11 Easy and Fruitful Remote Team-Building Techniques 🔨
When you work remotely, it’s more challenging to build your team and strengthen your professional relationships.
For example, TeamBonding says 65% of remote workers can’t recall ever having been involved with a team-building exercise.
But I assure you that this is just inexcusable. There are plenty of ways to team build in a virtual setting.
And that’s where this article comes into play.
Today, you’ll read about:
- 11 compelling techniques for team building when you work remotely.
- The research-backed evidence for why some of these techniques are a must.
- Several of the platforms where you can carry out these techniques.
So are you ready to start making everyone on your virtual team feel like part of a close-knit group and reduce the feeling of isolation? Let’s begin with …
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #1: Gratuity Board
Without your co-workers to onboard you and help nurture your skills, you likely wouldn’t be where you are today.
Likewise, you yourself may have helped co-workers improve their skills.
Just because your team works remotely doesn’t mean you can’t show your recognition of the time and effort they’ve put into you.
And a great way to show your appreciation is with a gratuity board.
A gratuity board is a digital “board” where people can talk about what they feel grateful for. In this case, it would be employees speaking kind words about their colleagues.
With this technique, employees will feel positive emotions and feel happy about feeling valued.
According to the University of Warwick, happiness makes people roughly 12% more productive.
As Matt pointed out in his video, at AutoGrow, we held a Thanksgiving gratuity board for all of our team members to tell one another how much we value one another over on Padlet.com.
Sounds cheesy, but it’s a great way for your remote team to strengthen bonds.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #2: Celebrate Company Accomplishments
Accomplishments should be celebrated no matter where workers are located.
However, it’s even more important to celebrate accomplishments when remote workers can’t physically gather together to celebrate.
And if your company has some employees in-office and others fully remote, your remote workers can still feel part of the achievement.
Just acquired that big client? Send a personalized thank you email to each employee involved with the sale.
Your company successfully launched a new web redesign that rocks? Host a conference call congratulating everyone on the hard work.
See, the idea with this technique is to let your remote workers know that you hold their hard work in high regard.
And if you don’t, you could very well lose your top talent.
According to O.C. Tanner, 79% of people would consider quitting their jobs citing a “lack of appreciation.”
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #3: Play Online Games
Online games are a fun way for remote teams to connect. They can help co-workers learn about each other’s interests and skills while providing opportunities for team building.
Whether it’s trivia, a virtual scavenger hunt, or something else entirely, an interactive game will reveal a different side of team members.
Team-building experience platform Confetti allows you to set up a wide variety of games for your team. For example, Family Feud.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #4: Attend Online Conferences
A conference is a great remote team-building resource because your employees can find like-minded colleagues and participate in team activities together.
For example, your team of passionate marketers might be interested in registering for Adobe’s DITAWORLD conference to learn from thought leaders.
Like other team-building techniques, attending online conferences allows remote workers to feel more connected through shared experiences.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #5: Company Retreats
If you’ve ever seen our About Us page, you’d know that we’re serious about hosting company retreats with our clients one day.
Because who doesn’t like a getaway once in a while?
It can drastically reduce stress.
Do your team members experience any workplace stress? Because Gallup finds that 57% of American and Canadian employees do, while 39% of European workers do too.
For remote workers, it’s a chance to learn more about their colleagues.
And you can interact with them in a non-working context for once. So basically, it’s more like a friendship than a working relationship.
According to Robert Half Talent Solutions, 72% of CFOs believe company retreats increase teamwork and morale.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #6: Team Wiki
On average, workers spend nearly 1 out of every 5 hours searching for and gathering information, as reported by McKinsey & Company.
So that’s a whole lot of wasted payroll.
But with a team wiki, everyone can access what they need in an instant.
A team wiki is like any kind of database. It’s a central hub for all your internal company information.
Employees can access things like:
- Project deadlines
- New ideas
- Meeting notes
- Campaign goals
And another great thing about a team wiki is that it allows new employees at your company to onboard quicker.
According to Harvard Business Review, it typically takes 8 months for a new employee to fully onboard.
If your new employees have full access to training resources and all project details from day one, that transition won’t be so lengthy.
