Before discussing virtual team-building activities, we should consider two types of remote employees. So, the first type slowly performs all tasks, quickly loses enthusiasm, and further prefers the role of invisible person in the team.
At general meetings, such a colleague doesn’t come up with new ideas, and their ability to work falls with enviable stability.
As for the second, such a team member personally accepts the challenge set before the whole team and works hard to maintain and improve the company’s position in the market. And here comes one crucial point: the team’s effectiveness depends on the ratio of the number of employees of the first and the second types.
At first glance, it may seem impossible to influence the internal mood of remote workers, but it is not. On the contrary, practical tools of online team building significantly boost your staff morale. In addition, such activities will remind your subordinates about the company’s values and revive the desire to follow them, working together for the common good.
Best ideas for online team building
So, below you will find super-valuable team-building ideas for online meetings or video conferences. And once employees become more open with each other, they will be more willing to participate in team-building games, making every effort to build friendly relationships.
However, network, sound, and video problems may also arise during your team’s online meetings. Computer experts online at Howly can assist you in solving all your tech issues quickly and efficiently.
Virtual team building meetings
Team meetings are essential for any company, whether in the office or online. Although such activities often centre around work, you can organise them as an effective team-building tool. Why is it so important? The answer is evident: remote employees can’t participate in group breaks between team-building activities, such as shared lunch or coffee. To fix that, you can organise a regular virtual meeting at the end of each week or month and ask your team members three questions:
- What is your major success for the week?
- What can you improve in your work?
- What event has made the biggest impression on you recently?
Make sure team leaders and managers also provide answers to these questions since all team members are equal. Such questions not only allow the colleagues to discuss and improve team effectiveness but also give remote employees a chance to talk a little about their current lives and feel close to other staff.
Give anyone time to prepare for the meeting so they can think about their answers beforehand. It can also be helpful to set a time limit for each worker so that the conference always moves forward and focuses only on the critical things. And one more valuable tip: offer people to bring coffee, tea, or other beverages to the online meeting to feel like being in an informal setting.
Remember that remote employees sometimes may encounter decreased motivation to work. This is because it’s harder for them to feel like they’re part of the office and the whole team, which affects their concentration. An online office gives your remote workers a sense of a shared workspace without being physically present.
Here’s how it works: at the beginning of the day, the team member who shows up to the office earliest due to duty starts a conference call that any willing team member can join. Then, when other participants log on, they can enter the video conference call and feel like they are in a shared workspace.
Video chat should imitate the office, which is crucial in motivating your team. It allows employees who recently joined your company to see how hard their colleagues work and get inspiration from their examples.
It is a unique team-building event that is great for boosting team morale. When you bring your employees together for non-work-related purposes, they can relax and feel more at ease. Movie nights are an unusual way to have fun outside the virtual office. However, consider that such an event will require you to prepare in advance. Not all employees will be thrilled with the sudden idea of spending time talking to colleagues they don’t know well.
If your team lives in different cities, you may question whether you can host such an event. The solution is to stream the movie in the video conference room while keeping the instant messaging chat window open so the team can comment and exchange views while watching the film.
This experience allows remote employees to find something in common with their colleagues: shared jokes and funny memories outside work will help further the workflow. Plus, it encourages employees to take some time off and relax.
Online coffee break
This strategy successfully increases team member motivation by showing them that you appreciate their hard work. Unfortunately, remote employees rarely take advantage of office perks for lunch, coffee, or a company-sponsored team meeting. But how can a coffee session change that?
It’s simple: you send each team member a small gift card to a coffee shop in their area or their favourite cafe. Then, be sure your subordinates will be glad to leave their home office and work remotely in the new environment of a co-working space or quiet coffee shop during the day. Finally, each team member takes a picture of their work in the coffee shop and posts it in the group chat room.
Moreover, you can use this strategy for your virtual meetings as well. For example, employees schedule a time for a conference while they are each at their coffee shop of choice. It creates the feeling that the team meeting is happening in a specific location outside the general office.
General chat in a corporate messenger
Does your team use Slack, WhatsApp, or something similar for corporate communication? Be sure to create a channel solely for casual conversations and content sharing. Employees can share their favourite quotes, stories, photos of their pets, and any content. So naturally, such a solution gives large teams a chance to start a conversation and allows them to learn more about their colleagues’ personalities and lives.
