How can I as a team actually plan a teambuilding event and what kind of implementation is suitable? In the following, we will summarize the advantages and disadvantages of various formats for you, explain best-practice approaches and share our customers’ experiences. We also give recommendations for the right implementation of your next teamevent.

Planning security vs. added value – which prevails?

Planning a teamevent always requires a certain lead time. A suitable date has to be coordinated, the desired team building has to be selected, internal approval processes have to be gone through as well as details have to be coordinated and participants have to be informed.

Due to the pandemic, the planning reliability of a live event is hardly given with a lead time of several months. Many of our customers are already expressing concerns about the situation in the fall and winter.

On the other hand, the need for physical contact is extremely high due to long home office periods. Simply spending an evening together, barbecuing and drinking beer – that can have a huge effect in bridging distances that have arisen. Trust and understanding must be re-established and communication improved.

Simple misunderstandings can often be cleared up just by meeting in person. In addition, however, a certain weariness with virtual meetings has arisen in some cases. So is another online event really the right format for team building that should also be fun and rewarding?

Best practice: How companies are currently acting

We have observed both in recent months: Teams for whom only live events were an option, but also teams that deliberately chose virtual or hybrid formats. In the summer, for example, many companies chose outdoor events for their teams – from summer festivals to raft building to “sheep herding”.

Hybrid formats have the advantage of giving employees the choice of participating from home or live. Thus, no one is excluded, regardless of how their personal risk situation is assessed. Especially for planning starting in October and also for the upcoming Christmas parties, we are discovering a stronger trend back to virtual formats.

Alternatively, our clients are also requesting live formats that could be converted to virtual events on short notice, depending on how the situation changes.

Tips & Tricks: Virtual teamevents and hybrid teamevents

  1. Inspire employees
    Due to day-to-day video meetings, enthusiasm for virtual formats is probably not high. Therefore, come up with creative approaches to pick up your team right from the start and, on top of that, show how effective and fun virtual teambuilding can be.
  2. Interactivity “is King”
    Unfortunately, too often the mistake is made of not actively planning interactivity. While communication “just happens” at a live event, it must be deliberately planned in advance for virtual formats. One idea for this is an initial exchange session, e.g. with “UNDUSO”?
  3. Technology as a booster
    The advantage of virtual and also hybrid: technology! Use the technical possibilities that you would not have otherwise. Chat functions, virtual photo boxes, tools like Mural and Wonder – completely new possibilities for creativity and interaction emerge.
  4. How to: hybrid events
    What exactly does hybrid mean? It’s not really defined that way. Here’s how we understand it: for example, you host a wine tasting and employees can choose to participate together in the office or from home. The wines are sent to the desired location, and the winemaker joins in virtually. A nice compromise with a lot of flexibility.
  5. A teambuilding rarely comes alone
    A teamevent alone will always have only moderate effects. Especially virtually, you have nice opportunities to embed the event in a series of team actions. Gamification such as challenges at the beginning of the teamevent or a quiz at the end strengthen the positive effect and let the event linger.

Tips & Tricks: live teamevents

  1. Safety first
    Create frameworks and rules that enable the safety of all participants. Understandably, there is now a great need for normalcy. Consistent measures are required to protect employees and also the company’s reputation and profitability.
  2. Create comfort
    For team building to have a positive effect, it is essential that every employee feels comfortable. Therefore, activities and an environment should be chosen that exclude no one and create a relaxed atmosphere.
  3. Outdoor ready?
    Currently, teamevents that take place outside are very suitable. Of course, there is always the weather risk. Therefore, it should be considered whether employees are comfortable with potentially being outside even in worse weather conditions. In addition, clear recommendations should be made regarding clothing and equipment.
  4. Planning fall-back option
    Due to the uncertainties caused firstly by the Corona measures and secondly by the weather in the case of weather-dependent events, virtual back-up options should be provided. Thus, you give yourself the flexibility to spontaneously change your mind without having to cancel the teamevent.
  5. Avoid island solutions
    The planning and implementation of a team building is time-consuming and costly . Therefore, it should be ensured that the effect for the team is as great as possible. To this end, it is important not to see a team building as a detached individual measure, but to embed it in an ongoing team development program.

Angelika Birk | Co-Founder & CEO at GREWP