Updated: May 22
As discussed in other posts, team building for a hybrid team requires additional considerations to make it useful and fun for everyone. All the planning and thoughtfulness behind team building can't make up for it being a drain on people's time if they aren't getting much out of it. With that in mind, the two most important factors to consider are the time requirement and the delight factor.
A study from Harvard found that post-pandemic interactions among close team members increased by 40 percent, but at the expense of more casual acquaintances. Now that some of the team is heading back to the office, it’s time to think about how to increase interactions overall.
Time requirement Taking time to build connections within your team is a requirement for successful organizations, not a distraction from real work, but, on the other hand, no one gets their annual bonus for winning the bake sale competition. A return to the office definitely necessitates some time set aside for team building, but emphasizing the real, business need to develop rapport with colleagues is an important precursor to the event. Also, as many of us have seen in the pandemic, virtual team building can seem like more of a demand on people’s time since the other things one could be doing with that time are more salient, like working out, seeing loved ones, or baking sourdough. The make-up of your team should inform how much time you can dedicate to team building.
The delight factor! Delight is a way of saying, how much of this activity is a special treat. Inviting a famous cocktail mixologist to share their craft using unique ingredients versus everyone grabbing a glass of their favorite beverage and doing a basic happy hour over Zoom are opposites on the delight scale. In normal times, both have their benefits and not everything can be over the top. But this is an unprecedented moment in workplace rapport and aiming for the delight factor is a nice way to welcome colleagues back to “normal” office life.
Bonding with colleagues is an important part of having a trusting, happy, productive team. Leaders who focus on creating opportunities for this to happen regardless of location will yield the best results both in terms of team happiness and the inclusivity of their events.