What is a Virtual Team?
A virtual team is a collaboration of people who participate in group projects by making collaborative efforts, and for the purpose of achieving shared goals and objectives using communication technology. These include email, video and voice conferencing, instant messaging, fax, or simple phone calls. Understanding the importance of communication is the first step to implementing helpful virtual team building activities.
The flexibility of remote work is the essence of its productivity. Research shows that remote employees are willing to work for longer hours because they choose their schedules incorporating shorter breaks and less sick leaves. Remote workers of a virtual team can be a huge return on investment if they effectively work with each other.
In a traditional office environment, physical communication will allow employees to relate with their coworkers much easier. Engaging in small-talk about personal time over the weekends with work friends while standing by the copy machine or, maybe, while commencing by the coffee machine. These are essential components of building an office experience and sense of collaboration. However, virtual companies have to devote time to solidify relationships between workers using different tactics. They do not have the ability to schedule seasonal activities such as holiday dinners, intramural sports or movie days.
A Forbes study states that home workers are 13% more productive and have higher job satisfaction than those who work in an office everyday. However, managers of virtual teams may have to consider:
- Lack of networking between coworkers
- Lack of trust between coworkers
- Differences in culture and tradition
- Lack of consistency in direction
Managers can learn how employees communicate with one another when engaging in virtual team building activities and teach them how to learn to communicate properly. Managers can also prepare a course of training in how to employees should communicate with each other appropriately.
Thinking of Team Building Ideas?
Virtual team building ideas are meant for virtual teams of four employees or more. The purpose of virtual team building activities is the integration of peers. It is important for co-workers to build a working relationship with one another so they can collaborate on projects according to each employee’s unique skill. With these activities, you can recognize who would bring what to the table and how they do so. Using an instant messaging software for communication, co-workers can keep in contact with each other any time of the day.
Logical virtual team managers are always exploring ways to instill team spirit and trust into their teams, which heightens collaboration. Otherwise, leaders will find it challenging to build relationships and cultivate team cooperation.
The unilateral similarity that exists between all the issues listed above that managers of virtual teams face is ineffective communication. The right team of people of the right size, each taking an appropriate role need to communicate to ensure productivity.
With virtual team building activities, remote employees can collaborate and schedule who will work when by having an understanding of who may be a morning person and who works better at night. Deciding who works best with who can also help increase profits for a business.
4 Essentials You Need for a Virtual Team Building Activity:
1. Time Commitment
Set up a schedule in which you devote one day of the week to collaborate. This virtual meeting can help develop a routine and better time-management on top of proper communication. This does not necessarily have to be just for virtual team building activity but also for basic communication.
Create a mandatory scheduled 15 minutes conference call between team members so that they can engage with each other every week. Do not dictate what the subject of the phone call should be– let your employees build a foundation, figure out who they are to the company and learn about each other.
2. The Group Leader
The group facilitator is the democratic leader of communication between co-workers. If two coworkers are having trouble communicating with each other, they can refer to the group leader to improve interaction with one another.
3. Screen-Sharing/ Presentation Tool
This is for co-workers to view each other’s work and to present their own work to one another. It can help bring multiple eyes to one computer screen with audio, similar to a crowd of employees all peaking over a shoulder to see the computer screen to collaborate on a project, in person.
4. Conference Calling Tool
This is for co-workers to call each other or video chat with one another. They can express themselves verbally and a lot can be said from facial expression. Some people wear how they feel on their face. This allows everyone to be impeccable with his/her word.
Introduce a inter-team telephone chat appointments system – timings customized by each individual employee and how they prefer workloads – just for employees to learn about each other and build work relationships.
Team Building Activity Ideas
Team building activity ideas are easy to implement and increase return on investment for your team and for business. By using effective virtual team building activities, you can:
- Develop a level of trust and camaraderie between your co-workers
- Raise the solidity and familiarity among your co-workers
- Learn how your co-workers think and get to know them on both a personal and professional way
Jambar Team Building is a company based in Singapore that organize custom virtual team building activities and team bonding activities. They tailor the activities to the type, how long and the ultimate goal of the activity.
The Jambar Instagram displays pictures of several companies that have used their service to develop a level of intimacy between coworkers.
Consider Virtual Team Icebreakers
- Introduce Yourself With a Picture.
Give your team members an idea of who you are and where you come from. Each of you has your own unique story and will bring something to your team’s table. Maybe, introduce your virtual team to your pet with a picture.
- Play Trivia.
You can learn how to work together as a team as well as get to know each other. Be a team player.
- Have a Group Session With Non-Work Related Questions.
Set aside a meeting for all of you to answer one question with each of your diverse answers. Create goals for yourself for the week and share them with your colleagues. At the next session, evaluate your takeaway for the week. Have you met your goals?
- Play True and False Statement Games.
Or 21 questions— appropriately. This isn’t a game of truth or dare you play with your friends when you’re 13. Consider this to, still, be a professional environment.
- Meet Up With People Who May Be Close in Proximity.
Try meeting someone in your virtual team face-to-face. Build a contact relationship and get to know your colleague on a more personal level.
Communication Between A Virtual Team
Slack is a interface in which coworkers can communicate with one another. Quick messages and updates can be sent as a memo through a direct message from one employee to another. Or– an employer to an employee. With Slack, your email is displayed on your profile. With longer messages that need to be directed to someone, shoot him or her an email. If a third party needs to be included on a particular message sent, CC them. Communication between a virtual team is essential. Surprisingly, remote workers are more engaged and are better at communicating between a virtual team of than there is between workers in an office setting.
The task for virtual team leaders is tricky because of the lack of face-to-face interaction, whether verbal or in text. This challenges the camaraderie of the coworkers within a business.
Encouraging communication between employees improves telephone communications and skills since they have to verbally communicate with one another using a telephone to build support, shared ideas, compassion and connections between people. Growth in dexterities and developments becomes sharper since virtual team building activities are tailored for ‘conference’ calls linking many people at once. There is pressure in building verbal skills since the voice is the only medium of communication. Facial expression and hand gestures do not accompany the voice on a telephone call. A voice call can also better a workers ability to listen and interpret. Employees can battle their communication anxieties and nervous tendencies of publicly speaking. They will learn to speak fluently and effectively to convey a message so that it is delivered to their fellow peers or people working with the company.