An excellent team that works productively and efficiently is something that every organization craves. A team that is capable of collaborating and communicating with each other leads to some of the best results anyone could ask. Plus, being a part of a team made up of hard-working people that share camaraderie is excellent. However, ensuring that your remote team can achieve such a relationship can be challenging.
Everyone on the team will have differing views and opinions on things that could cause some clashes. Not to mention the team members who participate in activities far less than others, working on a team is not that high on everyone's list. Even so, with the right tactics in place, being productive and successful as a unit can be a lot easier to handle.
Remote working introduces its own set of challenges when it comes to attempting to have your remote team bond with each other. However, with the business world focusing more on remote work, coming up with solutions to improving team bonding is a top priority for many organizations.
It is essential to have it in place to maintain openness and trust among your remote team members. It may seem challenging with your teams working from home. Remote employees that previously bonded over drinks and dinners need to redefine their work relationships. While some of them will attempt to remain connected, others may be tempted to close themselves off until everything normalizes.
With more and more people finding it difficult to remain connected with their team or stay productive while working remotely, the need for these solutions is becoming more crucial. It all comes down to having effective team building in the place. If you are looking for some ways to improve your remote team bonding, then look no further. For this article, we are going to go over remote team bonding tactics that are proven to work.
Encourage virtual coffee breaks.
Remote working can be challenging in all sorts of ways, but it can be especially difficult for your more outgoing workers. Whereas the more reserved team member may feel comfortable working by themselves for a long time, outgoing team members may become drained.
With the lack of face-to-face interaction, the energy they had in the office settings has rapidly depleted out of them. To help these remote team members regain some of their former facetime activity, encourage your remote team to schedule virtual coffee breaks. That can be easily pulled off with the help of tools like the Slack app Donut, which allows you to automate the entire process.
Throughout the weeks, the app pairs up two remote colleagues together, usually from different departments of the organization. It then prompts one of them to schedule a time (say, 15 minutes) to have a virtual chat over coffee. Of course, it doesn’t need to be just over coffee. You could also have some tea or snacks to go along with these breaks. The two team members could even spice things up by comparing the drinks and snacks they are having.
By encouraging these types of meetups among your remote workers, you offer them the chance to connect with those in roles outside of their immediate team. You also grant them an outlet to share pain points and swap ideas when it comes to remote work. The paired-up team members may even find they face similar problems and work together to find a solution. That ensures that everyone on your team properly bonding with each other.
Start your meetings with icebreakers.
During times of great importance, your virtual team meetings may need to bring up stressful subjects to keep everyone up to date. Instead of allowing these meetings to become a constant source of stress for your remote team, you can take some steps to make the meetings more enjoyable for everyone.
To start things off on a lighter note, consider a team-building exercise to start things off. If your team conducts daily check-ins, have the manager take a few minutes to pose some icebreaker questions. "Would you rather" has proven to be not only the easiest but most effective icebreaker activity when it comes to team bonding activities. Or It can be anything from asking employees to come up with ideas for superpowers or share their weekend plans.
The purpose of these questions is to ease some tension while prompting team members to be activity participants in the meeting.
If you are planning to host an all-hands meeting, take the time to come up with ways you can keep your entire remote team engaged. If you have any new hires, ask them to introduce themselves and ask them some questions that will ensure everyone gets to know something about their new team members. It also provides them with ways to start conversations with their new colleagues.
Start a virtual lunch through video conferencing.
Lunch is another aspect of everyday work life. When in an office setting, lunchtime offers your employees the opportunity to bond, walk away from their cubicles, and discuss topics not related to their work. Some team members may choose to for a work lunch instead, but this can usually be counterproductive. Without taking some time to recharge, it can be strenuous to remain energized for most of the day.
With remote workers, it is more permissive to consider lunch an afterthought. It’s important to stress out the need for taking breaks among your team members. Encourage everyone to put down what they are doing and prepare a tasty meal for themselves.
To further ensure everyone is taking appropriate lunch breaks, try turning this into a team bonding session. As a remote team, you are most likely using video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to remain in touch. During one of these meetings, pitch your idea for a virtual team lunch. That offers a way for your team member to have an extra amount of facetime and participate in team bonding. It also promotes better working habits and helps your remote team remain in good spirits throughout the day.
Start a game night
Plenty of companies have game nights to help their team unwind while forming lasting bonds with their fellow team members. While it may seem challenging to pull off while working remotely, the truth is that you can set something up online.
Online gaming nights are an excellent way to promote team bonding between coworkers and departments. Plenty of board games that people are already familiar with (such as Hearts or UNO!) are easily accessible through an online version. Other games, such as the popular Jackbox franchise, can be seamlessly integrated for remote play by screen sharing in a video call.
There are all sorts of easy-to-set-up games out there for you and your team. You could try some really simple ones like charades or Pictionary. Trivia sessions are also popular among remote teams and can be easily adapted to suit your remote team. If you want to spice things up a bit, consider rewarding the person or team that wins with a gift card.
The number of options you have is practically endless. Regardless of what you decide on, it should lead to some laughs while serving as a much-needed destresser. Your team will welcome some normalcy back into their social lives and keep those team bonds cemented.
Make themed Slack channels.
Slack channels are an excellent way to ensure your remote teams remain organized and on task. However, they can also be used as a way to develop trust and bring remote employees closer together. Since teammates are no longer working closely with each other, they won’t be able to pass by each other through the halls or leave work together. Those water cooler moments have become more difficult now that everyone is working from home.
Fortunately, you can use Slack to make up for these missed events. If your remote employees have any shared interest, offer to create a channel that will allow them to speak about those particular interests in a Slack channel. These channels can range from sharing music playlists to sharing photos, cooking recipes, or anything else.
Each of these channels becomes a community that provides new ways for your remote team to remain engaged with each other and the company as a whole. These channels do not have to be limited only to hobbies. You can make some that focus on vital lifestyle choices, such as exercising or parenting tips. These channels can serve as an invaluable resource for many remote employees, especially those who are still adapting to the changes.
Team-building virtual retreats
Retreats are usually used to give your employees some time away from work and give them a chance to head to an event where they not only have some fun but learn something new. Of course, with everyone working remotely and the current pandemic affecting the world, physical retreats can be challenging.
Consider setting a virtual retreat instead. Setting one up will only require you to choose a date and pick the right technology you need to ensure everyone can participate in the event. These events offer a chance for the leaders to address any issues concerning the company or speak to their employees about what they can do to improve their remote working experience.
Either way, this offers not only a chance for everyone to get together but a way for you to set up some team bonding activities that allow everyone to participate and have fun. Furthermore, posting some photos and videos about the event can be a great idea for an Instagram post or some form of social media content to enhance engagement and build your business image online.
Remote teams need to bond appropriately to have a smoothly functioning company. If your remote team cannot connect, there will be severe consequences. The feeling of isolation that can crop up in your employees could lead to a decline in productivity and efficiency. That will eventually lead to your company work slowing down to crawl until the matter is addressed.