Team Building and Social Distancing – can it work?

Team Building and Social Distancing – can it work?

In the current climate, traditional team building events are just not possible, but those that have not been furloughed are still working in the same teams (albeit virtually). Being physically apart from each other means the need to trust and understand your colleagues is even more important.  We asked Helen, from Teams Unpuzzled to tell us about their team building solutions.


When ‘staying in’ is the new ‘escape’

At the moment, the last place anyone would want to be is stuck inside a locked room in close proximity with 5 other people attempting to solve some sort of cryptic mystery; in other words, taking part in an Escape Room team building activity.

But wouldn’t we all like to ‘escape the room’ at the moment?  Most of us have been stuck inside for weeks now, and the same four walls can feel as though they are closing in on us.

Team Building

In the same way that families need to be able to weather this storm by pulling together, the need to build teams in the workplace doesn’t go away just because we aren’t in the same room as one another.   If anything, it becomes more important than ever, especially when teams are continuing to work remotely.  Trying to keep up a sense of camaraderie and cohesion with your team and work colleagues can seem impossible and there are only so many zoom chats one person can take!


How can it work?

Our team building solutions are all based around solving a murder mystery; either in person with lots of real suspects (Murder in the Boardroom), online with virtual ones (The Evidence Room), or in a room with lots of puzzles to crack before you can be let out! (The Sleuth Room).  Each works towards the same outcome; improving the skills we all need in the workplace by working together to solving the crime.

While it might be possible to run The Murder in the Boardroom while social distancing, it really wouldn’t be as effective, so in the current situation and by sticking to the social distancing guidelines, we’ve discovered that it translates really well online; using videos and live hosts we can recreate the activity successfully.  The Evidence Room was designed to be accessed online, so really now is its time to shine, with very little adaptation!

However, it’s currently unsafe to gather a group of people together in a small space and so the traditional Sleuth Room is definitely off limits!  It’s trickier to recreate online as it is based around solving physical clues, opening padlocks etc, but we’ve managed it!


The Sleuth Room online

Whilst it is impossible to recreate the actual room online, we’ve adapted our puzzles, suspects and clues to form a new and unique activity. In doing so we’ve also discovered how vital some skills are to remote working, and which can be improved through taking part in one of our activities:

Attention to detail

Always important, but even more so when you are looking at a series of clues, interviews and video clips on a potentially small screen! This aspect can improve note-taking and the ability to focus on what is truly important.

Patience and control

I’m sure we’ve all been there on a video call; desperate to have your say but risk talking over someone else or missing the opportunity to make yourself heard.  Working together as a team to ensure that everyone gets their say is vital when you are all restricted by audio and visual technicalities.


We’ve noticed more than ever the importance of taking control of a situation to ensure that it doesn’t descend into chaos – and that certainly goes for us as facilitators too!

So essentially, these new-found skills that we didn’t know we possessed (guiding online discussions, breakout rooms, zipping from screen share to speaker to notes to chat…) are going to be invaluable when we return to the workplace.  Whether you are physically close or separated by a continent, it makes sense to keep your team together no matter what life throws at you.


Guest post, written by Helen from Teams Unpuzzled. Find out more about Helen and Teams Unpuzzled on their website, or follow them on Instragram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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