Teams that are highly productive have one thing in common. They work in collaborative environments. Everyone works towards a common goal by placing team interests above and beyond personal interest. Collaborative teams are characterized by strong communication, team camaraderie, good leadership, good conflict management and highly motivated individuals. When teams worked together in person, these characteristics were fostered through regular personal interactions and team building activities. 

With the pandemic pushing workforce into a remote environment, team members are no longer able to connect personally and communicate effectively. A one way communication limited to work and deadlines has been the norm and led to zoom fatigue. Organizations though have been quick to identify this and adopted measures like online team building games to bring together team members virtually. Online team building games engage remote teams and allow them to socialize. They provide a much needed break from stressful work environments and help them connect with their employers better. 

Here are a few thoughts on how virtual team building games can promote workforce collaboration:

Improves communication

Strong team communication is the foundation for a highly collaborative team. Teams that communicate effectively are more likely to exchange ideas, draft strategies and come together in a productive way. In a remote work environment communication often gets limited to work or formal check-ins. Virtual team building games offer the opportunity to communicate informally and socialize. They also help in getting to know each other and avoid feelings like loneliness or disconnect. 

owever, choosing the right activities is important. Some examples of activities that improve team communication are ice-breakers, escape rooms, story nights, puzzle games, speed networking, or any other problem solving games. Ice-breakers and speed networking are activities that can help the team get to know each other. For teams that have been working together for a long time, puzzle games or escape rooms can be better alternatives. 

Builds team camaraderie

When employees worked out of offices it was common to have a chat during coffee breaks or have lunches together. These informal chats build a personal rapport among team members and make collaboration easier. Unfortunately, remote teams do not have the opportunity to build these personal relationships. Video calls or texts also do not build an emotional rapport among team members. Therefore, remote teams can easily get demotivated during crisis. It is important to bring remote teams together to share a personal bond and build team camaraderie. 

One way to do so is to organize regular virtual team building games. Playing a game or doing a fun activity together can build personal and informal bonds. When team members share personal bonds, they are more likely to stand up for their team during a crisis and put team interests before personal interest. Having weekend virtual parties, celebrating birthdays of team members virtually, introducing families of team members, truth or dare games, giving a tour of workstations can all be great for building a team camaraderie. To make these activities more fun, you can organize virtual game days where team members come together to celebrate, have fun, and just build relationships. 

Reduces conflict

When a group of people work together it is only normal to disagree with each other. Avoiding conflict can lead the team to group think and suppress creativity. But too much conflict also reduces productivity and creates a competitive team environment. 

Remotes are also more at risk of being in conflict for longer period of times as it is hard to identify conflict in a remote team. Team building games help in reducing and identifying conflict in remote teams. Being able to bond with each other builds a greater level of empathy and trust in the team. When team members are empathetic to each other they can overcome disagreements and respect each other’s ideas. 

Fosters leadership skills

Great teams cannot progress without great leaders. Great leaders identify strengths and weakness of team members and bring their competencies to the best use. When teams worked out of offices, leaders had a chance to interact with their team members personally and get to know them better. 

In remote work when communication is limited to video calls, emails or chats, conversations get mostly limited to project descriptions, deadlines, and expectations. Remote team building activities help leaders connect with their team members and understand them better. Virtual games like escape rooms help leaders manoeuvre their teams into a collaborative spirit. 

Organizing virtual team building games regularly has many other advantages like motivating teams, building a trustworthy organizational culture, reducing stress etc. However, these activities need to be organized regularly to be beneficial.