We are all currently adapting to a new way of working. While working remotely is quickly becoming a new standard practice for many, and acknowledging the myriad of benefits associated with the transition, it is key to remember that this new way of working brings a great deal of change to team dynamics.
One aspect of working life that is especially impacted is team culture. Due to the now lack of shared physical space and regular face-to-face interactions, it can be perceived as being harder to create a positive team culture. This isn’t true however. While it must be tackled in a different way, there are plenty of positive approaches to foster great team building while working remotely.
Watch now: What is the future of remote working?
Why is virtual team building important?
Working remotely can sometimes be seen as being a very lonely experience, with team members sometimes feeling unsupported and isolated. Virtual team building can help combat these feelings.
It helps to build team relationships as a whole, getting everyone to a position of knowing one another and feeling supported. Over time, fostering feelings like this can help with building a shared team identity, building relationships and trust between members and increase productivity, collaboration and overall motivation.
Having strong relationships between team members can create a network of support and interaction to negate feelings of loneliness or isolation. It reinforces the idea that team members are all part of something, and helps to ease any discomfort when occupying the same physical space.
Virtual team building is an important way of connecting as a working force and supporting one another. It is key to have an involving environment which team members feel they can tap in to if they are feeling low on productivity, suffering a creative dip or just need a bit of a fun boost through their day.
Case Study: Read how we helped Move A Key F2F Event to a Virtual Think Tank
What does virtual team building involve? What do you need to be successful?
The essential ingredients to building a successful virtual team are strong leading managers, some great ideas, a reliable tech platform, steady communication and creativity.
There are so many different types of team building activities, so it really comes down to what the required outcome is.
Simply getting together in a virtual space for a virtual icebreaker or quiz can do wonders before starting a longer meeting to get creative ideas and communication flowing. But not all virtual team building activities need to be action-based; getting the team together for a chat over a virtual coffee to talk about work, non-work, achievements or funny moments can also do wonders for team morale.
The bottom line for a successful virtual team building is that everyone should be on the same page. Lay out what needs to be achieved as a team, whether it is an activity or simple conversation, so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
What are the hurdles to navigate?
As with everything, there are some challenges to navigate.
Choosing a tech platform that fits the team is important. Finding a platform that is simple to use and intuitive will help facilitate conversations and communication between team members that much easier.
Check out a list of 14 best virtual meeting platforms
Lack of Engagement
It's important to make virtual team building a positive thing, rather than allowing it to create feelings of discomfort and anxiety in team members. It can be helpful to highlight to the team the benefits of virtual team building and why having a virtual bond and supporting each other is important.
It can be hard to find a time that suits everyone. To avoid missing out, it can be wise to schedule a set time so that it is constant in everyone’s diaries, whether that is weekly, bi monthly or monthly. Find the times that fit your business and make it a priority.
Expecting it to just happen by itself
Unfortunately, virtual team building often requires more time and input than F2F environments do. The removal of physical cues will affect how teams interact, which means that in a virtual setting team building activities must be engineered in order to occur. It is worth the investment and effort however, to create a much more steadfast team and more positive working environment whilst working remotely.
Implementing these tips will help you to build virtual teams well and foster strong working relationships within your environs where you are now working remotely. It can take work, but once the systems are in place, teams will thrive and remote working will become just as natural and integral to modern business as being F2F once was.