The more that virtual teams become our normal way of working, the more we realize how difficult it is to build the positive relationships so critical for team success. A face-to-face meeting for team building is best, yet most teams can’t afford that luxury.
So how do you build team spirit when you can’t have a retreat or even just meet for coffee at the end of the day? The key is tapping into the creativity and lighthearted nature buried within our business minds. Here are three enjoyable activities to build relationships and team spirit.
How do you celebrate?
- If you search world holidays on the web you’ll find that almost every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. Holidays are culturally important, and how we celebrate reveals a lot about us as individuals.
- Ask one or two team members to share a few photographs and chat for five minutes in your next team meeting about how they celebrated their latest holiday. What foods did they eat, what were the activities, what was being celebrated?
Guess the desk.
- Ask team members to send in a photograph of their office (or home office) desk. Show the photo and discuss what the desk reveals about its owner.
- Does a bowl of fruit mean the person is health conscious?
- Are there family photos?
- How many technological gadgets are on the desk?
- After the discussion, ask team members to guess the desk owner’s name. The owner then gets an opportunity to reveal him/herself and to clarify or explain anything noticed by the team.
The most unusual thing …
- Use this as a conversation starter for the team. When you send out the meeting agenda ask them to be prepared to answer a question. For example:
- The most unusual thing I ever ate …
- The most unusual place I ever visited …
- The most unusual event I witnessed …
When building a virtual team, encourage that fun-loving side of you to emerge. Relaxed creativity can provide just the lift needed to build the positive relationships and esprit de corps that are the keys to successful virtual teams.
About the author
Carmela Sperlazza Southers is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies. Her posts on increasing organizational, team, and leader effectiveness in the virtual work world appear on the fourth Monday of every month.