7 ideas for remote team building

How do make your team more cohesive when everyone works in a different zip code? This is your guide to team building that takes remote work into account.

 

Team-building and social events have been a staple of corporate life, but with remote and hybrid work becoming more and more normal, it might be time for a change.

Trips to the local go-cart court aren’t as easy when everyone is in different cities, countries, or even on different continents.

So, to help you get a more cohesive team when one or more of your employees are remote, we’ve put together this list (and it’s not all virtual bingo night).

  1. Virtual coworking, digital break rooms, and remote events
  2. Travel stipends
  3. Daily snapshots
  4. MTV Cribs
  5. Company Radio
  6. Treasure hunt
  7. Movie nights

 

1. Virtual coworking, digital break rooms, and remote events

Most lists on teambuilding for remote teams are made up of 10 variations of virtual bingo night, and while we’re trying not to do that here, we still found a single spot for all things virtual, but instead of focusing on events, we’ve focused on virtual work.

One of the reasons why working from the office often makes for a more cohesive team is the daily interactions we have in the office. And there’s no reason we can’t do that when we’re remote too.

Setting up an hour (or more) each week where team members log into a video chat room while they work, will give you back some of the small talks from going to the office. It may reduce productivity a little, but it’s sure to work wonders for team spirit.

Another way of going about this is to set up virtual break rooms. If you were in the office, you might take a coffee break with a colleague focused on socializing before you return to work. There’s no reason you can’t do the same when you work remotely.

And finally, let’s just mention virtual events. Boardgame nights via platforms like roll20 or simply set up a pub quiz on your videoconferencing tool of choice.

The choice is yours.

 

2. Travel stipends

Not being able to meet physically is one of the big challenges when it comes to remote work and team building. Especially because many people have an easier time getting to know someone face-to-face.

A single, virtual event may seem easier to plan, but nothing will do more for your team's cohesiveness than getting them to meet in person.

While a weeklong remote team-building event sounds amazing (and expensive), it’s not the only way to get employees from different parts of the world to meet.

Some remote companies have taken to creating stipends for employees who visit colleagues in other countries. Usually, it’s a stipend of a certain amount of money, for each day you spend in a country or town where one of your colleagues lives. This provides an incentive to visit your colleagues without breaking the bank.

 

3. Daily snapshots

Talking about day-to-day things like shopping, the food you ate, exercise or a hobby might not sound like a team-building exercise but getting to know each other on a personal level can be way more impactful than a trust fall.

When you have employees who are never in the office at the same time, there’s a good chance they’ll miss out on that type of relationship, unless you do something to actively promote it.

Setting up a dedicated slack channel or Facebook group where they can share pictures from their daily lives will help create an environment for this type of bonding even if employees are located on opposite sides of the earth.

 

4. MTV Cribs

Remember MTV Cribs? The show from the early millennium where celebrities from Mariah Carey to Robbie Williams and 50 Cent showed off their lavish homes to the delight of everyone watching?

Well, how about a weekly showing of a colleague’s house or their favorite spot in the city they live in. It doesn’t even have to be a video. It could be a series of images and a short description of where they were taken.

This will give employees a peek into the lives and whereabouts of their colleagues, and you can decide how much (or little you want to do with it). Just make sure that your employees are on-board and think it’s a fun idea.

 

5. Company Radio

Do you know which kind of music your colleagues are into?

Asking what music someone listens to has been a staple for teenagers and people going on first dates for decades, and with good reason. It’s a great way to get a feel for someone, and the subject is rarely loaded with political or social trip mines.

By setting up a company profile on your favorite streaming service, you can get your team to bond over the shared listening experience, and if you have each team member add music to the playlist, there’s the added mystery of finding out who added which song.

 

6. Treasure hunt

Doing treasure hunts is a great way of getting people to collaborate, but how do you do a treasure hunt when no one is in the same location?

Setting up a remote treasure hunt is a bit different, but it also provides you with an opportunity to learn a little bit about where your colleagues are from.

Instead of every team handing in the same set of photo-proof documentation that they found a certain location, you can have teams collaborate to find out which image from which city they want to turn in at the end. For instance, documenting the biggest fountain may turn out several different images because team members are in different cities.

 

7. Movie nights

Who knew that watching TV could be work-related?

Okay, maybe not work-related. But sharing an experience and being able to talk about it afterward is exactly what team building is all about. And with streaming services and digital platforms that’s become easier than ever.

Agree on a movie or a TV show and have the entire team watch it. You can even do it live, as someone hosts a video conference and then streams the movie. This way people can use the chat to talk about the movie while it’s running.

 

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