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The Best Team Building Activities for Remote Teams

The Best Team Building Activities for Remote Teams - Infographic

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Research shows that 71% of employees currently work from home (Pewresearch.org). Of these, many work in teams composed of people from across the globe. Despite the numbers, one cannot deny that the lack of personal interaction can and does take a toll on what you might call “team spirit.”

The term remote work itself implies remoteness or physical distancing from other team members. The physical distance creates emotional distancing that leads to isolation, making employees uncomfortable about working alongside team members. In this age of increasing remote work, virtual team-building activities are the need of the hour, helping foster a sense of camaraderie and community. The collaborative environment that virtual team building facilitates leads to deeper bonds between team members.

Let’s dive deep into the benefits of hosting virtual team meetings in the hopes of creating the right collaborative team culture and how you can make it work for you.

Strengthening Team Bonds Virtually

It’s no secret that project success relies on teamwork (Unice.fr) between employees. However, with most team members operating hundreds of miles away from one another, it’s not hard to see why individual members don’t form bonds as easily as they would in a traditional office setting.

Recent research by (Nbloom.people.stanford.edu) shows that productivity in remote workers increased by up to 13% within nine months. The numbers are impressive, and remote working no doubt has positive economic, physical, and emotional benefits for employees. That said, it does impact team dynamics.

Most remote work teams are formed over the internet and therefore have very little scope of interaction outside of work settings. Since there are no opportunities to grab a cup of coffee or a few drinks after work, rarely do you see friendships blossom.

This is where virtual or digital team-building activities come in handy. According to a study by (Mindtools.com), virtual team-building activities help improve trust and boost productivity amongst members. While the lack of physical connection may impact the speed at which your team interacts and gels together, it’s not at all impossible to ensure they bond.

Making Virtual Team Meetings Work

There are many ways to set up a virtual meet for your remote teams with team building in mind. While spending an entire day dedicated to working on something fun together may seem like the best option, you can also incorporate team bonding exercises into your everyday routine.

For example, the 8% rule (Teambuilding.com) states that at least 8 percent of any meeting should be dedicated to fun games and activities. That’s about 5 minutes for every hour a meeting runs. And when all team members are encouraged to participate, it can help cultivate a collaborative culture.

This way, they’re able to engage and interact with fellow team members without the pressure of work.

One of the easiest ways to encourage daily connections is by sharing memes on the team channel. You can also share daily jokes, fun facts, and set up challenges for every team member.

You can also consider setting aside certain days for team-building exercises. And if you think it’s not easy to organize online team building activities, we’d like to reassure you that it’s not all that different from organizing a physical one.

Choosing The Right Virtual Team Building Activities

There are many virtual activities you can use to build the right team culture. However, not all of them may work for your team. Before setting up your virtual event, it’s important to keep the following points in mind:

    ●  Choose activities that are appropriate for each member
    ●  Select challenges and exercises that are convenient and easy to understand
    ●  Focus on getting your team members to work together
    ●  Stick to a handful - there’s always next time

It also helps to understand the factors that go into making any team-building activity empowering. These include:

    ●  Open and honest communication
    ●  Unconditional support while taking risks
    ●  Sharing common goals
    ●  Supporting mutual accountability
    ●  Providing an avenue for sharing opinions and suggestions

With that in mind, let’s look at some virtual team building activities that effectively encourage more interaction in a virtual workspace, giving remote team members a feeling of belonging and keeping them happy. And happy teams lead to increased productivity.

2 Truths And 1 Lie

This is a straightforward activity many are familiar with, making it the perfect icebreaker. It requires each member to say two real facts about them as well as one believable lie.

Members will take turns sharing their statements while others vote on what they think is a fib. It’s a fun way to get to know fellow team members better.

The Sole Castaway

This is a popular activity to encourage critical thinking. Each participant is encouraged to visualize themselves stuck on a deserted island with only three things. The catch is that they may only use three of a given set of objects.

The more random the objects, the more each team member is encouraged to think critically. To make things even more fun, you can split members into teams and set up private virtual rooms so they can collaborate amongst themselves.

Virtual Scavenger Hunts

This fun and quick game will keep everyone on their toes, waiting for your next instructions. And best of all? There’s no preparation needed - you can play it impromptu.

To get the ball rolling, all the host needs to do is call out random objects or commands, and everyone has a few seconds to show up with the object or accomplish the task on camera.

For example, you could say:

    ●  A blue book
    ●  Lick a spoon
    ●  Do 10 jumping jacks
    ●  And so on

Ice Cream Vs. Cake

The perfect way to engage introverts on your team, this game starts with an age-old debate - ice cream or cake? The entire team will then need to discuss amongst themselves an answer that the majority will agree to.

Once the team has decided, any member can nominate another person to propose another debate. For example, the next person could say “gin or vodka.”

Final Thoughts

Over the course of the pandemic and the global switch to remote work, many companies have begun to put together entire teams virtually. While it may be challenging, there’s no denying the fact that virtual team meetings play an important role in how effective and tight-knit the team culture becomes.

Over the course of the pandemic and the global switch to remote work, many companies have begun to put together entire teams virtually. While it may be challenging, there’s no denying the fact that virtual team meetings play an important role in how effective and tight-knit the team culture becomes.

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