If you’ve embraced the many advantages of running a remote team, you probably realize team building can be a challenge. Those who choose to work remotely often enjoy the solitude and prefer to not be bothered with meetings. However, the freelancer or work-from-home life can also be quite lonely at times.
When everyone works together toward a common purpose, your remote team can get untold amounts of work done. Fortunately, there are a ton of team building activities you can do from a distance to get to know one another better and figure out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
How Do You Do Team Building Remotely?
According to the Ladders’ Quarter 1 2022 Quarterly Remote Work Report, around 24% of jobs are now full-time remote positions. That’s a growth of eight times what it was in 2020. The pandemic moved many teams to a remote or remote-hybrid approach, but catching up with the changes may require a bit of effort.
Team building is one area where you likely need a bit of tweaking. Here are some team building ideas to keep remote connection with other employees productive and positive.
1. Tour Remote Locations
Let team members take turns walking others through their remote work location. For some, they may wish to share their home office setup and tips on what works best for them. For others, they might take you on a trip to the local coffee shop and share what their favorite beverage is.
Getting to know your fellow workers is a big part of learning to work as a team. You’ll start to understand each other’s preferences and abilities, so when you need help on a key point in a project you’ll know exactly who to turn to for advice.
2. Host a Virtual Murder Mystery Event
Every meeting doesn’t have to include people sharing personal information or work tips. It’s okay to just let staff cut loose and have fun together. Different personalities mesh differently, but understanding what makes the other person unique is a big step to working better together.
Hosing a virtual murder mystery event is something a bit different and entertaining. You can hold the event during work hours or make it a virtual after hours time for people to join in as they’d like.
One of the top features of a virtual game is allowing people to participate in real-time communication skills via Zoom or another video conferencing system. The skills learned while playing the game can translate to other work.
3. Share Good News
Every team building activity doesn’t have to last for hours. Set up a quick stand-up virtual video conference where you give your workers pats on the back for excellent performance or lucky breaks. Share good news about the company and where you’re headed as well as allowing members to share personal good news.
Did someone just have a baby? Give them a shout out. Another worker may have gotten a new puppy or kitten. Have them share some photos. Everyone loves a cute animal.
4. Send Daily Updates
Use a platform such as Mango or Slack to send out daily updates about the team. Share all types of news about the company, work completed, where someone needs a helping hand and personal tidbits.
You can also add a question and let everyone answer. Some ideas for questions you could pose that lead to better team building might be:
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
- Do you prefer to work when it’s quiet or have background noise?
- How do you overcome blocks in your work day?
- What would you do if you had a conflict with another person? How do you tend to handle disagreements?
Think about some of the life skills people must apply to their daily work and ask questions that are general enough to not point the finger at any one worker but get everyone thinking about the ways they interact and work with others in the workplace.
5. Get Everyone Working on the Same Goal
Customer experience (CX) is arguably one of the most important things you can focus on as a brand. You want to retain the clients you have while seeking new ones for maximum growth. In a study of 6,000 consumers, 76% of customers thought companies should predict their wants without them even having to tell them.
If you want your brand to be customer-centric, you must get your staff on the same page. It’s important to ensure all your workers have the same attitude when it comes to dealing with customers. Hold regular focus meetings to share your CX philosophy with the rest of the team. Encourage employees to go above and beyond for clients and give them praise when they do so.
6. Offer Challenges
Throw out challenges. Some employees benefit greatly from trying to rise above everyone else. However, make sure you vary the type of challenges you offer. People have different abilities and interests, and you want everyone to have a chance to win at different times.
For example, you might throw out a challenge to see who can come up with the best article to share with the rest of the team and let their peers vote on it.
Another idea is to set productivity goals and reward anyone who hits a certain objective. Invite your employees to come up with challenges as well so you aren’t the only one coming up with ideas.
7. Create a Virtual Break Room
When people work in an office building, there are opportunities to chit-chat. For example, co-workers may say good morning and share a little about their personal lives. A few people might take a break together and go for a walk or otherwise interact and build relationships.
Those opportunities are often missing from remote work options. You can provide something similar by setting up a virtual break room. Allow employees a few minutes a day to chat with one another, even if they’re still on the clock while doing so.
It’s worth 10 minutes of pay or so to help them connect and your team to run more smoothly. You can even build breaks so everyone takes them around the same time, allowing more opportunities to talk to one another via chat rooms.
Don’t limit yourself to one or two team building activities and assume that takes care of the issue. Look for ways to connect your workers. Play games, host a few virtual retreats and meet up for casual video chats. Encourage people to share ideas, brainstorm with one another and connect however they need for the support, mentoring and knowledge they gain from others in their field.