In his book titled “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, author Patrick Lencioni remarks that teamwork gives companies the ultimate advantage. He claims that teamwork is a rare but powerful asset that allows businesses to become more competitive. But teamwork isn’t something that comes naturally. That’s why so many companies are engaged in team-building exercises regularly.
It’s easy to implement team building with employees who work together day in and day out. But what happens when you have teleworkers who operate remotely?
The first step is to build the right company culture. Company culture refers to the “personality” of your business and is one thing that will ensure your employees are all on the same sheet of music.
Once you have established your company culture, you are ready to incorporate some following team-building activities.
#1. Ice-Breaking Games
In a brick-and-mortar office, it is not that difficult for workers to become acquainted. That’s not the case in virtual offices where many members of your team have never met in person.
Since your team-building activity will have a teleconference or meetup, you’ll need some way for people to break the ice.
Some ideas for doing this include:
- Having each person name a fun fact about themselves
- Telling jokes (clean and workplace appropriate, of course)
- Taking quizzes or surveys
For ice-breaking games, there are no hard and fast rules. So long as it makes everyone feel relaxed and comfortable, use it as a lead-in to your other team-building activities.
#2. Photo Contests
In a physical office, employees take pride in decorating and showing off their workspaces. Give your remote workers the same opportunity by starting a photo contest.
Have everyone snap a picture of their desk or home office and then let everyone vote on the best decorated, most original, etc.
This exercise allows everyone to “visit” each other’s work stations just like they would if everyone was in the same location. It will also spur morale by encouraging people to keep their work areas fun and interesting.
#3. Coffee Shop Meeting
If team members are close enough, you could have everyone meet at a coffee shop occasionally. Hold an informal meeting where everyone can collaborate on projects or just get to know each other over a cup of coffee.
What happens if people are too far away? In that case, you can still hold a virtual meeting, but rather than being in their own home office, individuals will be located at different coffee shops instead.
You could even give each person the chance to talk about their coffee shop (atmosphere, location, etc.) before getting started. It’s one more way to break the ice and allow each person to become familiar with how their fellow team members work.
#4. Virtual Scavenger Hunts
Divide employees into teams and give each one an identical list of items to “find.” This will ideally be things in their cities such as a playground, fountain, or city limits sign.
Assign a team captain who will delegate certain finds to each person.
The team captain will collect photographs of the finds and then posting them to a job board. The first team to locate all the items wins.
#5. Host a Contest or Game
Contests are a great way to spur productivity and help employees motivate each other.
They do not always have to involve work-related activities. Contests that encourage people to work out more, eat healthier, or learn a new skill can all be great ways to build and encourage teamwork.
When holding a contest, set clear rules and deadlines so that everyone knows what to expect ahead of time. Just be sure to make the contest fair and appealing to a wide group of people.
Don’t forget to post results so that each person has a chance to congratulate the winner.
#6. Karaoke/Comedy/Open Mic Night
It’s not unusual for employees to hang out with one another after work. However, your remote workers often cannot enjoy the same opportunity unless you create it for them.
Schedule a time when everyone can get together online and have fun. Several online apps exist that will allow people to sing karaoke, tell jokes, or read poetry.
Maintain a casual atmosphere and allow people to pop in and out at their own leisure. Who knows, your employees might have so much fun that they make this a regular event.
When you manage a remote team, you must make team building a priority. Without it, your employees are more likely to feel isolated and underappreciated.
Implement some of these activities, and you can boost morale, increase productivity, and have everyone feeling as though their contributions really matter.