Companies are finding themselves onboarding new employees virtually - a novel first for many. As people work remotely across the U.S., it’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanagement and/or miscommunication. Empathy can get lost when the pressure is on. However, in a pandemic, the rules are changing. There are no in-person team lunches or ways for people to pop into their colleague’s office and chat. Now, spreading some positivity and planning virtual team strengthening activities is feasible and more important than ever. Taking the time to help every individual feel special and connected to the organization will ensure teams work efficiently and respectfully.
The following activities can all be done remotely through Zoom, a video conferencing platform.
Zoom provides more information about breakout groups on its website, which is essential for implementing these ideas. Enjoy!
1. Trivia Night
Split your organization into teams and randomly assign one person in charge of their breakout group. The leader will ask ten questions per round, and there will be ten rounds in total. Assign one person on each team to record their breakout group’s answers to share in the larger group. Then, when the larger group reconvenes, have the recorder count how many answers were right and figure out their score.
2. Tik Tok Scavenger Hunt
Tell your team you will give them five minutes to find the funniest Tik Toks to individually send to you. Explain your expectations and exceptions. For example, if you’re an apolitical organization, remind people to refrain from sharing a Tik Tok that might stir some trouble or harsh feelings in that realm. Once you have all the links to videos people messaged you, compile a list and screenshare! As you watch together, encourage your team to write in the chat to guess who sent which Tik Tok. Everyone loves understanding each other’s humor! Laughter also alleviates stress and can even boost one’s immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its benefits extend beyond physical health. Several scientists have even looked to laughter therapy, as people secrete endorphins and feel a greater sense of belonging. When people feel more connected to the people part of your organization, they will want to contribute more.
Kahoot is a website used by teachers for years to make learning fun! Use it to have your team learn more about the direction your organization is heading, some industry insight or some personal fun facts to discover about your coworkers! Send the link in your Zoom chat and you’re good to go! Lastly, screenshare the Kahoot site to watch as people play, and see who the final winner is! You can also offer a small prize; even a ten dollar gift card can go a long way.
4. Team Fire Round Questions
Split up your team into breakout groups of three and distribute a list of 10 questions for each individual to rapidly answer. Upon reconvening, have each person share something they learned about someone else in their group. Here are some examples of questions you can allocate:
- Coffee or tea?
- Brownies or cookies?
- Cats or dogs?
- What is your favorite memory?
- What is your favorite animal?
- What music do you like?
- What is your favorite book and why?
5. Netflix or Amazon Prime Watch Party
Watch a movie about a topic that aligns with your organizational values or is of interest to your employees. The Netflix Party website asks you to download the Google Chrome extension. Since that process can often leave people frustrated or confused, send a video showing exactly how to do it. Make sure your employees have access to those services. Amazon Prime does not require Google Chrome. Both streaming services offer opportunities to write down your thoughts about the media you’re consuming live! Think of questions to pose to the group, send a link to a Zoom chat following the movie and foster open discussion. For example, if your business is committed to sustainability, choose a documentary about an environmental issue that will inspire your team and help them remember why the work is important.
6. Personality Test
Discover strengths and weaknesses by taking a personality test. When a team understands each other, they can better work together.
7. Buzzfeed Quizzes
Randomly assign two partners to take four Buzzfeed quizzes of your choice. You can distribute the links to different tests, such as “Make a Salad and Find Out What Pet You Should Get!” The media company’s quizzes are designed to ease your mind and pass time, but they’re more fun doing it with another person to compare answers. Have the partners take the quizzes and share their final results with the group all together again. People will laugh about Buzzfeed's predictions for you regardless of their accuracy.
Leading virtual meetings in a productive, enjoyable way is necessary for every worker to feel welcome. Providing an option to work at home may feel different and counterintuitive, but it’s becoming reality. Move forward, embrace new ideas and chart a new course to empower each individual in your business for the long-run.