Right now, we're all working from home. Across the world, office workers are finding a spot in their houses, whether it's a desk in a spare room or a corner of the kitchen table and are setting up a workspace to try to keep things as normal as possible. Some might argue that it has never been more important to make sure that your employees feel appreciated and part of a team.
While the usual teambuilding exercises, such as paintball or spa days, may be off the menu, there are plenty of fantastic ways to bring your staff together in a meaningful way even if they may be dispersed across the city.
Tastings are a fun activity and can easily be done using your favourite video conferencing software. While whisky and wine tastings are probably best left to social hours, tasting coffee beans from different origin regions is a superb option.
Rwandan coffee beans taste of caramel and dates; Guatemalan coffee beans have a subtle chocolate flavour; and Peruvian coffee beans have notes of both herbs and fruit. Provide each of your employees with a tasting wheel and a box of numbered coffee beans and let them try to work out which is which.
As a low-cost, high-reward option, coffee beans, ground and prepared for your team, offer a way to boost morale even during these tough times.
This is an activity that is best undertaken early in the day. It's possible your team-members should be ready to swish and spit, as drinking this much caffeine all at once may be a jolt to the system! But you may find that among the hilarity, someone finds their new favourite coffee beans.
It is almost guaranteed that one person on your team loves being the quizmaster. There are various ways of hosting a quiz, but this is one of the most fun, easiest ways to get your team working together and building rapport. It is also wonderfully cost-effective, with minimal outlay.
Either buy a quiz online from one of many reputable sources, or - even better - set each department the task of coming up with ten questions for a round. Rounds can be anything: music, food and drink, types of dogs. Picture rounds are always fun, as are cryptic clues, though topics like politics are probably best left for another time.
With a quiz night we recommend keeping it short and sharp, with a maximum of four rounds. This gives everyone enough time to get involved, get their brains working, and keep enthusiasm up. For small teams, working individually might be the best option, while for larger ones it may be better to split people up, so they work together. Each quiz team can have their own private chat room to discuss possible answers, too.
Show and tell
Another low-cost method of bringing your teams together, and one that fits into a relatively short amount of time, is show and tell. Recognisable from preschool, this is a creative means of getting your employees to open up and share a little of what makes them tick, fostering connection between them and their workmates.
How you do this is up to you! We love 'Pet Show and Tell', where employees introduce their cats, dogs, and hamsters to the world. This is a topic that isn't too personal, and the presence of animals always results in a happier workforce.
Other options might be 'My Favourite Thing', or 'Where I Work'. The former is a way to include everyone, even those who may not have a pet, while the latter offers an interactive look at how home working differs from the office norm. The creative ways employees set up their working space when they are in their own houses may also give managers ideas for how to cosy up the office when teams are allowed to return to base!
Virtual escape rooms
Another activity that has become extremely popular in 2020 is a virtual escape room. Their real-world counterparts have been popular for a number of years, with Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes themes among the options available.
Though your teams are not going to be locked in a physical room, a virtual game is a low-stakes way for teams to work together, put creative problem-solving skills to the test, and enjoy a bit of frivolity.
Games take around 60 minutes and teams must work together to solve riddles and find clues. This would be a great activity for a small team; for larger ones, how about a company-wide scoreboard, with a prize for the best overall escape artists?
With so many of our usual touchpoints changing in 2020, it may be comforting to your employees to know that their place at work hasn't changed, just because their physical workspace has. Virtual teambuilding activities are a great way to keep isolation and demotivation at bay. Whether you choose a low-cost activity like a quiz, something high-spirited such as the escape room, or all-round delicious, like tasting coffee beans, there are activities to suit your team and help them to continue to feel respected and valued.
Copyright 2020. The article was made possible by site supporter Coffee Friend