The concept of teamwork has taken on new dimensions. The rise of hybrid work models, combining remote and in-person collaboration, has presented opportunities and challenges for teams worldwide.
Around 60% of companies in the US implement a hybrid model. As teams become more geographically dispersed and diverse, the need for effective team-building activities that bridge the gap between physical and virtual workspaces has never been greater.
In this article, we dive into hybrid team-building activities, exploring creative and engaging ways to foster unity, boost morale, and enhance productivity among teams operating across different locations.
Why Team-Building Activities Are Important for Hybrid Teams
As organizations embrace hybrid work models, striking the right balance between remote and in-person teamwork is a challenge they must tackle head-on.
Why is it critical to have team-building activities in a hybrid environment?
- Enhancing Communication and Collaboration: In hybrid teams, members often work in different locations, leading to communication challenges. Team building activities promote effective communication and collaboration by providing opportunities for team members to interact, build rapport, and understand each other better. This can translate into smoother remote collaboration and improved project outcomes.
- Building Trust: Trust is a fundamental component of successful teamwork. When team members can't interact face-to-face on a daily basis, trust can be harder to establish and maintain. Team building activities create a space for team members to build trust through shared experiences, fostering a sense of reliability and cohesion crucial for a hybrid team's success.
- Boosting Morale and Engagement: Hybrid work arrangements can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation or disengagement among team members. Team building activities inject fun and enthusiasm into the work environment, boosting morale and creating a sense of belonging. Engaged and motivated team members are more likely to contribute positively to the team's overall performance.
- Alleviating Isolation: Remote team members may feel isolated due to physical distance. Whether conducted virtually or in person, team-building activities provide a sense of belonging and inclusion. They help remote team members feel connected to their colleagues, reducing feelings of isolation and promoting a sense of being part of a larger team.
- Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: Team building activities often involve problem-solving and collaboration, which can help team leaders and members identify individual strengths and weaknesses. This insight can be valuable for task delegation, project planning, and overall team performance improvement.
- Adapting to Change: The modern workplace is evolving rapidly, and hybrid work is becoming increasingly common. Team building activities help teams adapt to change, fostering a flexible and resilient mindset essential in today's dynamic business environment.
Team building activities are crucial in nurturing strong and successful hybrid teams. They promote effective communication, trust, morale, and engagement while mitigating the challenges of remote work. By investing in these activities, organizations can create a cohesive and high-performing team, regardless of geography.
10 Hybrid Team-Building Activities
Now that we've explored the reasons behind the importance of team-building activities in hybrid teams, it's time to roll up your sleeves and organize events that you can add to the calendar. Here are 10 hybrid team-building activities you can try:
1. Virtual Coffee Chats
Virtual coffee chats are excellent for team building in hybrid teams because they recreate the informal and spontaneous interactions in a traditional office setting. Think of it as the conventional water cooler talk, but done online.
Use a virtual coffee chat platform like CoffeePals to allow team members to converse casually with colleagues. You even have the option for cross-team matching, allowing employees to meet new people within the organization.
These chats aren’t limited to just pairs, too. Through the Coffee Maker feature, your team can share their thoughts about conversation-worthy topics that the app automatically sends to the team channel twice a week.
These casual conversations allow team members to connect on a personal level, build rapport, and strengthen relationships, fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity even in a remote work environment.
2. Virtual Escape Rooms
Virtual escape rooms are ideal for team building in hybrid teams because they require collaboration, problem-solving, and effective communication—essential skills for remote and in-person teamwork.
Teambuilding.com offers virtual escape rooms with an experienced host leading the entire activity. Though done virtually and not in the usual physical escape room, the adrenaline rush to complete the challenge before you run out of time is still there.
There are a lot of different themes to choose from, so it won’t get boring even if you schedule this activity regularly. For variety, you can also try other providers like Escapely or The Escape Game.
3. Online Video Game Sessions
There was a time when our parents made us think that video games were no good. Who would have thought that the modern workplace would prove them wrong?
Go for a round of Among Us and find the imposter among the group, or play a few rounds of Fortnite and go against other teams. Everyone can play different online games on their mobile phones, computers, and gaming consoles.
If you want to try out other games that aren’t as mainstream as those two titles, you can try other games from Jackbox Games and have everyone join in through their mobile phones.
4. Virtual Volunteer Projects
Virtual volunteer projects are powerful for team building in hybrid teams because they unite team members in a common purpose that extends beyond the workplace. Collaborating on such projects allows team members to bond over meaningful experiences and create a sense of shared values and social responsibility.
You can encourage team members to volunteer for the United Nations or sign up on virtual volunteering platforms like Volunteer Match. Then, you can schedule regular meetings where everyone shares their experiences and realizations with the team.
