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Many of us are navigating uncharted territory at work right now. Much has changed over the last two years, and it’s greatly affected the way we work and the way we interact with and think about our teams. Businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working and new attitudes about work, and employees have had to adapt to new standards and practices as well. Many companies are looking for new ways to manage their teams amid all this change. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we're facing, there are some things we can do to help ourselves and our teams.
With the meteoric rise in remote work, team building has taken a hit, and many of us are feeling more disconnected from the social aspects of our jobs and are adapting to new interactions with our colleagues. Team-building exercises may seem like a luxury to some, but they can be beneficial for boosting morale and maintaining productivity. They are also an important part of mental health at work, which is a priority for most right now.
In this article, we'll explore some team-building ideas that focus on employee mental health for both in-house teams and remote workers.
Team-Building & Mental Health
Team-building is an essential piece of the employee mental health puzzle. Strong team culture can give employees a sense of belonging, purpose, and support, which are vital to employee well-being.
Team-building activities can also help to foster trust, communication, and collaboration within a team, further promoting employee wellness. In times of stress and uncertainty, such activities can be a much-needed break from the day-to-day grind.
Providing access to mental health resources is another important way to support employee mental health. This might include things like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), mental health days, or simply creating a safe space to talk about employee well-being within the workplace.
When employees feel like they are part of a supportive team, they are more likely to feel engaged and motivated. Moreover, when employees feel supported, they are less likely to experience stress and anxiety.
Team-Building Activities that Promote Mental Health
When it comes to team-building activities, there are a lot of options. However, not all activities are created equal. Some team-building activities are better than others because they promote healthy team culture and support employee mental health in the workplace.
Here are some things to consider when choosing team-building activities:
- Activities that encourage communication and collaboration
- Activities that focus on problem-solving and critical thinking
- Activities that allow employees to get to know each other on a personal level
- Activities that are fun and engaging
Employers need to be thoughtful about the team-building activities they choose to implement. Choosing activities that promote healthy team culture and support mental health in the workplace is essential for fostering a collaborative and healthy workplace that will empower your people to form successful and productive teams.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Scavenger hunt: Split into teams and see who can find the most items on a list around the office or your local area. This can also be done virtually with remote workers scrambling to find household items.
- Trivia: Compete in a trivia contest with questions about the company, the industry, current events, etc.
- Bake-off: Have each team bake something and then have a taste test to see who made the best dish.
- Build a sculpture: See which team can build the tallest/strongest/most creative sculpture using only office supplies.
- Ask your team for ideas: Include your team members in the planning of your team-building activities.
Team-Building and Remote Work
Team-building is different for remote workers in a number of ways. For starters, building trust with teammates can be more challenging when you're not in the same physical space. Some employees might also miss some benefits of working together in person, like impromptu brainstorming sessions or bonding over coffee breaks.
To provide the best experience, employers and managers must intentionally create opportunities for connection, whether through regular video chats, virtual happy hours, or team-building exercises. It also means being sensitive to the fact that certain employees' mental health can be affected by working remotely.
When done right, team-building for remote workers can help create a strong sense of community and connection - even when everyone is working from different locations. However, if not done intentionally, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Therefore, it is essential to be thoughtful and deliberate about how you build your team culture when working remotely. Here are some great remote team-building activities to try with your team:
- Have a virtual happy hour: Socializing is integral to mental health, so why not have a virtual happy hour with your team? For remote workers, employers can send kits or delivery food items ahead of time.
- Get moving: Organize a virtual fitness class or simply encourage your team to get moving throughout the day.
- Play games: There are plenty of great online games that can be played virtually, such as charades, trivia, or Pictionary. There are also companies that specialize in virtual team-building games and activities for remote workers.
- Eat together: You can have a virtual potluck and share recipes or simply order lunch for everyone to enjoy together.
Building a strong team is essential for any organization, whether working in an office or remotely. By being intentional about team-building activities, you can create a healthy team culture that supports mental health in the workplace.
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