It’s been said that there’s no “I” in the word team, and rightfully so.
Working as a team isn’t as easy as it looks, though.
Chemistry is crucial to a team’s success and one of the ways to achieve chemistry is through team-building activities.
Now, this should be a no-brainer for teams who work on the same premises. You can always do stuff together either in the office or at the beach.
However, things have become much more different in recent years. For one, there are now entrepreneurs and companies who work remotely with freelancers.
Though they may be thousands of miles apart and working from opposite sides of the world, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t have team-building activities too.
Yes, distance should never be an obstacle when it comes to improving chemistry and morale. With a little creativity, remote team building activities are definitely possible.
Before we jump right in, it’s important to establish why remote team building activities are essential in the first place, and below are some of the reasons why.
Unlike regular employees who work in an office, remote teams don’t have the same opportunities to bond. The chances of getting to know each other outside of work are also very limited making team-building activities all the more important.
One of the most important reasons to hold remote team building activities is the support system it creates. Having a strong team around you can make a huge difference because you’ll feel empowered and confident that someone will listen every time you share your ideas.
Familiarity also makes a huge difference when it comes to working on a team setup. It not only makes work easier but it also leads to better results when you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Collaboration becomes more fluid when you know each other’s tendencies.
Another important factor is the sense of togetherness team building activities bring. Working remotely by yourself can become lonely and isolating at times but when you have colleagues you can talk to and joke around with, the workload becomes lighter than it should. This leads to a boost in morale and overall happiness even during the most difficult time.
Lastly, remote team-building activities can help build a strong remote working culture. We all know that good company is key to success especially for a team that works remotely because it helps enhance the lines of communication.
Unlike in-house teams, remote teams don’t get to have water cooler conversations but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not possible.
These simple chats may look and sound trivial but there’s no denying the enormous contribution it has to any team. Why? Because they are huge team-building blocks that happen naturally.
The best way to recreate something similar for a remote team is to create a virtual break room. A virtual break room is commonplace where remote team members can log in and have meaningful conversations with everyone during their lunch or tea break.
For this to work, the team manager needs to take the lead by not only creating the virtual break room but also encouraging team members to join.
Building chemistry requires everyone in the team to know each other better and there’s no better way to do this than by letting team members give everyone a tour of their work location.
You can do this by asking team members to take everyone on a short tour of their workspace via video before your weekly meetings. This will give everyone a chance to show their lighter sides as well as their interests.
They can showcase their impressive DVD collection, their beautiful patio where they have their morning coffee, or that killer view from just outside the window of their home office.
What this does is not just to help them know each other better but also discover possible common interests that they can bond over. It also gives everyone that light-hearted moment to breathe and forget about work even for just a couple of minutes.
Almost similar to holding a tour of your remote work location, a messy desk faceoff is more for having fun and being candid with one another.
We all know how working from home can make us feel very convenient especially since no one’s there to judge us when it comes to how disorganized our workstations are.
With messy desk faceoff, everyone can get a chance to let go of their inhibitions and just laugh at how messy they could be when left unsupervised.
Working remotely can get lonely if not stressful which is why everyone needs some positive vibes whenever possible.
Creating a “good news” channel is a brilliant idea because you’re not only giving everyone an outlet to share things that made them happy but you’re also giving everyone a chance to bond with one another.
Can you imagine the bond that can be formed between freelancers who also mothers when someone shares her experience about her child’s first words?
Sharing good news is more than just a good conversation starter. It also gives everyone the opportunity to get closer to one another by celebrating their small wins.
There’s no better way to bring out the best in your everyone than through a little competition. Not only will it motivate people to become better, but it will also bring them closer to one another.
Try to come up with challenges that will give your team a group goal to work towards. Come up with something that will inspire everyone to contribute while having fun at the same time.
A good example would be a fitness challenge where each group member would need to shed some weight and the team with the lowest combined weight wins.
Such a challenge will not only be good for team chemistry but it will also be good for everyone’s wellbeing. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the challenges you can come up with.
With social media being a huge part of our lives, it’s fair to say that almost everyone today regularly posts on both Facebook and Instagram.
Some of us love taking pictures of the places we visited, the food we’re about to eat, or even the activity we’re engaged in at a certain moment.
You can use this passion to bring everyone together by having a “daily snapshot” routine where each team member can showcase some of the best photos they’ve taken recently.
This will allow everyone to comment and begin conversations that will form and strengthen bonds between workmates.
Working remotely makes it difficult to figure out what common interests exist between team members but if you dig deeper, you’ll definitely find some commonalities.
Holding workshops or classes outside of the professional world would be a great idea. Just make sure to choose something that’s appealing to the team. Something they’ll openly attend and won’t feel mandatory.
Also, make sure that there’s something for everyone as much as possible even if not everyone wants to participate immediately.
Cooking classes, graphic design workshops, or even painting classes would be great as long as team members find them interesting.
Sitting in front of the computer all day can be bad for your health but working remotely can sometimes make you do just that.
Without the need to walk some steps or ride the bike to and from work, staying fit can become a challenge, especially when you have to do it alone.
A good way to get around these obstacles is by holding virtual workout sessions which can also be a good remote team-building activity.
It’s fun, it’s free, and you get to do it with a lot of people at the same time. It’s a win-win!
All work and no play can make one a dull person and the best way to put this into practice is by playing online games together.
There’s an abundance of online games available that promote collaboration and teamwork that you can allow your team to play together. You can have them play during work hours as sort of an ice breaker or schedule a session during everyone’s free time so it won’t affect productivity.
Last but not least is to participate in one of the most popular team-building challenges to date – The Virtual Trash Challenge.
So how exactly does it work? It’s simple. Everyone picks a park or place near their home that they would like to clean. They can then take before and after pictures to show the positive impact they’ve made.
With a virtual trash challenge, you’re not only giving your team a chance to bond, but you’re also helping the environment in your own little way.
Team building activities are essential to any team’s success and it doesn’t matter whether it’s an in-office or remote team that you’re managing. While the dynamics may be different, in-office and remote team building activities have one goal and that is to bring people together so they can produce better results with each other’s help.
If you’re managing a remote team and you’re struggling to build chemistry between team members, these remote team-building ideas may just be the answer you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for more tips, check out our article on managing freelance teams.
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