I’ve heard this conversation often repeated, nearly exactly, in the work environment where many of us work 100% remotely as we continue to ride out the pandemic. The days of office happy hours, quarterly bowling tournaments and offsite team building may be, temporarily, a thing of the past. Yet this can leave us feeling disconnected from our colleagues, and craving the opportunity to socialize, whether it’s with members of our work team, the school community, or our moms’ network.
Here are a few virtual team building ideas that I’ve tried with my own team. For me, nothing beats sharing a nice bottle of wine while swapping stories in person. But virtual is better than nothing, and these were some truly enjoyable events that have helped boost morale and create connection for our team, albeit over Zoom.
What a sweet surprise it was to receive a chocolate tasting kit on my front doorstep! Included in the $65 per person price were 3 large single-origin chocolate bars, packaged in a cute box, US shipping*, and a private 30-minute chocolate tasting class. Our delightful chocolatiers were not only experts in the craft of chocolate making, but also helped engage our team of 25 people via Zoom through polls, Q&A, and a lively chat. Dandelion Chocolate is located in San Francisco, so it felt extra yummy to support a local business!
*Dandelion Chocolate can ship to any country, weather permitting, for an extra shipping cost.
When I received this calendar invitation, I was highly skeptical if not a bit annoyed that we were being asked to waste valuable work time to play silly games in front of a camera. Now, having done Virtual Recess twice with two different teams, I can say it is the most fun I have had on Zoom in the last year! The hosts are fun, engaging, silly, and excellent facilitators. It is impossible to sit on the sidelines of these games. Highly recommended!
While this wasn’t a cheap option. at roughly $100 per person, it was a lot of fun, and resulted in a terrific, family-friendly dinner at the end. Our Virtual Chefinar was led by James Beard Finalist and New York City Chef, Jonah Miller. He guided our team in cooking paella, while providing great culinary lessons and top tips at the same time. We opted to have each member of our team purchase ingredients on our own, though there is an option to ship a box of ingredients to individuals’ homes. This event was most definitely hands-on and fun, though it didn’t provide quite the degree of team interaction as some other activities I’ve participated in. (When your hands are busy chopping an onion, it’s hard to stop and find the mute button!). Avital Tours also offer cocktail mixology classes.
Sip & Share
Another activity our team has held with great success, and at no cost, is affectionately labeled “Sip & Share”. A standing meeting is placed on everyone’s calendar, once a week for 25 minutes. It’s a casual, “join if you can”, no stress get together. Each week, a host (member of our team) invites team members to grab their beverage of choice and turn their cameras on as a topic is offered to the group for discussion. The host then helps guide the discussion to ensure everyone who wants to, can participate. Some topics we’ve chatted about include:
- Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?
- If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What is your superpower?
This activity is pretty simple, with minimal set-up, yet has hit the nail on the head in terms of creating interactivity amongst the team. It’s also spawned some great recipe exchanges, book ideas, photo sharing, etc.
How have you been staying connected to your team or organization during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments; I’m always looking for new ideas!