Online Team Building Activities

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Today Kevin is talking with experts from Event Masters about 'online teambuilding activities'. What does an online teambuilding look like? And why should you organise one for your team right away? You'll discover it in this eventplanner.tv episode.

eventmasters.eu
19-04-2021 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Transcript

Hi Stephanie. Hi Johnny.


Hi Kevin. Hi Kevin.


We're going to talk about online teambuildings.

But before we start: how are you doing at Eventmasters in these challenging times?


Well, if you take into account the circumstances of Corona, we are doing okay.

The company is doing okay, but we are doing great with teambuilding. But that's one of the six different departments that we have in Eventmasters.

For teambuilding we are doing great. We had to re-invent ourselves in a few weeks’ time. Which we did. We were quite fast ready with new concepts. In the beginning of April and May last year. But we are doing okay. We have a lot of new concepts that we can propose to the clients. And we also see a lot of new clients arriving.


You were very fast to start doing online teambuildings. How did that go?


Yes, we went...

The first lockdown was the sixteenth of March last year. And then the beginning of April, we had our first online teambuildings.

You felt that the clients were not really ready for an online teambuilding, yet. Because people thought: just hold on, save the summer. And they had to take care of their children. They had to get used to working from home. So, it was really difficult to say to people: you need an online teambuilding. Because people were more like, or our clients were more like: we'll wait until we can organize a live event.

So, only after summer these online teambuildings were getting very popular. As they really felt the need to do something with their team. As, working from home, they felt like disconnected from each other and disconnected from the company.

So, it was only after summer that our clients really felt the urge and the need to organise those online teambuildings.

So, it got booming after summer.

We were ready but the clients weren't.

You could say it that way, indeed. Absolutely.


But what does that look like? An online teambuilding.


You can compare it with what we are doing here. It's online. It's from a studio. You also have an MC like you have in normal teambuildings.

But instead of being all together in one room or one castle, for example, well, everybody's doing it from home. And we talk through MS Teams or Zoom.

And we try to have as many live experiences, inside the online experience, by having the MC and also the award ceremony at the end of the teambuilding.

Where people, during, had to take some pictures and we show those pictures afterwards. Which gives them great souvenirs on the teambuilding. And that's how we try to do it. We try to simulate, as much as we can, the real experience of having a teambuilding.

 

And that's then a game you play, together with your colleagues? Or how do I need to see that?


Well, we have different kinds of teambuilding activities.

Starting from a small energiser to energise your people to get them ready for a meeting. Those are short activities that last for fifteen to thirty minutes.

And then we have all kinds of real teambuilding activities. Starting from a simple quiz to a murder activity or even a real team training. Where you focus on reaching some goals during two hours. So where you really focus on the learning outcomes, more than on the fun part. So that is...

We have a whole variety of different kinds of activities. But the most simple ones to explain, and that everybody knows, are the quiz formats. Or a murder activity. Or even an online escape room. So those are very easy to understand. So those are the kinds of things that we organise.

But we have sixteen different activities. So there's an activity for each client.

For everything that we had in, let's say, the live teambuilding events, nowadays we have the same thing for the online teambuilding events. So every request that a client possibly could have, we might have the solution for it.

So we have sixteen different concepts that we can even personalise. So at the end you will have more than thirty different concepts for the clients.


What do you mean with personalise, Johnny?


You can include, for example, questions...

Give them a picture of the colleagues. And then you need to rank them by order of seniority inside the company.

You can do something with Google Maps, where people have to find the best way to the office, the fastest way to the office.

You can have pictures that you can include, but also questions about products. About services. About colleagues.

Everything that you've done during a seminar, you can ask questions about it later on. So that people...

You have a feedback from them. To see if they recognised it, they memorised everything during the seminar. And then you do it, during a teambuilding, again, with extra questions.

Maybe to give an example of what Johnny is telling.

Only tonight, we are organising a race around the world. A virtual tour around the world. For a company. For a small group of only twenty people. And what is the goal? Well, one of their colleagues is leaving. To take on another job in America. So it's a goodbye party, actually.

So what have we done? We personalised the race around the world. Which is an existing game. And we tailored some of the questions. So those questions are specific about that colleague. When did he start? What is his favourite food? Just really to celebrate that colleague. So that's one thing.

