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Sick of Zoom happy hour? Try these virtual team-building activities instead

FastCompany: “If you’re like many people who used to work in an office and are now stuck at home, you’ve likely gotten a bit tired of the tropes and rituals of Zoom coffee breaks and happy hours. While Zoom (or any other videoconferencing tool) might seem less demanding than in-person events, since there’s no need to leave your home or even put on pants, researchers have found video sessions can be their own source of stress. That’s in part due to factors such as the need to focus on facial cues from tiny pictures and fears of technical failures or other surprises, such as pets, kids, or spouses entering the frame, that apply to work social events as much as more formal meetings. But even if you’ve come to dread Zoom happy hour, many of us still crave the social side of work and want to connect with our colleagues. Companies also have a vested interest in helping their employees communicate and work well together—which can be more difficult to achieve remotely. Remote teams often have to make special efforts to ensure workers are engaged and collaborating well, says Gibb Dyer, a professor at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business who has written extensively about team building…”

That’s why some companies are going beyond Zoom happy hour and turning to a host of virtual activities, from trivia to icebreaker games to in-home scavenger hunts. Their goal? To help keep workers entertained and connected while the pandemic makes it impossible to go down to the corner bar, a rustic cabin, or the local escape room. Using a variety of activities such as these can help stave off fatigue, says Joyce Weiss, a Michigan-based communication strategist and career coach. “I have to use the word boredom, because we are all Zoomed or [Microsoft] Teamsed out,” she says. “We have to make it exciting.”…

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