Building our team online
A rise of 43% in the number of employees working virtually has been noticed over the decade according to research from Gallup. When the model first appeared, salespeople or office administrators took one or two days every week to work out of their own personal space that is usually at home. Some concerns arise from companies are that productivity would suffer and they assumed that employees would fail to deliver results when they are not under the supervision of their boss.
Pandemic shifting workforce Online
With the coronavirus pandemic still far from ending anytime soon, it has caused many businesses to shift their workforces online. These could be labelled as small sacrifices during this virus pandemic. The ambiguity of the weeks ahead makes many employees desire a routine and companionship with their co-workers to mirror the idea of working in office spaces.
Challenges for virtual teams
One of the critical challenges of virtual teams identified is that team members cannot engage directly with their colleagues and would sequentially feel disengaged. Hence, it’s imperative for leaders to proactively keep everyone connected and ensuring that the business is moving forward as best as it can during this new situation.
The five benefits of online teambuilding
The value of organising activities to continue building the team virtually is even more critical at this stage. So, what some of the benefits of doing online teambuilding? According to an article written by Shelby, here are five benefits of online teambuilding that I picked out to be valuable.
Firstly, it helps to boost team morale. In these times, boosting confidence and bringing the team together has never been more critical. It creates an optimistic approach towards the team effort and motivation.
Secondly is to battle against isolation. By organising a team activity, it helps to bring everyone together. This action allows no one to feel like they are alone and creates the opportunity for the team members to keep in touch with each other knowing that they have each other’s back.
Thirdly, it helps to motivate the people in a fun manner. Teambuilding helps to bring out the positive energy that we foster from having fun together. It also creates an opportunity to send a message across the team to stay positive and be motivated despite the trying times.
Coming in fourth, it also helps to increase collaboration between the people to strengthen relationships and cooperation. When relationships between employees are more robust, they are better able to:
- work together,
- manage conflicts
These pointers allow change mindset from a “me” mentality to a “we” mentality.
Having said that, positive reinforcement is the fifth and next key benefit of why we should do online teambuilding for our people. After working hard as a team to accomplish a project, it helps to reward our people for their positivity and for building success especially in times like this with the pandemic.
4 examples of staying connected online
What are some examples of activities that we can do online to stay connected with our people amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? As you are reading this, most companies have initiated business continuity plans and having their staff work from home in their own ways. How can we stay connected together?
Companies are doing what they can to create activities such as arranging everything from happy hours to meditation sessions virtually via online platforms to keep employees feel connected and lifting their spirits.
Other activities could be forming an online book club. Everyone in the team would be reading and discussing the same book to create a sharing session to find common ground. Prime Plus Mortgage started a monthly book club last November 2019 named as Prime Plus University led by their Founder Loren Howard. He really focused on building a team. Employees express what they are interested in reading about, which leads to the book choice. Each employee then gets to choose the book format — whether it’s an audiobook, eBook, or printed book. So far, they have read books about negotiation, personal finance, and other topics. The book club primarily meets via Skype or Zoom and co-workers take turns leading the discussion about what they did or did not like about the book. They also discuss how they could apply the concepts personally or professionally.
Another avenue is to host virtual team activity; like a version of Pictionary, among other initiatives. Some are company-led, while others are employee-initiated. The team gets everyone online and having one person host an activity to play together on their computers. The host will then share their screen using Skype (or any online video chatting method that enables you to share screen) with the remainder of the group. Everyone can then participate virtually and via chats with each session featuring a unique 4 letter code that everybody can input into their desktop browser or mobile device. This would give you the option to enter a secret space to take part in parts of the game that led up to the grand finale.
Customer relationship management firm HubSpot has a group of 100 staff working from home since 16 March 2019. These employees are invited to have drinks at 6pm on weekdays with their colleagues via teleconferencing tool such as Zoom. On some days, only one or two of the members will take part, while on other days, as many as 20 of them will come and drink together online.
Staying united in conclusion
It is without a doubt that we are currently charting in unknown territory with the pandemic. What the future holds for us is pretty much still an unknown as we continue to work on keeping ourselves safe and hoping that the pandemic gets under control as soon as possible. What we do know is that coming together as a community has never been more significant. Coming together as a team at work is even more critical for everyone. Do we possess the ability to build a successful team and emerge stronger than ever once our life returns back to normal? That’s the million-dollar question for every organisation.
If we can stay united together as one people, we can definitely get through this and emerge stronger. Just as the saying goes; when we ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness’.