Virtual team socials: How to do them properly

August 13, 2020

5-min read

Paris Stevens

"Those who’ve had true success in using remote working software have been able to maintain their unique company cultures and atmospheres, even with employees separated by miles."

Work will never be quite the same again. In a year of spiralling uncertainty, that’s one thing that we can be sure of. Many people are taking those tentative first steps back into the office – digging out the bottom halves of their business suits and stocking up on facemasks for their commuter trains. But millions more are staying put, and working from home looks set to become a new reality, far more than anyone could have imagined at the start of 2020. Of course, there are many ways in which working remotely is brilliant. Your journey to the office is ten seconds long, you save hundreds of pounds on shop-bought sandwiches and you’ll never again have to trudge down to the postal delivery office with that little red “sorry we missed you” card.

But there are plenty of downsides to the virtual workplace, too – especially as organizations continue to figure out exactly what working remotely should look like in the long term. Problems like perching at the kitchen table and hunching over a laptop should be ironed out as remote working becomes the norm, but chief among the long-term issues is the lack of face-to-face interaction with others. It’s tricky to replicate those small but important chats at the coffee machine or copier, no matter how high-definition your webcam is. 

Staying connected at work

Throughout the working day this has led to a huge reliance on video calling software, with managers hosting as many one-to-one and group meetings as they can in order to make sure that teams aren’t left adrift. Everyone has had to adapt, and even those who were in the habit of emailing colleagues three feet away will have felt the absence of office bustle.

Some organizations will have found themselves in a last-minute scramble for laptops and cables when the prospect of office closures and home working came in, whereas others might have had the infrastructure in place for years. What they’ve all got in common is that remote working technology has really flexed its muscles in the last few months, proving itself the true backbone of a successful business – rather than the bricks-and-mortar premises that we’ve always thought of as a company’s beating heart. Those who’ve had true success in using remote working software have been able to maintain their unique company cultures and atmospheres, even with employees separated by miles.

But how have they done it? Making sure that business doesn’t completely dominate these virtual interactions is the key to a motivated workforce – social interactions are just as important, if not more so.

The importance of virtual team socials

When putting a remote working infrastructure in place, it’s crucial to make sure that it caters for informal and spontaneous social interactions as much as it does for meetings and presentations. While we’ve been working to build our remote team building package, we’ve learned that the same way as everyone else – after all, we’re all as new as each other to this unfamiliar style of working.

Some of the ways you can incorporate team socials into your virtual offering are:

The Daily Kick-Off
A creative challenge that encourages employees to shoot fun motivational videos for one another, this is not only an energetic and upbeat way to get the working day started, but it sends a message to your team that their social well-being is high on your agenda.

The Team Quiz
There’s nothing like an after-work social for feeling rewarded after a hard day or week at your desk, and working in the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you need to let your hair down any less. This timeless social not only brings the laughs but fosters better communication between colleagues, at a time when that’s especially important.

It’s one thing piling into the bar after the office closes, but a proper challenge is a uniquely effective way to get teams socialising and working collaboratively, with tangible results. Try one of the following team building events from home:

The Virtual Away Day
Get your teams working together to score points – strategizing, communicating, answering questions and completing challenges before time runs out. This distanced take on the classic away day that proves the old methods of team building still work brilliantly, even when everything else about work has changed beyond recognition.

The Virtual Escape Room
Putting teams under the pressure of a ticking clock and seeing who comes out on top is the name of the game in this invigorating challenge consisting of puzzles, cryptic clues and riddles. If they can escape the room, a team can manage just about anything together when it comes to work.

The Virtual Murder Mystery
Our latest addition sees colleagues joining forces to investigate a murder – and teamwork is the key to succeeding before the killer strikes again! Hosted via our award-winning app, it’s bound to get everyone scrambling for the solution from the comfort of their homes.

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