How virtual team-building transformed the workplace
In the wake of lockdowns and the pandemic, most companies and organisations were forced to rethink “productive work environments.”
In a virtual workplace, technology drives communication and collaboration so employees have flexible downtime and a more productive work environment. In theory, it makes sense, but what’s the reality for employees?
In 2021, Buffer surveyed over 2,300 remote workers and found that nearly 98% of them would like to continue remote working, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. Even with the obvious benefits, you might still wonder if remote is the best way to go.
Reasons to prioritise remote work:
- Reduce operational costs by saving on office space rent, frequent travel, and daily utilities (like replenishing the supply closet & kitchen)
- Gain more productivity per employee by removing tiresome commutes for focused & productive working time
- Improve your workforce’s work-life balance and boost their overall mental health, by affording people more time to accomplish personal responsibilities whilst still having time for personal interests
Keep employee morale high and curb the potential for your employees to partake in the “great resignation”
How can you make virtual team-building work for your company?
Building a virtual team starts with a collaborative and comfortable environment. Create certain tenets for your teams to follow and choose the best digital tools to drive online productivity.
Pick core meetings that work & use them consistently
Keep things running smoothly with meetings that work for your team. Avoid meeting burnout and the dreaded sentiment: “this could’ve been an email.”
Pick a meeting structure that meets your needs from Axis's diverse template library. Use structures like Rapid Brainstorm, Strategy Assessment, or Campaign Development for pre-made meetings that help generate ideas and accomplish specific goals.
Take a regular team-wide pulse to stay current & connected1:1 meetings with employees and company/team leaders can help set the tone for virtual team-building. Encourage team-wide transparency with specific meetings for this purpose so everyone feels that their feedback was heard and understood.
You can try Axis's anonymous participation & ideation feature to make it easier for people to be open about their opinions. Without the pressure of a known identity, you’ll find your team will be more honest about how they’re feeling
Monitor productivity with focused goals & metrics
Develop actionable plans and track progress with detailed KPIs, outcomes, and challenges. In an online environment, you can lose track of these indicators if you don't check in regularly.
You won’t leave an Axis meeting without setting a plan in motion or delegating tasks to get it done. Use our simple or detailed retrospective templates to figure out what's working vs. what isn't, then make a plan to move forward responsibly.
Trust your employees to manage their work
It’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting your employees to be in a zoom call every hour on the hour, as a way of measuring said “productivity” but all you’ll get is a stressed out team with zoom fatigue and no time to get actual work done.
Don’t be afraid to encourage them to carve out specific meeting-free “focus hours” to create the right environment for effective work.
Create time for fun, connection, and true team-building
Losing even something as simple as a midday watercooler chat or coffee meeting can quickly result in worker burnout. Carve out space for real, effective virtual team-building. There are plenty of virtual games that could be played, or even Slack apps that encourage your team to take a coffee break with a different member every week.
We find that many users get creative with custom templates on Axis, for example running the infamous “two truths and a lie” lie using the ‘idea creator’ activity, or you could use a pre-maden icebreaker that takes the pressure out of collaboration .
Accept the need for periodic (safe) face to face time
Through our own experiences going remote, even we felt the pressure to do something in person when safety restrictions began to lift in our region - even a quarterly meet up has drastically improved our morale.
Check out the owners and purveyors of WordPress, Automattic, and how they largely represent the gold standard for remote work. Even virtual workplace giants like Automattic tell potential employees to expect between 3-4 weeks of yearly travel for company meetups and team-level strategy & bonding excursions.
Still considering making the move to remote?
Switching to full-time remote work can seem like a stressful undertaking, but the pandemic showed more ways to build a team without meeting face-to-face every day.
The biggest barrier to going remote is ensuring productivity in meetings - but using Axis is a simple way to overcome it. Try a free demo to watch our all-in-one tool streamline remote collaboration in real-time.