Pretend, for a moment, that you’re watching one of those dramatic movie trailers. You know, the ones where a narrator says something like: “In a world where social distancing is a new way of life, one team found a way to still come together.”
OK, maybe that’s a little too dramatic. But, just like an inspiring movie, sometimes it takes that extra effort to achieve something that seems impossible. Like bringing your remote team closer together while you’re physically separated.
Team building exercises are vital, as they allow people to get to know one another on a more personal level. Yet, in-person office get-togethers aren’t really an option right now. So, where does that leave us?
While you may not be in the same room together, you can still find creative ways for your team to bond. And we’re here to share a few ideas to help you make it happen. Let’s get started!
Theme Your Virtual Meetings
Remote team meetings can get stale rather quickly. And it’s easy to get distracted when you’re not all in the same room together. That same level of energy can be hard to find.
One way to add a little fun to meetings is to build them around a specific theme. Make it something light and easy so that everyone can participate.
For example, ask everyone to (voluntarily) wear their favorite hat to a meeting. Or perhaps dress up in a silly costume to celebrate Halloween. If you want to go deeper, maybe each team member shares their favorite book or song. Just make sure to keep things work-appropriate.
It doesn’t matter what you do, so much as it is about giving people a little something to look forward to. An extra excuse to do something fun can be energizing. It could be just what the doctor ordered to get everyone smiling.
Create Friendly Group Competitions
A little competition is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. And when spread out among groups, it also lends itself to helping build a team atmosphere.
In this scenario, divide up team members into random groups. Then, provide them with an assignment to work on together. The assigned task can be just about anything, and can range from fairly-serious to just-for-fun. Even better is that this can all be done remotely.
Teams might, for example, be asked to come up with a new product or service promotion – real or make-believe. Each team creates their own promotion (including copy, graphics, etc.), based on a set of guidelines provided to them. The winning group gets the glory and maybe a small prize.
Again, the specifics don’t matter quite as much as the desired outcome. To get the best result, make the competition lean more towards light fun than a cut-throat reality show.
This could be an opportunity for everyone to focus their energy on something fun. It allows team members to de-stress while also getting to know their colleagues. Everyone can benefit from this kind of activity.
Build Something Together
There’s something special about a project where everyone has an opportunity to contribute. In a traditional office setting, this could take the form of decorating for holidays or volunteering time to a charity.
Working remotely doesn’t mean these types of projects are no longer possible. They can still exist, even if they do so virtually.
Team members can always pitch in for a charity – regardless of where they are in the world. It could be as simple as encouraging people to raise funds online. Each person can report back with what organization they chose and explain why it’s important to them.
Another possibility is building a virtual photo wall where team members share images that have a personal meaning. You might even narrow it down to a specific subject like childhood memories or favorite places. It’s an opportunity for sharing and to learn something about those you work with.
These small personal details spark conversation and ultimately help bring people together. In addition, they also have the potential to do some good in the world.
Socially-Distant or Not, Teams Are More Important Than Ever
Maybe your remote team can’t get together for an in-person event right now. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on team-building exercises. It may actually be all the more reason to implement them.
An effective team is one that makes an effort to know and understand each member. After all, a personal connection makes working together a more pleasant experience. It allows everyone to see each other as actual people and not just an email address.
While this is certainly more challenging in a virtual environment, it’s far from impossible. It just takes a little creativity! Hopefully, the suggestions above will help you find ways to bring your team closer together – even if they’re miles apart.