Hybrid (flexible) working is the new normal for the majority of modern knowledge working professionals, and it’s not going away anytime soon. In fact, with more and more professionals are demanding flexibility and efficiency in their workday, remote and hybrid work will only continue to expand in use.
This means that traditional ways to engage with teams are undergoing a virtual overhaul and that the mainstay of team workshops - collaboration - can tend to leave online team members with the short end of the stick.
With that being said, when done right, managers can use virtual workshops to remove a variety of barriers to collaboration and ensure hybrid and remote teams continue to thrive in this shifting landscape. The answer lies within crafting successful workshops that cater to the sensibilities of the evolving digital workplace.
Even in a hybrid or remote working world, a workshop is an event where teammates come together to create. The key element that these events focus on is collaboration. At the end of the day, it’s united, highly engaged and connected teams that make workshops successful in these expanding virtual workplace environments.
The benefits of hosting workshops are numerous. They enable you to create stronger internal processes and foster better communication within teams. They boost creativity and collaboration. They help you onboard new employees faster and smoother. And they create a stronger, more collaborative culture.
Modern people managers need to take a considered approach in ensuring all this good stuff happens.
Virtual workshops bring the best of both worlds together. When done well they provide the structure and benefits associated with in-person events but are flexible enough to be held online.
Recent studies have shown that opportunities to connect and engage with others can lead to cognitive boosts. Given the physical disconnection of remote and hybrid work, this is even more pronounced with online workshops.
Setting dedicated time to collaborate with your team, to create something together, fosters stronger bonds between teammates delivering authentic moments of meaningful connection.
Since the shift to remote and hybrid work, the challenges to running a successful workshop have become apparent:
Online meeting exhaustion or Zoom fatigue is very real and it is a challenge every workshop facilitator needs to consider and prepare for before the workshop even begins. Creating a fun and energising space in this online workshop is key.
Silence and the loss of engagement is always a looming challenge when running a workshop. A workshop which does not engage those participating virtually will only make it easier for people to feel unseen and disempowered. Tools such as Range which support easy ‘pulse checks’ can help keep teams connected and engaged and ensure every team member has a voice in your virtual workshop!
With more and more people managers chartered in the delivery of workshops within the organisation, inexperience is a key factor in disengaged workshops. Blending the lack of experience, with availability of time to effectively plan and upskill across the correct tools, many businesses are struggling to thoughtfully deliver workshops for their remote teams.
The rapid evolution of tech in this space can create more mental lethargy by forcing busy managers and teams onto new platforms seemingly every other week. Whilst this evolution can be tiring, it is delivering innovation and opportunity to try new things in support of many virtual teams' specific cultural needs.
The key is to ensure that your workshops are accessible and flexible with a focus on connection. If your team members can’t connect with each other in a workshop, it’s not worth holding it in the first place.
In a hybrid or remote workplace, workshop facilitators can’t improvise easily without losing some connection with virtual participants. Create a sense of psychological safety through a clear agenda. Setting expectations for engagement will ensure all attendees are comfortable with the workshop and more open to sharing.
Whether the workshop is fully online, or a hybrid model, the facilitator needs to be prepared to engage with each and every participant. Including engagement activities, breakout brainstorming sessions and opportunities for reflection sets the tone and ensures engagement with all. An amazing Spark dropped throughout the workshop is a real winner!
Providing your team with a carefully crafted, unique experience that pumps up energy levels in support of creativity and connection is key! Remote and hybrid teams are spending a lot of time in front of a computer, giving your team a ‘brain break’ enables moments of authentic human connection across the virtual workspace. We love Butter and their focus on crafting fun remote team environments, they really do spark more collaborative moments for teams that workshop together!
So now that we’re crafting workshops (like a pro) that enrich working friendships and uplift team culture, what's left to do? Next time you’re planning a fantastic remote workshop, drop us a line!
We love helping teams laugh and learn together through our unique, human-powered 15 minute virtual experiences that fit perfectly throughout your next workshop.