If you manage remote or hybrid staff, team-building gives you a chance to show your creativity and have a little fun at work. Shared online spaces already allow staff to collaborate on projects together. Once you build your foundation for tasks and communication, it’s time to add another layer of connection.
Here, Virbela Director of Human Resources Bryan Reese shares a few of his favorite ways to reward and enhance teamwork, develop trust, and enjoy getting to know each other—all while working on Virbela’s virtual world platform.
Bryan has helped companies develop HR capabilities for more than 20 years. He’s an expert in organizational growth, recruiting, training, and more. Take your cues from how he designs team activities in Virbela to create your own best practices.
Virtual Team Building
Bryan relies on a few tried-and-true ways to connect staff. The obvious one? A social hour.
One of the major draws of remote work is the ability to recruit and hire from anywhere in the world. Virtual campuses are always on, so commutes and time zones aren’t obstacles anymore—but you might not live within happy-hour distance.
Instead, Bryan organizes virtual events in common spaces, like the auditorium or the beach, where staff can gather and get to know each other. He offers a format, like trivia or a game as an icebreaker.
Try This Game
- Set a leadership panel. Avatars can line up or get on stage.
- An announcer reads a question and multiple-choice answers.
- Staff try to match which answer belongs to which leader.
One thing worth noticing here: People can be a lot more social or outgoing than usual when they’re an avatar. The gamified look and feel of a virtual campus makes it easier to be yourself. The result can be a lot of unexpected fun.
“There are very few wallflowers in a virtual campus. When we do team-building activities at Virbela, I always pay attention to how engaged everyone is. Even the people who consider themselves quiet are laughing along and sharing their thoughts,” says Bryan.
Anyone who has ever worked at an organization full of silos knows how tough it can be. When you're trying to achieve your project goals, you need input from a variety of people. But if you don't know your company’s sales associates or you're not sure who's in charge of budgeting, work starts to falter.
In these cases, it's usually not that the whole project falls apart. It's that people do their best with what they have and move along. But that doesn't mean that the work is actually the best it could have been.
Designing cross-departmental committees elevates the conversation around company initiatives and gives staff a place to start when it comes to working across the company.
At Virbela, Bryan provides human resources support to a variety of these committees. Some are established and meet regularly, like the Diversity Committee. Others are ad hoc and form to establish new policies, procedures, or processes for certain projects or initiatives.
“Each committee decides where it will meet. In boardrooms, they have everything they need to configure seating in a few clicks and present any web-based materials on whiteboards,” reveals Bryan.
“Depending on the agenda, other staff members can drop in, which is important at a company with a flat organizational structure. It’s just a great way to knit different departments together for better outcomes.”
Be sure to catch more of our Working in Virbela series to make the most of your virtual campus. Follow Virbela on LinkedIn and @VirbelaHQ on Twitter to see when new guides debut.