Every work team needs an effective team building in order to be sustainably productive. This is even more true for remote teams, as the virtual nature of the team can lead to a form of psychological distanciation of its members. In order to ensure its performativity, there are many different factors that need to be addressed. Team building is an essential one as it can predict the overall team dynamics (Smith, 2020). To create the best kind of team building for remote teams, you need to use the best kinds of virtual tools, such as virtual reality technology. Let’s see a bit more in detail what this entails.
Psychological safety as a essential factor to effective team building
Remote teams come with their load of challenges, such as knowing how to measure productivity effectively, consolidating trustworthy relationships and more (Ulrych, 2014). Building trust is one of the essential factors that leads to psychological safety. Psychological safety is the idea that coworkers feel that the work environment is safe enough that they can take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other (Gerarghty, 2021).
This can be translated into constructive feedback and communication, where all kinds of feelings can be shared without fear or restraint. Litterature shows conflict may positively influence team performance (Garro-Abarda, 2021), and feedback has a positive impact on motivation, interpersonal trust, and ultimately performance in virtual teams.
This sense of safety actually guarantees a stronger sense of interconnection, identification to the group, which also leads to better teamwork. In order to mediate the productivity of a team, there needs to be an effective team building process, especially in remote teams (Gibson, 2006). In virtual teams, communication can lead to more misunderstanding when executed entirely by message.
By ensuring a strong sense of psychological safety, workers are more likely to engage in diverse forms of communication, such as voice calls. In environments where coworkers are less prone to engage in voice calls, communication and productivity is lower (Pazos, 2012). This shows the importance of finding ways to create a nurturing work environment.
Using VR for effective team building
You may be wondering now what techniques and tools you can use to start team building. We believe Virtual Reality activities offer a solid proposition to answer the question of remoteness.
Team performance management can be tricky when done remotely, as it is more difficult to develop a cohesive group identity when people have never met in real life, and to handle conflicts when communication is physically distanced. Results about team virtual team productivity reveal ambiguous results, as they greatly depend on leadership styles, and not just on the virtual vs physical nature of the team. Some studies show that team members share a more positive perception of leadership management when done virtually (Henderson, 2008). On the other hand, studies show that virtual teams accentuate psychological distance between team members.
In order to alleviate this distance, virtual reality activities can be very effective for compensating the close group cohesion. These mini activities call for short term goals that emphasize the result in a new, intriguing context.
Through the use of virtual games, there can be improvement of conflict management, trust and cohesion (Ellis, 2008). It has been shown on numerous occasions that many different types of games can be used for team building activities. Games are powerful tools to create miniature and catalyzed experiences where cooperation is reinforced.
Virtual team building can also be done in training sessions, rather than entertaining games. These virtual training sessions are more often seen as motivational and participative and relaxing at the same time (Muniandy, 2021). These types of training sessions have been linked to a higher commitment level to the team, and is a strong predictor for high performance in teams (Swati, 2017).
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