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The Importance of Face to Face Team Events During COVID: How to Build Employee Connection

In the age of COVID, it’s more important than ever for businesses to find ways to connect with their employees and encourage internal team relationships.

Employee connection can be defined as the feeling of closeness and affinity that employees feel towards one another and their organisation. Employee connection is vital in todays workplace as it builds trust, improves communication, and increases productivity. Face to face connection is defined as the mutual influence of individuals’ direct physical presence with his/her body language. In simple- It allows for people to get to know each other on a personal level, share ideas, and collaborate more effectively.

However, in the age of COVID, we find ourselves working from home more often than ever before and while this has its perks (yes, we all love to work in our PJ’s), it can also be isolating and make it difficult to build relationships with our coworkers. In an increasingly digital world, when communication is as simple as pushing a button, it’s easy to lose sight of why it’s so vital to speak. We are here to set the record straight on why face to face interaction is vital for employee connection.

Prioristing face to face interaction among teams can have a significant impact on both employee wellbeing and the success of your business objectives. Research shows that face to face interaction is essential for communication, problem-solving, and creativity. When people are physically together, they tend to communicate more effectively (Harvard Business Review). Because both the speaker and listener can observe and interpret body language and facial emotions, more information may be exchanged.

Employee connection can have a significant impact on your bottom line by reducing turnover, improving productivity, and enriching your workplace culture. In a time when so many things are uncertain, it’s important to find ways to keep your team connected both on a professional and personal level.

Now that we understand why face-to-face employee connection is so important to a company’s success, you might be wondering how to do it in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

One great way to do this is through face to face team events. These events can help build relationships among coworkers and keep everyone productive during these difficult times. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning these events. First, make sure that everyone is comfortable with the event location and format. Second, consider using a variety of activities to appeal to different interests and personalities. And finally, don’t forget to have fun!

Here are a few ways you can encourage COVID safe face to face interactions within your organisation:

Host an outdoor team building event

Outdoor team building events are a great way to get your employees face to face while still being COVID safe. These events can be anything from a simple picnic in the park to a more structured team building program like a scavenger hunt or survivor themed event. An outdoor event encourages social distancing and fresh air, two things that are key to staying safe during the pandemic. A well-executed team building activity will result in improved communication and connection between employees. Teams will learn more about each other through enjoyable, and engaging activities and gain greater knowledge of one another to break down barriers of mistrust. When delivered properly team building is a powerful tool to develop collaboration and trust, enhance motivation, build on strengths, and address shortcomings.

Schedule a Monthly Team Lunch

Another great way to encourage face to face employee interaction is to schedule a team lunch once a month. This gives employees the chance to catch up with one another in a more informal setting and can help build relationships between employees who may not otherwise interact on a daily basis. Involve everyone in the process by having a different team member choose the restaurant each month. This will ensure that everyone gets a chance to pick their favourite lunch spot and no one feels left out. Teams that socialise regularly tend to be more productive and cohesive, so make sure to schedule monthly team lunches into your employee calendar.

Implement a “no online meeting” policy one day per week

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to default to online meetings but sometimes nothing beats a good old fashioned face to face meeting. To encourage employee interaction, implement a “no online meeting” policy one day per week. This will force employees to interact with one another in person and can help build relationships and improve communication. If you have employees who are remote or work from home, make sure to schedule in-person meetings at least once a week. By choosing different days for different teams you can encourage a covid safe environment and still get the benefits of face to face interaction.

Engage in a CSR Activity

Giving back as a team is a great way to build employee morale and improve workplace culture all whilst coming together in person. Choose a CSR activity that aligns with your company’s values and get employees involved in planning and executing the event. This is a great way to build team cohesion and pride in the workplace. CSR activities can range from building bikes for children in need or providing support to the lives of those experiencing homelessness.

Companies that engage in CSR often benefit from a myriad of benefits that impact their workplace culture including greater employee connection, becoming an employer of choice, providing more opportunity for team and personal development, boosted employee engagement and improved employee satisfaction. 

Go Hybrid

with much of the world still feeling the impacts of COVID-19 quite greatly, it may not always be possible to get your whole team to get together in person.

Enter hybrid team events! Hybrid team events are a combination of online and in-person activities that allow employees to interact with one another no matter where they are located. This is a great option for companies with remote or distributed teams. By taking your team event hybrid you can include everyone in the fun, no matter where they are located.

There are many benefits to hybrid team events including improved employee connection, increased team building, and enhanced communication. Hybrid team activities also allow you to reach a larger audience, minimize event expenditures, and reduce your carbon footprint. When planning your event, look for a supplier who can service you nationally or even internationally so smaller teams can still enjoy the benefits of being face to face.

The power of human connection may feel lost for some in our post-COVID world, but there are still ways to build meaningful relationships with your coworkers. Start small and build up to bigger events as you feel comfortable. With a little planning, your team can still enjoy the benefits of face-to-face interaction all whilst staying safe during these unprecedented times.

At Corporate Challenge Events; we believe success is created though positive fun team cultures. Our passion is to help organisations achieve this through delivering unique and rewarding events, corporate training and team experiences that leave a lasting happiness.