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Planning Successful Remote Team Building Strategies

Even in a remote work environment, team building remains an important aspect of your company culture and climate. The reasons for promoting team building activities are just as crucial if not more important when you don’t see your team in person every day. By removing the ability to see each other face-to-face on a regular basis, you add new challenges to how you will keep employees engaged, maintain trust, and nurture a happy working environment and relationships. 

Some tactics may be easier to accomplish than others, but many remote work team building activities can be reframed from in-person to remote. Consider some of the ideas below along with your company culture and what people really enjoy when planning your next team building events.

In-person gone virtual

See if places that would normally host groups in-person have a remote option. Many companies have shifted their services to accommodate fewer in-person meetings and more virtual, so there could be an activity that your team usually loves to do that may offer a virtual option. An example might be a painting class – picking up or distributing the materials needed and then hosting a virtual painting night. There could be a business near you that offers virtual culinary classes, wine and cheese pairings, or anything else that you could pick up and be led virtually rather than in person. 

Activities as “ice-breakers” to bridge the awkward silence 

Live, remote work team building events can be awkward if not facilitated properly. One way to get over this hump if you still wanted to incorporate a zoom happy hour or coffee talk would be to implement a game, activity such as chair yoga, or a topic such as a book club or cooking club.

If employees regularly got together for card games or trivia, maybe they can set aside a weekly lunch break to host an online card or themed trivia game. Other games you could host regularly or include in a game event could be bingo, never have I ever, or a murder mystery.

Integrate team building into your current operations 

By engaging in conversation that’s not completely related to business, you open doors for casual remote work team building. Consider including personal or professional updates or conversations within your meeting agendas, such as within the first 5 minutes. You could include time to share a client or employee success story that lends to the mission and values of your organization before each meeting.

Another strategy is vision board making during annual or periodic planning times, providing space for employees to creatively develop new ideas and goals for the next calendar or fiscal year. Facilitating a light-hearted activity to encourage conversation in a meaningful way could increase the level of involvement and creativity. 

Let the virtual platforms work for you 

Adopting a social engagement platform, whether it’s software or a simple instant messenger, could encourage continued support for one another’s efforts. Group chats where the communication is positive and light, platforms to give “kudos,” or other positive social interaction strategies can build the forward momentum in team building engagement. A group chat could also support interest groups, such as accountability or conversation around book clubs, cooking clubs, or wellness groups. 

Additionally, using virtual tools could mean a weekly internal newsletter, including a more formal venue to give employee shoutouts, messages from leadership, exciting news, updates, upcoming events, and more. You could consider investing in a video system for in-person events, organizational updates, or for in-person announcement replacements.

Don’t erase the in-person completely

Although you can have success using remote work team building strategies, there is nothing quite like engaging in person. To accomplish this, consider whether your resources and employee demographics would justify frequent in-person events if your team is still local and hybrid, or perhaps one signature annual event or conference to include travel expenses. 

Consider a platform to support your remote work team building efforts

Having a system to collaborate and manage engagement could be a useful investment for any organization with remote employees. One tool to consider is Cangrade’s Workforce Engagement tool to support the development of your team building strategies.