While some of the benefits of working from home are not to be dismissed, it is not without its disadvantages. The hit on team rapport is perhaps one of the biggest. The lack of face to face interaction naturally inhibits any camaraderie that colleagues can build. However, it is not impossible to help promote better working relationships between team members remotely. By setting up remote team build activities, strengthening a team is highly achievable.
Here, we look at why improving teamwork online is important and provide tips on remote team building activities.
Why is improving teamwork online important?
Organising remote team building activities can be something that many team managers may shy away from. It is simply something else on their already busy to do list. However, once the advantages of improved teamwork are fully understood, there should be plenty of motivation for setting up regular team building activities - remote or otherwise.
Improves mental health
Work is one of many stresses people have to withstand in modern life. Working from home can sometimes be at a further detriment to mental health. By not having much, or any, segregation between work and home life, any career stresses can infiltrate all aspects of a person’s life. Thus, team building activities that are fun and engender good feeling can have a very positive effect on team members’ outlook, mood and stress levels. During these uncertain, unstable times, doing so is not to be shied away from.
Of course, one of the main drivers behind any online team activities is the fact that managers want to improve productivity. While the time out from day to day activities and tasks may immediately impact output, the hope is that with a stronger, more connected team, productivity is ultimately increased. Working from home and telecommuting looks like one of the lasting trends from the pandemic, so it is imperative to drive that productivity to its highest level.
Team building helps improve the relationships in a team as individual members more fully understand each other and what makes each other tick. Such understanding is an important result from team building activities as it means that team members will consequently feel more motivated to work for one another. Helping each other and supporting one another, with improved communication learnt through team building activities, will promote and maintain such motivation. Ultimately, team productivity is improved further.
Given that online team activities are often done in an effort to improve employee satisfaction at a firm, the subsequent effect is that employee retention is thus increased. Spending time on hiring employees is a material drag on any company’s productivity and profitability. Retaining employees is one of the key ways that a company can improve such an inefficiency. Spending a few hours on a team activity online to help that is therefore not time wasted.
Fun online games for remote team building activities
Knowing why team building is important is great, but what remote team building activities are there that can replace a good old fashioned go karting day or team get together? Below, we list some ideas that will really get your team talking and working together to achieve a common goal.
Virtual games need to help spark conversation and fun so that these games do not feel like another task an employee has to complete for their job. Some fantastic options that help bring a team closer together would be something like an Escape Room activity or a Taskmaster type game. For an Escape Room, there are several companies that provide an entire package that are designed specifically for online usage.
Taskmaster makes people think outside the box. While it is making team members play against each other to win the game overall, setting employees funny tasks such as ‘make your room look the beach’, will often trigger much laughter and good feeling. Just select one person to be the taskmaster (it does not have to be the team manager), some home office friendly tasks, and off you go.
Quizzes are an easy yet effective way to bring a team closer. Whilst quizzes do pit employees against each other, usually many questions will be conversation starters. That is what managers should be striving for in team building activities - getting a team talking to one another so that they can learn to communicate better. Plus, sometimes, some good old fashioned competitiveness can help concentrate people’s attention. How you set up a quiz can also change up the traditional format. You could have breakout rooms where people can work together, or you could ask each team member to come up with a handful of questions of their own.
A murder mystery can be a great idea for a remote team building activitiy idea for several reasons. Firstly, individuals will often have to dress up as a part assigned to them. Doing so helps kick start conversation and, often, good humour. Secondly, murder mystery games often require teams to work together to solve a classic whodunnit.
A home tour of each team member’s house may not be for everyone. However, if your team is all working from home - pandemic or no pandemic - it can be a really quick and easy way to help team members get to know each other more deeply. Gaining insight into a person’s life by viewing their home can get even the quietest team member talking.
Team building activities for remote teams - key takeaways
Working geographically away from team members means it can be difficult at times to work together. Physical separation can be difficult to rectify, but relationships can be improved online. In fact, strengthening team rapport and how colleagues therefore communicate with each other is fundamental to improving productivity. Plus, a happy team tends to improve the longevity of a person’s stint with a company - thus saving a company money on HR fees as well as benefiting from an employee’s deepening knowledge and improved skill.
Finally, the above team activities also help teams realise how to make the most of company software and apps. Doing so helps improve team members’ interactions which will subsequently feed through to their virtual work - ultimately bettering a company’s bottom line.