Slack team building extensions: Donut & Aloha
Donut is a Slack extension that can take virtual team building to the next level. Employees form pairs in the app that helps them communicate every 1-4 weeks. These virtual meetings can last 15 to 30 minutes, and their primary goal is to introduce your staff to each other individually through non-work-related conversations.
Want to make it even more effective? For example, remote employees living in the same city can have lunch or coffee together instead of having a video call. In addition, Donut makes remote and group team building easier, strengthens relationships, and boosts morale.
Aloha is another Slack extension that welcomes new employees and encourages them to tell the team about themselves. You can use Aloha as part of the signup process for your remote workers. So you can add them to local channels, such as #dinner or #movies, where members can discuss and decide which film to watch at an evening group viewing.
Bingo is an outdoor team activity that remote employees can participate in. Here’s how you can organise it: allocate small groups from your team and send each one the same list of tasks to complete. Team members can then distribute the tasks and stay in touch while on the “hunt” using instant messaging apps.
Each task completion should be accompanied by a photo of the team member completing it. Have all teams get together and send their pictures to the company’s group chat room. Tasks can include such unconventional things as getting a stranger to do a yoga pose while wearing a blindfold, taking a picture of your reflection in something other than a mirror or window, balancing sheets of paper on your head during each task, and other funny activities.
The main pros of this game are that it promotes communication and cooperation between employees and allows them to learn how to delegate tasks appropriately and use each other’s strengths and skills.
Team member calendars usually include work events. But what would happen if work calendars contained more personal information about your team? Remote employees often miss out on opportunities to discuss personal matters with the entire team, such as family, life events, or shared hobbies outside work.
What if work calendars allowed them to add personal events or a common goal to the agenda? For example, Monday’s list of tasks and deadlines could end with something like “First day of kindergarten for Mary’s kid,” or Saturday could have an event like “Going out for a barbecue with Jim.”
Several app options, such as the Eventbot Calendar, have turned this idea of a shared calendar into a real thing. The team can use it to send personal messages of congratulations or other non-work information and, in the process, even realise that they have a lot more in common than they thought. It also lets people know when someone on the team will be unavailable, which helps manage team effectiveness, communication and collaboration.
The New Year’s holidays are finished, and perhaps you have already practised this team-building activity. However, we should mention that its online format also has a lot of benefits. And we still have some valuable tips that you can take on board. So, you can set a price limit on gifts and assign each team member a random colleague to congratulate them. You can arrange such an activity during holidays or any time to raise morale.
If you have a large team with employees scattered worldwide, encourage them to buy what is specific to their country and culture. Not only does this factor make choosing and receiving a gift unique, but it also tells them about cultural differences helping them feel cared for by each other. In addition, exchanging gifts gives your workers a sense of anticipation for something nice and allows the team to form a deeper bond and feel appreciation for each other.
Keep up with social media
One of the primary cons of remote teams is that some employees can’t attend all company events. It can make them feel left out of the team and make it difficult to understand how different departments work and contribute to the company. So how can you fix it? First, maintain the company’s social media, and then all employees can always get up-to-date information about it.
This solution is ideal for your team members, investors, and potential customers. For example, imagine the following situation: your company will create a stand at an event (trade show, conference, industry seminar) to attract more customers. So you can take a photo of the stand and publish a news post or run a live stream to show remote employees and the world what’s happening at your company.
In this way, you will create a successful collective partnership at the event, be sure to note it in your video conference speech and thank the team for their hard work. In addition, it allows your staff to see how their work contributes to the company’s progress. It also brings excitement and rewards for remote workers, which can improve team-wide efficiency and internal morale.
Thus, such a strategy applies to significant company events and global news in general. For example, you can talk with customers about something important to you, record a video of a face-to-face meeting or a newsreel about essential changes that are taking place at the corporation.
Virtual team building is a fantastic way to increase collaboration and cohesion among remote workers. Whether your team is partially or wholly remote, online activities are critical to building a solid foundation of relationships in your company.
Have you heard about the study conducted by TeamBonding? It claims that 65% of remote workers have never had an online team-building experience. What does it mean? Many companies fail at a simple task when they could benefit significantly from building off-the-job relationships. But after reading this article, you certainly won’t be among them.
About the Author
Christine Tomas is a tech expert, consultant, and aspiring writer. She writes for different news portals and thematic blogs for tech experts that helps her stay at the heart of programming, technology news.