The events of the past few weeks have ushered in a deep sense of uncertainty. In the face of these fears, fostering a sense of safety and belonging starts with supporting each other. A great way to promote inclusion and support from afar is virtual team building!
Now that the majority Iowa State University Extension and Outreach employees are working remotely, they rarely get the opportunity to causally interact with their coworkers and managers like they would in a “regular” office.
While virtual teams have so many positive effects on production and work-life balance, they make organizations lose that “water cooler chat” that is so crucial to employee satisfaction and retention. Teams lose that opportunity to casually bump into each other and talk about things unrelated to work such as their home life, pop culture, and interests.
Some may think these interactions mean nothing, they are just useless small talk, but they actually impact team performance a great deal! When teams feel closer together and included, morale goes up, happiness goes up, and in turn, production goes up.
We all seem to be participating in video conferencing meetings with our teams. For remote teams, having an activity during a meeting that allows the team to take a few minutes to bond and focus on something other than work can help facilitate relationships and trust with their coworkers that they do not otherwise have the opportunity to see each other face-to-face. Find a variety of ideas and think about how you might foster inclusion and fun with virtual team building!