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As the world learns to work around a global pandemic, companies are relying more and more on remote workers. Remote work can be lonely, decoupled, and unproductive. Many employees believe that companies are missing the opportunity to build trust and cooperative relationships and improve corporate culture. The problem with remote teams is that they often miss important interactions that allow for natural bonding.
If you’re looking for ways to work better with your team members and make them more productive, make team building your first idea. Virtual team-building practices include organizing online games and activities that allow remote employees to socialize and communicate with colleagues without having to meet in person. These activities connect your employees, helping them to think and act like a unit. A happy, cohesive team helps workers feel motivated, which, in turn, will improve their overall performance.
Ideas for Productive Virtual Team Building
You have your team members, you have your software set up, everyone’s on board for the time and date of the team building. What now? Here are some ideas for your next (or first) virtual team-building session.
1. Ice Breakers
A timeless classic, ice breaker questions will get the ball rolling. Even though some, or even all, of your team members may have been working together for a long time, there’s always room to learn more about each other. Prepare questions beforehand, though, to avoid any awkward pauses in the conversation.
2. Zoom Games for Adults
Zoom games are a quick and fun way to get your whole team engaged and interacting. Games can be seamlessly integrated into videoconferencing and take the hassle out of having to prepare and guide an activity. The team over at SnackNation has got you covered with a list of over 30 Zoom games for adults and activities to perk up your employees and offer them an entertaining and interactive experience during your next team-building session.
3. Pet Picture Channel
Anyone who’s had a cat suddenly appear in a co-worker’s Zoom video can attest to the endorphin kick received from animal hijinks. A channel dedicated to sharing photos of pets and their (mis)adventures is an excellent way to get people talking, sharing, and bonding. It’s easy to set up, and apart from the occasional heated cat vs dog debate, it’s also a cinch to maintain.
4. Virtual Pub Quiz
Though your goal is to bring people together, sometimes, you must also pit them against each other. Separate your team into smaller groups and let them battle it out in the arena of general knowledge.
This team-building activity requires some preparation on the moderator’s part, but it will be well worth it in the end. If the virtual pub quiz becomes a staple with your team, you can always switch participants around, helping your team think on their feet and find new ways of working together.
5. Virtual Coffee Chat
Few activities bring people together like sharing a warm beverage. Good news – this daily ritual can easily be transferred to your virtual meetings. Set aside a 15-minute slot before kick-off for people to casually socialize over their preferred brew.
Even though nothing can replace the face-to-face contact and the familiar, invigorating smell of office coffee, having a dedicated channel for people to simply catch up will do wonders for putting your employees at ease and guiding them into the workday routine.
6. Virtual Art Class
Bob Ross, anyone? Numerous studies have shown the positive effect of art on reducing anxiety. Everyone can sit down, relax and follow along with an art tutorial to create the same image.
The goal is not excellence. The goal is focusing your employees on a low-stakes challenge, having them chat and laugh together as they show off their creations, and finally, having a tangible measure of a completed task at the end of it all.
There are many ways you can help remote employees get to know each other and build stronger connections. These types of activities can help your team get more out of their work and feel more comfortable when they’re involved and working on your upcoming projects together.
Given that virtual face-to-face contact for many activities and exercises is essential, it’s important to have tools that allow you to share and collaborate with team members. Nonverbal communication can be lost on phones and in emails, making it difficult to bond with each other. Instead, use video chat platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts to add a more personal touch to events. Activities can be set for before or after meetings or on specific days, giving employees time to foster relationships, build trust, and feel connected even when they can’t be in the same space.