Technology has brought us to the present digital-based world, merged with an increasing physical world. The advent of virtual technology has become widespread enough to notice in specific industries such as automotive, healthcare, and real estate. As more businesses embrace virtual experiences, there will be an increasing need for virtual trust-building activities.
Importance of Team Building
At the core of team building is a philosophy that embraces human-to-human communication in an increasingly digitized world. Many workers fear from the digital revolution that physical or virtual robots will someday replace their jobs. Part of today's team building requires addressing such fears and providing optimistic solutions.
A modern workforce consisting of a dozen or more employees needs to be more interconnected than the traditional silo approach. The shift toward integrated teamwork continues this decade, which has placed more emphasis on team building. It's crucial for a team of collaborators to all be on the same page about project goals and ways to achieve them.
Familiarity and consistency are the two driving themes that connect last century's workplaces with today's work environments. The more familiar team members are with each other, the more they'll trust each other's capabilities and professional input. One of the biggest challenges presented by the pandemic was building trust through social distancing.
Understand Why Remote Work Persists
Remote work isn't just a trend resulting from the pandemic. The work at home paradigm began escalating in the early 2000s when high-speed internet replaced dial-up internet. Broadband and the cloud opened the door for remote working, which has lowered businesses’ technology and transportation costs.
But the remote work environment has a drawback involving social isolation. While some people enjoy working independently, many people experience culture shock when they can’t meet with coworkers and clients in person. So it's helpful to create online experiences in real-time that allow workers to feel involved in a vibrant activity.
You can make the workplace fun by asking icebreaker questions to encourage virtual participation in group meetings. Some virtual trust-building activities that enhance remote working include developing escape rooms and letting employees compete in online competitions.
Why is team building so crucial to today's business culture? Studies since the late nineties have shown the significant benefits of improving cognitive thinking and employee performance. Team building also affects how well employees work together to understand each other and work processes.
How Remote Workers Feel
As society moves deeper into the virtual era where so much everyday work is conducted online, it's imperative to view teleworkers as individuals and not just stats. That means you need to consider their feelings about working remotely and embracing new technology. A recent Atlassian survey found that 94 percent of respondents in the remote workforce say they believe mutual respect and connection are core factors for their sense of well-being in the workplace.
Teleworkers want to understand their bosses and coworkers on a personalized level. It simply makes their home office more enjoyable and easier to manage, knowing real people are paying attention to their efforts.
Difference Between Remote and Virtual Work
It's important to note the distinctions between remote and virtual work to understand the new business paradigm that’s emerging clearly. Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, it's best to view them as similar but not exact synonyms. Remote teams typically report to a central manager, whereas virtual teams usually report to multiple managers.
Work opportunities are increasing for both remote and virtual workers. On a global level, two-thirds of workers work remotely at least one day per week. Knowing how to build remote teams will become increasingly critical in the coming years.
Identify Telework Challenges
Building trust among online collaborators involves identifying the challenges they face ahead of working away from the central location. Both remote and virtual workers must overcome these challenges:
- Social isolation - Remote and virtual workers feel alienated from the team. A good practice for resolving social isolation can involve using chat and videoconferencing frequently. Allow for more casual chat channels so that online workers feel more comfortable participating. It also helps to share content about your industry to help keep workers in touch with its latest developments.
- Insecurity about work performance - Teleworkers need ongoing supervisor feedback to build confidence in the job. Supervisors can develop closer relationships with remote and virtual workers by scheduling brief weekly one-on-one meetings. Ideally, these meetings are conducted through video conferencing.
- Feeling inferior to office workers - Management must reinforce the notion that remote and virtual work is legitimate and valuable to the company. Another key to making workers feel more valued is to get team input through brainstorming and other types of feedback. Video conferencing is the most powerful platform for personalized communication.
Monitor Your Virtual Activity
Building trust within an organization and externally with customers and partners can be tracked using the right software and metrics. It's helpful for small and large companies to monitor trust and business interactions to compare the firm's progress with its goals. Securing the best timesheet software for small business is an essential step toward simplifying the transparency of your workforce scheduling and monitoring.
