While the Covid-19 pandemic put a severe strain on the economy and well-being of people worldwide, it had a positive impact on the popularization of remote work.
Many institutions, as well as businesses, have adopted this method of operating.
Increased productivity, fewer expenses, and less time wasted on commuting are some of the benefits of remote work. However, communication through text messages and video calls isn’t efficient for building a positive workplace environment.
Employees might not even know each other, which can create gaps between people and teams.
On the bright side, even remotely, a vast selection of team-building activities can be utilized to bring your team together. A casual video conference can hardly compensate for gossip at the water cooler, but it can make the office feel more alive.
The Problem With Remote Team Building
In an office environment, you’re surrounded by your colleagues and your team.
Building relationships with people is, by default, done in person, making it easy to connect with your co-workers if you are with them physically.
A visit to the pub, coffee breaks, and lunches are some of the activities that are simply impossible to perform if the members of the team live in different countries.
Remote team building helps workers overcome physical distance and create stronger relationships. You can expect more trust, collaboration, and communication between your employees.
Workshops or courses require an investment by the company, while other team-building activities are free and accessible. Since different people have different wishes and expectations, you should implement those suitable for the majority of employees.
Starting with aspects of a business such as the hiring process up to teambuilding and performance monitoring, remote work differs from the traditional model. However, the majority of shortcomings can be overcome.
1. Promote Video Conferences
Video conferences are the best substitute for face-to-face meetings.
They allow employees to communicate and share their experiences in a more personal way than through text messages.
When we talk, we provide our listeners with multiple channels of information. According to some studies, we convey much more information through body language than through spoken word, which makes video calls a better alternative to text messages.
You should find a workspace tool with video call capabilities or software specialized in conferencing. These meetings should be done without technical problems, and free and reliable platforms such as Zoom and Discord are there to help you achieve this.
Video conferences also lay a foundation for other additional activities. Meetings can include structured or unstructured conversations about life, work experience, or verbal games such as “This or That” or “Today I learned,” for example.
2. Set Friendly Challenges
A friendly competition can improve everyone involved in some aspect of their life.
Some companies use contests to improve the productivity of their teams, but they are also a great way to encourage people to commit to hobbies.
Challenges can be targeted toward individuals or groups, ranging from participating in creative endeavors to achieving fitness goals. You can’t say that personal development is an insignificant cause, but these challenges can have an even greater influence.
Companies have the power to organize charity events or do community service. These activities benefit both the company and society.
While simply donating money can change someone’s life, you can make a challenge out of setting up recycling bins, cleaning the park, or taking whatever action that you believe is beneficial for the community.
Feel free to ask ChatGPT for help if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for challenges.
3. Start Sending Daily Snapshots
Every week, ask your team members to take a picture of a relevant topic and post it for their colleagues to see.
This can happen on a company’s communication platform or social media.
Daily snapshots can range from random to designated topics. Most common examples of this would be taking a picture of a lunch they’ve cooked or the book they are currently reading.
These pictures can give insights into the personalities of team members. They will allow people to have non-work conversations daily. Not everyone should be required to send daily snapshots, but it’s helpful to encourage them.
4. Organize Remote Workshops and Classes
People working together usually have common career interests.
For example, software engineers are likely passionate about technology and video games, while writers are naturally curious about languages.
Whether we are talking about professional or personal desires, as a company, you can provide your employees with voluntary programs to help them improve. Workshops and classes can be held by an experienced team member or organized in collaboration with another company or an institution.
Their goal is to encourage team members to work on their passions. Another useful way of achieving this is partnering with a website offering online courses.
5. Play Online Games Together
“Online games” is a vague term. The internet is filled with various ways of having fun, and playing video games is among the most popular ones. If you have a team of hardcore gamers, they will know what games they should play together.
But there are many casual games even people who aren’t into video games can enjoy. Your team doesn’t have to bond over a game of League of Legends (they can try, but it will most likely end in a conflict).
However, an online version of Hangman is a great way to have fun with your team. Chess is also a good idea if you want to bring a competitive spirit to the team-building calls.
6. Organize Virtual Workouts
When you start training its important to have someone to hold you accountable.
A gym buddy is always a great way of making exercise fun. Now, imagine how helpful it can be to have a whole team there to support you.
Instead of a video game session or a video conference, you can implement live workouts. If a time zone difference exists, you can ask employees to send proof of working out.
Friendly workout challenges can motivate people to make progress in their fitness journey. For example, you can set a goal for the whole team to make 10,000 steps daily, do a number of pushups, or go on a run.
Sharing results and encouraging each other will undoubtedly build a more positive atmosphere for the team.
7. Encourage Recognition
Employees should motivate each other and be supportive.
I’ve touched on some of the examples in which teams can encourage each other, such as through friendly challenges and accountability. But recognition should go beyond this.
When someone makes a professional or personal achievement and shares it on the company’s platforms, support from the team should happen naturally.
For example, one of the fantastic SEO specialists I work with gave birth, and more than 30 members of the team rushed to congratulate her. This is the workplace culture every company should strive toward.
The positivity and encouragement bring teams together and motivate them to perform better at work.
Team Building Is Beneficial for the Remote Work Environment
Just like with regular office work, remote work can have some negative consequences on the well-being of employees. While they don’t have to deal with stress caused by parking anxiety or having to wake up on time, other sources of pressure still exist.
Team building can help employees minimize the negative impact of overworking and work-related stress. Remote work also means that individuals are going to spend less time socializing, which mentioned activities should compensate for.
Implementing some of these methods can benefit your company, from lowering employee turnover to improving their well-being.