What we also did was create onboarding games, for example. Those are 100% tailormade programs. To gamify an onboarding. Because you have to know that a lot of companies hired new people. But they were not even in the possibility to go, physically, to an office. So they organised online onboarding trainings and even for that we made an onboarding game. A gamification of an onboarding activity.

 

For some of them it's the first time they meet their new colleagues. It's during the teambuilding. You have to see that onboarding activities...

People go to the office one time. They get their cell phone, their computer, their car keys. And they go back home. And from there they start their new job. And the first time they meet somebody might be during the teambuilding, where they can have a course touring the building, for example.


Yes and it's very important, then, to have at least a moment to meet the colleagues and so on.

And this is a format that's way more attractive than the traditional Zoom-meeting, just like that.


True.


You were talking about all those games. Is that something you develop yourself? Or is that together with some other event-agencies?


No.


How does that work?


No, we are since more than five years member of Catalyst Global, which is an international association of more than fifty partners, who developed different concepts in more than eighty different countries all over the world. And all together we created those new concepts.

Which made sure that those concepts are proven, because worldwide we have done a lot of these events. So all of the small mistakes are out of the game and all together we can work on it.


Yes and also cultural differences, maybe, are solved already.


Absolutely.

Yes, those games are all neutral. Which is also very important in these online times. As they decide to put the whole company together. The whole group. Where in the past you had to fly over and fly in to a meeting. Now you can just connect them online. So it's very important to keep it neutral. And to keep it fit-for-all, actually.

That is indeed a very good example of the benefits of this network. It's that those activities are organised, on a daily basis, worldwide. And those activities are thus very stable. So we can rely on those beautiful high-quality products, which are in reach.

That means that we can offer new activities each month. Which is very nice for our clients because we can always offer them something new.

Yes, our clients go from China to Chili. Our partners I mean. I mean the partners of Catalyst, they go from China, Australia, South-Africa, Chili...

Name it. We have a partner over there.

Which is also interesting because: if we have a client over here. And, for example, they work together with Indian people, well, we can have Indian facilitators over there. Working with their team. And we do everything from here. So, they're talked to in the native language. Which is an added value for your teambuilding of course.

 

Yes, obviously. Obviously.

From a perspective of participants: is there a limit of maximum number of people that can join in in such a teambuilding?


Not really. Of course, all the systems have their limits. But there are solutions for those technical limits.

But what is interesting to see is that with a physical, a regular teambuilding normally groups are a bit bigger. They consist out of ten people. So, there's always that one person who is on the phone. Checking his emails. Calling a client.

But in an online teambuilding, you have smaller groups. Of only four to five people. So you're really more focussed. There’s literally no-one taking the phone or answering an email. You really see that people are more focussed. And more into the game. And more concentrated and focussed on what they are doing.

And the number or size of the group.

The smallest teambuilding we've done last year was six people. And the biggest one was one-thousand people.


One-thousand?


Yes.


That's an impressive number to have in one teambuilding.


Yes, you have more than fifty persons of staff behind, to help everybody to get through the log in process. But once that's done they're all gone and you don't...

For us, in the studio, it doesn't matter if there is ten people or one-thousand people. It's the same thing.


I can imagine indeed.

If we look at society today. There will be a day Corona is over. Well, let's hope. The sooner, the better of course.

How do you see the future. Will these new trends of online teambuilding stay? Will that change? How do you look at it?


I think some of the elements will stay. Not all, of course. But if you look at a few trends, you will see that some elements that we are doing now, the online teambuildings, I think they will remain.

For teambuilding...

I believe...

I'm not Madame Soleil but I believe that we're going to have more hybrid events. Meaning that people from different countries will stay in their country and they will all work together at the same events through hubs. So that's something that I think is going to stay.

Or even also people from home, like we are doing right now. Not everybody is going, regularly, back to the office. And I believe, also after Corona, you will have more people working...

Now it's one day they're working at home. It will be two days, three days and even more for some companies.

If you look at Proximus or Telenet. They announced, a few weeks ago, that they would adapt their offices in Brussels and in Mechelen. More having a meeting office and not having the real office office.

So that kind of changes in society will also drop down to teambuilding. And I think it's all, really, based on money. It's less expensive to do it from home. Than to have everybody flying in.

And it's also ecological because you're not flying or you're not driving to a certain castle where you have your teambuilding.

