Even before the pandemic necessitated moving to remote work for thousands of people, it’s been trending upward, growing 173 percent since 2005. Another 2018 study showed that about 70 percent of the entire global workforce telecommutes at least one day a week already.
Research has found that employees who worked from home reported “higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress.” Employees that work from home can often struggle to feel connected with coworkers and the organization. By investing in remote team building activities, you can build happy, engaged, and productive remote teams.
Virtual team building activities can range from silly and straightforward to those that include teaching work competencies under the guise of fun. They can all create solidarity among remote teams.
Mystery & Intrigue
With simple animation and eerie music, virtual games such as Among Us and the virtual version of Codenames provide fun ways to foster team spirit and cooperation. Both games rely on problem-solving skills and a bit of imagination.
Virtual Team Coffee Breaks
A 15-minute “coffee break” each day or once a week, depending on your preference, is a simple way to provide a relaxing environment with team members. The team can gather on a video chat platform for conversations that can be work-related or purely for fun and entertainment, just as if people were sharing a coffee break at the office. Take it up a notch by sending team members a company coffee mug.
Virtual Escape Rooms
This activity lets teams play together while providing a great problem-solving activity. You can split into smaller teams and turn it into a friendly competition. Virtual escape rooms can be done in one sitting or a prescribed amount of time, such as a week.
If you’re looking for a virtual team-building activity that combines brain power and laughter, this may be the game for you. It can be adjusted to take 15 minutes or an hour and requires no special materials.
Instructions: 1) Each person gets a different list of 10 words (e.g., laughing, movie, dog, etc.)
2) Each participant gets one minute to describe as many of their words as possible to everyone else, without saying the actual world. Phrases such as “sounds like” or “starts with” cannot be used.
3) After each participant has a turn, the person who can describe their words to the highest number of players wins.
Read My Lips
This is an easy and quick game to play with your team that mixes stress relief with a bit of critical thinking.
Instructions: 1) One team member mutes their microphone so they can only be seen, not heard. Be sure the other players are not muted so he/she can still hear the others in the meeting.
2) The designated player “says” a phrase. To make it a bit easier, you can select a topic or a theme.
3) Everyone has one to two minutes to guess what the designated player said. Once the phrase is guessed or a player’s time is up, another team member is designated.
Dog, Rice, and Chicken
Creative thinking and problem-solving foster collaboration and is a hallmark of a great team. This game practices lateral thinking and teamwork skills and offers an opportunity to discover how well your team can work together when challenged.
1) One person plays the role of the farmer, and the other team members are the villagers.
2) The farmer has a dilemma: he has a dog, some rice, and a chicken he needs to get across a river to get home, but can only carry one item at a time. He cannot leave the dog alone with the chicken because the dog will most likely eat the chicken, and he cannot leave the chicken alone with the rice because the chicken will eat the rice.
3) The villagers must help the farmer come up with a solution.
4) If your team is large, you can create multiple villager teams; then the winner is the team that comes up with the fastest and the least number of boat trips across the river.
Lunch and Learn Sessions
Lunch and learn sessions are fantastic events that allow your team to learn new skills while having a break from the workday. It can be done as a quick presentation or with a guest speaker who shares career-building skills or helps with personal goals. It is also a great way to provide lunch to your remote team via delivery service. You can make this a quarterly event and change the topic each time.
During an otherwise busy day, ten quiet minutes can be an effective way to bring people together and build strong remote teams. You can achieve these results with a guided meditation session.
Find a guided meditation exercise online or contact an expert to guide the group. Consider sending employees a care package with scented oils and candles beforehand.
Research has shown that remote team activities have myriad benefits—boosting team morale, increasing productivity, encouraging creativity—all good for business!
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Source: EO Global Octane Blog