5 Non-Cheesy Team Building Tips For Remote Employees

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Practice these five strategies for team building remote teams and you’ll have a motivated, engaged, and cooperative virtual crew.    [Image Source]

What are the best strategies for team building remote teams?

Does team building for remote employees even make sense when your crew may never interact with or see each other?

There are plenty of reasons to put more effort into how the remote cogs in your employee machine work together. 

And the tips you’ll learn today will help you foster greater teamwork without costing your business a fortune in time or money. 

So let’s discuss why team building remote teams is worth your effort and resources.

Why Team Building is Crucial for Remote Teams

It’s a bit tougher to build a team atmosphere when everyone works out-of-the-office, but taking on this task will repay your business tenfold.

Team building remote teams will:

Focus All Employees — In-House and Remote — On the Same Goals

Remote employees may be working in silos on their own tasks. They may not see how accomplishing their work duties fits into the broader goals of your business.

Team building exercises get all employees to collaborate on the same shared goals and communicate about how they plan to reach them, both individually as teammates and collectively as a cohesive unit. 

Set the foundation for cooperation during these exercises, and the spirit of teamwork should carry through the work environment.

Foster a Healthy Remote Work Environment

Employees working remotely miss out on the in-office water cooler conversations, afternoon birthday cake breaks, and other shared experiences in-house employees participate in.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out remotely to create the same vibes. 

Team building, in this sense, interjects a bit of fun into your remote employees’ day. This quick mental break cuts through the monotony of their work tasks and may also boost productivity.

These virtual, communal breaks allow employees to connect as peers and discuss things that may not be overtly work-related. And that goes a long way for this final benefit of remote team building.

Having a healthy remote work environment makes everyone love remote work (even more)!

Reduce the Isolation of Working Remotely

Your remote employees may have no trouble socializing outside of work, but working all day remotely can get very isolating.

If they experience little to no personal interaction with other employees, they may feel as if they’re not really part of the team.

By actively engaging often, you’ll help your employees feel acknowledged, appreciated, and like an essential member of the pack. All these good feelings may push out loneliness and welcome productivity. 

Now that you know why team building is so important, let’s talk about how to make it more of a priority.

How to Commit To Team Building Your Remote Team

Creating a team-oriented atmosphere virtually is easier than you may think — as long as you make it a priority.

If you think you can simply “wing it” with remote team building, you’re going to have a bad time.

Follow these two tips to make your team building a success:

Create a Team Building Action Plan

Similar to following a workout plan, a team-building action plan makes it much easier to implement your strategies and streamline the whole process.

When you know what needs to be done and when, the rest is just about actually doing it.

Image Source]

Skip mapping out your plan of attack, and the craziness of your days could get the best of your team building hopes. 

That’s also why you’ll need a calendar to keep you on track.

Make a Schedule and Stick To It!

If you don’t add team building to your calendar, several days, weeks, or months may pass without you checking in on your team aside from work-related matters.

That’s why you must schedule all the activities you laid out in your team building action plan earlier in your calendar.

Set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly check-ins for team building to make sure you’re meeting your engagement goals. And turn on reminders for these dates so you don’t miss them. 

While they may not seem as important as client deadlines, these team-building strategies are just as significant to your business’s success in the short and long term.

5 Non-Cheesy Team Building Tips For Remote Employees

Try to weave in as many of these team building activities for your remote employees as you can:

#1. Hold Weekly Virtual Chats

At the very least, consider holding short weekly or bi-weekly virtual chats with your team so everyone can share updates about non-work related items, like their weekend plans or popular TV chit-chat.

Getting everyone on camera via video chat allows employees to make eye contact, pick up on facial or emotional cues, and generally connect as if they were speaking in person. 

Source: HotJar]

It also helps put a face to everyone’s email or screen names when communicating off-camera in the future.

#2. Use a Separate Slack Channel for Team Building

Creating separate Slack channels for non-work related conversations encourages just that.

And it’s as simple as setting up and naming different channels based on one theme, such as funny memes, for example. This prevents your actual work chats from filling up with hundreds of cat videos.

Be sure to include a description of each channel and a small message in your remote working policy about how to use these chats without getting distracted.

#3. Play the Right Games

The right team games make a fun and interactive option for breaking up your remote employees’ regular routines. 

Try these ideas:

Guess that tiny employee. Ask everyone to send in a baby picture or photo from when they were younger. Choose one employee each week and have everyone else try to guess who it is. This should give you a few months of hilarious #ThrowbackThursdays.

Quizzes. Send out a quick quiz or questionnaire and use fun facts about your team or pop culture trivia. Offer a small prize to whoever gets the most right.

Two truths and a lie. In this game, someone has to share three statements, and people have to guess which is made up.

Virtual games such as Words with Friends bring your team together and gives everyone a challenge to tackle.

Weekly snap share/Caption contest. Ask each team member to share their best photo from the week. Boost this further by asking everyone else to caption that photo with a witty one-liner.

#4. Host a Virtual Movie or TV Show Night

Is your team constantly sharing their tin-foil theories about popular movies or TV shows? Why not stream the next episode or movie together?

To do this, stream your movie or tv show (Game of Thrones, The Office, or Jeopardy!, anyone?) in a group video chat. Then everyone can watch at once and live comment in the chatbox.

This is a unique way to create a bonding experience. It’s a great remote team-building exercise because it doesn’t require too much extra effort or money.

"We host movie nights with a software called Rabbit and it’s basically like a Google Hangout. The main screen allows you to login to Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu, pull up a movie or tv show, see everyone, and chat with each other. We did a Hocus Pocus theme for Halloween, and did the sing-along version of Pitch Perfect for someone’s birthday; We usually use it for celebrating something. We also have book clubs, lunch and learns, and professional things too.”
-Caro, Skillcrush (source)

#5. Arrange Quarterly or Yearly Retreats in Exotic Locations

Bringing everyone together to meet up for a retreat is one of the best ways to build team cooperation. Bonus points if you choose an exotic locale everyone RSVPs to immediately.

Schedule a few team building activities and leave the rest of the itinerary open for adventures and downtime.

Despite the expense, you’ll find hosting a weekend retreat worth the investment when everyone gets back to work feeling refreshed, connected, and ready to tackle your goals as one well-oiled machine.

Now You’re Ready To Ace Team Building for Remote Teams

You have five excellent tips for building a cooperative, productive team of remote employees — and none of them are complicated or crazy expensive.

Start your team-building right by creating an action plan today. 

Schedule the easiest strategies first (like weekly video check-ins) while you plan for the harder tasks (like saving up for that epic retreat!).

As you saw today, there’s no reason to skip essential team building just because your employees happen to work remotely. 

Follow these tips to invest in your crew, and your effort will pay off in happy, productive employees who stick around.

Ready to grow your remote team? Post your position on our remote job board and you’ll tap into the largest remote worker talent pool in the world!

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