There’s no doubt that most teams in the corporate world are connected 24/7 thanks to modern technology. From smart calendar apps to help keep track of appointments and projects to joining online meetings, all of our workplace tasks can be handled right in the palm of our hand.
Because of these great business collaboration tools, you’ve conquered the first hurdle of having an effective team—being connected. But while they may be tuned in to work and available at the sound of an incoming email, that doesn’t mean they’re actually connecting as a team.
Workplace relationships are the building blocks to creating and nurturing a high-performing team. Connecting on a personal level in the workplace builds cohesion, a support system and a source of motivation.
Team-building activities are a great way to start bringing a team together—whether they’re working together in person or virtually. I’m sure your eye twitched at the sound of “team-building activities”, but they really are essential to breaking team members out of their shells and showcasing their true personalities.
Here are some possible team-building activities, for both in-person and virtual teams to try.
Team meals: Seriously, do you really know a team member who’s going to turn down a free lunch? I didn’t think so. On my first day working with PGi, my new team made it a point to take me out to lunch and get to know me—something I had never experienced at previous jobs. Because they did this, I felt an instant connection with my peers, and a willingness to build a solid workplace relationship with each of them.
This type of personal support in the workplace is invaluable. Sometimes, employees will experience discouraging or stressful times and having a personal support system can help to rebound quickly from the situation instead of lingering. On the same token, having a group of people to celebrate workplace victories with is a huge morale booster, helping keep your employees happy in their environment.
Team games: Whether it be a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course or workplace competition, teamwork games are structured to bring out everyone’s talents and personalities and use them to reach a goal. Not only will your team members get the chance to showcase themselves as valuable, but it will also build team cohesiveness.
Building team cohesiveness through games like these will stifle the fear of rejection because employees will feel confident being surrounded by a group they connect with and trust. Group discussions, for example, are a lot like the above scenario—a chance for employees to highlight their contributions. But if your team members aren’t familiar with one another, they may hold back their brilliant ideas in fear of rejection.
Virtual teams meeting primarily through online meeting tools can struggle to make personal connections. So if your team is remote, consider trying digital versions of team activities and games.
While you’re all in an online meeting, take a few minutes to have an around-the-horn type of conversation about everyone’s personal lives. This works especially well if the team is new and just getting to know each other.
If teams are in separate offices, think about syncing up your next holiday party by keeping up a live video stream so everyone can periodically check-in and catch up. Keeping these channels of personal communication open for teams can simulate “workplace relationships” regardless of the distance.
Virtual teams aren’t exempt from teamwork games either. Consider trying some simple browser-based games or full-blown video games to foster team cohesion and build strategic thinking skills. There’s no reason team building can’t be fun and interactive even for remote workers.
Bridging the gap between being connected and connecting as a team is key to creating and maintaining not only a happy team, but a happy workplace. Being proactive in nurturing these ideals and fostering a positive workplace culture will lead your team to success.
PGi is the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services. PGi’s award-winning unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions help nearly 50,000 businesses grow faster and operate more efficiently.