The Government has set out plans to allow employers to use their discretion in requesting employees return to work from 1st August. In reality, it may be some time before all employees return to the workplace, yet employers and leaders need to press on with priorities to make up for lost time, and move to a more ‘normal’ way of working.
Team cohesion has suffered for many during this extended period. It’s worth revisiting what organisations would normally do to bring teams together, to recognise what might be missing right now, and take steps to address those gaps.
With no time to lose, focus should now move to how best we can support leaders and teams to ensure they work as best they can. Organisations need high performing teams to recover from significant business interruption.
Here are our 5 tips for virtual team building.
- Allow check in time. In the absence of visual clues to how a person is feeling when they arrive for a meeting, it’s important to start with some check in time. Don’t assume everyone is OK; allow for other distractions, especially with team members working from home. Taking just a few minutes at the start of a meeting, to arrive and transition into the work space will help them feel calm and focused on the meeting discussion once it starts.
- Be clear about the purpose of the meeting. It helps participants concentrate on the objectives of the meeting, how they can be achieved on an individual and collective level, and to agree actions and desired outcomes.
- Structure the process. Meetings need to be more directive, to follow a set structure to keep everyone engaged, and discussion purposeful and on point.
- Encourage individual contributions. Recognise that not everyone is comfortable in the digital world; they may struggle to find their voice, or there may be more dominant participants controlling the discussions. Encourage everyone to speak, and don’t be afraid of inviting quieter participants to have their say.
- Keep a good record of agreements. Working virtually requires new protocols to ensure everyone is accountable for agreed actions, and these can form the starting point for future meetings.
We recently conducted a webinar on the subject of virtual team building, which expands on this topic. It contains a Q&A session full of interesting and varied questions from participants sharing their experiences of team building in the virtual world, from which we can all learn. Feel free to listen, and share with colleagues.