In the wake of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work and virtual conferences have become a greater part of our work lives, and they will likely be staying for the long term as offices have evolved and adapted. But just because we may be working at a distance, doesn’t mean we have to be distant from our fellow colleagues. In fact, there are ways to still have team building events where we can all participate, so that we can still maintain our bonds as colleagues and as a professional team.
But before you get to the fun part, just like any other company event, there may be some planning involved to ensure that your virtual team building event goes smoothly. Thankfully, planning for a virtual team building activity is far less taxing compared to an in-person event, but planning is still very important! Here are the basic steps to making your virtual team building activity a success!
Establish a Timeline for Your Event
Creating a timeline for your company’s virtual event comes in two parts: deciding how much time you have to prepare before the actual event, and the actual time that you’d like to have the event happen.
- When deciding how much time you need to properly plan your virtual team building activity, you should give yourself at least two weeks. Use that as a minimum before deciding what day you want the activity to happen.
- Next, you’ll want to decide on the time of day. This is especially important if you have employees living in different time zones. It should be a time that’s comfortable for everyone to participate, so that everyone can enjoy themselves and get engaged!
Determining a Budget for Your Event
It might not seem like it, but even online events can have a budget. But it doesn’t have to be anywhere near as expensive as an in-person event. For example, a virtual team building activity doesn’t require a whole table of catering to be ordered. Instead, you can focus your budget on things that can be shared in the virtual space, such as games and other kinds of activities that may run on a service—these things can be relatively inexpensive compared to the many variables that go into paying for an in-person gathering.
For those who wish to go the extra-mile for their team, you could include a budget for shipping gift bags and appreciation packages to your virtual workforce. This would involve creating a budget for the items to send, the packaging, and the shipping service.
Decide on What You’d like to Achieve
Different activities foster different team building outcomes and taking the time to assess each activity’s effects can help you decide which to prioritize. Here are just a few ideas of what outcomes you may be looking for:
- Morale Boosting – Participating in an activity together can boost morale, which in turn can boost work efficiency and team happiness. Most of all, it gives everyone an escape from the potential challenges of remote work and offers a positive look at how a remote workforce can still have a great time.
- Building Colleague Relationships and Connections – These kinds of virtual activities offer an opportunity for colleagues to see one another and develop relationships that go beyond the work email. Some virtual activities can be designed to simply help colleagues develop a much-needed rapport with one another.
- Building Communication Skills – Some activities can be designed to strengthen your team’s ability to communicate concepts and ideas to one another. Some examples of activities for this could involve puzzles and trivia games!
- Having Fun! – From battling down some of that COVID-19 stress to giving your team some time away from the job, sometimes the best activities are those just focused on fun as they can improve morale, encourage communication and connections, and leave everyone feeling much better!
Ask Around, Learn What Kind of Virtual Activity Your Team is Looking For
Before deciding on a virtual activity, start a conversation with your team members to get a feel for their preferences on what kind of activity they’d like. This could be done by simply asking them what kind of activity they’d like, or you could use a ranked choice survey where team members list their top three.
Figuring Out the Logistics of Your Virtual Team Building Activity
There are three main steps to managing the logistics of your virtual event. As stated earlier, planning out your virtual team building activity won’t be anywhere near as taxing as planning out an in-person event, but there are some rather unique components that must be addressed to ensure that all your other planning falls into place.
- What Kind of Video Conference Platform Will You Use?
- From Zoom and Google Hangouts to Discord, there are a wide variety of video/chat conferencing platforms that can work for your event. Be sure to study a handful of them before deciding which is best. Then you will need to make sure that everyone has the ability to access that platform.
- Does Everyone Have the Right Hardware?
- With a remote work situation, it is likely that your team will have the proper hardware to run these platforms properly. However, it is always good to double-check. Make sure that your team has access to their laptop or desktop PC, a webcam, and a microphone if their webcam doesn’t come with one. Most of the conferencing platforms stated earlier have mobile versions that would also allow for the use of a smartphone or a tablet in order to properly participate in the virtual team building activity. Also, last but certainly not least, have everyone make sure their WiFi connection is running smoothly before the event!
- Inviting Your Team to the Conference
- Depending on the kind of platform you’ve chosen, you may either need to issue a scheduled invitation or you can simply invite your team when it’s time to begin the event. Explore the platform of your choice to determine how to invite your team!
Once you’ve invited your team onto the conference platform, enjoy your virtual team building activity and have fun!!
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