In need of a flexible work space where you can meet your team, collaborate, and focus? Download our flexible workspace guide – with part-time, full-time, and pay-as-you-go options.
It’s now fairly common for teams to have remote workers, and it’s important to make sure these members of staff stay happy, healthy and engaged with remote team building activities.
As an employer, you not only have the responsibility to provide the right tools to help your team perform in their roles, but also committing to regular team building activities that promote a sense of company culture and community.
Studies show that team building games and exercises don’t just make your hires feel better, they also have an impact on team morale, productivity levels, and performance. To help you ensure your remote team stay engaged, we’ve put together a list of 5 great remote team building ideas, to help you remind your virtual employees that while they might be out of sight, they’re not out of your thoughts.
In need of a flexible workspace for your team to meet? Work.Life have space for hot desking, meeting rooms, private workspace and more – plus all the best perks of coworking like unlimited coffee, snacks, weekly beer and pizza, and wellness event. Book a virtual or in-person tour of a coworking space here.
5 Remote Team Building Activities
1. Encourage Communication Between Team Members
When someone works remotely, they don’t have opportunities to make small talk with their pal in the next cubicle or discuss their plans for the long weekend with a coworker. That makes it much harder for your virtual employees to establish lasting connections with their team. If you want your staff to relate to each other, then you need to start bringing the small talk back into their interactions.
It’s a good idea to get everyone involved in regular online meetings or catch-ups. How often you want to catch up depends on your team; but whether it’s daily, twice a week or weekly, it can be really valuable for employees to communicate with each other.
All you need to get started is a virtual meeting application or video conferencing system like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom, and a schedule that everyone feels comfortable with. Many business will also use Slack, which is useful for encouraging different groups to communicate when working remotely.
2. Schedule Coffee Breaks or Business Lunches
While you want your remote team to be as productive and focused as possible during their working hours, everyone needs a break from time to time. It’s often said that food can bring a team together, so why not start organising group lunch sessions where everyone logs into a video conferencing session while they enjoy their sandwiches or afternoon salads.
The tricky part here is managing the time zone. You might have to settle for some people logging into the conversation while they have their breakfast, while others get involved by showing off the delicious dinner they’ve just cooked. If you can’t quite make the times work for a business lunch, a business coffee break can be a great alternative.
If you’re worried about getting people to actually turn up to your coffee-based conversations, you could consider sending your employees a bag of delicious beans to entice them, or a branded mug, so everyone can get together and share what they think of a specific flavour or design. This is one of the simplest team building exercises for remote workers, that will help to enhance communication channels between your team members.
3. Create Location Vlogs
One of the hardest parts of working with virtual employees is that it’s hard to visualise them tapping away at their keyboard from far away. A good remote team building activity to keep everyone connected is to ask your hires to share a photo or a video of their surroundings before they start working for the day. You don’t necessarily have to get someone to do this every day; once a week could be enough to give your team a fun glimpse into what life is like for a colleague.
If you’re introducing someone new to your team, you could even ask them to post a blog to the company intranet that includes a quick tour of their hometown, or a glance at some of their favourite places to unwind. After each long-form vlog session, ask your latest creator to take their place and share their own video-based experience next.
Location blogs help your team to learn important things about each other, and feel more connected, while also putting a pin in your business map.
4. Host a Company Trivia Session
For remote workers, team building can be tricky. When employers aren’t always in the office, it can be difficult to co-ordinate a work social or a lunchtime club. A great way to develop the connections between different members of your team, while also having some much-needed fun, is to design your own company trivia sessions. If you’ve ever hosted a company quiz before, then you’ll know how much fun it can be to get people together answering questions against the clock.
Remember to keep the questions simple and consider using multiple-choice questions so that everyone can pick their answers quickly, rather than guessing for hours at a time. A good trivia session should include plenty of useful information about your employees, including personal questions like:
- What kind of dog does James have?
- Which of our team members is allergic to nuts?
- Which team member has a twin?
You can also add in questions that are relevant to the growth of the company, such as:
- Which team member has been with us the longest?
- Who is celebrating their five-year work anniversary this weekend?
- Who won our “employee of the month” last?
Best of all, remote team building activities like this don’t have to be done in the office space. Employees can take part in a quiz online, over email, or via video chat. Remote team building in the age of virtual collaboration is easier than ever – there are plenty of remote team building games you can play to encourage communication.
5. Get Healthy Together
Did you know that between the years of 2016 and 2017, healthcare costs increased by 79% for modern businesses? Wellness is a critical concern for any company who wants to make sure that their employees are as productive as possible. If you’re worried abound bonding, and you want to make sure that your hires are healthy too, why not combine the two with a company-wide fitness plan?
People are more likely to stay on track towards their health goals when they commit to fitness challenges as part of a team. Consider asking people to sign up for a quest to eat healthier, or spend more time exercising. Your virtual staff can serve as a support system for each other, celebrating the goals they reach with mini-parties over video, and motivating each other when times get tough.
There are even apps that you can ask your team to download so that everyone can track their performance together. The result of getting fit together is a team that feels more connected, as well as healthier employees who take fewer sick days.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to keeping your virtual employees connected. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t overlook the importance of team building for remote employees when you’re trying to run a successful business. Remote team building activities don’t have to require a lot of time, money or effort – often, you can just transfer your usual team building ideas to Skype or Zoom. Remote employees do have the power to be more productive, focused, and happy than their in-office counterparts, but that’s only if you avoid the looming threat of isolation.
Author bio: Raj Jana is the CEO and founder of JavaPresse, a company that’s dedicated to providing consumers with the best socially-conscious coffee they’ve ever tasted. Raj believes that his team is the key to his success, and when he’s not building his brand, he likes to share his tips and thoughts on remote team building with other entrepreneurs around the globe.
More Workplace Wellness Blogs
- 11 Workplace Wellbeing Ideas For Your Business
- What Is Agile Working? The Complete Guide
- Work Happy: Why Workplace Design Matters
- 10 Tips For A Less Manic Monday
- Mental Health Awareness Week: Tips On Managing Stress At Work
- The Business Benefits Of Happiness Perks For Your Team
- 10 Tips For Productivity
- The Secrets To Finding Happiness At Work