Virtual team building events have their advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, organizing a virtual event is cheaper and can help bring remote employees together. On the other hand, virtual team building activities are not as effective as in-person events because they lack personal interactions. However, despite the disadvantages of team building in an online setting, they are still popular.
In the article, we will discuss the pros and cons of virtual team building activities. In the end, you will be able to make an informed decision if virtual team meetings and bonding exercises can benefit your company.
What Are Virtual Team Building Events?
Virtual team building activities are events conducted online, usually via video conferencing or other digital platforms. These bonding activities can range from simple icebreakers to more complex problem-solving tasks. The goal of virtual team building is to foster team collaboration and build relationships in a remote workforce.
Types of virtual team building activities include the following:
- Icebreakers — These activities are designed to help virtual employees get to know each other better. Examples include virtual scavenger hunts, online trivia games, and virtual charades.
- Problem-solving tasks — These virtual exercises are designed to help virtual workers collaborate to solve a problem or complete a task. Examples include virtual escape rooms, online puzzles, and collaborative coding challenges.
- Creative activities — Some online activities are designed to help remote teams express their creativity and develop innovative ideas. Examples include virtual art classes, online design challenges, and digital story-telling sessions.
- Social events — Activities can be organized to mimic having a meal, doing yoga, or playing digital games online. The idea is to help remote workers relax and get to know each other in an informal setting outside the workplace.
In-Person Team Building Vs. Virtual Team Building
The main difference between traditional team building events and virtual ones is being there in person. And when comparing the two types of team building events, this is where the issues with virtual events occur. Studies concur that working in a virtual environment can never compete with employees getting together in a live, in-person setting.
For example, the International Journal of Business and Management published an article, “The Dark Side of Virtual Office and Job Satisfaction.” It found that communication, social relations, and work-life balance can suffer as a result of working “online.” For example, it is more difficult to have informal discussions and interactions when using videoconferencing technology.
At Full Tilt Team Development, we realize the many benefits of team building on-site or off-site on a personal level. That is why our team of expert facilitators has designed a wide range of fun activities that emphasize positive human interactions.
You can speak to one of our team today to learn about team activities to strengthen your company culture.
Pros of Virtual Team Building Activities
What are the advantages of team building activities that are organized online using platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams? Here are a few.
Easy to attend
Virtual team building activities are easier to attend because you only need an internet connection. This means that employees from various geographical locations can participate. Additionally, because the entire team doesn’t have to be in a single physical location, they can save time on travel time.
Cheaper to host
Cost savings are one of the main advantages of organizing virtual events. Virtual team communication has very few overhead costs and can be cheap for team leaders to organize. It is possible to save money on catering, renting a facility, and other outlays.
However, as the adage goes: “you get what you pay for.” And many organizations have found that virtual meetings have few long-term benefits for employees and teamwork.
Improves employee engagement who are working remotely
Individual team members working remotely may feel more engaged when participating in virtual events. Most digital collaboration tools have functions to encourage interaction on a virtual level. Additionally, because remote workers can “meet” others in the organization, these virtual events may help boost employee morale.
Virtual team building events are useful during a health crisis
As the Covid pandemic showed, switching to an online office environment is useful to keep an organization operational. For many months, employees could not meet in a physical office; therefore, online meetings were the answer.
Cons of Virtual Team Building Events
The most effective team building activities take place on-site or off-site with person-to-person interaction, but never in a virtual environment. Here are some of the disadvantages of organizing virtual team building activities.
Virtual team building events are full of distractions
One of the biggest downsides to virtual events is distractions. It is easy to get distracted while sitting at your computer during a virtual scavenger hunt, virtual murder mystery game, or sitting around a virtual campfire. In fact, most virtual team building activities are so lame that remote employees may welcome distractions.
Remote workers already suffer from “Zoom” fatigue
Remote workers are already suffering from screen fatigue caused by unnecessary online meetings. Therefore, asking them to participate in a “fun” online game show or go on a virtual city tour has no benefit for employees. Instead, it can make working in a virtual company tiresome and irritating.
