When employees are in a centralised location, it’s easy to form connections with other colleagues. They can ask questions, chat around the lunch table, go for walks together or out for drinks after work.
But with the nature of work changing and changing fast, we need to come up with ideas to get team members together and building the emotional connections that make good teams great.
So how do you do that virtually? Team building exercises, of course.
Team building is the process of turning individuals into a cohesive team that works collaboratively to deliver. It’s essential because it’s well known, trust is needed to feel connected to work towards a common goal.
You can’t just shove your team into a virtual room and get them to work together. You need to take some time to help the group explore and get to know each other in this way of working.
Yes, this is going to be a challenge. But it isn’t impossible.
Distributed team building games are a great way to enhance creativity and dissolve the monotony that sometimes plagues remote work.
Here are a few fun trust-building activities to try with your employees.
Upload a map of the world into a shared document or online whiteboard. At the start of a meeting, ask everyone to put a mark on the map where they were born.
Then encourage everyone to share a short story about what they love most about the place they were born. This can also be used for an activity of ‘Where you Live’ if you have a nationally or globally distributed team.
Two Truths and a Lie
This is downright hilarious. Each team member tells the group three declarations about themselves. Two truths and a lie. Then, it is the job of the rest of the team to guess which of the statements is a lie.
If you want to make it a little more involved, allow the other team members to ask one question each to try and catch them out of the lie.
Picture of your Life
Ask every member of the team to post a picture of something in their life in an online whiteboard before the meeting begins. Let them know it has to relate to a story they can tell about themselves or the way that they work.
It can be as simple as a picture of their breakfast or bookshelf, a view from their window or snapshot of their working space. When the meeting starts, get the individual team members to share the story behind the picture.
10 Things in Common
This is a great way to start brainstorming sessions and best done in platforms where you can break off into individual rooms such as with Zoom.
Have the team divide into small groups and spend ten minutes coming up with a list of 10 things they have in common. You can keep it work-related, or it can leak out into their personal lives.
It can be as simple as, ‘we all wear shoes’ to something more specific!
Regardless of the answer, it will create a bond quickly, as people have a limited time to access their creativity in the group. When finished, the groups come back together on the central platform to share their list with the larger group.
Guess the Artist
Before your next online team meeting, ask every remote worker to create or find a picture that represents a story about their life.
Everyone uploads their picture to an online whiteboard in advance. To start the meeting, everyone puts a sticker of the name on the picture, they believe it belongs to.
Go from picture to picture and find out if any of them are correct. When a correct guess has been made, that person shares their story with the group.
When your team members are working from home, it can be a great idea to schedule a virtual tour of each remote employees’ location. Get them to show off their office space, guide the team through their home or a cool co-working space they work from.
If you really want to get creative, have them take you to some of the best local spots in their area. Use live streaming on a social network to facilitate this is real-time.
This is a great exercise to help others understand a colleagues background, particularly if you work in global teams.
Let us know how your team creates a connection and has fun to build cohesion.