In the past the most common option to build team engagement would be team building activities. However, with Covid-19 still being a big part of our lives the usual bowling or outdoor team building activities are not possible.
This does come as a relief for staff who view team building as a task. Others might feel team building is just a distraction from the other tasks they need to do which will keep them behind. But the fact is that team building has shown to have significant impact on work projects, team spirit and morale.
Now that our work force looks different and operates differently than it did a year ago, we should look at alternatives to the way we approach the concept of team building. The reality is that management can feel the disconnect and burn out that staff are experiencing. There is also a major disconnect from fellow colleagues and projects at work.
So, the real question is how can we facilitate a reconnection with our teams especially for those still working remotely?
– Start by giving your team options. No one feels excited when they are forced to have fun. And we have to stop pretending that team building is not work because team building happens during working hours. But if you open the topic to discussion and find out what your team wants to do. Posing the question to your team makes for creative ideas flowing through. Another suggestion could be offering a list of things that are affordable and have the team vote for what they wish to do. This may not ensure everyone is excited but atleast the decision is up to the staff with regards to what they want to do.
– Zoom and Teams meetings exhaustion is a real thing. And if you propose an activity that will be done online then you can’t expect your team to be enthusiastic about spending more time on zoom to have group bonding. But there are ways to get your team distracted and involved in team building online.
Games are a great way to distract your team from the long hours they spend online. There are a range of ice breakers available online to use to take away the monotony of online. Instead of it always being a 2 hour meeting incorporate various icebreakers in between to break the chain of routine and to try to facilitate the reconnect for people working remotely.
– Another great way to progress as a team is to upskill. Schedule training virtually in fields like Excel or other key topics that need training. It can be done by a training company or by staff members who are knowledgeable on specific topics. You don’t want to make your team feel like you are piling on more work but having each team member present might allow you to identify further skills that they have and you were not familiar with.
Sometimes the best way to build team spirit might just be to cut them some slack. Give them a break. We obviously can implement unlimited time off but if staff feel they are not working around the clock they might get more work done. You know how everyone says “this meeting could have been an email.”
Ensure you assess the ned to schedule a meeting before you do it. It is important to allow your staff the chance to recharge. Working from home can be more pressurising than the office. Engagement with staff and implementation of stress management plans can help team members deal with the new normal.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute.
The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.
Tel: 011 262 2461 | 083 303 9159 |