We often take social work interactions for granted, especially in a traditional brick and mortar environment. However, remote team building is a “horse of a different color”. Communication, everyday interactions, and water cooler banter are all activities that occur organically in a traditional office environment. In contrast, remote teams often struggle to interact and build real connections; let alone a viable remote culture.
The cohesion of the remote team is incredibly important because a remote team that shares the same vision and work culture is more likely to be more productive, have better workflow and can solve problems quickly when they arise.
With this in mind, it’s very important for CEOs and managers of remote companies to implement team building activities that consistently promote team building, collaboration, and internal company culture.
Benefits of Remote Team Building Activities
As a leader, it’s important to understand the benefits of team building activities and how they impact your remote employees. With this in mind, let’s explore some key benefits of remote team building.
Developing the Proper Mindset
Remote work is very solitary, it can be lonely work and remote workers are susceptible to letting bad days drastically lower their morale. Team building exercises and activities help to shape a different mindset that makes employees feel like they are actually a member of a team.
Support & Collaboration
Team building activities boost loyalty and support from other peers. Through these activities remote employees begin to learn more about their team members. It also helps team members feel comfortable enough to collaborate with each other, ask questions, or seek assistance when needed.
Remote team building activities help to ensure that everyone on the team feels welcomed and empowered to contribute. Oftentimes, remote teams fail to utilize the full value of their human capital. Primarily because they don’t realize some employees have certain talents which traditionally emerge in team building activities or even company events. Creating an open virtual environment helps give team members opportunities to shine in other areas that may prove beneficial to the team.
Happy and engaged employees are more productive. Team building activities promote morale and welfare which often results in a happier, more engaged workforce. Additionally, as a natural by-product the more the team learns about each other the more accountable they will feel to deliver work product.
5 Remote Team Building Ideas
Remote team building activities don’t always have to cost a dime, you can use the current tools at your disposal, for example, Skype, Zoom or Slack to carry out these activities. If you’re unsure about how to get started we’ve put together a list of 5 team building ideas to jump start your team’s journey.
Two Truths and a Lie – Virtual Team Building
Prior to having a video conference, all remote team members will be required to note down two truths and a lie about themselves. They should be something unrelated to work (but of course still PG) to ensure team members can get to know each other on a personal level. Each team member will take a turn to read their two truths and a lie out. After reading, other team members will have to guess which of the 3 statements is the lie. This game and others similar to it focus on building trust and genuine connections between team members.
Virtual Happy Hour for Remote Teams
When leading a remote team, it’s not as easy as getting everyone together for happy hour or drinks at the local bar. As a leader, you’re going to have to be a bit more creative. On Fridays, schedule a video conference call to enjoy a few after-work drinks together. This shouldn’t be a mandatory event and optional for those that want to partake in the antics.
Creating this atmosphere of a virtual bar with a happy hour lets remote team members unwind and drop their inhibitions. Helping your team to form a bond outside of documents, spreadsheets and emails will let them connect on a personal level.
This can also be modified to something non-alcohol based. For example, Host a face mask hour or a Chinese take-out party.
Promoting Recognition and Appreciation
Employees that feel recognized and appreciated for the hard work they put in are more likely to be more productive and have increased levels of engagement. In this activity, at the beginning of a virtual meeting, each team member takes turns to speak about one amazing thing that they’ve done in the past week that he or she is proud of. The second is to mention something that another team member has done that they are proud of.
Acknowledging the performance of others can also be accomplished in a #Kudos channel or something similar. Instead of waiting for team members to speak on their accomplishments proactively recognize stand out activities in your group chat channels.
Kudos for a job well done can have an extremely positive impact on an employee because it helps to boost morale, confidence, and solidifies bonds of trust between management and employees.
Live Work Sessions
In some cases, technology can become an impediment to communication. Additionally, teams working collaboratively may not realize that live work sessions can also help teams get things done faster with fewer communication issues. More importantly, live work sessions via Zoom or conference calling mimic a traditional office environment. It almost feels as if employees are working right next to each other. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about someone’s workflow or creative process. It also provides an opportunity to tell jokes and be social.
Promoting a Culture of Wellness
A huge part of remote work means sitting in front of a computer each day. This can oftentimes lead to a less active lifestyle. To promote a culture of wellness you can do simple things like, provide a gym membership stipend. Alternatively, you can the team-building process into account and ask willing team members to join a fitness program together which can be managed via an app of your choice. At the end of every year, you might also choose to reward those with the most workouts logged or most steps taken. There are many different ways to promote a culture of wellness. It’s certainly a perfect opportunity to be creative.
Are you a remote CEO or manager? We’d love to learn about some of the activities that promote team building in your remote workforce. Feel free to leave a comment below.