“Team building” is a relatively general term nearly everyone has experienced in one way or another throughout their lifetime. Working together to achieve a common goal is the very nature of a business. And helping to develop interpersonal employee connections is an excellent way to build a foundation on which that goal can grow.
In this hybrid workplace world, however, fostering those employee connections can be a struggle. A recent study from the Harvard Business Review found that employees are lonelier than ever, with 76 percent of those surveyed reporting they had difficulty making connections with coworkers.
Traditional team-building exercises can help alleviate group fatigue and disconnect in the moment. Moving activities to a venue other than the office can remove the context of “work” and facilitate opportunities for staff to communicate and connect independently. Here are three ideas to consider when creating a team-building exercise outside the traditional office setting.
Time Away from Work Boosts Creativity and Trust
Using company time to host team-building activities demonstrates a level of trust and appreciation in employees. When you consider that employees spend one-third of their life at work, periodically changing their environment can help battle brain fog and stimulate creativity.
When team-building exercises take place outside the office, the assumed “office hierarchy” can also dissipate. Team members can view each other without titles or status, which tends to generate more openness to communication and trust. It also promotes active inclusion, allowing employees who aren’t necessarily in a position of authority to participate in a leadership role.
Activities Connect Remote Employees
With many companies now adopting more hybrid business models, team building can face additional hurdles, with staff spread across multiple cities, states, or even countries. Just as companies have learned to adapt to these new models, opportunities for new, innovative team-building exercises have also arisen.
The same technology that allows for communication in work-related tasks can also be used to help foster interpersonal connections. For example, you can incorporate watercooler chats or icebreaker activities in a virtual realm.
Consider hosting scheduled virtual water-cooler chat breaks. Research shows that moments of casual conversation throughout the day over chat or video can have substantial impacts on projects. Some companies have taken to dedicating 15 to 30 minutes during the workday for employees to communicate over video. These meetings can not only build connections among employees, but also work as opportunities to discuss operations and projects more casually.
Channels on company chat programs are another way to connect employees. That focus on interest-specific topics can encourage employees to be more involved in conversations throughout the workday, building rapport through shared interests. Start a conversation string about vacation destinations where employees can share details of their recent vacation destinations. Create a book club chat or even a dad joke or meme string for some fun workday levity.
Virtual icebreaker activities have also risen in popularity as more companies have transitioned to a hybrid business model. By asking everyone the same question, icebreakers in company Zoom meetings can allow teams to share ideas more openly, promote creativity, foster a sense of community, and set a tone for the workday.
Looking for a fun activity for a Friday afternoon? Enlist the team in a virtual escape room activity like the team-building game options offered by Mystery Escape Room.
Team Building Enhances Company Culture
There is a multitude of ways team-building activities can further enhance your existing corporate culture. As StrayBoots.com reports, “Cohesive employee teams are the building blocks for the success of a company and the development of its culture. Regular team building activities are therefore vital for developing the team spirit and cooperation between employees.” The website goes on to list 10 ways team-building exercises contribute to company culture:
- Trust building
- Conflict resolution
- Increased collaboration
- Improved communication skills
- More cooperation between senior and junior staff
- Acknowledgment of individual strengths and weaknesses
- Improved leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Decision-making skills
- Sense of ownership
- Corporate pride
When looking for ways to improve corporate culture, connect remote employees to the team, and boost creativity, consider hosting out-of-the-office team-building activities.
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