Top 5 Problem Solving Activities To Boost Remote Team Performance
Businesses around the world are continuing to adapt to a new landscape. Gone are the days of multiple office work cubicles and the never-ending hum of the telephone in surround sound. Initially driven by the needs of the pandemic, remote teams are here to stay, with 85% of managers believing that a remote working environment will become the new norm.
With this new emphasis on remote work and virtual team-building, team leaders are striving to ensure their remote team productivity is up to scratch and that their remote team members have the necessary skills, equipment, and aptitude to thrive. Problem-solving skills and the need to adapt and think independently have never been more important.
Here we take a look at what problem-solving is and why the ability to problem solve is so crucial before exploring a series of team-building problem-solving activities that will engage and empower your remote team members.
What is Problem Solving?
In a work-focused context, problem-solving is the ability to consider all aspects of an unexpected issue or situation calmly and logically before utilizing training, experience, and instinct to provide the best resolution for the company or customer. It is multi-faceted and will form a fundamental duty for most employees.
For those in a customer-facing role, the core aspect of the process is not knowing precisely what the issue will be when a customer approaches or when the telephone rings. An employee must actively listen to the problem or grievance a customer may have before quickly deciding which course of action to take, based on the severity and nature of the issue.
For those in management, problem-solving can often involve complex situations with numerous working parts acting simultaneously. In order to succeed, they must have the ability to critically evaluate all aspects of the issue and prioritize where necessary before arriving at the most agreeable solution.
Ultimately problem-solving is a skill, and as with any skill, it must be practiced and improved on over time.
Why Problem Solving is Important for Your Team
Regardless of what industry you are in, being able to problem solve is likely an essential skill that needs careful development. As an individual team member, the ability to solve problems effectively will often lead to a high level of trust from management, increased responsibility, and exposure to more varied and complex issues.
However, when it comes to problem-solving as a team, the commitment to building these skills is equally valid, with several additional aptitudes required to succeed. Good communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to delegate and negotiate will all come into play when problem-solving as a team.
With regular attention and focused team-building problem-solving activities, it is possible to develop these skills as a team, even when working remotely. If, as an integral part of company culture, decision-making skills are valued, the company can expect to see the following benefits:
- Varied, Effective Critical Thinking – when only one person is attempting to resolve an issue, it might not always be possible for the optimal solution to be reached. An effective team will be able to offer a number of possible outcomes and, through well-drilled negotiation and compromise, will come to the best decision.
- Collective, Individual Improvement – within a typical remote team, there will likely be different experience levels among the remote employees. Less knowledgeable team members will be able to absorb the solutions and thought processes of those with more experience, leading to them solving problems more effectively when on their own.
- Increased Drive and Motivation – when problem-solving as an individual, particularly when working remotely, there is a danger of falling into a safe pattern of outcomes. Collective problem solving will often motivate team members to broaden their knowledge, particularly if the team employs an effective recognition and praise system.
- Increased Risk-Handling – an individual team member may often feel reluctant to think outside the box and commit to a potentially risky solution for fear of retribution. If there is an entire team pulling in the same direction when offering an unorthodox resolution, there is less pressure and a collective sense of responsibility toward success.
Team Building Problem Solving Activities for Your Remote Team
Problem-solving, in general, is a classic team-building problem. Managers and team leaders are constantly looking for ways to ensure that their employees are skilled and confident in critical thinking and decision-making to benefit the business optimally. This conundrum has not gone away with the recent prevalence and rise of the virtual workforce.
What follows are a number of excellent team-building activities tailored toward increasing your remote team productivity, aptitude for solving problems, and critical, creative thinking.
Virtual Escape Room
In-person escape rooms have seen a considerable rise in popularity over the last few years, with the industry booming. Fortunately, it is possible to experience these excellent team-building problem-solving activities remotely.
With a virtual escape room, teams are split into small breakout rooms, each tasked with using their problem-solving skills to crack codes and decipher puzzles. It is a versatile activity for any workforce, no matter the number, as well as being both fun and competitive with the focus on being the first team to break out!
It is the ideal activity for team members to work on their communication, negotiation, and delegation skills. Time tracking tools will likely be an integral component for an employee when remotely working. As you will be up against the clock, with added attention to speed and efficiency, this activity is an excellent preamble for using these tools.
Virtual Murder Mystery
Murder mysteries have long been considered one of the best problem-solving games out there, with the goal of each participant to determine who committed the murder, how they did it, and what their motive was.
Our virtual murder mystery offers much the same experience from a completely remote environment. Team members will be fully immersed in a unique and stimulating crime scene. As a team, you will be expected to utilize your problem-solving skills to uncover the evidence and decipher clues as to who the murderer is.
As with all effective team-building activities, collaboration and communication are key skills here, and while you will be expected to come to your own decision over who you believe committed the crime, discussions over the solutions will mimic those you would experience while working.
Role-playing is also a vital component of this activity. These are often crucial exercises when exploring the types of issues and complaints a team member might expect to come across during the day.
Virtual Treasure Hunt
Another activity that genuinely embraces the world of virtual reality, this virtual treasure hunt will see you tasked with completing a series of problem-solving games and puzzles against other teams as you traverse around the globe.
The competitive nature of this remote team-building quest can act as additional motivation for some of your more results-driven employees. It can be used as a reminder of the atmosphere you are hoping to foster while also being used to reinforce company culture in a fun and challenging manner.
Many different types of tasks will need to be completed to win, so effective delegation and negotiation will again be required to succeed. This variety of tasks should help make all employees feel that they can contribute depending on their various strengths.
TED Online Team Building
Here we have another set of problem-solving games designed to be completed and resolved as a team and is a good candidate for an introductory activity to put your employees in a stimulated sense of mind before a team meeting.
Structured as a series of standalone puzzles, this set of problem-solving games will divide your workforce into small teams to find the best resolution. Communication and collaboration skills are again tested as you try to crack the codes and resolve the issues.
It also has the added benefit and freedom to explore more unusual and creative scenarios, so your whole team will be expected to think creatively. This is another key component of any remote team skilled in effective problem-solving.
Adapted from the classic game of deduction to fully utilize video conferencing software, Werewolf will see your team’s remote communication and sleuthing skills put to the test as they try to determine who is a werewolf and who is a villager.
Like all of the problem-solving games that have been explored, your team members will need to call upon several vital skills that they will need to demonstrate during their daily work practice. Group communication, decision-making, and deductive reasoning are three such aptitudes necessary for this game.
There will always be a sense of not knowing what to expect within the game for those who end up designated as werewolves. These team members will need to call upon their intuition and ability to think on their feet if they are to avoid being accused and uncovered, vital skills needed when in a customer-facing role.
Virtual Problem Solving With Making Teams
The ability to solve problems, both as an individual and as a team, is a vital skill that any team leader or manager needs to consider when putting together their team-building training. Here at Making Teams, our team of experienced experts and facilitators will work with you to develop a first-class, tailor-made team-building experience perfect for your workforce.
Contact us today, and let’s get started!