If you’re like many of us working remotely, you might be sipping coffee, wearing sweatpants, and just now realizing that you haven't had a meaningful conversation with your coworkers in ages. You know, that sweet camaraderie that makes work feel less like work, and more like hanging out with friends? Yeah, that's missing.
That’s also where virtual team building activities come into play!
In this article, we'll explore the importance of team building activities for remote teams and share lessons to apply to your own team. We'll cover the benefits of virtual team building, its different forms, and tips for remote team building success, so grab a snack and dive in!
Benefits of virtual team building activities
Remote work is great in so many ways - the flexibility, opportunities, and autonomy are pretty great. But those of us working remotely know it can sometimes feel isolating - like you're stranded on a deserted island. But with the right team building activities, you can make it feel more like a tropical vacation with your favorite coworkers.
It turns out that chit-chatting over virtual coffee breaks and other social time can account for more than 50% of positive changes in communication patterns. And get this - researchers found that virtual teams can actually outshine their in-person counterparts, but only if they're given enough support, communication, and, you guessed it, team building!
Now, let's talk about the importance of creating a sense of community at work. Over 80% of bosses and employees think it's a big deal, and who can blame them? We're social creatures, after all. It's no surprise that almost half of remote workers long for those spontaneous office interactions. So, how do people leaders bridge the gap?
By improving communication, trust, and morale through team building activities, you're setting your remote team up for success. This translates into better performance…and just plain happier employees. Even though your team might be a city, country, or continent away, a little virtual team building can work wonders helping them thrive.
Types of virtual team building activities
Forget those awkward icebreakers; we're talking about real remote team building here!
Fortunately for you, we live in a time when you’ve got a smorgasbord of options to choose from. But, like any good buffet, you'll need to know which dishes are worth trying before digging in and what to stay away from.
Virtual team building has its own set of unique challenges and advantages compared to in-person activities. We've all experienced the dreaded Zoom fatigue, dealt with time zone madness, and suffered through internet connection issues. But hey, at least there's no need to worry about finding a parking spot for these virtual gatherings!
Work with your team beforehand to understand what people are comfortable with, when you should schedule any activities, and ask for ideas and accommodations.
Now let's take a look at some top remote team building options:
- Trivia! It’s like Jeopardy, but no one wins any money.
- Culturebot - Trivia injected right into your Slack workspace, courtesy of the bot that does it all
- Cooking and crafting classes! Make something with your hands together.
- ClassBento - Hundreds of choices for crafting classes with kits sent directly to each person
- Confetti - Make paella with your pals or tacos with your teammates, shipping included
- Virtual escape rooms! You might find these a bit…puzzling.
- Wildgoose Rooms - Work with your team to survive a winter storm or catch an art thief
- Raid the Room - Go back in time or into outer space to solve mysteries as a group
- Games! If your team is up for a little competition, try these on for size.
- Gartic phone - like Pictionary but on a digital screen…and free
- Codenames - remember that board game you have at home? It’s online, too!
- Fishbowl - like taboo and charades mixed together with your own inside jokes
- Experiences! You might not be able to travel together in-person, but you can with internet strangers.
- Virtual Airbnb Safaris - Travel with your team to nature parks around the world, virtually
- City tours - Check out the cultural and artistic heritage of cities to spark conversations together
Virtual team building activities offer a big range of options to engage and connect remote teams. While they come with their own set of challenges, a little creativity and preparation can go a long way. So, go ahead and sample the different dishes on this digital buffet and find the perfect team-building recipe for your remote crew!
Tips for successful virtual team building
Nobody wants to be remembered as the host of the most awkward online event ever.
Fear not; just follow these simple tips:
Ask your team what they want. Like, just ask them. Give folks a few options, and empower your team. It is team building, right?
Communicate clearly. Remember, this is remote work. Err on the side of overcommunication, and let your team know you appreciate their team.
Make sure everyone's got the event on their calendars. Don’t be the one who schedules the event but forgot to send it to the team.
Test it out if you can. It's like the old saying goes, "Measure twice, cut once," but in this case, it's more like, "Test once, avoid embarrassing technical glitches."
Speaking of pitfalls, there are a couple of sneaky issues that can turn your virtual team building shindig into a flop: technical difficulties and lack of participation. To avoid a virtual disaster, make sure everyone's got a stable internet connection and is comfortable with the tools you're using.
And when it comes to participation, try to create an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere that encourages everyone to join in. Plenty of lessons here also apply to hybrid team building. Remember, the goal is to have fun and connect, so keep things light, engaging, and enjoyable for all.
To sum it up, virtual team building activities are like a digital potluck where everyone brings something special to the table. They help remote teams strengthen communication, improve performance, and build a stronger sense of community.
With a variety of options, there's something for everyone. Just remember to plan carefully, communicate clearly, and create an inclusive environment. Go on, give virtual team building a try! Your remote team will thank you for it.