For many people, aspects of social isolation and remote working will become a new way of life for the foreseeable future.

Although team building can often be viewed as a ‘nice to have’ activity by some leaders, Capita Travel and Events explain why, in an era of social isolation, it’s now more important than ever before.

Employers have been quick to respond to Covid-19 to safeguard their colleagues and business operations; by deploying technology to enable remote working, installing new hygiene standards for those in offices and developing new HR policies.

Nevertheless, a survey conducted just one week into the lockdown found a 59% increase in anxiety levels[1]. Concerns about health, job security, and finances, combined with changes to routine, additional caring responsibilities and a lack of space or equipment for those working from home have created a perfect mental health storm.

Six weeks into the lockdown, and with ongoing uncertainty many employees are facing the prospect of adjusting to new ways of life in the medium-term. The continued disruption to ‘normal’ is starting to impact parts of the workforce; some colleagues are suffering from reduced motivation and wellbeing, which in turn impacts productivity. This demonstrates the importance of putting mental health and wellbeing at the front and centre of employee engagement and business operations in the coming weeks and months.

Fortunately, technology is on our side

Twenty years ago, the ability to meet virtually in real-time or connect for a coffee, lunch or team-building exercise did not exist. Today, businesses of all shapes and sizes have access to reliable and secure technology to facilitate meaningful engagement to maintain connections.

Technology can enable many of us to transition smoothly from face-to-face to virtual engagement in ways that maintain morale, motivation and productivity. This will be especially pertinent as colleagues start to return from furlough and integrate into new ways of working.

Using technology to build a stronger virtual community

At Capita Travel and Events we too have adapted to the challenges as quickly as possible. Our people managers have been trained on how to manage virtual teams. Technology has played a crucial role in keeping us all connected, from video calls with colleagues to linking people with Mental Health First Aiders online.

When faced with the challenges of Covid-19, above all, we wanted to make sure that our employees, customers and partners were able to stay connected with one another despite being apart. That’s why we fast-tracked the creation of our virtual events and virtual team building solutions.

Virtual Events is an engaging web-based solution supported by a range of hosting platforms that ultimately creates a live event feeling for participants. Just like any event, we complete the solution with creative and pre-event delegate registration and technical support; event hosting and facilitation on the day; speaker management; follow-up communications, feedback and more.

Our virtual team building solution is very similar in its design and technology, but the focus is to assist in the collaboration and fun of bringing a team together. In creating these solutions, we considered the '5 Ways to Wellbeing'[2] framework to encourage employees to take care of their overall health and wellbeing, by connecting, being active, learning, taking notice and giving.

At Capita Travel and Events we believe that using technology to build a strong virtual community is vital to addressing the issues of mental health, wellbeing and productivity in the medium term. In moving virtual team building on to a list of ‘must haves’ for leaders, they can foster high-performing and happy teams, albeit remotely.

“In a period of crisis and lock down, the virtual event was a truly fantastic way to bring our employees together for some light-hearted, competitive fun. The feedback has been truly amazing, I can’t recommend the virtual events, especially the quiz enough, we will definitely be holding another one during lock down!” Human Resources and Support Services Director, Pharmaceutical Customer

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