Transitioning from in-office to hybrid or full-remote working arrangements is becoming the norm. This has required a lot of adjustment for employers as well as workers, but through it, teams are adapting and in many cases, thriving.
97 percent of workers surveyed for a 2020 Growmotely study preferred having some flexibility to work remotely. The majority of employers agree, with 61 percent favoring a fully remote working arrangement.
If these opinions are any indicators, virtual workspaces may someday outnumber traditional office arrangements. But this means that team-building, employee engagement, and the social dynamics of work will also need to evolve.
Even when coworkers are sharing the same physical space, it takes work to foster productive collaboration. In a conventional office, there were plenty of options for encouraging this, from company softball games to office gift exchanges.
These team-building and employee engagement efforts don’t have to end with the shift toward remote work.
Remote employee engagement and virtual team building are not only possible, they can also be very impactful when it comes to strengthening a team’s dynamic regardless of where they are.
Virtual Hangout Ideas To Strengthen Remote Teams
Virtual hangout ideas and remote employee team-building come in many forms. They include games, challenges, and activities that are all ultimately meant to encourage teamwork, trust, and more productive interaction.
Virtual hangouts can be directly related to a professional challenge or task that utilizes employee skills. A good example is hackathons used by remote tech companies.
What is a hackathon able to accomplish as a team challenge? A hackathon project presents a challenge that, when confronted by a team with relevant skills, should result in the development of a new solution.
Usually, in the tech world, this would mean developing a new app, software, or operating system. Outside of this sector, a team-building online hackathon can be a great way for coworkers to come together with a shared goal that also serves a purpose in their organization.
For example, a teambuilding hackathon could be devoted to improving the company’s social media graphics, an outdated file drive, or a portion of its website.
There are plenty of other virtual hangout options that strengthen team relationships without being rooted in work tasks.
These can include everything from taking an enjoyable online class as a group, holding a virtual scavenger hunt or escape room, or utilizing the virtually countless apps, programs, and services that enable teams to get together with little more than an internet connection.
Putting Virtual Team Challenges To Work
No matter the type of virtual team building or engagement activity, successful deployment is best done with careful consideration of all participants. The goal of the event should be to get everyone working together and interacting in a positive manner.
If the event or challenge is too specialized or skills-based in a way that some team members will be unfairly disadvantaged or simply disinterested, this could hurt the trust and camaraderie that’s meant to be fostered. The nature of the challenge also needs to account for the existing relationship of the team.
Virtual events and challenges that require coworkers to compete against one another or in opposing teams might not be a good idea if there have been recent conflicts or tensions among the group.
This is also a consideration if the challenge will include employees who have not been working together for an established period.
In these situations, it can be better to focus on a challenge that has all participants working toward a common goal or that is non-competitive.
Regardless of the activity type, communication is essential so that everyone fully understands the activity and feels prepared to have a great and productive experience.