Perhaps you’ve decided that you need to do some “team building” (although click here to read about why it might be waste of time first), but you want to do it virtually. How can you make it work? Here’s some ideas for virtual team events, to make them effective.
Important points first.
For a team event to work it’s important it links work and non-work related activities. “Just having fun” is not as effective and can lead to more cynicism in the already overworked team.
Successful events target different elements of the team’s culture (models such as Johnson & Scholes cultural web) give a good way to consider this.
A successful event (or mini-series) needs to be tailored to the team, rather than a generic set of activities (the list in this article is good, but to generic as it stands).
Ideas for virtual team events
Use different people in the team to create different sections of the event (doesn’t have to be a whole day). They don’t have to run “their” section, just helping build it will include them more and the others get to learn about them too. Examples they could draw on:
- Quiz – created by a subset of the team on their favourite subject. Use different modes of the virtual meeting system to answer, that might be polls, chat box, voting, talking, holding up coloured cards to the screen, or even finding items in the house and holding them in front of the screen.
- Remote meeting bingo – This is a virtual version of “buzzword bingo”. Each player has a printout to start the day with common phrases on it (e.g. Unmute yourself, I can’t hear you, can everybody see my screen). As they hear each one write the time and who said it. Shout Bingo as soon as it’s full.
- Virtual elements – Send team members various items of clothing before the meeting (hat, t shirt etc). Get them to wear them for the whole session, or part of it. Don’t forget to take screenshot of everybody.
- Virtual campfire – Send everybody a tealight (bulk buy from Ikea) a cocktail stick and a marshmallow. While playing one of the story based games, toast and enjoy the marshmallow
- Story based games – Randomly change the speaking player, the next player has to continue the story from where they took over. Stories can be based on random, or better still corporate themes
- Partner discussions: Split the group into pairs (or threes) each in a breakout room. The group interviews/ discusses with each other around certain themes (hobbies/ where they live etc.). Bring the group back together to share three key learning points.
- 2 truths and a lie: Everybody creates a lie about themselves and two true things that nobody else knows. Each person then gets 1 minute on screen to explain all three. The rest of the team vote on which was the lie. The winner is the person who created the most believable lie.
- Baby Pics: In advance each team members sends the organiser a baby photo. During the day people vote on which is which.
Going further it’s possible to bring in external providers to “do something different”. Elements like virtual magicians or other entertainers, virtual cookery classes can create extra “wow”; if built into the theme of the day enhance it.
Most importantly virtual away days, like real ones, need to also have business elements. The way you tackle these depends on the business issue being faced, and the mix of personality types in your team. Team sessions, virtual or “real” need managing differently if you have many introverts, many extroverts or a “normal mix”.
How do you use virtual tools to create team bonding?
If you are struggling to get more from your team, and want them to think more for themselves, click here to book a 15 minute slot in my diary and let’s discuss some ideas.
- Ideas for virtual team events, so you can run your own
- The team away-day: Waste of time, or critical performance improver?
- Why are remote team meetings so tiring?
Or listen to:
An interview with Helene Jewell of the International Association of Facilitators on how to improve your meetings.