With the pandemic, a lot of companies introduced working from home permanently and with the uncertainty of what will happen next, some of these companies have decided to continue with this, and others have brought in a flexible working agreement, where people will have the option to work from home or the office.
This of course means that any new hires don’t get the chance to interact with their colleagues in the same way they would have in an office, and this can mean that they may feel isolated from the rest of their peers as some of the members of staff will have had this opportunity and be friends with each other. And this issue can still persist when office working is put back into place, as they missed crucial bonding time with their coworkers during their first few weeks. This is not ideal, and it is best for the company if the whole team feels comfortable and is able to work together, so what is the best way to fix this?
Team Building Exercises
The very simple solution to this is team building exercises. There are different ways to do this in a virtual or office environment, and the best way will depend on the personalities and comfortability of the members of your staff you have working there. You may have prepared yourself for a team meeting and part way through realize that they would rather not be going through this endless list of “would you rather” questions that you collected together. On the other hand, you may find that they don’t like the idea of going out to a pub to drink, or using their personal time to be forced to socialise with a coworker. So what is the best way to go about this?
Get to know your team
The first thing you should do is get to know your team personally. Maybe schedule one to ones with some of your newest members, especially if they were hired during the pandemic. Learn what they like and don’t like, and what situations fit them best. Maybe encourage some of your senior members of staff to talk to them and check in with them, as this way they will know who to turn to if they are having difficulties but they will also start to feel familiar and comfortable with the other staff.
In work meetings
Instead of asking people to use their downtime to get to know each other, as some will not be able to do this anyway due to other commitments such as their children or families, schedule informal meetings during work time. This doesn’t have to be very long and can be done once a week, but a meeting where your staff can get together between themselves, that only lasts half an hour to an hour can increase their morale and actually benefit the company, as well as helping them to get to know each other.
After doing the previous steps, or even if you haven’t done them, you could schedule a quiz night once a week for the whole team. Maybe this could be done on a Friday just before hometime, or maybe one day after work when everyone or most people are free. But if you do this then make sure to pick the teams yourself, and change them up every couple weeks, otherwise the people who already know each other will constantly be teams, leaving others to feel left out.
Secret Santa is a great thing to use as team building, as it is completely random and ensures different people will start talking to get to know each other, or start asking around about the others to find what they like. This is a great way to encourage people to get to know any new team members, as well as making them feel wanted and appreciated when someone goes out of their way to get them a gift they actually like.
These are a few suggestions to help with team building, and if you implement them into your office you will find that the environment may become much more welcoming and relaxed, which will even help you hire new people for the team.