Author Archives: varnmedia

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5 top tips to improve virtual team building

Whilst some businesses start to get back to normal and let people return to the office, there is still a large majority which are continuing to work from home. As we turn to a bigger virtual presence in work life and our everyday lives we’re redefining culture, both personally and professionally.

With this comes a change in attitude to how teams communicate, and how we do team building. Right now, team building is something that doesn’t seem to be working for many businesses be that due to time or general logistics. However, we’ve got some top tips for how you can improve your virtual team building to give your team the boost you need!

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How to continue team building from a distance

With working from home being the new normal for many office workers, it is now more important than ever to ensure employees are remaining engaged and are communicating with each other.

Managers must work to input appropriate measures to keep team morale up and to keep everyone happy and productive all at the same time. This is no easy task, but we’ve got some ideas for how you can virtually team build with your team.

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How to be a good remote leader during a pandemic

During an uncertain and difficult time for many businesses and individuals, there has never been a more crucial time or need for strong leaders.

With the rise of remote working and a change in routine, many leaders are now stepping into unchartered territory which they must navigate in order to drive their team forward. When it comes to virtual management, one size does not fit all and so we must adapt to support workers in the right way.

Here are some quick wins to get you started and to help you be a strong leader.

Identify employees that may need additional support

Every business is full of different personality and working types, so through lockdown and self-isolation, it is time for you as a leader to identify those employees and personality groups that may need some support.

Whilst you should check in on all staff members regularly, some employees are more prone to burnout, distraction or high-stress than others. Work-life conflict will be at an all-time high during lockdown situations, so helping your employees to separate the two is important.

In some cases, to allow employees to switch off from their regular workload you might consider offering access to online courses as well as therapy sessions or peer mentoring.

Be aware of the fear of change

Some people prefer stability, and this is a fact. Some people even thrive on it and the consistency it brings with it. As a result, the fear of change is is a very real thing and something that you should be conscious of.

At times like these, the uncertainty of the unknown being combined with a change in routine can really set people off.  To counter this, try to keep your team constantly in the loop and express how working from home is benefiting employees and the business as a whole.

Communication is key at all levels

As we move further into lockdown, people are going to start getting a bit fidgety and missing the human connection that you get when you are in the office. This is particularly the case for those that are extroverts and crave human attention and communication.

During this time, it’s important for you as a leader to stress the importance of communication between employees regardless of what position they hold. Encourage team lunches, chatting over coffee and regular meetings over video conference.

Whilst this doesn’t quite make up for the real thing, having informal chats as well as formal meetings where you can see people’s faces will make all the difference to everyone’s morale. Seeing another friendly face can help people get through the day and feel a little less alone or isolated.

In the meantime, why not have a think about some fun team activities that you can get up to once the pandemic has passed us by. You can find out more on our Team Building Events page.

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Breaking the ice: successfully integrating a new employee

If your company has recruited a new employee, it can be difficult to welcome them into the team without introducing them to each member of staff one by one. A great way to make them feel welcomed is to arrange a team building event. By doing this, everyone can have fun and get to know the new member of the team without being obliged to sit in a circle and awkwardly slur a sentence about themselves.

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Why You Should Try Something New

In business, it’s common for people to stick with tried and tested methods, or follow certain processes. Often, they don’t do this because it is the most efficient way; but because historically that is just how things have been done.

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How to motivate your team in 5 simple steps

Being able to motivate your team in the right way can have a big impact on the performance of the team and the general atmosphere in the workplace. To help you motivate your team, we have outlined 5 simple steps to follow to help give your team a bit of a boost. 

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5 tips to make your Christmas party memorable in the right way

The annual Christmas party is often seen as a chance to let a year’s worth of tension out in one go. But there are risks of it going downhill quite quickly!

We’ve got 5 ways you can give staff a memorable Christmas party, with no spills but all the thrills: 

1. Encourage people to mingle rather

Booking a meal for your team is a good idea, but a long table with a three-course meal could mean people get stuck next to other team members they don’t necessarily have the best rapport with. A party is better when people have the choice to mingle with people they want to talk to. If you are providing food arrange a buffet so people can socialise and do as they wish without feeling stuffy or it being formal.

2. Control the alcohol

There is always one person who gets their ‘money’s worth’ when it comes to alcohol so try to keep control over how much free drink is supplied. Instead of paying for a free bar, you could give people drinks tokens, or perhaps organise a tasting session so people still get to enjoy having a drink but won’t have free reigns completely.

3. Don’t be the first one there

Being the first person at an event is always awkward, and staff will often feel more relaxed arriving in groups and not being left on their own with the boss. For a bit of fun, arrange for your team to be split into groups and enjoy the London Black Cab Chase before they get to the party. That way people will arrive around the same time, or in groups, and have plenty to talk about throughout the evening.

4. Reward your staff with an experience

Your Christmas party doesn’t have to be a drink-fuelled fest and some members of staff may appreciate something a bit different. For example, spending a couple of hours enjoying our Chocolate Challenge will be much more memorable than a hangover the next morning.

5. An extra special Secret Santa

Instead of doing an office Secret Santa, why not take part in our Toy Factory London Team Building Event and work together as a real production line? The finished products can be donated to charity where children in need will benefit, giving Secret Santa a whole new meaning which will be remembered, and much less awkward than usual!

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Dos and Don’ts for good one to one meetings for your team

Feedback and the ability to discuss current working needs is crucial for the development of staff. However, many of us in a managerial position often find ourselves avoiding taking the time to commit to regular check-in sessions with team members despite knowing the benefits it can bring.

Some of the best leaders have one-to-ones with their team members every week or every month at a minimum, whether that be over lunch, whilst taking a walk or even travelling to a meeting. One-on-ones don’t need to be formal, but they should be clear to those involved for increased productivity.

Whether you do meetings once a month, or once a year, taking the time to sit down together and go a bit deeper with a dedicated one on one is worth doing. We’ve highlighted some dos and don’ts to help you make the most of these meetings.

The dos and don’ts of one on one meetings

Do:

  • Show your interest in the career goals of your employee, beyond their current role.
  • Provide a welcoming space for them to raise complaints or discuss problems
  • Be receptive to feedback about yourself too.
  • Create an action list to follow up on after the meeting.
  • Ensure feedback is constructive and balanced

Don’t:

  • Postpone them – this can send a negative message to staff and come across as a lack of interest.
  • Clock-watch – set aside a rough block of time, but allow as much time as is required for a more in-depth conversation.
  • Be too repetitive – try to have one to ones at different times of the week/month/year and change where you are having the meetings.
  • Spend the whole meeting talking – while feedback is helpful, you also need to listen.