Kellie Rastegar is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Rastegar Property Group.
People who report having a good friend at work are typically around 63% more engaged. This year, with Covid-19 and the majority of teams working remotely or social distancing, how do you promote that sense of friendship and bonding among teammates?
Because of the pandemic, Americans are being laid off or having their work hours reduced at a rate of nearly 30%. Depending on your level of corporate growth, as new employees might join your company remotely, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a plan in place to create a sense of belonging and stability.
Virtual team-building is growing in popularity. With a steady influx of innovative ideas to try, creating a digital office culture is new and exciting. In today’s quickly changing climate, companies should be on board for anything that creates safety for employees, while driving office culture and providing team members a social outlet, at a time when even introverts are reporting feeling isolated.
Here are some of my favorite strategies for virtual team-building.
If the majority of your team is working remotely, it’s a great idea to start the day with a wellness check for everyone. At most, it takes 15 minutes, but you’ll start the day consistently, and it allows time for company announcements.
Sometimes for team-building, all you need is a Zoom meeting or to set up a Google Hangouts for chatting and brainstorming ideas. Videoconferencing that requires people to show their faces and allows colleagues to read one another’s body language may be more effective than a conference call. A visual connection may also help to prevent multitasking.
I love the idea of the rose/thorn/bud icebreaker. At the start of your virtual huddle, have your team share their rose, which is anything positive that makes them feel grateful or happy, and also their thorn — a challenge. You can also highlight a bud, something they are looking forward to in the future. If you want to keep things ultra-positive, just have them share what makes them happy. But it’s also a good idea to allow an open platform (during appropriate times) for people to voice frustrations, especially as some are struggling with new challenges from working remotely.
Scavenger hunts in a virtual format are growing in popularity due to more people working at home. Scavify, a Virtual Scavenger Hunt app, will bring your team together through a friendly competition. The mobile app allows people to snap photos, take videos, answer questions, scan QR codes — all through the comfort and safety of their own homes. Your entire department can benefit from real-time news feeds and real-time interactions within the app.
Another option is Outback Team Building & Training, where you can book an activity of your choice at $7-$68 per person. You’ll receive a virtual host who specializes in corporate groups and boost morale through team connections.
If your team is health-oriented, wellness challenges might be a great idea during the pandemic. There are tons of ideas and resources to choose from, but an easy way to begin would be a step challenge. As an added bonus, you could equip your teams with a step tracker or suggest an app like Google Fit to track fitness activities. For an end-of-the-year activity, you could even use something like the Charity Miles app, which allows you to turn your miles into charitable donations.
Reopening The Office
Even in a reopened office, large meetings should take place virtually, especially if multiple parties are present. If you do meet in person, make sure to space out in the boardroom. Regardless of what you decide, make sure to regularly check state and local guidelines for changes. If cases are on the rise in your area, you can easily modify your team-building activities for a safer approach.
Keeping team-building a priority, despite life changes due to the pandemic, is a win-win situation for everyone. You are able to test new concepts and your employees will feel valued at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are feeling uncertain and socially isolated. The efforts will build loyalty and help boost your profits for years to come, long after this pandemic has passed.
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