Technology failures plague online team building exercises
One of the major drawbacks of working in a virtual office space or taking part in virtual games is technology issues. For example, slow internet connections, security concerns, and outdated hardware can play havoc during online conferences or events. Moreover, a screen can freeze while someone is talking, and they don’t know anything about it—how embarrassing!
Impossible to read body language during online team bonding exercises
Virtual team bonding events have a disadvantage compared to face-to-face events because communication is difficult. Learning good communication skills is more about hearing what the other person says. In-person team building activities help participants to read facial expressions, recognize body language signals, and identify subtle signals.
Related reading: How team building events can strengthen communication skills.
Virtual team building is impossible for longer team building events
It is impossible to organize full-day or half-day events—not to mention weekend retreats—in a virtual environment. This fact makes the effectiveness of virtual team building limited. After all, you can achieve only so much in 60 or 90 minutes. Therefore, you end up wasting employee and company time because online team building has very few benefits.
Five Reasons Organize Team Building Events In-Person
Face-to-face team building events have benefits that virtual ones can never hope to achieve. Nothing can beat a group of individuals spending an afternoon or day together participating in fun games and activities. And with a Full Tilt facilitator organizing the event, you never have to worry that it will flop.
Here are five reasons to organize team building activities rather than virtual ones.
Build strong personal connections
One of the best advantages of team building is that individual team members can build strong connections. Therefore, many activities organized by Full Tilt are highly collaborative and team-orientated. In addition, they help everyone communicate and take part in healthy competition.
Team building creates feelings of trust and transparency
Team building activities create an environment of collaboration, respect, and mutual understanding. This helps to develop trust among team members to work effectively together. As a result, employees learn how to give honest feedback without fear of being judged or ridiculed. Because of this, face-to-face team building helps break down any existing barriers between team members. This leads to increased productivity and ultimate success.
Team building image: the benefits of outdoor team building
Team building events nurture and develop strong leadership skills
Team building events are an investment with tremendous benefits for your organization. This is because activities to strengthen trust, communication, and problem-solving abilities develop strong leadership skills. And strong leadership skills are necessary for more than team leaders. Every team member must demonstrate a level of leadership.
Team building exercises strengthen camaraderie among team members
Team building events allow employees to connect on a personal level, away from the office. Participating in events like beach Olympics, Cardboard Boat Build, Spuds of Thunder, and the Mandala Leadership Challenge help bring groups of people together. By engaging in enjoyable activities together, individual members can enhance their understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, participating in various tasks that require cooperation in fun, replaced environments help to develop camaraderie. This helps employees to become friends, not just colleagues. And this can significantly increase morale and productivity within the work environment.
Team building boosts creative thinking and makes teams more effective
Successful team building activities benefit employees by encouraging them to think outside the box. This focus on creative thinking allows everyone to collaborate and come up with innovative solutions to problems. In addition, team building activities help teams become more effective by improving communication, trust, and mutual respect.
Are Online Team Building Activities Worth It?
When comparing the pros and cons of virtual team building activities, many conclude that they can waste time and resources. Unfortunately, team building in a virtual environment doesn’t work because it lacks the personal connection that face-to-face team building events provide.
Without personal interactions, team members can never build strong connections and trust. In addition, online activities fail to engage or encourage creative thinking as those done in person. Rather than boost employee engagement, virtual events cause the opposite—create boredom, disinterest, and disengagement.
Call Full Tilt For Team Building Near Me
Full Tilt is a team building events company with many years of experience. We organize events throughout North America and beyond; therefore, it is possible to organize team building events near you.
Full Tilt is the right choice if you are looking for an effective way to build strong teams. We have the experience and expertise to help you create an event that will bring your team together and boost morale without wasting time on virtual events.
All you have to do is give a member of our team a call at 310-400-6285 or fill out this online form to let us know your needs and budget.