Google’s statistics have shown a 9% increase in Google search interest related to “team-building” in 2020 alone. Unsurprisingly, employers are paying great attention to promoting their staff’s teamwork spirit, especially in the context of the pandemic when many companies are shifting to working remotely. With the following practical virtual team building activities during quarantine, teams can gear up and make the most of remote work.
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Importance Of Virtual Team Building Activities During Quarantine
Regardless of their position and background, employees may experience lost motivation when they have to work from home. Remote working amid quarantine can disengage the team and may lead to poor performance. Therefore, companies need to have practical activities to help teams form social bonds and build trust among members.
The team-building activities target to help employees understand one another personally and build professional relationships among them. With a solid mutual comprehension, employees can communicate more effectively, share the responsibilities and tasks reasonably and work more productively.
Great Free Virtual Activities To Enhance Teamwork Amid COVID
Once we are facing a pandemic, there is no time to test out the traditional team-building activities to see how it fits the current situation. Business leaders would want employees to spend time on effective and practical team-building activities, which will help improve team performance. Below are some most recommended free virtual team-building activities during quarantine that any company can try.
Real-time games require every member to participate simultaneously. These games will help employees meet everyone in the team and just have a good time. It can be a good time for employees to know more about their colleagues, and maybe new friendships will blossom. Some of the most popular real-time activities for virtual team-building are ‘Break the Ice’, ‘Gift Swap’, “How You Doin’” or ‘Strength Finders’.
‘Break The Ice’
In the ‘Break the Ice’ game, teams can ask others some random icebreaker questions to learn more about one another. Questions like “What is your morning routine?” or “What’s a fear of yours from childhood?” would be interesting. Sometimes, team members have worked alongside each other for years but never really had a chance to know one another on a personal level. In only about 5-7 minutes, ‘Break The Ice’ can help break down that wall among members.
“How You Doin’”
Another real-time fun but practical activity to try is “How You Doin’”. It takes 5 minutes only but would help the team immensely on knowing how everyone is feeling. Maybe at the beginning of the weekly team meetings, everyone can share how they are doing. It can be a verbal statement or an emoticon added on the team Trello board. Maybe a teammate struggles with something personal, and members would lend extra support or empathy thanks to knowing it. Also, some other employees are pumped thanks to the exercises at home, and they could share some good vibes.
This virtual version of “Gift Swap” will have a different way of preparation. Team members would pick a present easily delivered and hint for the gift. For example, if your gift is a Vietnamese cookbook, you can put the hint as “Something from Southeast Asia”. After you have decided on the gift and the hint, put your hint on the team’s Trello board for “Gift Swap”.
Typically, teams will have ground rules for “Gift Swap” games. These rules can be about the monetary value range of the gifts, or according to a particular theme. For example, you can plan different “Gift Swap” events with the Fourth of July theme, or maybe handmade gifts only. Team members could take up some new hobbies during quarantine, and it feels great to gift your self-made stuff.
Once everyone has finished putting their hints, the video conference will commence. Team members will base on the hint to choose which gift they want, and they can even swap hints. After everyone has got their hint, gift-givers will disclose and deliver the gifts accordingly.
This activity is quite personal, and it’s recommended for a team with close bonds. In this activity, everyone will take time before the meet-up to list their top three strengths and three strengths they wish they had. Once the team meets up via video conferencing, everyone can share their strengths and discuss how those strengths have contributed to the team. Sometimes, we tend to see only one or two significant strengths of our teammates’. Maybe your teammates didn’t have a chance to show their other strength, which could also benefit the team.
What about the strengths that members wish they had? There could be reasons why they want to have such strengths and prevent them from achieving them. Once the teammates can share about this, other members can advise on how to achieve it or maybe work alongside each other to obtain it. The ultimate goal of the “Strength Finders” is to have positive and affirming conversations as teammates. This activity could give members a more profound sense of belonging and a better understanding of themselves and their teammates.
A quick, fun game that fits every employee. Source: Chad Littlefield
Besides fun real-time games, team members can also take up long-term virtual team-building activities requiring their commitment. Some suitable long-term activities include “Learning Circles”, “.gif Battles”, “Team playlists,” or “Virtual Lunch”.
