Building a Virtual Office when working remotely is a blend of introduction round, ice breaker and team builder while providing valuable insights into pre-existing dynamics, individual sentiments and functional expertise.
The Virtual Office acts as a strong navigator for future collaboration between groups of people and individuals in your newly formed team.
The Virtual Office fosters the building of team spirit while at the same time allows gathering of both functional and emotional circumstances of the people you're going to work with.
As such, it is especially valuable when you come together with your future team for the first time.
It serves as an introduction round
It breaks the ice by being a fun game (in a meaningful way), hence you kick-off ideally with an emotionally positive experience
It makes everyone actively interact in a safe way (there's no wrong) from the very beginning, hence decreases the hurdles to also interact at a later stage
It builds team spirit by providing a connecting story
By abstracting the office areas, it makes people think of the value they will provide to the team rather than focusing on their functional expertise
It provides valuable insights into existing dynamics, sentiments, moods, motivation:
Find a picture which represents your Virtual Office and which ties back to a story:
Add areas to the Virtual Office where people can place themselves:
DO's - Be creative!
DONT's - Try to avoid functional areas like Security, Marketing, Storage, Network, ... because that will hinder people to think of the actual value they bring to the team and will deprive you of valuable insights about dynamics and sentiments.
Bring your team to the virtual office. This can be done at the very beginning of your gathering, so you can combine introduction round, ice breaker and expectation gathering in one exercise.
Go one after the other:
Come back to this space