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Tips for virtual team building

Tips for virtual team building

by Sarita RAO 6 min. 06.01.2022
Almost two year since the office went virtual, team building remains important to employee cohesion and well-being. So what can your team do to bond?
Some virtual team building ideas to make the connection amongst home-working colleagues
Some virtual team building ideas to make the connection amongst home-working colleagues
Photo credit: Shutterstock

With the spread of the Omicron variant, many offices are resuming homeworking practices. 

You may already be holding regular virtual team meetings, but how can you unleash the dynamism of a homeworking team, particularly if you have new team members who have joined since the start of the pandemic and not had a chance to meet their co-workers. 

Increasingly employees complain of feeling isolated or out of the loop and detached from work and their colleagues. In some situations, working from home can mean working and living in one room in isolation, with little physical or verbal contact. For others, it’s been a rollercoaster of working in a shared space with flatmates and spouses, even sometimes children schooling from home. 

January is an ideal time to include a little team-building and connection in your regular meetings, or even try an off-site event or virtual team-building exercise, to recreate a little of the office atmosphere, get teams working together or just simply add a human, social element to work.

Day-to-day team health

Missing the commute?

Travel time can be an opportunity to listen to the radio, a favourite Spotify playlist or read a newspaper. Encourage employees to take at least fifteen minutes a day doing just this, by block booking out diaries for a little downtime they might normally have on their daily commute.

Add some fun to regular team calls

It’s pretty easy to use ice-breakers to start a meeting with, but you’ll need to decide just how close the team is, and how willing they are to share personal information.

If you want to play it safe you can ask each team member to come up with a fun fact about themselves. Read them out on a team call and see who can guess which fact relates to which colleague.

Alternatively, set your team a challenge to talk about their favourite holiday destination, book or TV show. Other ideas include asking what title they’d give their autobiography or if they could be an expert at something, what they would choose.

If you just want to liven up a team meeting, play a bit of digital Pictionary – there are plenty of online apps and tools.

Virtual lunch, dinner or happy hour

Encourage team members to book a virtual coffee break or lunch with a colleague, particularly if they are working on something together. For a bit of social connection (the sort that many get from team drinks or water cooler moments) you can put in place a happy hour. Keep it to the end of the working day but not too late for colleagues who have family commitments.

Online team building ideas

If you need something to get your team working together cohesively and communicating better, many of the usual team-building event suppliers have taken things online. Here’s a few ideas:

Escape rooms & murder mysteries

Several Luxembourg companies are offering online virtual escape rooms and some can even accommodate small groups on site with specific sanitation measures. If your team has been working virtually for a long time, this will help get everyone back together physically for an hour.

Escape games get teams to work collaboratively on problem solving
Escape games get teams to work collaboratively on problem solving

Three scientists are dead, but they have left behind a map and encrypted plans in The Pegasus project a virtual challenge offered by 216k and Brothers Events. The escape game encourages people to collaborate on problem solving and time management, examining each room virtually. 

Urban Gaming has a similar online game in which your team tries to track a forged painting, with the opportunity to interrogate expert witnesses. VTX (Virtual Team Experience) runs a Heist theme in which participants must find the Vinci painting in a 45 minute online session, using clues given at the start.

The VTX team also offer a 60 minute session suitable for smaller teams between 4-12 people which involves a sci-fi virtual journey using every element teams find in the virtual rooms to solve codes, puzzles and riddles. Larger teams can be separated into smaller ones. Longer versions (75 minutes) focus on finding a Hollywood script or an ancient gem.

Outside quests

216k has outside quests and scavenger hunts, including a new idea to discover Einstein’s greatest secret, or another to save the world from a deadly virus (perhaps a bit too close to the bone right now), and yet another to travel back in time to prevent the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. These quests are also offered at locations outside the city.

Urban gaming has an interesting outdoor quiz which uses old photos and other clues to help you find buildings and landmarks in Luxembourg City or to guess what the Place d’Armes might have looked like under French rule. It can be played over a few days.

Online quiz challenges

Test your co-workers on Luxembourg’s culture, food and history in a quiz from Ghanimé. Alternatively your team can each be one of today’s world leaders, saving the earth from a crisis by solving puzzles and riddles using an event app from Brother Events. The same company can organise quiz nights, which follow a theme much like trivial pursuit with questions on sport, music, entertainment and history – a nice addition to liven up a virtual happy hour.  

Cocktails, wine and movies

If you need your team to be creative but perhaps kick-back a little and enjoy something more sociable, then you could try a cocktail night, where the ingredients for a cocktail are delivered to each team member. A virtual bar tender will then show everyone how to prepare a cocktail and each participant will make theirs, with the bar tender choosing the winner (based on appearance not taste – so get those umbrellas out).

Ghanimé offers a virtual wine tasting challenge where teams are sent a box in advance for an afternoon or early evening event lasting about 1.5 hours in which an oenologist takes everyone through an interactive tasting experience with clues and wine mysteries to be solved. There are shorter versions with beer or chocolate.

Want to be a movie director for the day? Test your teams acting and directing skills by making a virtual video to share (and hopefully laugh about). There’s a twist, in that no one knows the ending of their own story, but the team finds out during the shooting. 

republished from Financial Times

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