Why bother with team bonding?
People always formed groups.
In prehistoric times, they were called tribes. During the pandemic, we still form groups, but virtual ones. After all, as Aristotle very famously has put it, man is a social being. It is imprinted on our DNA to live and function in groups.
We will elaborate more on the tools and methods to bond the employees. If you think about it, with simple rules, rules that were true for human behaviour even at prehistoric times, we are going to succeed one more time.
Let’s take atoms for example. Atoms need to bond with other atoms and work together to form molecules, which in turn form everything you see and touch. Each atom is special, unique, and awesome, but nothing can be formed in this world with one single atom. So let’s face it!
No team will achieve great results if its members work individually. It is collectiveness and teamwork that bring best results. However, you should create solid bonds before you can successfully build and grow a business.
Leaders face many decisions that directly affect their return on investment. While many invest in training, digital tools, and processes, some forget to invest time into building a palpable team culture — especially in a remote environment.
The virtual working habitat has set new rules and raises challenges as to how to preserve the bond between the company and the employees. We have moved away from the initial concept of one central office to scarce working spaces. So, how can a company maintain and strengthen the company cohesion under such diversified personal conditions?
Set crystal clear work expectations.
“How do we know if people work when they are not in the office?” The remote working environment helped managers recognize that this concern can be mitigated by having crystal clear expectations, as well as by a result-oriented culture. Virtual or not, a team’s trust relies on the quality of communication.
Informal conversations are great ways to connect and demonstrate empathy at work, and for remote teams, this process needs to be more intentional. During a Friday video meeting, ask each person to share (concerning boundaries) a non-work positive matter related to their week, as well as a non-positive. Demonstrating an understanding of the experiences of your colleagues is a great way to foster community, even on a remote team.
Our new virtual tribes rely on technology. We all rushed to get acquainted with Zoom, some with less success than others. Colleagues who realized that technology was becoming an issue asked for aid from other team members. Most colleagues proved to be supportive, whereas in the old days there may have been apparent competition. So, learning and adapting to new technical skills can become a bonding tool for virtual communities.
Go virtual to enhance collaboration.
Virtual solutions can close physical gaps and teams are facilitated to communicate and collaborate even more seamlessly than before. Instant Messaging & Chat, Online calendars, Project management software, and Virtual brainstorming and collaboration tools, promote effective teamwork and allow people to work in “real-time” on live projects. When you select the virtual tools that work best for you, ensure that everyone is using them – both remote and non-remote employees.
Set up a team’s lunch or coffee.
The bonds that employees form in the office are often made around the water cooler, or on a lunch break, and due to the pandemic, no such opportunities exist. Employees will become detached if they are constantly kept away from workplace bonds that motivate employees to work towards long-term goals. So gather your teammates via video for a weekly lunch or coffee at a set time and try to keep the work talk to a minimum. This will raise employees’ morale.
Offer learning experiences.
Offering virtual team members the opportunity to attend conferences and seminars together is a great way to enhance their connection. Even virtual conferences give employees the chance to interact with each other and share common experiences. This can be a great jumping-off block to get employees talking for the first time, as they review the key takeaways from the event.
Connect with your employees.
On a more human level, it is not the technology that keeps one team bonded but the interaction between them. Working remotely removes a lot of the social context which we use to communicate. Entering an honest conversation virtually may seem more problematic than real life conversations. So, setting clear conversational patterns is essential.
Pick as a topic of discussion a book, or a recent movie, and then, discuss it with the team. It will not be linked with work, but this way you can find common ideas and emotions with other members of the team. Even when we disagree, it is important to feel free to express a different view, because this is essential for the actual projects. Many projects have failed because no one dared to disagree.
Play online Games.
Online games can also be a tool to enhance trust among team members. Try to choose one that many like, prefer and are able to participate. Different age groups may not share the same enthusiasm, that is why the game should allow the participation of all. And a game is not just a game. It is an opportunity for our new virtual families to get together. During a game, one can also assess the qualities of their team members. If someone is too competitive and gets distressed over losing, this can provide the opportunity to reflect on this and get the team member realize their behaviour’s impact on the teamwork and results.
To assess the team’s level of bonding and enhance it, LMW has mastered a psychodrama, an action method through which our experts help every company establish and maintain well-bonded teams.
The psychodrama is a sophisticated method by which LMW can attest positive results on companies’ achievements. It is an experiential way where team members are getting to know each other on a deeper level, team bonding strengthens, collaboration is facilitated, and projects come to full fruition with great success.
In LMW we view the virtual work communities as a great opportunity to prove what Henry Ford once stated, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”.
Regardless the location, people group in teams. And this is a chance for teams to thrive.