Remote work certainly has its perks, but for many of us it also has its challenges. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the home office, discussing ways to adapt, and conquer—both as an employer and an employee. This is post 11 of the series. You can follow the rest of the series and read our additional posts here.
Team morale is often influenced by a variety of everyday interactions. From group lunches to spontaneous conversation and after-work drinks, employees who work together in an office have plenty of organic opportunities to build relationships. Your remote employees, unfortunately, miss out on them.
Now more than ever, leaders need to find opportunities to facilitate these interactions virtually. Helping remote employees feel connected as a team can keep morale high, which results in greater productivity, collaboration, and job satisfaction. It’s truly a win-win situation! So, how do you boost team morale from afar?
Here are 6 virtual team building activities for success!
Take “coffee” breaks
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know how nice it can be to take a break with your colleagues over a steaming (or iced) cup of coffee. For remote employees, you can still encourage this interaction virtually. An easy way to do this is to dedicate some time throughout the week for regular coffee breaks over Skype or another video platform. Whether they last for 15-minutes or an hour, this should be a time for your team to socialize, de-stress, and seek support or advice.
Games are one of our favorite virtual team building activities. Why? If a team has little-to-no in-person interaction, it can be tricky for everyone to get to know each other more personally. By encouraging some friendly competition, games are a great way to break the ice and let everyone’s personality shine through! For teams that don’t normally find themselves working remotely, games can also encourage team-bonding in a less formal setting. Words With Friends, House Party, and Two Truths and a Lie are some good games, but feel free to get more creative!
Utilize team chat apps
Team chat solutions, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, can help bring your virtual team building activities into one place. While you might already utilize these solutions in your everyday communications, consider creating some “fun” channels where your team can chat and share funny gifs. These channels can be dedicated to anything from pop culture to fun recipes.
Host a ‘lunch and learn’
Hosting a ‘lunch and learn’ is a great way for managers to drive employee engagement and show they are willing to invest in professional development. First, poll your team to pick a learning objective that aligns with their goals. Once you finalize the topic, start putting the logistics in place. Depending on your resources, these next steps may range from getting the appropriate subject matter experts together or finding a virtual training you can all take at the same time. Read also: How To Encourage Upskilling In The Workplace
Make communication visual
When possible, try to utilize video communication tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. By encouraging face-to-face conversations, you can make communication feel more personal, help remote employees feel more connected, and facilitate a higher level of participation and productivity during meetings.
Appoint a virtual team champion
If you don’t have the time to manage these virtual team building activities, appoint a motivated employee as your team’s virtual champion. This individual can help share the responsibility by ensuring all of these great ideas are actually put into place. They can also serve as a liaison between you and the rest of the team—ensuring every remote employee feels like they have a voice, as well as the support of their manager.
Whether you have experience or are new to managing remote employees, the good news is that technology allows you to make these virtual team building activities as simple or sophisticated as you would like! While the tips in this article can help you add more fun into your team’s work week, check out this guide for practical tips on managing a remote team.