Meaningful interaction is crucial to every team. It strengthens relationships, releases endorphins and supports personal wellbeing. But how can you bond with your colleagues if never actually meet in person? The best team building activities for remote teams.
As a company that works 50% remotely, we’ve come up with some pretty good solutions. Here are our favourite remote team building activities – whether you want to break the ice, start new conversations or simply enjoy quality time together as a virtual team.
The absence of direct in-person communication presents a huge challenge for remote teams. Research show that remote workers develop weaker relationships with colleagues than their in-house counterparts – which isn’t surprising when 65% of them have never had a group bonding session.
Regular team socializing needs to be a priority for remote teams. It enables human connection between remote colleagues, by building a sense of trust, inclusion and representation. And it has a big impact on company culture: interaction can make the difference between feeling like a valued, equal member of the team and a satellite observer. So protect space for it and ensure that everybody can contribute.
Let’s list 4 activities that will help your remote team members to bond with each other:
In this icebreaker game, everyone on the remote team is encouraged to name their favorite thing. This exercise is useful because it can be adapted to align with the meeting goal, work environment or something more personal. Since the participants are all asked to name their favorite thing, there is no risk of getting the answer wrong. This works well for remote teams, because everyone can participate.
Here’s how it works. Assign the “Favorite Thing” topic. Possibilities include “your favorite thing about the company” or “your favorite aspect of the product.” Ask team members to find an image online and upload it to a picture sharing site, shared drive or online whiteboard like Miro.
Each employee should present their image and a short description to the group. It will stir the participants’ imagination and creativity and makes an ideal springboard to brainstorming.
At Inlea, we’re pretty lucky to have such a globally diverse team – primarily so we can host a Eurovision-style company-wide song competition. Sadly, nobody sang. Instead, everyone submitted a recent song released by someone of their nationality and ranked everyone else’s submissions. You just need a YouTube playlist to showcase all the songs, and a survey tool to gather everyone’s scores (we used Google Form). It’s simple, ridiculous, and… culturally enlightening?
It doesn’t have to require fancy equipment, anybody with a smartphone can participate. Photo competitions are a great way of uniting people around a popular shared hobby, while also sharing insight into each others’ lives. It’s a simple and enjoyable means of visual self-expression, which you can theme around pretty much anything.
The prize is pretty special too; the winner gets a framed professional print of their shot! You may learn something wholly unexpected about your colleagues – in terms of their lifestyle, interests or even secret design skills.
Is there anyone who doesn’t love this classic word game? Words with Friends is a great app version of it. The best part is that you can organize team matches, so you’ll group people together and make them collaborate.
Staying in touch doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. Sometimes it’s as simple as playing a game at the end of the work day.
This game, in particular, is simple: each player gets tiles with letters, which they combine to create words. The team that scores the most points wins.
What do you do as a manager? Nothing; you’re just a regular player in this game.
These unusual remote team building activities mentioned above are just a small part of the hundreds of possible meeting activates that you can try out before finding your own activities that best fit your company culture.
Have a couple of unusual remote team building activities that your company is currently practicing? Share them with us!