Remote work and hybrid work is the future of work. The pandemic has broken through cultural and other barriers that used to prevent such a shift in the past. We now spend a large portion of time working from our home offices, virtual meetings aren’t enough to put us off and we aren’t alone. In fact, 68% of Americans prefer to be fully remote. Half of the staff would seriously consider quitting if organizations do not have flexible work arrangements in place.
That’s why companies plan to keep some employees remote or ditch in-person office spaces altogether, which can even drop overhead and can improve profits if done right. In this brand new world, you might be wondering what the future of team building looks like, just as our company, LEAD did.
Remote work doesn’t negate the importance of company culture. In fact, fostering a positive virtual work environment is essential for maintaining employee engagement, reducing turnover rates, and ensuring customer satisfaction. LEAD.bot aids in combating the isolation often felt by remote employees through its innovative virtual team-building features.
Matching employees into smaller groups and personalizing the program for each group is so much better than company-wide video calls. Our data-driven virtual team-building app, LEAD.app, can help boost employee engagement by implementing strategies like virtual team-building exercises, frequent check-ins, and virtual mentoring programs that will help your team become comfortable, collaborative, and creative. It is important to make bi-weekly or monthly meet-ups a regular part of your company’s culture.
Why Remote Team Building is Important
According to TeamBonding.com, 65% of remote workers report that they haven’t had a single group bonding session. A survey of over 1000 employees by Harvard Business Review also suggests that employees who work from home are also more likely to report feelings of isolation and mistreatment by their colleagues. With these dismal stats, it’s no wonder that remote workers struggle with feelings of loneliness, distractedness, and a lack of motivation. The problems a disengaged work environment can create for a company are legion, as they lose some willingness to collaborate.
On the other hand, many employees have reported enjoying the freedom of remote work that allows them to balance their work and their life. The lack of commuting time, the extra sleep, and the reduction of stress are all good reasons why employees would want to work from home. Therefore, many companies planned or already decided to keep at least some of their employees fully remote well into 2022 and beyond.
But, how does a company deal with the new issues that a remote workforce brings? Is video conferencing enough? Our takeaway from these statistics was that communicative company culture and employee engagement are vital to a healthy and productive workplace no matter where the employee works. That produces diligent employees who spend discretionary effort in making products shine. In short, Virtual team-building apps are the key to employee engagement.
To help you build a welcoming workplace for all your employees, LEAD has compiled some strategies that will help boost morale and camaraderie for all your employees, all delivered with virtual team building.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Effective communication is paramount in any relationship, including in the workplace. Yet, many remote teams struggle with engagement. A survey of 1000 deskless employees found that only 56% felt they were connected and engaged with their workforce, and 29% of those same workers felt that more frequent communication would positively affect their view of the company. Thankfully, LEAD.bot’s virtual team-building platform promotes connectivity and engagement, thereby transforming the remote communication landscape.
If management doesn’t clearly delineate expectations, priorities, and performance goals, their employees are left confused. Believe us – we know an employee or even a CEO can feel disposable if they aren’t communicated with regularly.
The Society of Human Resource Management suggests regular one-on-one check-ins, especially for new remote hires, to make sure that employees are getting the feedback they need. You will also want to make sure that your method of communication makes sense for your company’s culture – for example, your team members might prefer chat messages, emails, voice calls, or online meetings.
At LEAD, we love interactivity with Slack or Microsoft Teams. The prearranged coffee meetings are always something to look forward to. You should see our knitting channel. Our virtual team-building app is decked out with many knitting tips. We have our share of trivia lovers too.
Model a Healthy Work Environment – even Online
While remote work often boosts productivity due to reduced distractions, it can blur the boundaries between professional and personal life, leading to potential burnout. It’s critical to establish and enforce healthy work-life boundaries in the digital workspace.
One reason for higher burnout is because of blurred boundaries between professional and private lives. Without the physical cues that an office provides, it can be easy to let the workday bleed into off-hours.
To make sure your team is operating at peak efficiency make sure you’re creating the right example, and set reasonable guidelines for when your team should be online and when they don’t have to be. You could not expect staff to be working any later than 6 o’clock, no matter the time zone, since many staff work over their lunch hour. Setting clear guidelines will provide some of the structure of a typical workday, and keep your team in healthy shape.
With a great virtual team-building app like LEAD, you can keep an eye on how many hours a typical employee works, who is working unhealthy hours, and who gets along with who, which will really turn your team into team builders.
The key takeaway here is that the team-building app helps teams to be flexible. Make sure to trust your employees, because team members have reported greater satisfaction with the flexibility that remote work affords them. Learn from your team about what works for them, and prioritize that. As long as work is done well and on time, there’s no reason to corral everyone into a strict real-time schedule.
Set Up Your Virtual Happy Hour Game
Team Building is always about developing stronger interpersonal relationships. Here at LEAD, we’ve made that time something to look forward to with virtual team-building games, shared activities, gift baskets, and other fun ways to socialize.
