By Chatty Garrate. Follow her on Twitter.
Building online distributed teams with members scattered across the world is challenging. But this is where it's vital to have the proper practices in place.
This post highlights some of the best remote team-building practices to help build a unique company culture. The correct procedures will allow companies to develop their employees and make them a better team, even when they don't work in the same office.
Topics to check
- What is Remote Team Building?
- Why is Remote Team Building Important?
- The Best Remote Team Activities and Games
1. What is Remote Team Building?
Team building is a process of improving team effectiveness. Your business's success depends on your employees' ability to work together and achieve results as a team. Team building is an essential part of this process, as it helps teams work more effectively together by developing trust, communication skills, and increased motivation within each member.
Online group activities help employees see the value of working together as a team, much like the way business cards for employees help them feel valued and essential within the company.
There are many ways you can use remote team-building exercises to help your company efficiently accomplish its goals:
- Build trust with each other
- Improve communication between members
- Increase job satisfaction among employees
2. Why is Remote Team Building Important?
Team building is crucial because it helps people get to know each other. It helps them work more efficiently and effectively as a team, which means they can do their jobs better.
Team building exercises allow you to connect with others and build relationships with your colleagues so that when you work together on something, you can communicate easily without any issues or confusion.
3. The Best Remote Team Building Activities and Games
Through interactive virtual team-building activities, employees can develop their teamwork skills and abilities to synergize with one another, which can be further enhanced through the help of an excellent scrum master.
The following are some of the most effective remote team-building practices for fostering employee morale, productivity, and creativity.
a. Icebreaker Questions
Icebreaker questions are a great way to get your team talking to one another and breaking down barriers. The best way to use icebreakers and introduction questions is by allowing each team member to answer them in turn. The answers could be read aloud or shared on a screen, depending on your preference. Here are some icebreaker questions you can try using:
- What was the last book you read?
- What is your favorite movie?
- If money were not an issue, where would you live and why?
b. Group Charts
Group chats are another easy way for employees on different teams to communicate with each other without having to schedule individual meetings or phone calls all the time. Just create a group chat where everyone can talk about work matters during or after work hours.
You could also try to run a playful session to reflect on the past work cycle, with Retrospective techniques such as Three Little Pigs or Mad, Sad & Glad.
c. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
What is a virtual scavenger hunt? A scavenger hunt is a team-building exercise where each group member has to find specific items from their environment and return them. The list of things can be pre-created by the facilitator, or participants can be asked to brainstorm ideas for what they would include in their own version of a virtual scavenger hunt.
Virtual scavenger hunts are great ways to encourage team collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills in remote teams. You can divide into sections and have each person work together as a group or pair up with someone you don't know very well (which will help build relationships). You could even make it into a competition between departments if you want.
d. Online Pictionary
Online Pictionary is a fun and engaging remote team-building activity that can be played with a group of people using only their phones, tablets, or computers. The game requires some whiteboard or projection equipment to play but allows participants to draw their way to victory from anywhere in the world.
In Online Pictionary, you are given one minute to sketch out an image for your teammates based on a prompt from the moderator/host. Then it's time for everyone in your group to guess what you've drawn! You can use any drawing tool that makes sense for your situation—a pen on paper works fine too!
e. Remote Book Clubs
Another way to encourage employee interaction remotely is through an online book club. Choose a book that everyone in the company can read at their own pace and discuss during breaks or after hours over social platforms. This encourages employees to talk about something they have in common while fostering camaraderie and strengthening the company culture.
f. Online Trivia
Online trivia is a great way to get remote teams working together. Trivia games are social and fun, but they also have profound benefits for team building. Here's how you can use them as part of your next remote team-building exercise:
Choose a suitable game. There are many online trivia games on sites like QuizUp or Sporcle; many of these allow you to create your own teams, so you can play with people who already know each other well. If you want something different, plenty of trivia-style apps allow users to join up with strangers in real-time.
Decide on an approach before starting the game. It might be helpful to decide beforehand how much information everyone needs to find answers together. So someone from sales doesn't have access only to their own industry knowledge while someone from marketing won't know anything about sports.
We recommend using Google Docs so everyone has access without having too much discussion outside of the game itself (which can break up its momentum).
g. Tour Guides
There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective is creating virtual tour guides. Each team member can create a virtual tour guide that shows off their office/home/city using live streaming services such as Facebook Live or Periscope. If they choose not to use these platforms, you may ask them to post pictures on social media and tag each other's accounts so everyone can see what everyone else is doing in real-time.
These tours are also great for employee bonding since it gives employees insight into each other's lives outside work. Employees will feel more connected with one another when they know who lives near them and how often they visit local attractions or hang out with friends from other departments at lunchtime during the weekdays or weekends.
h. Online Lunch Dates
Online lunch dates are one of the best ways to bring your team together in a fun way. These virtual sessions allow you to connect with your coworkers in a casual environment, which is excellent for building trust, fostering relationships, getting to know each other better in a low-pressure environment, and ensuring everyone knows what's going on with the team.
i. Virtual Escape Rooms
To start, let's take a look at what virtual escape rooms are. Virtual escape rooms are an exciting new way for teams to work together as they work through a locked room scenario to get out of it. They can be played in real-time or recorded and watched later, which is great if you're working with people who don't live near each other.
You'll be given clues that will help you solve puzzles, find hidden objects and ultimately find your way out of the room before time runs out.
One thing that makes virtual escape rooms so great for team building is that they require active participation from everyone on your team. It doesn't matter if your team members aren't physically in the same place--they will still have to communicate effectively and quickly so as not to lose track of time.
This type of activity also forces people outside their comfort zones because they'll need to trust others on their team who may not know them very well yet; but by working together towards one common goal (escape), these teams will come closer together than ever before.
j. Sharing Bucket Lists
Another tremendous virtual team-building activity for employees is bucket list sharing. Each person should write down a few things they want to accomplish in their lives, then share them with the group. This will allow employees to share their hopes and dreams, creating a sense of unity within the group.
k. Virtual Charades
Virtual charades practice team building through play that can be played by teams in different locations. The game is simple: you must guess words based on short, silent videos sent to your mobile device.
Consider that everyone will need access to the same platform and/or a smartphone or tablet with Wi-Fi capabilities to play with other employees. Virtual charades are an excellent way for remote team members who don't see each other often to connect and bond over their shared love of movies, music, books, and more!
Virtual Charades also promotes healthy communication between colleagues who work remotely because it forces them out of their comfort zones when it comes time for them to read clues aloud (instead of just texting). It also helps build trust between coworkers because they won´t be judged due to how they communicate verbally versus other channels, such as email or text messages.
Team building is crucial to companies of all sizes and essential to a healthy, productive team. Regardless of where your employees are, online group activities are critical for helping to foster bonds and develop workers into professionals.
The remote team-building practices above are great ways to get your team working together without even being in the same physical space. If you are interested in building a strong-cultured and efficient company through the proper practices and tools, SoftwareDevTools has many resources.
More about Remote and Distributed Teams:
Are you adopting or looking to improve your Agile practices? Is your team remote? If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you should check out our products for distributed teams. We focus on making communication more effective and easier for remote teams.
Check out our tools:
- Retros for Jira or Confluence
- Retros for monday.com
- TeamPulse for Jira
- Scrum Poker for Jira & Confluence
- Freshdesk + Trello
- Freshservice + Trello
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