Team wikis might also fall under the name “team collaboration software.”
Some of these tools you can try are:
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #7: Watch Movies
Everyone loves a good movie.
It lets you relax and take a step away from your busy day-to-day stressors.
And there’s no reason why your remote team can’t watch a movie or other TV program together. By doing so, everyone can just chill out.
Additionally, co-workers will feel more like friends or family.
But just make sure you vote on which movie or program to watch. The last thing you want is everyone suddenly making up excuses to get leave because they don’t enjoy the movie.
In order to host a session, you can use a tool like Teleparty to stream Netflix, HBO, Hulu and other streaming options.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #8: Celebrate Milestones
Tracking milestones is arguably the easiest way to effectively team build in a remote setting.
All you have to do is keep track of big events for your workers. That way, you can plan remote team lunches, give them the day off, or have everyone recognize the milestone in a group chat.
Some noteworthy milestones are birthdays, class reunions and work anniversaries.
Granted, if you’re a larger company, then this could be a challenge. But smaller teams within your organization can still celebrate birthdays.
As found by Harvard Business Review, employees are more likely to start job hunting around anniversary or milestone dates.
For example, workers are 16% more likely to look for a new job upon a class reunion.
By showing workers gratitude and possibly even rewarding them, you can reduce the chance that they’ll quit and leave you high and dry.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #9: Challenges
A good old challenge is an effective way for team members to work together towards a common goal. In turn, it can make the team feel that much closer.
For example, the U.S. Navy SEALs often carry out team challenges during the torturous BUD/S training phase in Coronado, California. The aspiring SEALs must work together to complete tasks such as lifting and holding a 600-pound log over their heads for a long period of time.
Or they race each other in small rafts through treacherous waters.
SEALs, just like your organization, rely on one another to complete their objectives. Albeit, a lot more dangerous than your objectives.
Of course the Navy SEALs don’t work remotely, but you can still take a hint from them.
For your remote team, group collaboration can come packaged as anything from a pushup challenge to a coding contest.
The most important thing is that your employees are actively engaged with one another and there’s genuine adversity.
According to a joint study between the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, adverse experiences increase social support and creative thinking among teams.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #10: Onboard New Employees the Right Way
O.C. Tanner finds that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least 3 years if they thought the onboarding experience was great.
See, onboarding is part of that critical first impression phase that tends to subconsciously follow us around. With a bad first impression, you risk leaving a bad taste in the mouth of your employees for the foreseeable future.
And you also have to remember the first few weeks are the hardest. Especially when you work remotely and feel a little disconnected.
For one thing, the previously mentioned team wiki will come in handy. With a wiki, your new remote hire will assimilate with the company culture and stay up to speed on ongoing projects.
Besides sharing internal information, new hires should meet everyone they’ll be working with for the most part. Everyone needs to make the new team member feel welcomed and comfortable going forward.
Furthermore, share feedback with new team members and also ask for feedback in return on how to improve the onboarding process.
A good onboarding experience will not only make your new employees transition to their roles quickly, your other employees will constructively form a healthy relationship with them too.
Team-Building Techniques for Remote Teams #11: Virtual Potluck
With a virtual potluck, your remote team can share their favorite dishes and recipes with each other.
And this can be done through a video call.
Moreover, since social and behavioral sciences journal Procedia finds virtual teams to be more culturally diverse, a potluck is a chance to learn more about the cultural background of your co-workers as you learn about the cuisines that they bring to the “table.”
Having a remote work team has great benefits, such as saving the company money and providing flexibility for employees.
But it’s also more difficult to get everyone to feel connected. According to a Buffer report, loneliness is tied for the biggest struggle among remote workers.
As you just read 11 compelling techniques for team building when you work remotely, to get your virtual employees to feel more engaged and connected with your remote or hybrid team, you need to think outside the box.
Whether you do something as simple as adding a tool to collaborate more effectively or something as creative as playing some team games, your team will bridge that gap between isolation and synergy.
From there, productivity will increase and revenue will soar.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this article, and before you go, let me ask you …
Did any of these techniques jump out at you that you’d like to try for your remote team?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.