Since we’ve all been stuck at home since March 2020, there has been an explosion of new online games and activities. We can now try out a virtual escape room, host an online board game night, an online murder mystery, a dance party, or any other fun activities you can imagine. Tried out a virtual game show yet? Talk to us, and we can help you navigate the endless possibilities out there. Games are a fun, easy, and often free way to get your employees to feel more like a team, but you’ll need more than just a video conferencing app to make it happen.
Digital whiteboards, book clubs, holiday parties, Pictionary, and pub trivia can be the best virtual team-building activities in the right team builders’ hands. Your staff might start preferring them to face-to-face activities.
LEAD.bot has dozens of settings that will help managers, staff or your HR department find the right games for your company. Does your company prefer Settlers of Catan, or are they more of a scavenger hunt team? The more you ask us about and learn from, the more engaging your virtual team-building activities will be.
For those of us who like virtual happy hours, but are starting to find online games a little stale, consider centering your conversation around a shared activity. Host a chocolate sampling, donut experience, or wine-tasting party, all from a distance. These shared gift baskets create a point of conversation so you and your co-workers can cut down on the awkward silences in meetings or otherwise. In our experience, these are always the most popular online team-building exercises. Maybe the staff will stop avoiding the team meetings, and start thinking they are a lot of fun!
P.S. Purdy’s Chocolates and Krispy Kreme deliver!
Foster Togetherness with Virtual Mentoring Programs
Virtual team building extends beyond group meetings; it also fosters meaningful one-on-one connections. Remote work shouldn’t hinder mentorships. In fact, mentorships are more vital now, promoting a culture of continuous learning and development. Studies affirm their effectiveness in employee education, making virtual mentorship tools like LEAD.bot invaluable.
Both mentors and mentees reported feeling greater job satisfaction as well as a stronger sense of commitment to their organizations, according to a study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. We suspect the number will be similar when using a virtual team-building app. Our app even suggests icebreaker questions, so you won’t need a facilitator.
However, the question still remains: How can companies create thriving mentorship programs if remote workers suffer from feelings of isolation? Even if they zoom twice a day?
Since mentorships are all about building long-lasting, personal connections, a relaxed meeting environment is key. Relationships are built up in the little moments, like a chat in the doorway or a shared moment in the breakroom. Therefore, virtual coffee chats can help employees connect while still keeping things casual. Normally employees self-select the water cooler in the office, but with employees in different cities or continents, that’s pretty hard to do. With our virtual team-building app, you can overcome this issue by connecting with like-minded staff easily as people are able to see the common interests at the watercooler channels, and also screen their matches and eventually meet other employees who have a lot in common. That way, your company will build relationships without any encouragement.
LEAD.bot is a comprehensive Slack bot and Microsoft Teams application, expertly engineered to cultivate team growth within these platforms. This innovative tool has been designed to effortlessly facilitate both structured small-group discussions on crucial aspects such as leadership and communication, as well as casual check-ins. An exemplary feature of LEAD.bot is its Watercooler function, consistently engaging teams with micro-lessons and practice activities, thereby paving the path for continuous team development and growth.
Moreover, with LEAD.bot, you can pair mentors and mentees in Slack channels or Microsoft Teams based on their respective teams or channels. Upon establishing the pairs, LEAD.bot will kickstart a conversation, allowing them to enjoy a virtual coffee meet. This meticulously designed program provides a solution-oriented approach, allowing you to customize the frequency of your pairs’ meetings. Further, LEAD.bot also offers an automatic feedback collection feature to monitor the effectiveness of your program for your team, making virtual team building more effortless than ever.
It’s crucial to note that creating a solid team bond without a physical office space demands a bit of extra thought and creativity. However, the payoff is immense – improved workplace relationships leading to greater employee satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and enhanced teamwork. Once you integrate LEAD.bot, a top-tier virtual team-building app, you will notice a substantial increase in your sense of community and team spirit. Consequently, your virtual team-building events will evolve into must-attend activities that strengthen the unity and camaraderie within your remote teams. Plus, the ability to use emojis adds a fun, human touch to the digital interactions, making them more engaging and relatable.
Virtual Team Building
In conclusion, the future of work is increasingly remote and requires innovative strategies for team building and maintaining strong company culture. With the evolution of virtual teams in the post-pandemic world, engaging tools like LEAD.bot are becoming instrumental in fostering collaboration and a sense of community among dispersed employees.
LEAD.bot, integrated with platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, provides a versatile medium for team-wide interactions via the Watercooler feature or personalized group discussions, all while promoting an engaging and dynamic work culture. The significance of such digital team-building mechanisms is increasingly evident, particularly in the creation of meaningful connections, enhanced employee engagement, and ultimately, a more productive and satisfied workforce. With LEAD.bot, you are not only adapting to the evolving work landscape but also ensuring that your virtual team-building efforts yield positive, lasting results.