As we enter another period of tightened measures – from 27 September 2021 to 24 October 2021 – companies will again move to managing majority of their employees remotely. In the longer term, ssome form of permanent work-from-home arrangements will surely be here to stay.
Working without daily social interactions (think short chats at the pantry, lunch catch-ups etc), many teams may start feeling detached and fragmented.
While sustaining business operations during this difficult period is paramount, you cannot ignore your people. Nurturing them and making them feel like they’re working for a business that cares has perhaps never been more important. One increasingly important exercise is to pivot team bonding and social interactions online. This will not only boost morale, but also positively impact productivity.
From exploring escape rooms to terrarium-making to brewing coffee, listed below are virtual team-building activities to strengthen your team’s bond.
1) Escape Room
That’s right, you can embark on an escape room adventure even if the team isn’t physically in the same room.
Not only does being in a different environment helps to discover new things about the other, solving the problems as a team definitely boosts morale and team cohesion.
In fact, the DollarsAndSense team played a Minecraft-inspired escape room recently to “hang out outside of work”. It was definitely a fun-filled afternoon that let us escape the routine of work-from-home and solely fixating on work deliverables.
Just like in-person charades, the virtual version requires just as much (if not more) communication. A fuss-free activity, simply pick a charades generator, set up a zoom chat and you’re good to go!
As the game encourages both verbal and non-verbal communication (in some instances, you can only act out your given word/phrase), this activity can help foster team bonding despite the team not being in the same room. It can also help nudge quieter team members to speak up, or rather, act out!
For a watered-down version of charades, there’s the option of virtual Pictionary, where a member of the team has to draw out the given word/phrase before the team guesses the answer. You can go with a Pictionary generator, or opt for existing platforms such as Skribbl (free) or Drawful (paid) for a more immersive experience!
The objective of this game is simple – outwit your friends with made-up answers to trivia questions. After choosing a prompt (ranging from synopsis to a movie title to literature definitions), each player is required to provide an answer to a question. All players have to choose the answer they think is the right one – the player with the answer that is most popular vote wins the round!
So if you’re looking to get your team’s creative juices flowing or a break from work, this game makes for the perfect option. Pysch is an app that’s available to download.
4) Terrarium Therapy
The art of terrarium-making essentially involves creating a mini garden in a glass capsule. In addition to enabling your creativity flow, there’s also something therapeutic about being in close proximity with greenery. Plus, you’ll get to create a living art that doubles up as a workstation/home decor piece.
This fun activity also creates bonding opportunities for your team, albeit in a more relaxing manner. You may also have the instructor encourage questions or to prompt the team to showcase their terrariums, to increase mingling.
5) Tile Painting
Instead of putting your art on a conventional canvas, this activity immortalises your creativity on a, that’s right, tile.
Similar to terrarium-making, painting is a therapeutic activity that stimulates creativity. With a smaller surface area to work with, tile-painting, when compared to art jamming, is relatively less daunting to those who haven’t had much experience with a paintbrush. The finished product can also be easily used as a decor piece.
6) Movie Marathons
Who says colleagues can’t Netflix and chill together? Not only are movie nights a fun way to get everyone together, the shared experience can also strengthen the bond within the team. Pick a comedy to lighten up a particularly stressful week or an inspirational film to motivate your team through these challenging times!
Encourage your team to share their sentiments or to make comments throughout the movie (as they would during a physical movie night) via an instant messaging app, to keep everyone connected. Cameras should also be turned off, to allow everyone to fully relax.
For a fuss-free team movie watching experience, Netflix Party or good ol’ Zoom should do the trick. To score some brownie points with your team, have some movie snacks delivered right before the session begins!
7) Coffee Break
If you have a team of coffee lovers, a coffee appreciation workshop is the perfect activity.
In addition to learning about the origins of coffee and the different types of brews, you’ll also get to witness a virtual brew demo and try your hands at mixing cold brews. Be sure to organise a short hangout session after and enjoy your handmade coffee with the team!
8) Sharing a Drink
For the longest time, colleagues have bonded over a drink after work. That’s where they can let loose and blow off some steam. Working from home does not have to restrict you from doing this – send everyone on the team a bottle of beer or wine and uninvite the boss!
Touring the World
9) Virtual Holidays
Virtual holidays are on the rise. With platforms such as airbnb offering online experiences such as learning the secrets of Venice and diving with sharks in South Africa, remote teams can take a memorable holiday together.
Being apart doesn’t stop the team from bonding. We’d say that in these challenging times, the wellness of your employees should be all the more important.
This article was first published on 20 April 2020 and has been updated.
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