Tracking various metrics generated by your employees, customers, and partners will give you a deeper understanding of your company's ability to step up productivity. These tools become particularly important when you're overseeing a large remote workforce. Virtual technology and cloud services combine to make remote work secure and efficient.
Once your business connects with multiple cloud services, IoT devices, and tracking tools, you'll have enormous data to evaluate. That means you must prioritize your data so that the most critical metrics don't get buried in an extensive collection of stats. The more you track activities digitally, the more accurate your data collection will help speed up processes like payroll.
Ideally, you can build company trust and loyalty with your employees by making the workplace fun. Playing games should be part of your game plan to create a problem-solving atmosphere that encounters adventurous critical thinking. One way to offer a recreational workplace experience is to facilitate breakout rooms.
Useful Software Tools for Small Business
- Connecteam - Tracks when remote employees clock in.
- TimeCamp - Provides clients with work hours.
- Harvest - Stopwatch tool for real-time tracking of work hours.
- Slack - This innovative chat app is ideal for remote or virtual teams.
- Trello - As a popular project management app, this tool helps facilitate online collaboration.
- Zoom - As the pandemic unfolded, this video conferencing app became popular for all types of businesses.
- DropBox - Sharing large files can be difficult without this type of platform.
- TechSmith Snagit - This screen capture and recording software tool is fun for sharing infographics and podcast interviews.
- Canva - As a user-friendly image-editing tool, Canva is an excellent platform for expressing visual data through charts and graphs.
Essential Trust-Building Strategies
Think about activities that coordinate getting each worker to understand components of your business using familiar tools like Google Maps. For clever games, conduct contests that reward workers who can answer questions the fastest about your region, such as famous landmarks.
You can create endless trust-building strategies using the digital tools that are most comfortable for you and your remote or virtual teams. Sharing pictures with collaborators is often a thrilling ice breaker that stimulates positive conversations. Here are effective trust-building strategies that you can experiment with through virtual experiences.
- Allow virtual happy hours and escape rooms.
- Facilitate both a productive problem solving and fun work ethic.
- Track and review virtual activity and video conferencing.
- Use video conferencing to bring the team closer to company visions and goals.
- Offer rewards for productive games such as a real-time virtual scavenger hunt.
Creative Team-Building Solutions for Remote Workers
Sharing creative experiences will make your company more familiar to your remote workforce, such as taking them on a virtual tour of your office. Simply produce a video that highlights the most compelling areas of your headquarters. It will help paint a picture in each teleworker's mind to associate with the company.
The video might include staff members introducing themselves and sharing their career experiences. It can also tell your company's story, how it began, who launched it, and how it evolved.
Understanding Trust-Building Components
A wide range of strategies exists to bond your remote workforce team members. Try not to push any team-building activity on remote workers if it doesn't interest them. It's essential to learn about member preferences in how they like to interact with others in the following activities:
- Trust building - This process takes time and should emphasize personalized solutions.
- Communication - Multiple channels exist for communication, so find out which channels are easiest to connect through for each worker.
- Problem-Solving - Create fun problem-solving activities that raise awareness about your company and its processes. You can use the tool QuizBreaker for offering weekly quiz competitions of rewards and bonuses.
- Collaboration - Be selective in how you assemble small or large remote teams, matching the right personalities.
Using Virtual Experiences for Problem Solving
The task of problem-solving doesn't have to be a stressful event. It can be more productive as a fun experience for in-person or remote employees, but you should use different strategies. Video conferencing is one of the best forms of technology to create virtual experiences for collaboration on solving problems.
The Harvard Business Review published a 10-month study in 2014 on a Shanghai travel company's remote vs. office work performance. The study found that remote workers outperformed office workers in productivity and company savings. The report also revealed remote workers quit at half the rate as their office counterparts.
So clearly, there's credible evidence that working from home increases company output, cuts costs, and reduces turnover. It's more reason to nurture team bonding in real-time to let employees or freelancers know their work is appreciated at the highest levels.
Fostering fun and engaging remote workplace can do wonders through virtual experiences. Engaging in trust-building activities through digital channels will make remote workers feel more connected to your company. Use the cloud as your hub for collaborative projects such as small business website design and other digital endeavors.