Team building – more than ever!
You could say that the past year was one we might want to forget very quickly. But what if we learned the right lessons from it? Employees are tired of sitting at home and they miss the interaction with their colleagues. Not so much to do the job in itself, but the feeling of togetherness. “The sense of belonging.”
The effect of 1 year of isolation
For years, companies have put time, money and a lot of energy into getting their teams to function properly. 1 year of lockdowns has turned this dynamic completely upside down. All our automatisms were disrupted. We now have to replace the “let me ask my colleague real quick” with a Zoom meeting. Essential, informal communication at the coffee machine now has to be done via apps. The agenda is packed with Zoom, Skype, Hopin, Webex and Google Meet appointments. Every half hour we ‘jump’ from one meeting to another. We rarely take the time anymore to really listen to each other. As a result, there is much less contact between colleagues and a lot of information is not disseminated. The feelings of isolation and disconnection are becoming stronger and stronger.
Two examples that we came across ourselves:
- A participant in one of our activities proudly showed her newborn child after the award ceremony of an online team building event. Unfortunately, it turned out that many of her colleagues didn’t even know about her pregnancy.
- Another customer is a joint venture. Founded April 1, 2020. Two companies, two cultures, various processes, 180 colleagues. It takes a lot of time and energy to bring such collaborations to a successful conclusion. In addition to the countless meetings to coordinate with each other, they also organise a team building event every two months.
The disconnect with colleagues, the estrangement from each other, also results in less understanding towards each other. Frustrations that were already simmering before now continue to accumulate and there is no outlet for it.
Team building. The solution?
There is no ready-made solution for it, but (online) team-building events can kick-start more informal communication and bring back that feeling of belonging. They are a welcome break between all the video meetings.
Don’t be intimidated by online team building events, because these team building events were specifically designed for online events, they are not simply derived from an ‘offline’ team building event. There is a solution for every occasion and every technology
We are not expecting a lot of live team building events before September (*). That is another 6 months before (larger) teams start ‘seeing’ each other again. But if we could give the team leaders one piece of advice: spend time together, even virtually, to strengthen that informal connection as well. Knowing and understanding each other better is the foundation of a well-functioning team. Laugh and cry together, give people room to vent. As a team leader, also allow yourself to be vulnerable. Admit that it’s not always easy for you either.
(*) It is possible that things might still ease up and it is certainly possible to provide a lot of Covid-proof outdoor team building events. But we are not expecting the majority of live team building events until enough people have been vaccinated.