How we organized an online team building

Posted on 03/05/2021, Veronika Fialová

We have a great history when we talk about engagement events – team buildings, parties, sports events, celebrations, lunches, picnics, and barbecues… Unfortunately, all of these things we are used to doing are not possible during a pandemic. Not only are we missing scheduled informal events with our colleagues but on top of this, we hired a lot of new colleagues last year and they haven’t had many possibilities to meet people and experience the Kiwi lifestyle in different situations other than work. 

The idea and how it started

So, what did we do? We knew we have to adjust to the given situation and one of the initiatives was an online team-building with a slogan “when Kiwis can’t go party, let the party come to Kiwis!”. Our intention was to create a light-hearted, relaxed atmosphere as if we were sitting in our favourite bar or restaurant with our colleagues (or at least something close to that).

And by the way, we are talking about an online team building for around 1000 people! Although we didn’t plan to put together 1000 people at the same time but rather to allow them to choose the times they fancy, it was still the biggest online event we ever prepared. Three of us worked on this project and we probably couldn’t have done it so well if we hadn’t cooperated in the way we had. What was the main challenge, you might ask? We had to figure out how to provide the same conditions for all employees across the world and at the same time make the team-building enjoyable and memorable.

How to handle such a team-building

Firstly, we set up rules, planned the workflow, and allowed teams to choose time slots within one month.

Secondly, we got the budget and we needed to think about the whole concept. We chose to bring one of Brno HQ’s favorite bars into our homes. We set up a system of ordering for them and also a system for us organizers to watch how many people were ordering. And what about Kiwis in other locations? We selected recommended places in other cities and for the rest of cities, we decided to involve delivery apps and allow people to order whatever they felt like.  Next on the list was entertainment. We found activities that could be played online and could help to start the team building without awkward silences. Some of our suggestions included; Trivia games, Charades, Poker tournaments, and board games. 

The fourth thing we had to do was to prepare a communication plan and deliver the information to senior management and then cascade it to the entire company. After that, we had to be available for all possible questions and support teams if needed.

And how did everything go?

By the end of the team building month, we had more than 90 teams participate! We asked our colleagues to share their experiences and suggestions for improvements. 

Jakub Wolf from Engineering mentioned that when our social contact is limited to Zoom calls and meetings, getting to know people who we work with becomes a challenge. 

“What do they like? What are they passionate about? Or what are their fears? Therefore, the main aim of our team building was to get to know each other. The theme for the team building was born – The Ancillaries Bar. In the bar, I was a bartender who asked questions to my guests – the team. For the pool of questions, we used a game called Teamwork.” 

In total, they had two different sessions with 20 engineers and product managers from the Ancillaries tribe.

“Now we know who cooks only chicken and rice, who builds furniture at home, who has imposter syndrome (turned out everyone ), who dances with fire, and who bakes cakes,” said Jakub.

Kristyna Novotna from CS Operations told us that they had a lot of fun with an unexpected finish at 3:30 am. “All the technical difficulties that can happen happened, but it was a nice evening and we are looking forward to the next one,” Kristyna said. 

Slavomir Mucha from Product had a similar experience with his team, they had an official presentation and then they got to enjoy drinks and food.

“Our team building was very lively. Everyone engaged in the team aviation quiz and Cover-name game until the early hours. We will do it again!” said Slavomir.

It made us very happy that we could contribute to the positive experience people had. We helped them to spend some time with their colleagues in ways other than just work-related. After all, we are still Kiwis no matter what!

Interested in joining and experiencing our culture with us? Check our open positions!