5. Time Zone Trivia
Time Zone Trivia is an excellent icebreaker for teams with members spread out across the globe. This won’t take more than 10 minutes, especially if you have a small group.
Before your meeting starts, have everyone share the time where they are. Then, you can ask them to share one interesting thing that happened in their city or country on that day.
You can also change the question if you plan on doing this regularly. Team members can share something unique about their culture, for instance, or talk about what food they ate last. Aside from being a great icebreaker before your meetings, this would also be a good DEI activity.
6. Virtual European Tour
What if we told you it was possible to go on a European holiday as a team even if you were located in different parts of the world?
Unexpected Virtual Tours does this through what they call “next-level design.” They allow you to choose your adventure based on the tour guide’s prompts and even the option to buy a Treat Box that contains European goodies.
From the Roman Pantheon to the astronomical clock in Prague, it’s a unique experience that the entire team will talk about for a long time.
7. Virtual Masterclasses
Learning can be fun if you do it as a team! You can choose any online masterclass – from watercolor painting to mindfulness basics – and learn skills you don’t necessarily need for work.
Even better, each team member could think of something they could teach to the rest of the group. Think of it as your team’s version of a Ted Talk. They could talk about an idea they thought about or a hobby they just can’t live without.
Depending on your team's schedule, you can schedule these masterclasses twice a month or weekly.
8. Tiny Campfire
Remember how fun campfires are? You can recreate that memory by having a Tiny Campfire.
From telling ghost stories to singing songs around the bonfire, it’s something that could take everyone back to their childhood. You can even have S’mores kits shipped out to everyone to make the experience even better!
The activity lasts 90 minutes, with a host leading you through the camp games and other activities.
9. Superhero Academy
Everyone has dreamt of being a superhero at one point or another. By signing up for Superhero Academy, your entire team can train to be heroes together (with a team member or two ending up as a villain, who knows?).
This hybrid team-building activity takes your team through different puzzles and challenges you must solve together. Think of it as a collaboration boot camp where everyone learns how to help each other out as you unlock one level after another.
Another 90-minute activity, teambuilding.com also sends you fun team photos that serve as great souvenirs of the event.
10. Theme Days
Theme days are always great for uniting the team without a care about how silly everyone might look. Whether you ask everyone to join a virtual meeting in their best pirate costume or to wear the craziest hats, theme days can let your team go through the average workday in a not-so-normal manner.
You can even take it up a notch and have everyone celebrate theme days not just by wearing costumes but by changing the way everyone communicates. You can respond to your manager’s email by saying, “Aye aye, cap’n!” on a pirate-themed day or send spells to each other in the team channel on Harry Potter day.
Maintaining Long-Term Team Camaraderie
We’ve discussed the importance of team building in hybrid teams and have looked at different activities to keep everyone engaged and connected. But beyond acknowledging their significance and creating one-off events, the key lies in taking proactive steps to foster lasting connections within your team.
Here are some final tips on how to maintain long-term camaraderie within your team:
- Collaborative Projects: Encourage collaborative projects that involve team members working together on shared goals. This can be a long-term project, a special initiative, or even pave the way for cross-functional teams. By working towards common objectives, team members will naturally build stronger bonds and camaraderie as they celebrate shared achievements.
- Mentorship and Buddy System: Implement a mentorship or buddy system within your hybrid team. Pair experienced team members with newer or remote colleagues to provide guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. This fosters a culture of mutual assistance and helps build strong relationships across the team.
- Recognition and Celebrations: Create a culture of recognition and celebration by acknowledging and celebrating milestones, achievements, and birthdays. Whether sending virtual cards, organizing virtual award ceremonies, or simply expressing appreciation during team meetings, recognizing and celebrating team members fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
- Regular Virtual Check-Ins: Schedule virtual team meetings that don’t just focus on work-related discussions. Allow team members to share personal updates, interests, and even hobbies. Create a safe space where everyone can get to know each other on a more personal level, fostering a sense of camaraderie. These check-ins help bridge the physical distance and maintain a strong connection among team members.
- Virtual Coffee Breaks: Schedule virtual coffee breaks or "water cooler" chats where team members can participate in casual conversations. These informal gatherings mimic the spontaneous interactions that often occur in a physical office and provide a relaxed environment for team members to connect.
Choosing a platform like CoffeePals for virtual coffee breaks can make all the difference. Because the app takes care of matching your team members, you can implement the program hassle-free.
Your team would also greatly benefit from the Coffee Maker feature because it opens up a safe space in the team channel where people can share thoughts and ideas about a specific topic. The Coffee Lottery feature also improves engagement, knowing that team members can be randomly selected to have virtual coffee with the CEO or the company president.
Sign up for a free trial now and let your team members create solid personal connections, no matter where they are.