It’s been a while now since we all went the remote working way, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While for some organizations this has been a smooth transition, many companies are working really hard to stay connected with their remote teams, scattered across the globe.
Working remotely, if managed efficiently, does have great benefits –
- Employees who work in remote teams enjoy greater flexibility and autonomy, leading to greater motivation & productivity.
- Greater flexibility and autonomy also means greater employee engagement.
- Employees working remotely are able to strike a better balance between work and personal life.
- As per a study, employees working from home report higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress.
As much as all organizations would like their business to go on normally and their employees to continue working the way they used to at offices, it’s not always going to be possible. Managing teams as they work remotely from different locations is a major challenge for all companies.
In this article, we’ll be looking at why team building becomes so important when employees work remotely and what are some of the best virtual team building activities for your remote teams.
Why are Virtual Team Building Activities important?
Virtual team building activities help in bringing teams closer and forming a stronger connection between them. These could include hosting virtual ice-breakers or online games etc. Why is it important? Let’s find out
It ups employee morale
Elevated employee morale is a must, especially in these unprecedented times. Any kind of team interaction & socializing helps boost communication, build trust, and support personal wellbeing. Virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belongingness. This becomes specifically important for people who are living on their own.
It’s easy to run
You can launch a game online, from almost anywhere and at given any time. All you and your employees need is an internet connection. They can use their smartphones, laptops, iPods, etc, and come aboard. Virtual team-building exercises are pretty easy to organize, provided you are using the right kind of remote communication tools.
It fosters better collaboration
The aim of all team building activities is to strengthen relationships, alliance, teamwork, and collaboration among employees. When employees enjoy a strong connection with fellow workers, they are able to communicate better, brainstorm better, solve problems, and manage conflicts collectively and effectively. Remote team building activities give employees an opportunity to come together and work as one team.
It strengthens communication
During these tough times, individuals who are stuck at home may feel isolated. Thus, it is now that strong communication becomes even more important. Talking to colleagues, connecting through remote team building platforms allows individuals to catch up with colleagues and spend time together.
There is no doubt that we are currently going through unprecedented times. We are also very uncertain about what the future holds for us. What we do know is the need of the hour is to to build a successful team and bounce back stronger than ever when we return to normal.
It boosts positivity
Virtual team building helps reinforce employee morale, employee personality assessment, employee engagement, employer-employee trust, and much more, all this leads to greater positivity and healthy work culture. In times like these, it is crucial for your employees to be well – mentally and psychologically. Team building activities act as a catalyst here.
10 Best Virtual Team Building Activities
When employees are at their workplace, running team building activities and town-halls are way easier. What do you do when your team is working remotely from different locations? You resort to remote team building.
Here are some of the best virtual team building activities that will help you build a stronger bond with your teams and keep their morale, especially in these testing times.
#1 All-time Favorite Ice- breakers
Ice breakers are great to ease the awkwardness and ensure a well-connected audience. Icebreaker questions are simple prompts that allow you to get to know your peers better. Icebreaker sessions can be of many sorts – you can start a meeting by asking your team to introduce themselves, talk about their role, etc. Alternatively, you can have virtual tea/coffee ice-breaker sessions, whatever might work best for your people.
Icebreakers are an easy and powerful way to build connections within and between remote teams.
#2 Two truths and a lie
As the name suggests, each team member presents three statements about themselves: two truths and one lie. Employees then take turns to identify what’s the truth and what’s the lie. This activity is among the simplest ways to get the conversation flowing.
It’s great fun to watch employees making guesses and it’s also a useful way to develop successful team collaboration and affinity at the same time. You can have rewards for the employees who guess right.
#3 Share a pic and let’s click
Sharing pictures is one of the most popular ways of connecting at a personal level these days. Each team member can share one photo; this photo can be of their pets, routine, hobbies, gadgets, family/friends, vacations, etc – whatever they are comfortable with.
Ask them to also share the reason they picked the picture, etc. just to give an opportunity for them to interact. Allowing team members to share part of their personal lives helps build on teamwork and brings in a new element of camaraderie to the workplace.
#4 Virtual Storytelling
Form a virtual circle with your team (decide who goes first, and so on) on a video call and ask the person chosen to go first to begin a story with an opening sentence. The next individual completes the previous line and adds another sentence of his choice to the story. This way, each employee contributes until everyone has had a turn. The aim here is to come up with a complete story by the end of the game.
This gives your team a chance to bring out their creative side and also improve on listening to one another and moving ahead together, as a team.
#5 Online Simulations
Team building and management are all about bringing your employee together for a common goal. Divide your employees into teams and share a business scenario or instance with them (could by hypothetical too). Ask them to then collectively think and come up with the best ways to handle the possible roadblocks that may arise. Online simulations prove very useful when you want your remote team to brainstorm effectively & arrive at a solution.
It fosters strategic thinking, teamwork, and decision-making. It can also prepare your team for a contingency that may arise. Who knows about the kind of challenges our businesses may face in the future?
#6 Guess the emoji!
Thanks to WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc. we all have our favorite emojis/GIFs. Earlier, they were only confined to our personal conversations, but now, many employees use emojis in their conversations with team-mates and co-workers to express their opinions. It could be a thumbs-up, a clap, or a simple smiley. Thus, it comes in the game of guessing the emojis!
Create & send a list of the players to all participants, give each participant 5 minutes to guess the five most-used emojis by each person on the list. The person who recognizes the most correct ones is declared the winner. It’s quick, easy, and really entertaining!
#7 Craft Challenge
We all are pretty familiar with the craft-classes we had back at schools; well, time to bring those classes to work. Connect with your employees through a video call and ask them to build something creative from materials available at home.
You can set the watch to 20 minutes for this. This team-building activity will help boost creativity, give your team an opportunity to interact and have fun together, and improve your virtual employee engagement.
#8 Share your bucket list
A bucket list includes a list of experiences or achievements that we hope to accomplish during our lifetime. Sharing bucket lists offers a platform for employees to connect at a personal level & relate to one another.
It also helps ward off the feeling of loneliness some employees might be going through, especially the ones away from family, in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
#9 Virtual Dine-in/Remote Team Dinner
Hosting team luncheons, dinners, etc. are a great way to socialize with your people and are great stress-busters too. Can you do it with your remote teams? Sure you can!
Just have your team members come together for a meal and connect on a video call while you eat and chat. You can add a quick ice-breaker activity to it too or just have a chat. Having casual (non-work related) conversations with teams is a good way to relax and bond with them.
#10 Bring out the inner chef
Whether it’s baking cakes, focaccia bread, or making Dalgona coffee, we have all become chefs today! Encourage your team to display their cooking talent. Ask them to cook anything they like and share pictures, videos, stories, whatever they like.
Employees can also exchange their recipes. This team activity is great fun, and, at the same is also a strong communication booster. After all, love for food is a great connector!
We all are aware of what is team building, employee engagement, why are these important, etc. It’s time to focus on making these factors a part of our everyday work culture. Lack of team building activities means missing out on opportunities to develop trust and cooperative relationships. It’s important to create a comfortable team culture that your virtual teams can rely on.
Team building activities are among the easiest strategies that lead to close-knit teams and heightened levels of cooperation and engagement.