May 28
Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Remote Team To Engage in Virtual Team Building

Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Remote Team To Engage in Virtual Team Building

Leadership is a double-edged sword. While it can feel empowering, it can also be a burden. You are, after all, responsible for managing your team at all times.

Most of us are familiar with team building activities. If you’ve ever worked in a traditional office, you might also be familiar with the logistics behind it. And there’s definitely more to it than just booking a venue and facilitating the games. The most successful ones are both fun and meaningful, with the team experiencing stronger camaraderie after.

Since it has been proven that healthy workplace relationships boost productivity, output, and work satisfaction, many leaders and bosses encourage team-building exercises to cultivate collaboration and teamwork across all departments.

However, team-building activities are not for everyone. Some employees shy away from such and actually prefer to attend career development seminars. Furthermore, it’s a lot trickier to organise team building activities when you’ve got a distributed team. Here’s why.

The Problem With Team Building

The Problem With Team Building

Team building isn’t without its downsides. Being aware of these will help you decide whether organising one is worth your time, effort, and resources.

Done right, they can build rapport and establish good relationships within the team. However, bear in mind that not everyone will exhibit the same level of sportsmanship or will participate as actively. Thus, a poorly planned and executed team building activity may end up doing more harm than good.

For example, organising an annual getaway with your employees can be fun, but you need to take care that the activities don’t turn out repetitive and predictable. These can result in idle time and bored participants. Worse still, they can make interactions feel forced.

For example, I personally don’t like being obliged to open up about personal experiences, especially in the workplace. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Unfortunately, open-forum style interactions can be a common requirement during team building exercises.

Activities or sharing sessions that require your staff to divulge their emotions and feelings can be off-putting. They also run the risk of overstepping personal boundaries, so it would be better to just stick to more lighthearted games or group activities.

Now, if traditional team building sessions aren’t ideal or possible, what about their virtual counterpart? Would virtual happy hour be a more fun and less stressful alternative?

Skip Virtual Happy Hour Too

Skip-Virtual-Happy-Hour-Too

Zoom fatigue is all too real. Intermittent internet connections and the lack of non-verbal cues are just some of the reasons why many still prefer face to face meetings. These make facilitating (or joining) virtual team building activities even more taxing.

So, what should you do? It’s simple, really. Unless there’s undeniable clamour for such from your remote team, just skip the virtual team building.

Team building activities were successful in the past because the in-person collaboration made them fulfilling and meaningful. Also, offsite team exercises worked partly because they forced employees to engage with each other without computers between them.

This goes without saying, but don’t force your remote members to attend virtual coffee talks or to play interactive online games. Those who want to are free to organise their own, but don’t make it mandatory for everyone.

There are many other ways to build a strong team and to foster employee engagement and loyalty. Offer additional training related to your employees’ specialty or field of work. Encourage active collaboration between teams. Heck, give shout-outs to individuals and teams who consistently work hard and deliver.

Heading a team requires courage and determination, and those in charge of remote teams are no exception. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.

When you’re supported by a capable team, you can focus more on becoming the best leader you can be. Remote Staff has had more than 13 years of experience in matching the top Filipino remote talent with AU entrepreneurs so they can do exactly that.

Call us today or schedule a call back to get started.

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About The Author

Serena has been working remotely and writing content for the better part of the last decade. To date, she's written for Pepper.ph and Mabuhay Magazine, among others, and has churned out more than a thousand articles on everything from The Basics of Stock Market Investing to How to Make Milk Tea-Flavored Taho at home. Hermits, aspiring hermits, and non-hermits with interesting project propositions may email her at serena.estrella10@gmail.com.

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