Simon Howard, Founder of Introducing Events, shares his thoughts on the current team building trends.
Team building is back with a bang! Actually, it never really went away.
The virtual team building experiences we created and delivered globally over the last two years kept teams smiling and interacting virtually in ways they’d never experienced before.
The continuous demand for online team building and fun experiences during lockdown proved its importance to teams, leaders, and managers. The problem of a two-year sabbatical from socialisation when returning to in-person events, is many people have lost soft-skills used in daily communication. The ability to act naturally in a social setting has become alien to a new learned norm and two years of the media telling us the outside world is dangerous and scary takes a lot of undoing. Implementing fun experiences that break down those barriers, gently encouraging people to engage with each other and have a positive shared experience has been paramount to the success of teams reconnecting.
Introducing Events has seen a large shift in the type of experience required toward “one-team one-goal” style activities. For example, we’ve been transforming groups of hundreds of talented individuals into large-scale harmonious Samba bands all playing to the same beat. Teaching delegates new skills, getting them listening and communicating with each other and then delivering a massively impactful finale to the event where everyone comes together as one.
Another noticeable shift is towards just having fun, clients seem less focused on “we want to see XYZ outcomes” from the day and more, “we just want people to have fun together again.” Positive associations towards work meetings or events are really important to our clients. As working styles have changed we’ve been going to more clients offices and delivering gameshows, table-based competitive challenges or running crazy golf competitions over lunch, to implement a positive association with workplaces. It’s a great way to utilise offices, make events more cost effective, and really reinforce positivity in the workplace. While COVID-19 continues to affect attendance figures, our experience and learnings have meant we’ve been able to successfully deliver fun experiences for hybrid teams and include all remote attendees in all aspects of the event.
Since live events have become unrestricted, there’s been a definite push for in-person over virtual experiences. This is exactly what we expected to happen (hence launching our live-event side of the business to help with demand). People haven’t seen each other for months or years and many new team members have never actually physically met.
So, is this the end for fun and games online? We think not. Virtual events are here to stay and after the initial post- lockdown excitement and things settle down, we believe many companies will take some of their traditional conferences online. We still deliver virtual events and experiences for teams and clients who’d never meet face to face. Global teams or jobs that are 100% remote don’t even consider in-person meetings as an option, so if they do want a different experience online to show recognition to their team, virtual gameshows, race nights or a custom murder mystery are all hugely popular solutions.
Budgets, environmental/sustainability factors, work-life balance, (global pandemics!) and lifestyles will all play the part in the decision making if an event is done in-person, online or, hybrid. Making virtual events fun, engaging, interactive and not just a boring stream of PowerPoints is what we specialise in and is a major challenge facing event organisers of the future. Looking at the number of companies developing technologies and platforms to make future online events more fun, engaging and energising, we’re not alone in believing amazing experiences will continue to have their place on the virtual stage.