Team building brings your employees together into a cohesive group. A cohesive team performs their work duties in better sync and they are better able to compensate for team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Communication is better on a team that gets along. Even outside of work activities, good communication can help your employees work through personality or cultural differences that may get in the way of daily work tasks. With the work environment now fundamentally changed, having team building activities for your remote team should be a part of your strategy.
Many workplaces over the last year have had to move to remote workspaces, where employees no longer share the same physical workspace. Remote workplaces have offered huge opportunities for innovative work practices and offer many benefits and challenges to any business. Even though your workplace may be spread across the nation or even the world, it doesn’t mean that your employees aren’t facing the same struggles that they face in person.
Though you realize that team building is as important in the virtual workplace as it is in person, remote team building activities can be a struggle to plan. People seem less engaged on virtual conference calls. Not to mention, getting people to truly bond when they are thousands of miles away from each other can be a challenging task.
Stop feeling frustrated. Read this article to find some helpful tips that will make your remote team building activities more engaging.
Why Are Remote Team Building Activities Important?
You may not know why remote team building activities are vital to a well-functioning workplace. These activities can help improve team communication, and team communication is the bread and butter of efficient workflows. Online, clear communication is even more essential than it is in person. People may be long distances from one another or may have never met at all.
In the remote workplace, many employees feel unheard and isolated from others. Remote team building activities will help you bring your workers together, improve employee engagement, increase efficiency, and improve employee satisfaction.
It is crucial, however, that you pick the correct activities for your workplace.
Tips for Better Engagement
Let us explore how you can help make your meeting more engaging with several tips that will help increase activity success rates.
Team building can be impossible, even in the in-person workplace. At first, online meetings can be very awkward. People aren’t sure when they can talk, internet connections may be unstable, and if you don’t have a clear plan for how your event will go it could end in disaster. This could even worsen communication between staff members along with staff and management. Here are some tips that can help you avoid a disastrous event.
Build a Reward System
While your business may understand why team building is important, it may be difficult for your remote employees to engage with one another. One way to incentivize team building is to set up a reward system that individually gives benefits to employees for working together. Examples may be a weekly extended lunch break for completing certain tasks, performance bonuses, gift cards, or even something less tangible like titles or workplace bragging rights.
Be creative with your rewards. Make a system that fits your business and actually motivates your employees. Motivated workers will be more productive, and this will help increase employee positivity.
Have a Lunch-in
You may encourage your team to get on Zoom and eat lunch together. This is an activity that most businesses would naturally do in-person and offers an organic time for team members to bond without having to take up valuable work-time or scheduling an after-hours activity. This is also a daily ritual that can be incorporated into almost any business easily.
Lunch activities can also help prime employees for later remote team building activities you might plan in the future.
Morning meetings have always been a struggle to get up and get ready for. On Zoom, they can be even more disengaging. At the start of a meeting, or at some other preplanned time, have your team get together and do some light stretching. Stretching helps the blood flow and keeps the mind open. Plus, stretching is critical for anyone’s health. Especially with online work, your employees are likely spending much of their day sitting. Stretching can bring everyone together for a common goal of improving health.
In fact, this is the best thing you can do. After all, the core reason for team building is to build a sense of community in your business. A morning stretch can be a little way that you start building tangible bonds between employees before you even officially employ any remote team building activities.
Build a Plan
It can be easy to think that making a team building activity feels “natural” by not making a strict timetable or plan for your event. This is often the cause of awkwardness, however. Your team members may feel too uncomfortable to break the ice themselves. It is best to ensure that there’s only one leader or host at any meeting. Try to pick a naturally charismatic individual to lead. This leader should encourage others to speak up. They should make sure to include individuals that seem quiet to share their stories as well.
Also, make sure to test any activities you come up with before hosting an event. With a group of friends or fellow managers, do a test run of your activity to make sure that you won’t run into technical issues. And, even if you do run into issues you’ll be prepared for them.
Being prepared to answer questions and help your employees connect to games and other programs can help your management staff build trust with employees. Showing that your management is well prepared even in events as seemingly silly as team-building activities can enforce employees’ confidence in your leadership.
Online there may be a lot of scheduling issues between long-distance employees. In truth, it is impossible to schedule an event that everyone can attend. This problem can be solved by making remote team building activities a frequent occurrence. Have monthly or weekly meetings at your workplace to keep new bonds strong. By scheduling many ongoing events, you can reach each of your employees at times that suit them and when they are ready to attend. Having many events can also encourage people to continue building the communications bonds you set up at scheduled events, outside of them.
How to Pick the Right Activities
You want your employees to share experiences—that’s what team building activities do after all! But you want to make sure that you pick the best events for your business. Plus, you don’t want to waste resources putting together activities that won’t work.
Part of making sure that your team building exercise is effective is by fostering the right atmosphere around your events. Community should be a part of your company culture, and remote team building activities should be a place where you can enforce and improve this culture.
Here are some fundamental ideas you should keep in mind to ensure your ideas will help your company culture.
Mind Your Values
Each company has a set of core virtues and values that management and employees should strive to comply with at all times. These values should be incorporated into any activities you bring up in team building exercises.
Encourage Trust, Be Truthful
Teams that work well together are bonded by truth and trust. You want to build trust in the workplace, and this occurs by making a platform where employees can share their honest voices and be heard by other employees. This way, they can realize that they share similarities.
Be Open to Suggestions
You’re making these remote team building activities for your employees, so you should be open to hearing their feedback. Getting honest feedback from your employees can help you improve engagement at the next event and is a vital part of building that community of open and honest communication.
A problem that many companies face when trying to employ team building activities is that employees don’t feel safe sharing their honest voices. They may feel like management doesn’t want to hear about what they have to say. The work environment should be a place where employees feel empowered to offer ideas. They should also be able to openly disagree with each other. Remote team building activities can be a great place to start building this trust if your company has been experiencing communication issues.
Enjoy the Benefits
If you keep all these tips in mind, you’ll find that your remote team building activities will become more effective at building the kind of company culture that you want.
Using remote team building activities is an effective way to use your current resources more effectively. Good team building will also help your virtual business run better. You’ll experience better communication, collaboration, and creative benefits that come with a team that has built trust. A team that trusts and understands each member will be more productive, innovative, and help your business become even more effective.