The pandemic has changed the way most offices worked until a few months ago. Most offices are now asking their employees to work remotely from their homes. Hence, team members can no longer gather together in the office to discuss a new project, share experience and problems, or seek advice from each other. Other than this, to connect employees who are globally scattered or far away from each other, virtual team building is essential.
Are you wondering why so? Can an individual work in a silo? The answer is No. The success of an organization lies in its employees working as a team. And hence came the concept of Virtual Team. It has now become essential for leaders to facilitate building a virtual team where employees working remotely can come together and mimic a co-located office environment.
Why is Virtual Team Building Important?
As mentioned, an individual cannot be effective if he is working alone. First, he will not be able to get much-needed support from his team members. Secondly, he will feel emotionally drained working alone. Moreover, the physical distance between team members can create communication gaps which will hamper team productivity.
Virtual Team Building helps in improving team effectiveness by making team members familiar with each other and learn to work like one team while working remotely.
Role of a Virtual Team Building Facilitator
A Virtual Team Building Facilitator has a major role to play in building a virtual team. It is the facilitator’s responsibility to build the Virtual team. A step by step guide on leading a visual team to success has been given in the link, here.
Every facilitator has to remember that just building a virtual team is not a one-time activity. It is a continuous process. The facilitator needs to plan team building activities on a regular basis and ensure attendance by all team members. A facilitator needs to come up with new ideas while planning activities to maximize team engagement.
Virtual Team Building Activities:
There are innumerable ways to facilitate virtual team building successfully.
Virtual Team Meetings
Team Meetings, while essential for discussing work, can also be used as a tool for team building. The facilitator can introduce some fun elements to make the team meeting an enjoyable one. The meeting can start with a short ice breaker team game or with employees sharing their personal anecdotes before moving to the more serious topics. Team members can bring their favorite beverage and they can feel as if they are having a short coffee break.
Having Virtual Celebrations
Other than meeting for work-related discussions, the facilitator can organize celebrations, like the birthday of a team member. The facilitator can arrange to get the cake delivered beforehand. Similarly, they can celebrate someone’s success at work or even personal achievements.
Knowing Each Other
The facilitator can organize informal virtual meetings where team members can come dressed informally, bring their family members along, and discuss things outside work. If they wish, they can also give each other a peek into their homes – their favorite place in the house, their garden, and so on. The facilitator can organize virtual games for team members to enjoy with family members.
Learning together can be fun. The facilitator can organize fun learning sessions. There can be video shows or a short presentation on any relevant topic. It can also be a skill development initiative involving multiple teams where team members can interact with other teams as well
Remote teams may not be able to interact face to face but that does not mean they will be disconnected from each other. As per the Harvard Business Review, “close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%”. Effective virtual team building will do just that.