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Is the team all back together?! Whether you’re working fully in-office, fully remote, or a hybrid of the two, here are some of our favorite tips to encourage a strong, productive team.

1.Master Virtual Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the virtual work world. It’s a great time to master the new technologies that have evolved. Whether you’re working fully remote, fully in the office, or a hybrid of both, there’s likely at least one app and online program that would be of great use for team building! Definitely take advantage of online platforms such as Teams or Zoom to coordinate events and meetings [if you’re not already] or host happy hour team building gameshow extravaganzas such as office bingo or trivia on Kahoot or Outback Team Building and Training. Get creative! Whatever your idea may be to get the team together, there’s likely an online platform to help execute your vision.

2. Head Outside the Office

Change up the workflow and hop outdoors for your next team meeting — even if you’re crew is working remotely!  Stepping outside and away from your desk chair or the conference room is a great way to spice up the mood and naturally bring different conversation to the meeting. Is everyone able to meet in-person? Consider a coffee shop or café for a change of scenery and routine office vibes. Creating a laidback, relaxing environment will enable coworkers to more intuitively bond with one another and become more productive together when returning to a work setting.

3. Feature In-Depth Activities

Most people are familiar with icebreaker games such as “two truths, one lie,” or sharing their “unpopular opinion” to initiate conversations. These are great ways to start dialogue with new employees, but what about long-term team building activities? There are many engaging, more in-depth activities that can bring the office closer together, even if there is physical distance between teammates. Consider starting a book or movie club — Pick a short film or book once a month, and then host a meeting to recap and discuss. This is a productive way to get to each other’s’ personalities, interests and passions outside of work. Looking for ways to stay active while team building? Consider a fitness challenge to encourage your employees to establish healthy habits and foster some friendly competition as well. The challenge could be as simple as counting your steps and recording them into a convenient app, or if you’re really feeling like flexing your leadership skills — organize an office/team yoga day/lunch hour.

4. Encourage Cross-Departmental Engagement

Team building can frequently be focused on employee bonding within the same department, but there are many benefits of opening the conversation across departments! Especially with more employees working from home [all or part of the time], the chances of passing a new teammate in the hallway or catching someone in the coffee breakroom to chat may not happen as often or as organically as it did prior to 2020. Providing company-wide collaboration opportunities for colleagues to get to know each other better can help the overall culture and office morale. Whether it’s by extending the invite for birthday celebrations, holiday parties, or cocktail hours [virtually or in-person], inviting teammates from different departments to collaborate allows for more dialogue and friendships to develop and strengthen.

5. Be a Team Cheerleader!

According to a study by Indeed, 98% of workers report preforming better when they feel confident. Simply being a team cheerleader and encouraging or congratulating fellow teammates for hard work or a job well done can help authentically boost team camaraderie. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in creating a productive work environment — It’s no secret, everyone loves to feel appreciated! And it’s true — “a smile a day goes a long way!”