Team-building activities and good food are a great combination, and hence “Virtual Lunch” is a tempting option. Once every month or every two weeks, team members can link up via video conferencing over lunchtime. Some members can cook up a special dish at home while others order delivery or even stay at a safe café. While everyone enjoys their food, team members can share what’s happening and anything fun or worth attention. A cool variation of this activity is “Virtual happy hours,” which can occur on Friday evening.
A beneficial activity that also enhances teamwork is “Learning Circles”. Remote working allows everyone to expand their horizons and learn about things they have not heard of before. Everyone would have different interests, and hence, when teammates are in a ‘learning circle’, they would learn together better. Members in the learning circles can discuss a book or an article, or a professional topic they want to research. This fantastic activity enhances teamwork while also encourages lifelong learning.
If you are looking for a virtual team-building activity to make members chuckle, this is it. Use your team Trello board to create the game of four rounds, each with a unique theme. According to the theme of each round, members will use Giphy.com or Google Images to find a .gif matching the theme. There can be a vote on the best submission for each round and, eventually, a final vote for the ultimate winner. Think of creative crowns for the winners, and you will have enough laughing stock for a month.
What can boost our moods better than a fun, upbeat music playlist? Even better, we get to contribute to a team’s playlist and can enjoy it with all members though we are apart. Create a collaborative Spotify playlist that your teammates can listen to and help curate. It doesn’t have to be all “get things done” but can also be a soothing soft-song-only playlist. This activity is an excellent way to learn about your teammates’ taste in music and also enjoy good songs they add to the lists.
“Social Chat Channel”
Of course, every team has several group chats to discuss how to deliver their tasks. But these chat channels don’t have to be strictly business. “Social Chat Channel,” asks teams to create a common group chat for everyone working remotely where they can share things like what they had for lunch, exciting articles, or their current projects. If you are lucky enough, a teammate may have a creative idea to share. Imagine you can discuss anything with your teammates, from an excellent recipe to an inspiring book you just read. It gets social when everyone shares what’s on their mind.
Research for more creative ideas to have fun virtual team-building activities. Source: Weekdone
Other Alternative Games
“Messy Desk Pics”
If your team uses Slack, Teams, or any other group chat application, this activity will engage the members with great fun. The best part is it can become a regular thing that does not take a lot of effort. “Messy Desk Pics” is basically to show what your desk is like when working remotely.
We all know how our office table in an office always needs to appear clean. We were all afraid to be judged by the constellations of coffee rings or personal items lying around on the table. But now that we work remotely, our home workstations can look much different from their version in the office. Therefore, “Messy Desk Pics” can be entertaining for both the tidy teammates and the rule-breakers who just basically let loose.
“My User Manual”
What if you can hear from your teammates sharing how best to work with them? What if they told you what kind of communication channels they prefer? Or whether they are cool with video calls during the day? That’s exactly what “My Use Manual” is about.
Team members will use a common PowerPoint or Keynote template to give a quick guide about how they prefer to work. It’s the most practical way to learn about your teammates and prepare yourself for fruitful cooperation in the future. These “user manuals” come in handy when the team welcomes new members. They can browse through these manuals and know precisely how to cooperate efficiently with each member.
It is not about a member’s health conditions but rather about the team’s health status. This fun but practical activity prompts members to examine how everyone works together, not what an individual employee is working on. The team members can work together to find out the critical attributes of a healthy and high-performing team. They can develop a health monitor to assess how the team is doing.
This activity will show whether the team obtains a good balance of skills from members. It also indicates whether the decision-making is effective within the team members. Once the group identifies an issue in any aspect, the members can discuss reasons and solutions. Hence, the teamwork spirit is maintained, and their performance will be less likely to be affected.
The Final Thought
Remote working can be fun with suitable virtual team-building activities during quarantine. When everyone is already stressed about COVID and how to stay healthy, it always helps to have fun with colleagues. Moreover, such practical activities can maintain and boost teamwork spirit, assisting teams in performing their best despite being at home. There are a variety of virtual team-building activities that would fit your team in different ways. Enjoy these activities and have a great time working remotely with our Career Advice section, belonging to Jobandedu.