A recent report published by McKinsey states, “more than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could working from an office.” The telecommuting revolution, exacerbated by the pandemic, is rapidly transforming the world of work. While beneficial for many, remote team building and team development can be a challenge.
Co-workers tend to bond by being in the same space. What's more, there’s a real danger of workspaces becoming siloed. Whether it’s for the purposes of onboarding new employees or maintaining team morale, we’ve put together a list of good remote team-building activities to enhance general camaraderie and relationship dynamics.
What Is Remote Team Building Exactly?
Remote team building in the age of virtual collaboration is the process of creating human-to-human connections between remote team members. These connections promote team harmony, streamline communication and increase productivity.
Why Is Remote Team Building Important?
Now more than ever, a sense of community, social cohesion, and belonging is preeminent to workplace success.
Build Relationships With Your Remote Team
Just because team members don’t work in the same space, doesn’t mean they can’t have strong working relationships. Team members who are familiar with one another will collaborate better. Remote working team building helps individuals familiarize themselves with group and personality dynamics.
Don't Let Your Workers Feel Lonely
Loneliness is a major challenge for companies whose employees work from home. It can lead to lower job satisfaction and decreased levels of productivity. This is extremely pertinent in the case of new hires, who may not have had the opportunity to meet their colleagues in person.
Boost Your Remote Team Productivity
For remote workers, team building creates mutual support and shared accountability. It encourages members to bolster and assist one another to achieve a common goal. When teams work together, they’re pulling in the same direction, which ultimately increases productivity.
How to Do Team Building While Working Remotely — 7 Remote Team Building Activities
There are many ways to facilitate virtual leadership and team-building training. Below are some activities for team building for remote employees.
#1. Go with Classic Icebreakers
Classic icebreakers are fun, remote team-building activities that are great at the start of meetings or productive workshop sessions. They only take 5 minutes and are better than small-talk, which can feel forced and awkward. Colleagues who are familiar with one another may even learn something new.
Some icebreaker questions may include; Who were the last music artists you listened to? What’s a great skill you have that’s unrelated to work? If you could invite a famous person over for dinner, who it is and why? Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
#2. Engage Your Remote Team with Team Building Exercises
Even though in-person meetings may be restricted, many team-building exercises for remote teams offer camaraderie-boosting opportunities. Of course, your organization’s culture will determine the frequency of your team-building activities.
Typically, team-building activities are scheduled for the end of the month or quarter, but you may want to revise this if morale is low or there are changes in the team. Engaging in remote team activities like gaming or quiz nights, online classes, and group contests fuels participation. Whatever you decide, just be sure to make it engaging and fun.
#3. Meet with Your Team Personally
If possible, schedule in-person meetings to build connections. Team building activities for remote staff needn’t always be result-driven. They can be as simple as everyone meeting up for lunch to touch base. Mini-vacations and retreats also work well if there’s considerable distance between team members.
Another option is to send your team to conferences. This has two benefits; it simultaneously upskills them and builds personal connections between members. It’s also possible to send different teams to different conferences if you feel they need a gel better and would benefit from attending as a smaller group.
#4. Keep in Touch via Social Media
Mixing social media with work may be contentious, and no employee should feel obligated to engage on their personal platforms. However, creating a water cooler group on Slack or WhatsApp specifically for informal conversation can boost remote team building, so long as it’s mindful and everyone is respectful of work and personal boundaries.
#5. Communicate via a Group Chat
Like connecting on social media, this should be done in moderation and with respect. Group chats enhance team building while working remotely. Setting up an informal group where team members can share insightful articles related to work, compare notes, offer advice, and discuss things that don’t relate directly to what they’re working on strengthens team relationships. These asynchronous virtual chats have replaced office water cooler conversations in many ways but still serve the same function.
#6. Celebrate Holidays Together
Acknowledging special events like birthdays and holidays go a long way towards team building for remote employees. Birthday gifts of appreciation and secret Santa exchanges demonstrate you care about your team members, regardless of their location.
If scheduling doesn’t permit meeting online, you can always pre-record goodwill messages and send them to your team. Other fun remote team-building activities, like quizzes that relate to different holidays, work well for diverse teams who may not all celebrate the same things.
#7. Have a Remote Lunch Break
Remote teams working apart day after day can still take advantage of the social benefits provided by lunch hour. Scheduling virtual lunchtime is a good way to bond without focusing too much on work or other fun team-building activities that may require greater focus. You can facilitate these opportunities weekly, monthly, or whenever you feel necessary.
The purpose of telecommuting team building activities is to develop a more profound understanding of people on a personal level. When managers and team members understand each other, it’s easier to communicate, distribute roles, as well as assign and assume responsibility across the team.
Once you know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can devise a talent management program to optimize their natural ability. The Trust Well Network’s unique personality test can help you gain a detailed understanding of your team’s dynamics. Click here to find out how to enhance motivation and productivity for your telecommuting employees.