengthen teamwork and communication.
- Picture Sharing
If you don’t have time for a lengthy virtual team building exercise but still want to bring in a little fun and excitement to your team members, consider picture sharing activities. Picture sharing activities are a great way for a team to bond in no time. It’s fun, it will definitely facilitate laughter, surprising responses and will leave employees feeling more connected.
So, how to do it? Set a designated time, usually at the beginning of the weekly online team meeting, for each team member to share one personal photo that is not related to work. The photo can contain pets, hobbies, family members, vacation memories, etc. Then, have the team member talk about the photo and why they chose it.
You, as a manager, are encouraging a team member to share part of their personal life to the rest of the workers This makes teamwork fun and it can bring a new element of closeness to the virtual workplace.
- Virtual Book Club
Reading is definitely a hobby but it’s also great for your professional and daily life. Many managers encourage employees to read and one way to do so is to establish a virtual book club with their remote team. Set up a few rules so that it can all run smoothly.
- Assign a book for each week that every team member should read. If they don’t finish it in time, they will be excluded from the team building meeting where a book discussion would take place. This is a good way to measure accountability.
- Start with shorter source materials as not everyone reads as fast as you might think. Make sure each employee can keep up. Short readings are a great beginning. You can gradually move on to long or challenging texts or books as the weeks go by.
Virtual book clubs are a great way for remote teams to socialize and mingle. It improves their critical thinking and makes employees open to different ideas and opinions. Book discussions are also a fantastic way to develop better communication and listening skills.
- Play War of the Wizards Live Game
These days there are many storytelling games, designed specifically for online team building activities. One popular game is War of the Wizards. The story goes like this – a group of wizards have been at war and your team members become the wizards’ minions. They work together to develop stories, cast various spells and overcome obstacles together.
The game lasts for about 90 minutes and it’s played on Zoom. There’s even an expert host that will guide your team through the successful conclusion of the game.
War of the Wizards (or any similar interactive multiplayer game) is perfect for anyone who enjoys role playing games and storytelling. It’s also one of the best virtual team building activities during quarantine for teams that are working in the game industry.
- Virtual Dance Party
You’re looking for a virtual team building activity that will boost the energy of your workers? How about a dance party? Spontaneous dance parties during video calls are a brilliant source of fun and a little exercise before continuing with your business meeting.
Start your call with a dance and make sure everyone can participate as they join. You can also have “dance breaks” in the middle of the meeting to boost energy. They are also a great way to close the hour-long serious business meeting.
Prepare a playlist or find one on the Internet. There are plenty of songs to choose from.
Quarantine and working from home doesn’t mean that we should feel disconnected from our co-workers. Yes, the interaction is not the same but thankfully, we have so many tools that can help us feel a little bit closer during these difficult times.
Team bonding is essential and it should definitely be a priority for any company with virtual teams. It can increase motivation, collaboration and productivity. Moreover, it makes employees feel connected and valued. In turn, they become more dedicated to their responsibilities and the organization as a whole.
Moreover, team building activities are useful not only for team members but also for managers. By organizing and managing such activities, they can improve their leadership, communication and listening skills. Not just that but through team building activities leaders can recognize each employee’s hidden talents and skills, which can make task delegation more efficient.
The above mentioned virtual team building activities during quarantine are just a few from a long list of creative activities you can engage your team members with. With the right activities, you will have no difficulty getting everyone on the same page. After all, you know your team better than anyone else! Remember to laugh, relax, bond and have a little bit of fun during this difficult pandemic work environment.