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.
Working from home doesn’t mean company culture isn’t important. Rather, a good working environment is absolutely crucial to maintain high employee engagement, low turnover rates, and happy customers. Away from the hustle and bustle of the workplace, it’s too easy for employees to feel lonely, isolated, and out of the loop. That is why LEAD.bot virtual team building is essential.
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
Communication skills are the key, which holds true for dating, friendships, family, and for work. The problem with many workplaces, and especially remote workplaces is that engagement is not a priority. Many conference calls are not concerned with the audience, sadly. 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. This problem is easily solved with a virtual team-building app like LEAD.bot.
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 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
Productivity has increased since we’ve all started to work remotely and we noticed that in our workplace too. Lots of work is accomplished because distractions were at a minimum. But on the other hand, employees aren’t great separators between work and life. Today, remote employees are more likely than ever to be facing serious burnout 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 isn’t just about meeting in small groups. One-on-one conversations can also be an excellent way to develop connections. Just because we’ve gone remote doesn’t mean mentorships are no longer a possibility. In fact, mentorships are more important than ever before. A healthy mentorship program lends itself to a company culture of learning and development, and studies have found that it is the most effective method of educating employees.
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 Slack and Microsoft Teams app. You can pair off mentors and mentees in Slack channels or Microsoft Teams rooms based on the channels or teams they are in, and LEAD.bot will automatically start a conversation so they can grab a virtual coffee together. We made sure this program does the problem-solving for you. You can also customize how often your pairs meet, plus LEAD.bot will automatically collect feedback, so you can monitor if the program works for your team. Virtual team building has never been easier.
Plus you can use emojis.
Creating a strong team bond without an office space requires a little extra thought and creativity, but it pays off. Start improving the relationships in your workplace today for greater employee satisfaction, lower turnover, and better teamwork. Once you download LEAD.bot, a best-in-class virtual team-building app, you’ll have a much greater sense of community and team than you ever did before. Your virtual team-building events will be must-see activities!
Virtual Team Building
Virtual teams are a necessity in the post-pandemic world. The expert you need may live on the other side of the world, or you might need better remote working conditions to compete for talent who want to work from home. Whatever the reason, your team leader is going to need a tool to connect and team builds virtually. Video chats or video conferences simply aren’t good enough.
In one channel, the team can discuss their playlists on Spotify or their gardening interests in another. Technical tips on screen sharing or fun facts can be discussed at the next meeting. You can easily build channels to address any of the interests your team has. You can be the first person to start a channel on your favorite subject.
LEAD provides a template for online team building that encourages each staff member to participate, as it caters to their interests. We have testimonials from previous clients saying how we brought their meetings to the next level.