When teams work remotely due to the pandemic or just distance, keeping a sense of community can be difficult. People working from home often experience loneliness and feel isolated from everyone else. Keeping your team connected will make everyone happier and working more effectively.
When you think of team-building activities, you assume that means in-person activities because that is how it is normally done. But since many teams are working remotely these days, our practices have to change a little to keep being effective. These activities can be done using a video conferencing tool, conference call, or by email. Schedule a weekly meeting to connect with everyone and do something fun.
Games for Nonprofit Team Building
Why not create a game to play virtually with all of your team members. Maybe a trivia contest tailored to your field, Bingo, or Hangman with whiteboards. Some games may have to be adapted for the screen, but there are many games you can engage in together to keep everyone connected. A little creativity is needed but keeping everyone happy and sane is worth every bit. Working remotely often feels like being sent to Siberia, you’re all alone with no one to talk to. At least once per week get together and chat, share stories, and just enjoy the company of others.
Make it Informal
Make these activities accommodating to family routines as well. Working at home means dealing with children interrupting you for food or attention, and dogs barking is something you have little control over. Invite everyone to log in and not worry about the kids, the dog, or the fact they’re wearing sweatpants and a bathrobe. People often don’t see the personal side of their co-workers. Removing some of the stress from trying to balance work and family helps everyone relax and take a breath.
Letting coworkers get to know each other brings unity. Encourage them to do a tour of their home office, show pictures of their kids or pets, and just share a piece of themselves with others.
Another game you can play is memory games. Show a picture and see how many details team members can remember from the photo. These types of games are fun and get people motivated to participate. This can be done with cards, a whiteboard, an overhead projector on a white sheet, or anything else you can think of. The more creative, the better.
Learn a New Skill
With the time we have to be at home, why not get everyone signed up for a skill-building course? Have a discussion about what skills they want to learn and take a vote. Courses can be completed by video at their own pace.
You can find free courses or ones that don’t cost much and get everyone to sign up. CharitySearchGroup.online, Udemy, and Hubspot have courses that teach new skills as well as certification in some. CharityVillage offers a variety of free webinars and online courses for nonprofit professionals.
Start a Movie Club
Movie clubs are fun and it’s something everyone does anyway (watch movies). You could start a weekly movie club and let people choose 1 movie per week to have everyone watch.
Most people these days have Netflix or Hulu so this is something that everyone can join. Then after the designated time frame, discuss what each person took away from the movie. Netflix has an extension called Netflix Party so people are able to sign in and watch the movie together in real time and discuss things while watching. What did they like or dislike about it? Did it have twists and turns, or did you see the ending ahead of time? You can also start other clubs like a cooking club, baking, or crafting.
Have a Google Meet for Fun
Create a Google Meet regularly for fun to let everyone catch up and talk about things that have been going on in their lives. Not associated with work, just a time for them to share things with friends and co-workers. You might also use a messaging platform like Slack or Whats App to stay in touch. Encourage team members to socialize whenever possible to combat loneliness and isolation.
Another activity for nonprofit team building is practicing the skills you already have. When you are brand new at a job, you often practice with another person to build up your skills and confidence. You can do this with your team by scheduling a meeting and have each person practice their presentation skills by showing something interesting about their home, a family heirloom, or teach how to do something like “making a sourdough starter,” “sewing a face mask,” or creating a short a story and reading it out loud.
Host a Virtual Happy Hour
Do you remember the days of cocktail parties? This is sort of like that, but in a virtual environment. Everyone can grab a drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic and a snack and just chat together. Totally informal and relaxed, it’s an opportunity for everyone to just be themselves and enjoy the company. No shop talk allowed during this happy hour. You should try and schedule the meeting for a time when there are no demands on personal time. Like after dinner time or later in the evening.
Another way to stay connected is to publish a monthly team newsletter. When team members do not work together often, it can be hard to catch up with them for updates on what’s been happening with them. Executives can publish a monthly newsletter to keep everyone advised about changes in the organization, new members, promotions, and achievements. Encourage team members to exchange personal email information to stay in touch outside of work.
Taking the time to get to know your team members, and keep them connected builds a strong foundation for a good working environment. Staying connected helps everyone to not feel so alone, and for single parents having another adult to talk to is important for good mental health.
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Do you have additional ideas? Comment below and share with us!