Team-Building and Your Remote Workforce

The concept of team building, aimed at fostering closer bonds among colleagues, is widely embraced in the business world. However, equally crucial yet less evident is the necessity for remote teams within a company to establish strong connections.

While remote workers can be just as diligent and productive as their on-site counterparts, they often miss out on the spontaneous office conversations, birthday celebrations, and other shared experiences that in-office employees enjoy, as noted by We Work Remotely. This lack of personal interaction may lead remote workers to feel disconnected from the team.

If you notice that your remote team is not fully integrated with the rest of your workforce, consider the following tips:

Building bonds doesn’t need to be complex.

At its most fundamental level, remote worker team-building is quite straightforward. According to MIT Sloan, it can involve simple activities like scheduling regular morning coffee sessions over video, creating opportunities for people to enjoy themselves together and connect on a personal level.

Another effective approach is to allocate extra time before and after online group meetings. Harvard Business Review suggests using this time to engage in casual conversations with early-arriving team members and leaving the call open for informal chatting after the meeting agenda is completed. Even small gestures, such as inviting everyone to share a ‘rose and thorn’ (a positive and negative from the week), can establish regular, shared experiences that foster bonds among your remote team.

Try an icebreaker exercise.

Consider incorporating an icebreaker activity into your online group meeting. According to PandaDoc, dedicating 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to ask light-hearted questions based on casual topics can facilitate team bonding and create a sense of camaraderie. Each participant quickly shares their answers, which can be fun, playful, and unrelated to work topics.

This approach is an effective way for remote workers who might otherwise feel disconnected to build better connections with each other.

Learn while you eat.

Another effective method for team bonding is the “lunch and learn” concept. Clockwise describes it as a voluntary event, whether physical or virtual, that combines training with meals provided by the company. You can organise this by partnering with an online food delivery service, allowing remote workers to select their preferred lunch options. It’s advisable to keep the session brief, under an hour, and to maintain a structured meeting format.

Topics for these sessions can vary widely, covering areas such as health and wellness, soft-skills training, or insights into different job roles within the company. The key is to streamline the content and ensure that your discussion points remain pertinent to the team’s interests and needs.

Encourage remote team members to participate and share their thoughts openly.

Forbes suggests several engaging activities to foster connections among remote team members. One idea is to host a “cutest pet pic competition” during a group call where each team member shares a photo of their pet. Participants vote on the “cutest” pet, adding a fun element to the virtual meeting. Another suggestion is to encourage remote employees to list five future accomplishments they aspire to achieve. Then, challenge them to find common goals and collaborate on achieving mutual bucket list items together.

These activities are just a few ways to strengthen bonds among remote team members and integrate them with on-site colleagues. Another effective strategy is to include remote employees in your company’s employee recognition programme. Recognising their contributions publicly, especially specific achievements, can enhance their sense of belonging and motivation.

For more insights on managing your remote team effectively, consider reading “Goal-Setting Tips for Your Remote Team.