Working on a remote team has many advantages. Employees have much more flexible schedules, they don’t have to commute, and nobody worries about a dress code. However, remote teams must be managed correctly to foster team collaboration, avoid siloed departments, and keep team members from feeling isolated and out of the loop.
Productive virtual teams weave collaboration and relationship building into their organization. One way to foster a collaborative environment is by holding team-building exercises. In this post, we’re sharing six virtual team-building activities.
What are team-building activities?
Simply put, team-building exercises are fun, motivational events designed to get results. It’s more than just chit chat or hanging out. These exercises build skills and relationships that transfer to the workplace. A team that builds trust and collaboration skills through team exercises works together more cohesively.
Team-building exercises don’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Usually, all you need is an idea and a video chat tool, like Zoom.
What are the benefits of team building?
Team-building exercises have many benefits to an organization:
- Fostering trust and rapport
- Greater cohesiveness and collaboration
- Increased productivity
- Improved communication skills
- Increased inclusion and friendliness
- A sense of value and equality
- The ability for members of remote teams to get to know each other better
Six virtual team-building activities
With these factors in mind, here are six remote team-building activities you can try in your organization to foster collaborative relationships.
6 remote team-building activities
- Virtual home tour
- The deserted island game
- Fitness challenge
- Virtual happy hour
- Photography competitions
- Coworker trivia quizzes
Virtual home tour
The deserted island game
Virtual happy hour
Coworker trivia quizzes
In this exercise, team members open their homes to each other. Think of it as a virtual show and tell. Each person takes their teammates on a short video tour of their house, home office, or favorite belongings. Ask people to share the weirdest item in their home or their favorite “coworkers” (aka, kids and pets) to make it even more fun.
This exercise is perfect for smaller teams. An exercise that lets coworkers get to know each other on a more personal level encourages trust that can lead to friendships.
What would you take with you to a desert island? This exercise is a fun way to answer that question, because the choices are limited to a select number of items for the entire team. Each team chooses a set number of items from a list that might include rain boots, trail mix, a flashlight, fishing rod, matches, etc.
Make it more realistic with a screen-share displaying the available items. When teams have chosen, they all jump on a video chat to explain their picks. This exercise requires coworkers to connect as members of the team to collaborate and strategize. It generates excitement and healthy competition.
Just because your team is remote doesn’t mean they can’t compete in friendly fitness competitions. The basis of this challenge is simple. Everyone who participates sets an exercise goal and tracks it using a fitness app like Fitbit or Stridekick. The winner receives a prize.
Fitness challenges encourage healthy habits, friendly competition, and make for a happier team.
Remote teams can’t go out together after work to a bar or restaurant for drinks, but they can still enjoy happy hour together. Tell teammates to bring the beverage of their choice to a virtual meeting that includes icebreakers and themed conversations.
Whether or not alcohol is involved, virtual happy hours let coworkers relax together and open up to each other. Casual conversations foster friendships that build better, more effective, and happier teams.
Fancy cameras aren’t required for this competition. A smartphone will do. Simply pick a theme and have team members take photos around their homes. Encourage them to be as creative as possible and submit their best shots.
Participants can send pictures via email or cloud sharing, or you can bring up each one on a screen-share during the call. Let the team anonymously cast a vote for their favorite picture. Themes can be anything from “the color purple” to “sound” to “things I can’t believe I found in my house.”
This team-building activity lets coworkers express themselves and share their creative side with their teammates.
For this exercise, simply have your teammates anonymously share facts about themselves that not everyone would know. The team then tries to match the fact to the coworker. The more bizarre or unique the fact, the better. Someone might share that they knit socks in their spare time, or that they grew up on a duck farm, or that they compete in triathlons.
These types of quizzes allow you to learn more about your team and spark new conversations in a memorable way.
Of course, these team-building exercises are just the tip of the iceberg. Ask your team to suggest activities, or let them vote on the ones you’re thinking about. It’s more fun to participate when you have a hand in selecting the activity.
Whatever exercises you decide to do, the most important thing is to just get started. The sooner you implement remote team activities, the sooner your group will come together as a team.