Effective team building contains two things:

  • A change of scenery, which makes the activity seem like a break from the normal day.
  • A demonstration that your employer really cares about your wellbeing.

Virtual team-building fails at both because it is nearly impossible to provide specialized attention on a group video call. And if you're attending a team-building video chat from your home office, it won't feel like a change of environment.

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Career

Companies need some form of cohesion

During the pandemic and the switch to working from home, companies need ways to keep their teams focused and maintain a sense of togetherness.

But in most cases, virtual team building feels more agonising than the real thing. It is also inherently flawed.

It's much harder to achieve the same level of bonding when you're not physically together.

Research shows that teams who experience mutual hardships strengthen connections, such as struggling through bad weather together.

One school of thought is that the entire concept of team building is flawed, not just that of virtual team building.

Participating in team-building exercises won't usually help. The political and complex nature of the workplace means that people will return to their normal way of behaving.

The challenge with online team-building is to simulate the physical experiences of a team-building day trip.

Although online activities fall short, they can work as long as businesses feel like they're fulfilling their goals and the events feel really enjoyable.

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