5 Activities for Remote Team Building

Cartoon image of four people in a simulated virtual meeting with headphones in.

You’ve packed your remote team full of exceptional talent and everyone is loving the flexibility, productivity is flowing, communication is okay but…something’s missing.

Managing remote teams can be a difficult task, because unlike on-site job interactions, remote colleagues have fewer opportunities to do things like simply enjoy a cup of coffee together. A lack of connection to coworkers is one of the main challenges faced in managing remote teams. 44% of employees feel only somewhat connected to their coworkers while 73% require more camaraderie and team building in 2024.

Remote team building became a new norm after the pandemic, but managers have been practicing team building long before 2020, which means we can draw from years of conventional experience to create a strong team environment for our remote coworkers.

First – you might already know that remote teams face some unique challenges, like:

  • Lack of access to information
  • Lack of face-to-face supervision
  • Social isolation
  • Prioritization struggles
  • Distractions at home
  • Enhanced issues with existing silos

The temptation might be to immediately schedule daily check-ins or establish rules of engagement to manage your remote teams. Some managers might even go beyond this to a live cooking class, a happy hour, or maybe even a movie night. But before you go and schedule activities just to fill the void, ask yourself these questions: Are these the right activities for my team? Will they enhance connectivity and improve coworkers’ relationships? Will this help me understand my team better?

Five remote team building activities to boost engagement

1. Remote buddy system

Create a buddy system that pairs team members or new workers with more seasoned employees. This facilitates knowledge exchange, and enhances network building and boosts onboarding. Establishing a buddy system for recruits guarantees them a conversation partner, which is crucial during the initial weeks of remote team building. The right onboarding process can be the perfect catalyst for enhancing the work environment and employee experience.

Nearly 70% of workers say they would be happier if they had closer relationships with their coworkers. But be careful – if the procedure is strict and predetermined, employees are unlikely to embrace the idea. Employees should feel empowered to schedule their own buddy catch-up time to discuss anything and everything. Encourage them to talk about things other than strictly their jobs; it could be about their weekend activities or a new hobby. Employee engagement, productivity, and retention are all enhanced by cultivating these kinds of personal ties.

2. "Zone of Genius" workshops

During a "zone of genius" training, team members are given the space to discover and communicate the special abilities and interests that make them happy and productive. This idea, which was inspired by Gay Hendricks' book "The Big Leap", is all about enabling people to pursue careers in which they are both passionate and talented.

In order to fully utilize your inner genius, particularly when working remotely, it's critical to understand the mental states that support optimal performance. A workshop can help you and your employees enter your zone(s) of genius and give a boost to your other team building activities.

3. Virtual wellness programs

We all know that even with the flexibility of remote work, employees can be susceptible to some work/life balance traps. Help your team by using virtual wellness programs. These can include workshops on mental health, physical challenges, and even facilitating meditation sessions. When we have the companionship, encouragement, and support of others, our behavior changes have more lasting effects. Wellness programs for remote workers can also help employees see their colleagues as teammates for well-being and not just task partners.

4. Cross-departmental shadowing

Consider establishing a program for remote teams to shadow colleagues in different departments so they can spend time observing and learning, boosting comprehension, compassion, and teamwork throughout the company. The benefits of cross-department shadowing in managing remote teams include:

End-to-end learning

Teams learn more about the business as a whole when they collaborate. A great example is sales spending some time with engineering or customer service, doing a deep dive on product development. The best part? This is a two-way street and both departments benefit!

Boost morale

Respecting and listening to employees' opinions and ideas across departments can help boost overall morale. We know that positive workplace opinions shared among employees can boost job satisfaction and retention rates.

Collaboration

Cross-departmental cooperation can improve team development within an organization or corporation by letting employees work out ideas with each other. Bonus – this helps break down silos that can form between departments!

Fresh ideas

Companies that celebrate diversity and inclusion means that when people are collaborating on a project, new perspectives can thrive and bring fresh ideas to the table. In a collaborative setting, employees feel comfortable questioning the status quo in the best ways possible.

5. Virtual book club

Considering a virtual book club? Think outside the book! Facilitating discussion around a book, a movie, a tv show, or even a particularly engaging blog post can all be great team-builders. Consider your audience and cultivate activities that mesh well with your team’s schedule. Reading a whole book at once might be too much crunch, but you can break it up by chapter, or consider shorter pieces of media.

Conclusion

A successful remote work environment is built on strong relationships, which boost output, engagement, and general happiness. You put in the effort to build a great team, now you can help that team build each other up with curated, intuitive activities that work with your team. These kinds of intentional remote team building activities can help you create a motivated, engaged, and connected remote staff.
You may also like View more articles
Open jobs See all jobs
Author