Do you feel stressed, fearsome, or loathsome during virtual team building activities at remote work? If yes, then most IT professionals like me can relate to you.
There were times when we had fun in such sessions. But we still cannot deny the excruciating feeling of facing people we know nothing about and having fun with them.
It feels more like parents forcing us to dance in front of relatives. Can you imagine the agitation? Yes! That is what it feels like for most of the employees, the same as me.
Additionally, these fun sessions are agonizing for another reason – several extra hours on zoom with cameras which we all could definitely live without.
Arguably, stats from teambuildinghub.com says that “63% of leaders felt team communication improved after participating in team building activities. 61% of leaders felt team morale improved.”
Well! We cannot nullify the effects only because some of us are on a diet of screen time.
Even if those unbearably long virtual team building activities suck the life out of us, it is still worth it. Why? The stats say it all. And apart from improving team culture, they help us in making collaboration easier.
In light of this, let us reflect on some more facts & feelings as we move ahead with the blog.
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No Kidding… Its Virtual Team Building Activities For WORK!
Apart from enabling disastrous pressure of participation on employees, these virtual team building activities are imparting their magical influence on one more thing. This might be known as – ‘strengthening the team’s connection with each other’.
Well! We all can somewhat agree that having even a slight hint on the personality types of people we are working with helps professionally.
And as a team leader or manager, knowing how to deal with each employee is crucial. These team building activities virtual sessions have helped in establishing trust, but they still lag behind in giving a clear picture on everyone.
That is why we recommend – EmpMonitor. A cloud-based workforce productivity and engagement software with a comprehensive analytics system helping you to understand your employee.
The timesheet tracking & user activity monitoring frameworks of this tool helps a manager in keeping tabs on their team members for work.
Nonetheless! A manager has to choose which way to refer while understanding their employee better.
Tools & software surely help in understanding the productivity matrices of an employee – Whereas a session on virtual team building activities gives your employees a window to understand you better. It is easier to show that you value & care about your employees in an informal setting. Right?
With that being said, how about we reflect on some major challenges for managers who are looking forward to conducting a team building session.
Why Virtual Team-Building Activities Feel Agonising?
The ‘forced’ part in exercising virtual team building activities, intended to have fun & boost morale, often ends up doing just the opposite. Many sitcoms on offices have been centered around such settings describing the professional lives of folks being compelled to attend team-building events.
Well! The question is, if the opportunity to socialize is right there, then why are the expected effects missing?
So, let us walk through some challenges we think you might want to know.
Challenges Of Conducting Virtual Team Building Activities
The main agenda of having a virtual session is to increase smoothness & trust among team members. And to ensure you get there, we have listed some common challenges you could avoid.
Social Anxiety & Awkwardness
The immobility of remote jobs often tends to build up psychological awkwardness around social settings. We have all faced this issue during the covid-19 pandemic lockdown. However, this situation is hardly the same.
The older studies of 2018 published on BBC Work Life have stated that offline team-building activities have also maintained a level of anxiety among team members. So, it doesn’t matter if they are a virtual team building activities or not; social anxiety & awkwardness is always present.
How To Tackle
- Addressing discouragement just before the team-building event won’t help. You could start right from day one of their joinings.
- Start with the basics. Make sure that your team feels comfortable reaching out to you at the least.
- Another thing that you could do is make everybody aware of the new recruit & conduct an introduction session.
When The ‘Fun’ Feels Like Work
An attempt to conduct virtual team building activities in the same environment of professional discussions enhances the ‘work’ part more than ‘fun’. For example, you have rolled out a new protocol for the entire department or project team. Announcing that in the virtual fun session might not be a good idea, nor discussing them. You wouldn’t know the reaction it can induce in the team.
Apart from that, using the same tricks, topics, environment, & games could make the session dull & monotonous. It could make the next fun session seem like another work meeting rather than an opportunity to understand your colleagues better.
How To Tackle
- Ensure that participation in the team-building session doesn’t seem forced.
- Coming up with creative & free virtual team building activities might help you better.
- Try to wrap those fun sessions under the official hours when it’s done in the usual settings, as zoom calls get exhausting after a while.
Different People. Different Personality Types
One major concern of making a fun session work is tapping into the likes & wants of your team mates. Apart from this, only having high adrenalin games throughout the session might not help you engage your shy team members.
Whereas including board games, movie nights, or other light fun sessions might feel dull for your extroverted members. And addressing each member’s aspirations is a hard cookie to crack.
How To Tackle
- Introduce themes of your virtual team building activities. For example – virtual meetup over coffee, sharing funny stories, challenge battles, & much more.
- You could take suggestions from your team mates for their kind of games & activities. It might help you make the sessions more collaborative & fun each time.
- Encourage people with better connections to take the lead. Let them conduct the fun bonding exercises in a way that resonates with most employees.
Fatigue-Worthy Games In Opposition To Unfamiliar Team Mates
An old-school method found in the riddle of bizarre team-building exercises is none other than ‘Games’. However! Let me establish a category without demonizing every bonding-games in the world – Not all games are full of anxiety. But some come with point-blank awkwardness.
Well! We can see one offline game, ‘Trust Fall’, making the opposite reputation of ‘Do Not Trust Anyone’. And then we see an online version of a similar kind for virtual team building games activities, called ‘Dynamic Duo’ Now you can pair them up for absolutely anything. At the least they could come up with a fun failure.
How To Tackle
- Make sure you create a team out of familiar people from the same department.
- Try to make sub-teams out of familiar people, or drop the classic ‘Dynamic Duo’ idea.
- Make sure you include games that are not too harsh or complex and the same time, not too dull.
Long Story Short!
Everything about this is such a paradox. The intent of having any virtual team building activities session is always to boost team morale, but sometimes it ends up doing just the opposite.
However, now that you have all the insights. You can elevate the level of your team-building sessions.