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Until recently, working from home was something that only a small group of people did. For most people, working from home was a dream. COVID-19 made that dream a reality for millions around the globe. For all the benefits that come from remote work, there are also several challenges. One challenge is helping a team feel a sense of camaraderie as they attack a project, especially if they are not working together on the same premise.
How Can Camaraderie Be Developed with a Virtual Team?
Building camaraderie among a virtual team is an ongoing process. The idea is to help members of remote teams work together. If a team can build a deeper bond by solving problems together, telling stories, solving puzzles, like those found in a virtual escape room, and working together collaboratively, the end results are usually better.
Remote work means being physically distant. Many people live with their families, so they have that physical connection to people in the home. However, there are many workers who live alone. And even those who live with their families often isolate themselves in their office or in one sector of the home so they can do their work.
Remote work can lead to a feeling of isolation. When an employee feels isolated, it’s difficult for them to work comfortably with a team. Therefore, it is a must to create a comfortable team environment that is conducive to the camaraderie and team building.
Building camaraderie among a virtual team requires using intuitive strategies and planning activities and games. All of these are designed to take virtual work and add an element of human interaction. The goal is to help a team connect to each other and feel like they are working as a community.
Four Virtual Team Building Exercises for Your Office
There are several factors that can make it difficult for a remote team to develop chemistry or a sense of community. One factor is living in different time zones. A way to overcome this is to pre-record some activities and then put them on a file-sharing place where everyone can view them. However, if it is possible to get the entire group together for a call, that’s better.
1. Take a Tour of Each Other’s Homes
This is a team-building exercise that encourages team members to open up their homes to their fellow employees. This is a fun, relaxed way for team members to get a better feel of each other’s personalities and the spaces where they live and work.
Each team member could make a short video of their home and discuss some favorite things they have around their home. Team members will become familiar with each other personally. This is a tool that can work well with small teams, but larger teams can make a success of it.
You could stagger the tours. This way, one or two team members will show off their homes each week, so you are not spending hours on end looking at people’s homes.
2. Play a Virtual Game
Another great way to do a little virtual team building is to play an online game together. There are plenty of games available online that are pretty simple to participate in, as long as you have video conferencing capabilities. Games such as virtual escape rooms are set up to build communication and team-building skills.
3. Build a Virtual Storyline
Who does not love a good story? Storylines are one of the oldest forms of team building. Get the entire team to connect to a videoconferencing program. The first person will start a story where they start one complete sentence and one incomplete sentence. From there, the next person completes the previous line and adds another incomplete sentence. This team-building exercise forces the team to think creatively, listen to each other, and improve team cooperation.
4. Virtual Happy Hour
Before the pandemic, getting drinks with coworkers was an essential part of having fun and feeling part of the team. Now, in many places, governmental restrictions and health concerns make these types of get-togethers impossible. However, they can be done virtually. Everyone can grab their favorite adult beverage, or nonalcoholic beverage, and just sit and chew the fat like friends.
Managers and team leaders need to facilitate team-building exercises. The closer a team feels to each other, the easier it’s going to be for them to work together to tackle projects successfully.