The absence of direct face-to-face communication in remote teams can be a big challenge. According to research, remote employees have weaker relationships with their coworkers, as compared to their office counterparts which isn’t surprising at all when you realize over 65 percent of them never have a group bonding session.
Regular team building activities help build human connections between remote team members and make everyone feel included and appreciated. It can also have a big impact on company culture and improve the overall performance of teams.
But it’s not enough to just put your team on a video call together and talk about team bonding — it takes the right techniques, observation, and skills to shortlist team building activities that can create a capable and strong remote team.
What is remote team building?
Team building activities are majorly used to improve collaboration, bonding, communication, and social relationships among team members. Most traditional team-building exercises involve face-to-face interactions, but that is of course not possible with remote teams.
Remote team building exercises follow the same goal as traditional team building but since team members cannot directly meet each other, video conferencing and other online collaboration tools are used instead. Regular team building sessions can help improve the efficiency and performance of the team. They can also help team members feel connected to each other, even when they are working from different physical locations.
Why is remote team building important?
Remote work gives employees the freedom to create their own schedule and maintain a better work-life balance, but it can also feel rather isolating. When team members don’t communicate clearly with each other or hesitate in reaching out, it can lead to performance issues for the whole team. Moreover, working remotely for months with little to no social interaction with team members can cause loneliness and disengagement.
Remote team building helps make time for social bonding with your team, builds trust, combats loneliness, and improves collaboration. When you understand your team members on a personal level, it becomes easier to communicate with them in a more effective manner. It also helps build mutual respect which is one of the most critical contributors to a team’s success.
Top remote team building activities to improve collaboration and engagement
Team building games for remote workers to get to know each other better, de-stress, or simply catch some fun. Enjoy!
1. Remote team meeting games
What you need: A video conferencing tool with whiteboard feature or an online pictionary app
- Choose a moderator and divide the participants into two teams
- Select a team to play first and pick a designated sketch person for the team
- The moderator will give a pictionary word (you can use a pictionary word generator for this) to the drawer and put 60 seconds on the clock
- Whichever team guesses the word first in the chat wins
- Repeat for 5-10 rounds, depending on how much time you have
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
What you need: A video conferencing tool or an online scavenger hunt app
- Choose a moderator and participants
- If there are more than 15 participants, you can break them up into smaller teams
- For each round, the moderator will announce one common household item that the participants must search for in their houses
- When the moderator announces the item, participants should turn off their camera and start the search
- The first person to turn on their camera with the correct item gets 10 points, others get 3 points each
- The game can continue till someone reaches 50 points or for a pre-decided number of rounds if there is a time restriction.
2. Remote team building activities
What you need: A yoga or fitness expert to lead the activity with the team
A virtual yoga or workout session is the perfect way to get your team up on their feet. Working all day in the same position is not just bad for your body, but your mind as well.
Get in touch with a yoga or workout instructor who has experience in handling virtual sessions over video calls. At the same time, encourage employees to switch on their own video so they can all see their coworkers’ progress as well.
You can hire a chef or a culinary expert to conduct fun cooking lessons for your team. It can be anything from pizza making to fun mocktails. Make sure that you decide on the duration and also get a list of all the ingredients and other kitchen tools that the team should have. Decide on the menu beforehand with the instructor to ensure everything on the ingredients list is easily accessible.
3. Interactive engagements
Messy desk pictures
What you need: An synchronous communication channel on your messaging/ collaboration tool or digital workplace
Everyone wants to work from a clean and neat desk that motivates them to perform at their best. But when you are working from home every day, while still managing all the home chores and cooking three times a day, keeping your workspace clean can be the least of your worries.
To remind employees that they are in this together, you can create a communication channel where everyone can share their messy desk pictures. Not only will it make employees feel connected, but it will also serve as a reminder for employees to clean up their desks.
What you need: An asynchronous communication channel on your digital workplace
Music has the power to bring people together, even remote teams. Encourage team members to share their favorite playlists that they usually listen to while working. You can use Spotify, YouTube, or Google Play for this — whichever your team prefers. It’s a great way to understand each other’s music tastes and communicate better.
You can also choose a few team members to create collaborative playlists for the whole team.
Organize regular team building activities
As the world adjusts to a new remote work normal, team building and motivation can still go on as usual, albeit on a different platform. There are numerous ways to organize virtual team building sessions for your team which will help remote employees socialize and connect with their colleagues. The key to successful team building activities is consistency. Instead of just conducting one-off sessions, you should organize weekly or monthly activities and ensure everyone takes part in them in order to make the most out of it.
Don’t let the limits of widely available collaboration tools affect the quality of your virtual team building activities. A purpose-built digital workplace platform will give you all the tools and abilities to conduct such exercises with minimal effort and maximum participation. Kissflow is a digital workplace platform that can do all this and much more. You might just end up adding a lot more value to your workplace than you would with only team building activities.