Your team members might not all work in the same office right now, but that does not mean that your team building efforts should stop. The benefits of team building in general are well known and, rightly, managers have been making more effort in this arena. Then the pandemic hit.
Now you have a scattered remote team, so is team building going to have to take a back burner? It shouldn't, as it's actually more important than ever. Here we are going to take a look at why that is and some remote team building activities that are effective without being lame and embarrassing.
Combat Loneliness with Remote Team Building
Remote work gets lonely. If your employees are all working separately and rarely get a chance to communicate with their teammates (or anyone else, for that matter) any more then the chances are they may be less engaged in their work than previously. work.
Research has shown they may also experience lower levels of job satisfaction, which can lead to you having to replace people on your team more often than you’d like.
There’s a good chance that remote workers will be productive and get more done on a daily basis when everyone is engaged with their work. They’ll be able to cheer each other on and will feel more motivated to reach their individual and team-related goals.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Virtual Team Building
Good virtual team building should include two things. First, it should feature ways to recreate natural conversations, similar to the ones that used to take place in the office.
Second, it should include a certain amount of visualization. When team members can see and/or talk to each other and aren’t just typing back and forth, it’s easier for them to maintain connections they previously forged in the office.
Now that you have a better understanding of the value of virtual team building, let’s get into the actual activities.
1. Favorite Things
This simple activity is a great way to break the ice and give team members a chance to learn about more each other than ever before. It’s also less anxiety-inducing than some other activities, as there’s no way to get a question about a person’s favorite thing wrong.
For this activity, assign a favorite thing topic, such as “Favorite thing about remote work” or “Favorite part about working for [insert company name here]”. Then, give everyone a chance to answer.
2. Birth Map
The Birth Map is another fun activity that lets everyone on the team learn something new about each other.
Share an image of a map in your group chat. You can use Google Maps to make a collaborative map Then, invite everyone to place a sticker on or near their place of birth. Ask them to share a story or talk about their favorite thing from their birthplace while they’re at it.
3. Dedicated Talk Space
This is more of an on-going team-building practice, but it can be great for keeping team members engaged on a regular basis. Dedicate a talk space in your team management app specifically for random “water cooler” conversation.
Be sure to lead by example by posting things like memes, funny videos, and quotes in this space often so other team members feel comfortable doing so as well.
4. Community Coffee Breaks
A community coffee break is an easy but effective way to catch up with your team members. Schedule a 15-minute period every day or week when folks on your team can join a video chat held via your team management software.
Use those 15 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk. Your conversations can be work-related or they can be purely for fun and entertainment, just like they might be if you were having a coffee break at the office together.
5. Weekly Gaming Session
At the beginning of the week, send out an email or message to the team asking them to vote on their favorite virtual group game.
Online games like those created by Jackbox are popular options, especially for remote teams. Get everyone’s input and then block off an hour at some point during the week for everyone who’s interested to get together and play as a group. Don't like games? Consider doing the same with TV shows or movies (a remote team movie night, via Zoom, is actually rather cool.)