If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that humanity can do incredible things when we come together. From singing happy birthday across balconies to our neighbors to coming up with a vaccine in record timing—people are amazing together.As we emerge from this pandemic, the state of work will not be the same as it was before. Hybrid working models will prevail over going to the office from 9-6, 5 days a week. While admittedly that’s great for our work-life balance, there are certain considerations to be taken into account when it comes to team dynamics in companies.
Building trust, camaraderie, collaboration, and a strong company culture boils down to giving team members the opportunity to be together in a non-professional setting.And that’s where in-person company offsites come in.
Chances are, you've spent the past year video conferencing with a remote team. Well, that holds true for most of us. We're all looking forward to putting the days of virtual happy hours on Zoom, video calls, and remote team-building activities behind us.The fact remains that we are living in a world dealing with a pandemic. We are happily starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn't mean that we can throw caution to the wind and live like we used to just yet. That holds especially true when organizing effective team-building activities in real life.
Bringing remote workers back together for things like offsites is fundamental to encouraging team bonding, teamwork, and employee engagement and satisfaction. Not to mention that they're a great way to integrate new hires into the team beyond onboarding!But how exactly can we do that and keep our employees safe and protect our company’s budget in the event of unexpected changes or cancelations? Check out our 10 tips below.
Travel restrictions change regularly, local health and safety guidelines evolve according to transmission rates, and employees can report coming into contact with a COVID-positive case. Organizing and booking a corporate offsite or team-building event can be pricey, and it does entail quite a few moving parts.
That’s why it’s more important now than before to protect the budget you were assigned for this event. Booking flexible rates on hotels, flights, ground transportation, and activities is the only way to have full peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens—if you change the trip or even cancel it—you’ll get your money back.
At TravelPerk, we developed a service called
FlexiPerkthat does just that! It allows you to cancel any aspect of a trip, be that for an event or business trip, and actually get your money back.
These guidelines will form the foundation of how you organize the rest of the event. As these guidelines and restrictions change regularly, try to stay up-to-date with real-time information.
Whether that’s paying for them to go to a local health facility to get tested, or distributing take-home saliva tests—you need to make sure every person in attendance can prove that they are negative for coronavirus at that time.
If you've got remote employees or distributed teams coming from other countries, they'll also need to comply with this before their departure.
Attendees should show you their COVID-19 test results before arriving at the venue—whether that’s a bus to take them somewhere, a country house, or even a restaurant. That way, you’ll know exactly who came to the event, their test results, and even their body temperature (should you decide to implement temperature checks).
This is a fundamental factor in tracing the spread of the virus should an outbreak occur.
If other places, like restaurants or cafes, in your area are allowing people to enter with a health pass, you could too.
Give them all of the information they need on the pre-testing requirements and the codes of conduct they should adhere to throughout the event. Follow up with them afterward and let them know how the event went! You can do it in a fun way and share photos, anecdotes, and inside jokes from the event.
Treat everyone like an owner and put the ball in their court to decide what they’re comfortable with and what they’re not. Give people a platform to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.
There are many exciting team-building activities that you can organize outside—from sporting events like a scavenger hunt to dance or dinner parties. Just make sure you check the weather beforehand! If you can’t host your entire event outside, think about making the more structured, seated portion of the event indoors.
That way, you can control social distancing by placing tables and seats the right distance apart. You can also mandate the use of masks indoors whenever people are moving about.
The CDC states that
mask-wearing outdoors is not strictly necessary, except in certain public spaces. Let your employees decide what works for them in outdoor spaces, and monitor appropriate mask usage indoors.
So don’t let all of this take over from organizing the kind of event you had in mind! Brainstorm some great icebreaker games or invite employees to lead teambuilding activities themselves! A little bit of friendly competition goes a long way to building high-functioning teams.
The answer to this question will greatly depend on where a business is located. As mentioned before, different countries have different restrictions in place at the moment, and vaccine rollout is quicker in some than others. Employees may not be able or comfortable to attend all events physically.So, should you provide the option for employees to join an event or offsite via video conference? In these unprecedented times, you should do what you can to accommodate safety at all costs.
That's why you should provide employees with the option of joining the event via video chat or a virtual meeting and participating remotely. Granted, virtual team-building activities can't really compare to the real thing—but safety should always come first.Dedicate some time to building the hybrid portion of your offsite. Set up a proper, interactive video conference through Zoom, Slack, Skype, Teams, or whatever platform you use. Make sure all employees attending virtually have access to the link on time and appoint a moderator to make sure they're engaged with the event.You can come up with specific team-building exercises for your virtual event, including different online games to make sure your whole team is immersed.
At TravelPerk, we like to plan company events with our employees rather than for them. That's why we always ask them what activities they would like to see happening at our next event—and we let them take the lead! Some of our particular favorites recently have included:
- Board games - from the Settlers of Catan to Pictionary, our team mates enjoy breaking off into smaller groups and get into the competitive spirit!
- Trivia quiz games - TravelPerkers love putting their general knowledge to the test in a spirited game of trivia.
- Wellness activities - our team is full of yoga-lovers, Zumba-dancers, and padel players who can't wait to share their talent with their team mates.
- Arts & crafts - we've got a very creative team of artists and crafters who help their team mates develop new skills.
- Team building games - like volleyball, basketball, gladiator duels, bubble football, or wipeout!
- Book club - this one might require some more time to plan in advance, but getting people together to discuss a book is a great way for them to have a meeting of the minds!