Remote Team Building During COVID-19

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With the recent “shelter in place” restrictions implemented as a result of COVID-19, coronavirus, non-essential persons are expected to stay home and businesses are unsure how long they will have to require employees to work remotely. With the duration of this remote work unknown, keeping employees connected is a priority, but also might be uncharted territory for many. In today’s newsletter we share three considerations to keep in mind if you’re looking to start implementing remote team building activities, or of you want improve upon your current strategy.

In a study of conducted by Atlassian, 94 percent of workers reported that mutual respect and connection are critical to their team’s success, and 19 percent reported that it’s the number one factor in their sense of well-being at work. It goes without saying that team building is especially important during these uncertain times.

3 Things to Consider With Team Building Activities

One of the biggest cons to remote work is loneliness and feelings of isolation, a feeling that is likely exacerbated at this time with social distancing in effect. Loneliness in turn can result in a disengaged employee and poor performance. Luckily, cultivating social bonds can lead to trust building and foster respect amongst coworkers, and is one way to reduce any feelings associated with loneliness. 

Atlassian offers a matrix of activities that meet specific criteria based on what you’re looking to do and what intent is behind your team building exercises. Below are three things to consider when you are planning remote activities whether you have a few remote workers or all-remote teams now or in the future. 

1. Real-time vs. asynchronous – Do employees need to do the activity simultaneously, or can each person participate at whatever time works best for their schedule/routine?

2. Practical vs. just for fun – Is the activity intentionally unproductive, or does it serve the dual purpose of building social bonds and improving the way you work in a more tangible way?

3. One-hit wonder vs. on the regular – Is the activity something you do daily or weekly, or is it something you’d do once (and maybe again when new team members join)?

When it comes to virtual team building activities, each team member is on their computer and the team interacts using an internet-connected tool: chat, video conference, slack, etc. Don’t overcomplicate it; many traditional team-building exercises such as icebreakers and team lunches can be adapted to accommodate remote workers. Start off small and with activities that aren’t too complex, and build from there. Some activities will require more planning, like remote team Trivia or Charades, and you can find some out of the box ideas linked below under “Industry News”. Lastly, test run your activities by putting them into practice. Sometimes they make sense in theory but once implemented, you might run into some logistical issues you didn’t think of if you just dive right in. In the end, remote team building is a process that takes time, effort, and maybe a budget, but investing in it is worth it! 

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