7 Team-Building Activities You Can Conduct to Connect Your Hybrid Workers
A shift in workplace demographics and priorities – plus a little help from COVID-19 – has given rise to a new hybrid employment option that allows people to rotate between in-office and remote work settings. Although this alternative schedule offers more flexibility and work-life balance, it limits your ability to form relationships with co-workers.
Here’s why workplace connections are so meaningful, plus seven team-building activities you can do to create a more connected hybrid workforce.
Why Co-Workers Need to Connect
The workplace might get more digital and disconnected by the day, but human interaction will always be the foundation of a healthy work environment. Close relationships between employees improve a business’s daily productivity and build a winning culture. On the other hand, weak working relationships are bad for employee morale and productivity.
According to surveys, hybrid work has made it harder for workers to feel connected to their peers. A reported 54% of people who work from home have difficulty connecting with their co-workers because they’re physically and socially isolated. Due to these feelings of isolation, their enthusiasm and productivity take a hit.
People need to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. It gives them a sense of belonging and purpose besides their paychecks and similar career interests. Here are some good ideas for connecting your hybrid workers and establishing this all-important sense of purpose.
1. Virtual Networking
Few team-building activities are more effective than a straightforward networking session. Use your company’s go-to video conferencing platform to set up virtual meetings for your hybrid workforce. These semi-formal events will encourage employees to spruce up their home offices and put more effort into their work attire to impress their peers.
One of the most significant disadvantages hybrid workers face is fewer career advancement opportunities due to their isolation. Upward mobility is more complex when management doesn’t see you in person every day. Frequent virtual networking sessions will give hybrid workers more facetime with their supervisors and let them show off their interpersonal skills.
2. Classic Company Events
Hybrid workers who live close enough to your company’s building should always get an invitation to in-person activities. Classic business events such as fundraisers and awards ceremonies will never go out of style. Volunteering at charity events is a tried and true way to foster equity and inclusion among your employees.
With the workplace becoming more diverse, you might start a new annual tradition that celebrates different employee demographics and promotes a team-first culture. California-based organization Gidel & Kocal Construction has many such events. The company celebrates its women workers with an annual dinner consisting of wine blending, charcuterie making and other team activities. Gidel & Kocal also signed up its staff for a local sushi cooking class to teach them about teamwork and another culture’s cuisine.
If your hybrid staff has wide age differences, plan a generational event highlighting the similarities between age groups to help the employees bond. For example, the ADP Research Institute hosts annual roundtable conversations or “Let’s Eat Cake” events about generational differences, stereotypes and styles. According to ADP’s own research, workers are more likely to leave if the company falls short in creating an inclusive environment.
The U.S. Army has held routine cultural movie nights for over a decade for students and faculty at the Foreign Language Center. These events help military officials develop awareness and sensitivity to other cultural customs while building team chemistry at the same time.
The events don’t have to be formal or extravagant — staff usually prefer simple, low-stakes social situations like happy hours and pizza parties. Any occasion that allows your hybrid workers to bond with each other is worth the effort, no matter how small. Just make sure you announce the events well in advance so they can adjust their schedules.
3. Brainstorming Sessions
Hybrid team members have few opportunities to discuss ideas with each other, even within the same departments. They can only accomplish so much through emails and instant messaging. You need to organize frequent brainstorming sessions so they can develop a detailed game plan, understand their unique roles and stay on the same page.
4. Group Map
If your workforce includes full-time remote employees, you may have some people from out of state or another country. Connect your workers from different parts of the world by letting them share their cultural backgrounds. Have them pinpoint their hometowns on a virtual map template and swap fun facts about the local customs.
5. Problem-Solving Games
Getting your hybrid workers to show their authentic personalities can take time and effort. Introverts tend to prefer hybrid schedules more than extroverts do, so you must encourage them to come out of their shells. Set up virtual problem-solving games for them to play with each other, such as Escape Room, Murder Mystery, Scavenger Hunt and complex jigsaw puzzles.
6. Friendly Competitions
Another great way to bring out the personalities of your hybrid workers is through friendly competition. Classic games such as Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire translate well to team-building activities. Playing games will lighten the tension, improve company culture and allow employees to showcase their teamwork abilities.
7. Holiday Celebrations
Every holiday is another opportunity to bring your hybrid workforce together. Even if they don’t celebrate, you should invite them to participate in the festivities. You should also encourage them to develop traditions of their own for minor inconsequential holidays, such as showing off their furry friends on International Dog Day. Give them small celebrations to look forward to. Good team-building relies on shared experiences!
Make Your Hybrid Workers Feel Seen
These team-building activities share a common theme — they make your hybrid workers feel seen. They might not always be present in the office, but they’re still an equally important part of your team. Due to their unique work arrangements, you must go the extra mile to keep them in the loop and make them feel like they belong. If you are relocating to the UK for an exciting new chapter in your career, make sure and check out Property Solvers for questions about selling and buying.