Data shows that when employees are both connected and unified with each other in the workplace, the organization as a whole is likely to outperform its competitors in revenue, turnover and productivity, Gallup confirms. This is why team building initiatives are crucial for onsite and remote employees alike—more than ever in this time of COVID-19 when teams are scattered, and social distancing is a matter of public safety.
An estimated one in five Americans reports isolation and loneliness, according to SHRM, which has only exacerbated due to this pandemic. So, in order to keep your staff cohesive and business aligned in these uncertain months ahead, team building is an absolute must. Here are five safe activities to reinforce camaraderie between coworkers—either remote or in-office—as you enter this post-pandemic business world together.
Host an Online Game Tournament
Whether it’s a battle royale game like Fortnite, an action-oriented game like Heads Up or a facts-based game like Trivial Pursuit, some friendly online competition is sure to revitalize your team bonds. In fact, as a recent survey from Chumba Casino has found, 34% of online gamers deem relationship building to be their favorite part of this hobby. Capitalize on that in your own workforce and coordinate a game tournament on Zoom or another virtual platform that everyone has access to.
Organize a Socially Distanced Hike
Not only is spending time in nature healthy for both the mind and body, it’s also something you can do as a team while in adherence to the six-feet-apart rule. In a study of more than 1,000 participants, those who walked outside for 20 minutes five days a week called in sick to the office about 43% fewer times than their counterparts, Harvard Health points out. Organize a team hike at a local nature trail to move your bodies and boost immune function—just don’t forget those face masks.
Experience a Remote Escape Room
Based on research conducted at the University of Memphis, collaborative problem solving is one of the most useful skills for teams to harness in the workplace. When employees join forces to devise a common ground solution, this unites them behind a purpose, reinforces accountability, fosters respect for each other’s contributions and diverse ideas, and builds interdependence, this study continues. One excellent activity to hone problem solving is a virtual escape room hosted on Zoom.
Plan a Morning Virtual Coffee Hour
In a podcast interview, Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom notes that as COVID-19 increases the need for remote teams, it’s hard to facilitate water cooler talks which are “important for long-run innovation.” Often in the workplace, “creativity comes from idle time and relaxed discussion with colleagues,” Bloom continues, but if it’s not feasible to connect in person right now, you can still invite your team to informal morning video chats over coffee before the workday starts.
Have an Acts of Kindness Challenge
In this time of fear and disconnect, basic human kindness is vital in all areas of life which includes the workplace. Data compiled by the Greater Good Science Center emphasizes that teams who value generosity as part of their business culture tend to be more productive, connected, efficient and collaborative. To promote generosity on your team, start a kindness challenge—divide staff members into pairs and give them a week to surprise each other with kind and thoughtful actions.
How does your approach to team building look in the era of COVID-19? Is your workforce remote, onsite or a combination of the two? Have you tried any of these team building activities to boost a sense of connection and unity? What other strategies have worked for you in this area too? Share your ideas in the comment section below!