Promoting team unity is a bigger struggle with hybrid workforces. With hybridity predicted to be the new normal, managers are struggling to catch up with team building ideas to support workforce cohesion.
When the pandemic came along and shook up the way we do business forever, 40% of managers were completely unprepared to lead remote workers, and 41% are continuing to struggle with upkeeping engagement.
So how can leaders keep up with hybrid office team building to ensure teams are getting the most out of collaboration and feeling like a part of the team?
While remote work has its challenges and growing pains, the good news is that according to one study out of Stanford University, working from home has resulted in an average 13% increase in productivity.
Moreover, the vast majority of workers would actually prefer to find a new job rather than return to full time office working.
However, the Harvard Business Review notes that one of the biggest challenges of relying solely on digital communication is the loss of body language. Video conferencing offers a bridge to fill this gap to some extent, but continual meetings can be time consuming and stressful. The trouble can lie in miscommunication, particularly when teams aren’t well acquainted.
Luckily, there are great ways of bringing virtual teams together, through team building activities, which will allow workers to get to know one another better in a social setting. The results of more time to socialize with coworkers will create more effective pathways of communication as well as more engagement and higher productivity – what’s not to love about that?
Once a week getting together and chatting about everything other than work. Friday afternoons when people are already starting to mentally shift toward the weekend presents a perfect opportunity to chit chat and get to know each other better. The idea is to talk about anything and everything except work, just like they would do at the watercooler.
Many of us look forward to taking a load off after work. Cocktail hour immediately after work or in the last half hour can give workers a low-barrier activity to socialize. This activity does not even need to include actual alcohol – perhaps it can be a coffee party, since it’s really just about having a tasty beverage and chatting.
If you have sports lovers in the office why not provide a proverbial watercooler where they can talk sports or even organize a fantasy league. Managers and workers of all levels can get involved in a non-work related team building activity that breaks down silos and unites the bigger team.
Since lockdown there are so many trivia and puzzle games available online with free versions that are intended for exactly this type of purpose. Most of these games are extremely user-friendly and require no experience and very little learning to get into the swing of things. Moreover, working through fun problems together is a team building exercise that can psychologically mirror workplace challenges.
One of the biggest pain points reported by remote teams are technical challenges since there isn’t IT support on hand. If your workplace has an IT team, they might be willing to periodically run a few virtual seminars on common troubleshooting issues for those that need help.
IT seminars can present opportunities for team members to be in the same virtual space and put faces to names and even chat a bit. This could also present the chance for colleagues who remember each other from the seminar to reach out to one another for assistance instead of overloading the IT department.
Upskilling in the workplace and team building, whether virtually or in-person, are two strategic wins and they can be combined. Not only will workers be inspired, encouraged and upgraded in their skills, but they will have salient information to share and discuss with colleagues.
Even if your employees are not physically together doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a meal together. Through employee meals programs, workers can order for themselves via an app and collectively pay and pick up or receive their orders. With platforms like Ritual for Companies employers can provide their team with meal credits that they can use to order lunch right in the Ritual app. Even as a virtual team building activity, having lunch together builds connection and it can come as a meaningful way of rewarding the team.
Fostering company culture and coming up with team building ideas can be a challenge in a remote working environment. Workers need structured encouragement to start finding the joy in logging in each day. Make your company culture even more fun with Ritual for Companies.