Switching Off the Screen: Rediscovering the Joy in Face-to-Face Team Buildings

by Eunice Narvacan | March 22, 2023

Employee Journals

The year 2023 marks my 4th year with RareJob Philippines since being hired in June of 2019. I started out as an Audit Staff and have since held the specialist position last October 2022. Our team’s mandate is to support the management in ensuring that the quality of RareJob groups’ services meet the set quality standards. My current role is focused on monitoring lesson quality key performance indicators and conduct audit specifically to lessons.


Teams in my department are closely knitted that we hold our team buildings together as one department. My first team building was actually a “buzzer beater” experience. Back in 2020, when the new year welcomed us with Taal and COVID-19, we were able to squeeze in one last face-to-face team building early in March just right before the country declared lockdown.

Transitioning to the virtual set up, holding team buildings online required adjustment especially in terms of keeping the audience engaged and interested. Within my team, we had monthly virtual get-togethers, or as we like to call it “hangout-hangout lang” and we also have a monthly department virtual gathering. A year and a half into the pandemic, when vaccines had been available and restrictions were slowly getting lifted, we were able to have occasional meet-ups and get togethers. To set a get together for a large group of people, the major factors to consider are the place and the schedule. Yet surprisingly, once the “meet-up” topic has been brought up, we actually settled pretty quickly and easily. One advantage for my team, though, is we all live in the same city which made scheduling meet-ups much easier. We usually get together to eat out and celebrate a job well done during the end of a term or just simply to take a break from work to catch up.


Thankfully, I was able to experience working in the office and have at least one face-to-face team building before the pandemic and I was able to get to know my team and department members better. During the early period of the work from home set up, having team buildings virtually was relatively easy for me because I have already met my department team members. But as our numbers increased, new members coming in, I personally felt that I could have connected better and built rapport easily if we had gathered face-to-face. In addition, as my social battery tends to drain faster in the virtual set up and looking back, it probably would have been more difficult for me to adjust in virtual activities if I had joined RareJob during the pandemic. Either way, whether face-to-face or in virtual setups, I take pride in my department and team’s unmatched ability to make people feel belonged and welcomed.

Exactly 3 years of doing team buildings virtually, our department was able to hold a face-to-face team building just last March 2023 at vacation home in Cavite. We enjoyed various amenities in our venue including a swimming pool, karaoke machine (mandatory in gatherings), a basketball court, in-house coffee shop, and more. Dog lovers in our department also got to play with the hosts’ pet dogs during our stay there. Coffee enthusiasts also got a taste of the in-house freshly brewed coffee at the cafe.


In our department buildings, we have assigned committees – food, transportation, and venue/program committees. Just like my first team building, I was part of the venue/program committee again. We were in charge of looking for the venue and preparing the program. In looking for the venue, it was a challenge to take several factors and preferences into consideration. Searching for venue options was not particularly difficult but one thing is for sure, the place had to have a chill vibe to ensure everyone gets a well-rested time off. For the program, it wasn’t difficult to come up with activities because we know that everyone in the department is cooperative, competitive, and is up for any kind of game or activity. We prepared games like the classic Pinoy Henyo and fun trivia games.

While preparing for this face-to-face team building, I felt really excited to see familiar faces and welcome new members who joined recently. I was also happy to be with members from other teams who were also part of the program committee because it was a new collaboration and it was a new experience to be working with them directly. Overall, I was just filled with excitement and anticipation to be able to gather face-to-face once again.


Face-to-face team buildings give us real-time and more genuine interactions compared to having team buildings virtually. Technical issues and internet connection issues are some common problems that often hinder us to enjoy virtual gatherings. Personally, it’s easier to interact when I am physically around people and it is more fun to share stories and laugh out loud together than doing it in front of the computer. There has also been quite a lot of new members in our department and through this face-to-face team building, we were able to see each other outside our screens and know each other more.

Now that we are able to gather for a face-to-face team building, one more thing I am looking forward to is a face-to-face celebration of the traditional company year-end party. Since I joined RareJob, I was only able to experience one face-to-face year-end party, which was a definitely a blast, and the rest of my year-end parties were done virtually. I really hope and anticipate that we can hold a face-to-face company-wide celebrations soon because you know what they say? The more the merrier.