So that's going to be a more mixed teambuilding after Corona, I believe.


Yes, indeed. Currently, one of the things I hear in a lot of companies, is that people, working from home, they miss that connection with other people.

And, well, we hope Corona will be over very soon. But, at least it will take, still, in the best case, a few months, half-a-year maybe, before things get back to a little bit of normality.

Can these kinds of interactions you organize also help people in feeling connected?


Yes, one of the things that we see is that all the automatic gestures and processes in a team, they are dismantling.

When you're at the office and you see your colleague and you have a question, you simply ask the question to your colleague. That's something you're not doing right now. You're not calling. You're not Zooming in for a simple question. You try to find the answer on the internet. And you do it by yourself.

This kind of automatic communication between team members is not there anymore. And that's something really crucial. At this moment people really feel the necessity of getting a coffee. The chit-chat that they have at the coffee-break. It is really important. The communication that smokers have outside. They have all the gossips of the company. But that what makes the culture of a company. That makes the identity of the company. All those things are gone. And you need this kind of online teambuildings. Because we give them a few minutes at the beginning. We give them time afterwards. So they can talk to each other.

And the element of fun is also very important. It's not only about business. All meetings that we have nowadays are really into the topics of the meeting. Tac-tac-tac. We're only doing meeting, meeting, meeting. And we don't have the opportunity to talk to each other anymore about: how do you do?

Two weeks ago I had an event and during the award ceremony, after the award ceremony there was a female partner. She showed her new-born baby to the colleagues. And some of the colleagues responded: I didn't know you were pregnant. Can you imagine?


No.


I didn't know you were pregnant. I was flabbergasted. I didn't know what to say. I was shocked by what they all said over there.

So meaning that those people, they weren't talking about more than nine months to each other. They didn't know it about each other.

So it's really important to get connected again and to see how communication is evolving in teams. Because it's going dramatically in some teams.

 

One thing I didn't ask yet is: in a lot of teambuildings online, you also see a physical element. A box. Some cocktails, drinks. Whatever you receive at home.

I see a nice box behind you, over there. Yes, that one. Is that something you send to participants?


Yes, absolutely. If we can, of course. Because working international is nice but not that handy if you have to send over boxes. But those boxes are great to have a live experience during that virtual game.

Either it could be a need, as you already mentioned, Kevin: a cocktail workshop. But it could also be a box like Johnny showed, where they have to crack a code. And where they have a box for each day to really create a buzz round that event. And to make sure that you don't have a one hour and a half during teambuilding. But you really make it last longer. So you create buzz about it so that people already start on Monday and they have to prepare by Thursday. So you need to create a live experience in that teambuilding.

But that is really a nice element that we can easily add to the programs, as our activities are all themed. So we can easily send personalised boxes - or either wooden boxes as shown there - to the clients.

Even custom-made boxes, like this, with every personalised item inside.

Between November and now we've sent more than six thousand of different kinds of boxes to different kinds of participants all over the world. So a lot of logistics get involved to send six thousand boxes all over the world.

Absolutely. And we all made them by hand here in our offices. So those six thousand boxes were all prepared by our colleagues. Which is an important detail to mention, of course.


Yes, indeed. Indeed.

It seems you've built a lot of experience on online teambuilding over the past few months. If our viewers want to know more or organise something for their own company, how can they reach you?

Just go to your website?


Absolutely. You can just go to our website, which is eventmasters.eu. Or eventmasters.be works as well. So, they can just go to our website and there all the information is visible.

And which is very important to mention is that you can always book a free demo. Because I fully understand that explaining how an online teambuilding works is very difficult to do. So that's why we organise these free demos for our clients. To really show what an online teambuilding is.

So if you're interested don't hesitate. You can simply book an online teambuilding on our website. Or even register for one of our sneak previews where you can participate in one of the demos that we organise on a monthly basis.

So there's a lot of possibilities to contact us. And to be able to really participate in one the activities and to really feel it yourself.

Because participating is the only way on how you can fully understand what an online teambuilding is.


Okay, I will put the link below the video so people can find it easily.

Johnny, Stephanie, I really want to thank you for joining and sharing your thoughts on online teambuildings.


Thank you.

It was our pleasure. It was our pleasure, thank you so much, Kevin.


Thank you so much.

And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.

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