If you're someone regularly in charge of running the team-building activities at your company's yearly retreat, you might be finding yourself at a loss for what your team can do this year. Staying safe is a priority, but bonding is incredibly important for employees, particularly if they're new hires. Here are a few ideas for ways you can still bond your team, without putting anyone's health at risk.
1. Virtual Team Building
At this point, everyone is somewhat sick of doing everything over Zoom. Birthday parties, meetings, and even weddings have all been done over the internet. But there are still some ways to do your team building activities online, without boring everyone to death.
For instance, a virtual escape room is a great way to challenge your team's critical thinking skills, as well as getting them to work together towards a single goal. Plus, websites will let you play through their own interface, so awkward Zoom conversations don't necessarily have to be a part of the day. Other games like Code Break and Team Pursuit will have your team test their strength by solving puzzles, and involve both mental and physical challenges that will get your team moving, laughing, and bonding.
2. Online Classes
Another great way to build morale and get everyone participating is to take an online fitness class as a group. Yoga, dance, and Zumba are all popular choices for movement that's accessible to everyone. You could join a class run by a professional, or recruit the fitness geeks in your office to run a class. You could also do a meditation class, which is a great way to teach your office some excellent ways to stay mindful, relaxed, and mentally healthy during difficult times.
If your office is less active, you could also try attending a virtual cooking class. A dinner menu is usually handed out ahead of time, listing ingredients for everyone to buy, and you'll cook the meal together. This is a great way to do some bonding, as a lot of issues can come up during the class, and then you'll be able to eat your meal together at the end of the class.
3. Outdoor Fun
The CDC says that outdoor recreation is the safest way for a group to meet up in person, provided everyone wears a mask. If the weather in your area permits, you might consider taking your usual activities outside. It might be tough to interact as a group due to social distancing, but you can still safely hike, bike, rollerblade, or even take out a paddle boat as long as you steer clear of crowded paths and other high-traffic areas.
During the cold weather months, ice skating is a fun way to bond, and the less athletic people can have fun sitting on the sidelines drinking hot chocolate. If your office prefers less rigorous activities, you could have a bring-your-own-food picnic, plant some vegetables at a community garden, or even go to a drive-in movie.
4. Training Programs
While not the most fun suggestion, taking some time to invest in your employees' professional development is a great way to boost morale. They'll feel like, rather than being stagnant and falling behind professionally, they have an opportunity to grow in their field. Some courses, such as Emotional Intelligence Training, will help to train for leadership and boost social skills, while others, like Practical Time Management Training, will give simple suggestions for working better from home.
Take some time to think about what your team could use the most in terms of training, and find a course that corresponds to that need. They might be disappointed it's not another virtual happy hour, but they'll appreciate your investment in their futures and become better employees and team members as a result.
5. Hot Seats
One of the best ways to break the ice for a new team is to have yourself or another team leader take the "hot seat", promising to answer any question given to them while they're in the seat. You can come up with your own questions to kick off the event, and have everyone ask at least one question. It's a great way to make everyone more comfortable speaking up and sharing, since you're setting an example right off the bat.
If your team has warmed up to one another already, you can take the questions to them and have everyone say, for instance, what the name of their own personal pirate ship would be, or what they would bring to a deserted island. It's a great way to get people laughing and talking, while still having some semblance of structure.
Bonding as a team doesn't have to wait until next year. Use these tips to get your team working together no matter what the circumstances may be.