Don’t forget team building in times of remote working

Don’t forget team building in times of remote working

At Engage Web, we’re a growing but still small team, and when we all have to work together so closely, it becomes especially important that we all understand each other’s strengths, interests and areas where we might need support. After all, the working environment isn’t always the best for actually getting to know the people you might spend 30, 40 or more hours in the company of.

I’ve now been with Engage Web since 2012, and for each of those years (at least until 2020 came along and ruined the whole thing), we’ve taken part in a team building day. This has involved a trip somewhere, and an activity that’s usually remained something of a mystery until the day itself.

Three of the team building days have been organised by the training and development group NoGuru, and you can read a case study about our pursuits on the company’s website. You can also watch our Technical Director Darren and I try – and fail – at the unusual task of duck herding, and me surprise myself by being brave enough to abseil from Peckforton Castle in Cheshire.

More recent ventures have seen us try out adventures like zip-lining, and the ever-popular escape room challenges set the theme in 2018 and 2019. The latter work particularly well with a mixed group as ours, as we find that everyone has their own area of expertise. Some are good at using their hands to piece together puzzles and unlock boxes, while others can crack puzzles and decipher codes. Some are just good at telling other people what to do, which I believe is known in business speak as “delegating”.

Of course, 2020 has been the fly in the ointment, with even getting a full team in the office a challenge, never mind getting everyone involved in an excursion. Like most companies, we’ve been forced to put an increased focus on remote working, and it’s worked rather well. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that when we’re not seeing each other regularly, some team members can end up left out of the loop and miss out of the building of working relationships going on in the office.

We check in with each other at least once a week on Microsoft Teams, but we also make time for the odd bit of camaraderie. Last week, I used the learning platform Kahoot! to put together a quiz for the team, featuring questions on pressing matters like bread and the number 17.

It doesn’t matter who won it (although that won’t stop him telling you!), because the important thing is that we’re learning about each other, unknown interests we might have and some unexpected competitive streaks – especially since we have two new members of the team who have yet to take part in an Engage Web team building day, with a third set to start next week.

To round off the year, we’re even going to have a virtual Christmas do this December, including a remote-based escape room challenge. I have no idea how that’s going to work, but then I’ve had little idea of what to expect from any of our team building days!

There’s been plenty of variety in our team building days over the years, but what they have in common is that they’re all activities I would probably never have chosen to do, but have enjoyed and gained something from each of them. It’s not hard to relate this to the normal working day, where you might often find yourself in challenging situations where you need to find a solution quickly. The best way to do this is to draw on the support of your team, and team building events help you understand your colleagues and what they bring to the table.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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