It’s all too easy these days to put team-building events on the back burner. Is anyone up for another video call? It is, however, the responsibility of the leader to guarantee that the team is engaged and performing well. And if you don’t schedule time for team building, your team will be less productive.
Although improving an individual’s skill set is vital for personal development, studies have shown that individual expertise is not what ultimately makes teams and firms more competitive and inventive. As corny as it may sound, collaboration is what makes the dream come true.
Google’s well-known team dynamics research confirmed a group’s culture that guarantees employees feel safe, comfortable, included, and respected — is the most important component for team success.
The Importance of Social Interaction
It makes perfect sense. Social interactions are what bind us together and allow us to connect with one another. The more comfortable we feel opening up, sharing ideas, and asking questions, the better we work together — which is crucial for high-functioning teams.
The responsibility of a manager for developing social interaction and team development has the advantage of being entertaining. Yes, remote work, video calls, and a lack of practice can make being “social” feel awkward or difficult. However, many teams are succeeding, and they’re having a good time doing it.
How do you go about creating a space for team building and sociability once you’ve agreed that it’s important? Isn’t it true that social time should be unplanned? Maybe it used to be that we could stumble into each other in the workplace hallway or have casual conversations at our workstations. Companies must proactively create opportunities for people to interact now that social interaction is at an all-time low.
While we’re all working alone, here are some strategies to assist managers cultivate connections and provide opportunities for social interactions.
Give the Meetings Purpose
Although preventing virtual conference fatigue necessitates restricting video calls to those deemed “essential,” team-building video conferences are critical for the health and success of a team. Prioritizing live team-building activities while making other meetings, such as presentations and updates, asynchronous (recorded and available for viewing at any time) is a viable option.
Make use of part of your team’s “live time” for critical collaborative activities like strategy planning and offsite-style meetings to discuss past lessons learned and future goals. Curated “annual launch events,” which bring together leaders from throughout the organization for a virtual retreat, are an excellent example of how some companies are accomplishing this.
These gatherings allow CEOs to share personal stories, connect employees to the company’s mission and values, and generate enthusiasm for the future year and its objectives. Companies are spreading the information out over multiple days, making sessions function across time zones and including time for mindfulness, physical activity, and wellbeing, in contrast to the in-person strategy for similar events.
Keep it Casual
Not every event needs to be meticulously planned down to the last detail. In fact, if you schedule a meeting time with no agenda, social ties might grow. Try an open virtual lunch conference hour, where people can jump on to dine together, a “bring your pet” happy hour, or a new employee “shindig,” where new hires may meet and speak with long-time employees.
You may make these casual gatherings even more successful by reaching out and inviting those who may feel unable to attend due to a lack of time but would like to network. Use workplace messaging apps to send images (here’s my family, here’s what we did this weekend, etc) and amusing anecdotes to keep these social relationships continuing.
Tie in Some Personal Strings
It’s critical to continue to honor the contributions of individuals on your team while also maintaining business traditions. Even simple festivities these days need a little more effort, but the rewards can be just as rewarding.
New infants, weddings, retirements, and holidays can all be celebrated in unique ways. Make congratulatory or humorous films, sign virtual cards, or photoshop a “group” team image.
Give Things an Edge
Team bonding may be made even more enjoyable and memorable by thinking outside the box and planning surprising activities you can undertake together over a video conference. Work together in a virtual escape room to solve puzzles, or go on a treasure hunt and “show and tell” what you find around your house.
Play online quizzes, Jeopardy, or Among Us, sing karaoke, construct floral arrangements, hire a magician, or make (free) pixel art by coloring in a spreadsheet template. Ship lovely, handpicked boxed presents, such as snacks, plants, or holiday decorations, and have everyone open them together.
Carve Out Social Time
After a year of the current crisis, it’s clear that virtual team-building solutions aren’t a quick fix; you’ll need social activities like these in place for the foreseeable future, as many employees will continue to work from home in the coming year. Putting social virtual activities on the team calendar isn’t easy, especially when more than two-thirds of employees say they’re burned out. Social time is crucial for growing your team’s ability to collaborate.