You’ve probably heard it many times before. Robots are taking over and we should all fear what’s next. But technology should be embraced not feared! Teams nowadays need to be agile and innovative and technology can help create them.

Team dynamics are changing and with more freelancers, contractors and remote workers than ever before, it’s time to adapt how we build our teams.

What’s the point of team building activities?

Heard the phrase, ‘team work makes the dream work’? Well they’re not wrong. Business Owner Cheryl Cran understands the future of work as being more collaborative than ever before.

Gone are the days of lonely leaders and hierarchical decision making. The new way of working means considering the opinions of every team member and research by Cloverpop found decisions were 87% more successful when made by teams. So creating a team that has a shared vision or purpose and can come together to make the best decisions is vital to any business.

Developing a team that’s comfortable collaborating leads to higher productivity. Writing for Training Zone, John McCarthy says creating opportunities for team building improves communication between employees by breaking down any barriers between departments and employees who probably use email as their main source of internal communication.

This is especially important for your remote workers. They are most at risk of feeling isolated from the team, which could impact their productivity. Team building is essential for keeping your remote workers in the loop, making sure their ideas are valued and boosting their team morale.

Employee engagement companies such as WeThrive have highlighted the importance of giving employees a shared vision and goals to work towards. If they don’t have this then what are they working for? Team building is a way of making sure all employees know their purpose and understand they’re all working towards the same goals.

Making your team building inclusive

Every member of your business is different. You will have extroverts who enjoy an adrenaline rush and introverts who would much rather not go bungee jumping or abseiling. Everyone has different interests and skills, making your challenge to find team-building activities that are inclusive.

Team building activities usually focus on the sales team and creating competition. But, the chances are your HR or IT department probably won’t feel the same excitement when it comes to a team training day. Team building exercises should inspire, not bring about dread and rolling eyes. They need to have options that don’t make them come down with an sudden ‘unexpected’ illness.

Yes, you can’t please everyone. But Sandstone suggest team building activities that appeal to all are more likely to facilitate real change in the workplace. Employees are more likely to take the skills they’ve learned, and the relationships they’ve built with colleagues, into their working environment if they enjoyed the activity.

Choosing the right activity

Finding an activity everyone will enjoy is not an easy task. Dan Pink explains that one of the factors influencing motivation and engagement is autonomy. So give employees a choice.

Building a team doesn’t have to involve sporty and competitive activities. It just needs to involve working towards a common goal. There are simple things you can do in and out of the workplace to boost your team’s spirit.

Internal communication tools

A community feel is an essential part of the employee experience. Tami Matthew from ElevatePoint explains that people stay at work longer when they have developed friendships with their fellow colleagues.

 

We can’t ignore the role of technology in the future workplace and need to embrace the idea that communities are being built online.

 

We can’t ignore the role of technology in the future workplace and need to embrace the idea that communities are being built online.

Having a modern intranet and internal communication tools such as Slack, allows social networking and for employees to connect and discuss. These tools are especially important for your remote workers.

Tami Matthew, talking to Marginalia, explains that as a remote worker herself, online connections with colleagues helped her to stay engaged and develop rapports with people she wouldn’t see very often. She explains that online connections go a long way to help create a ‘sense of camaraderie and pride, and support authentic relationships’.

Coaching culture/Mentoring

According to WeThrive, one of the top desires for employees in the workplace is feeling a ‘deeper social connection to their colleagues’. Creating a coaching culture is the way to do it. Continuous professional development is an important part of the overall employee experience, as Jacob Morgan explains. If you have certain employees who have skills that another employee lacks, encourage them to share their strengths and teach others.

It doesn’t require any external training resources and also increases the chance of your employees staying. A Deloitte Research Report found staff retention to be 25% higher for employees who take part in company sponsored mentoring. A coaching culture helps employees develop their abilities whilst creating a more unified, collaborative team.

Online Scavenger Hunts

A popular new tool being used by companies to build collaborative teams is tech-based scavenger hunts. Employees are divided into pairs and are all given clues or a list of internet sites and information they need to look for. Each pair must work together to decipher the clues using mobile devices, tablets and software made available to them.

This tech-based activity teams develop their problem-solving skills, encouraging them to be creative, communicative effectively and improve their interpersonal skills.

Open spaces

Many workplaces opt for either open working spaces or cubicles. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. We’re starting to see the introduction of multiple types of workspaces in one business.

You need to give employees the opportunity to mix. Create a space they can go to chat. Simply developing an open space can transform the dynamic of your team and gives them a chance to mingle whilst at work.

Jacob Morgan suggests these can be in the form of lounge areas, collaborative indoor spaces where people can go to work on projects or even outside working areas (weather permitting).

Days out

Of course there are times when a team day out may be what is needed. Every team needs to get out and have some fun together!

A pub quiz can be a good ice breaker and Benjamin Brandall, writing for Process, suggests it is an easy-going environment to foster teamwork.

It can be as simple as getting everyone together for a company meal at a nice restaurant, chocolate making or a trip to the races. Whatever activity you decide to do, make sure it is something that everyone will enjoy.

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