By Hayley Biggs
The year 2020 has seen more businesses embrace remote working than ever before. This is great news for most employees as 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. This comes as no surprise as most employees enjoy the lifestyle change which remote working offers. A study by Buffer found that 40% of employees prefer it because of the flexible schedule it offers and 30% of employees enjoy the option as it allows them to work from any location.
Whilst the benefits are pretty enviable, as with anything in life, with the good comes the bad. Remote workers are more likely to feel isolated, lonely and detached from their colleagues as they lack face to face interaction. This is why virtual team building activities are crucial to boosting morale in your remote teams and making employees feel more connected.
Read on to discover our ideas on improving happiness, strengthening employee relationships no matter where they're working.
Online Team Building Activities Your Employees Will Love
Every week, hold a virtual video meeting where each member of your team shares what they’ve enjoyed about remote working that week. Examples could include; sleeping in later on Monday mornings, taking their kids to the beach on a sunny day or going for lunchtime runs. All activities they're able to do thanks to the flexibility of remote working!
If you have a large virtual team it's best to split your remote workforce into groups of 10 for this activity. This way they can get together and share their positive notes without eating too much into the working day.
This is a great way to promote virtual team work and get them talking to each other, all while reiterating the benefits of working from home. What better way to maintain a positive remote working environment?
Netflix and chat?
This is our modern take on a book club. We're all familiar with binging the latest Netflix series, and we can all agree that it sucks when you have no one to discuss it with. Why not start up an online 'TV Talk Club'? Or, as we like to call it, 'Netflix and Chat'. Your remote workers have to watch three episodes of the chosen show per week, before coming back to the group to discuss it over video conferencing. To avoid any awkward silences, have a host prepare conversation prompts on the characters and plot. These will act as icebreaker questions and ensure conversation runs smoothly.
This virtual team building activity allows your remote team to bond over something familiar. It also encourages them to feel included in a group, which is crucial when boosting employee morale. And hey, maybe it'll take away some of the guilt that comes with completing all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad in less than a week…
Photo of the day
How about each team member being encouraged to upload a daily photo of their day? It could range from a funny picture of their pet, their lunch, their morning coffee or even the view from their window. This ensures there's always a point of conversation for you and your team on a daily basis.
Normalising the sharing of daily images will also give remote workers a feeling of confidence. They’ll feel happy and less anxious about sharing photos of their day, which is amazing for boosting morale and maintaining social connections during remote work. When their colleagues comment on their photos it will give your remote employees a hit of dopamine which will make them excited about uploading another post the following day. Why do you think social media is so popular?
Donut worry, be happy
If you’re like most remote teams, you're probably already using Slack. But have you heard about its great extension Donut? Think of it as a virtual 'water cooler'. Donut brings virtual teams together by introducing remote workers who may not usually interact with each other. Once it has introduced the two colleagues, the chatbot encourages them to meet up if they live close by or to chat remotely.
The purpose of the platform is to build bonds between employees and strengthen work relationships while your teams work from home. The extension offers an additional lottery programme which randomly selects winners to have a coffee break with the CEO or a special lunch on the company. Because the platform does the awkward introduction for you, it eliminates the barriers which may stop you from engaging in online conversations with others in your remote team. We love this as an innovative addition to online team building activities!
Turn half an hour every week into a snack hour. In this 30 minutes, everyone in your remote team will stop what they're doing, jump on a video call, eat some tasty snacks and have a good chat. You could set a theme each week so that employees can plan what they’re going to make and eat. How about a cake week, chocolate week or savoury snacks week?
Each time you have Snack o’Clock your remote workers can enjoy their snacks together before sharing their reviews. This allows for non-work related chat around a mutual, inclusive topic and helps your team feel appreciated.
If you really want to treat your remote workers, why not order them an office snack box filled with sweet and savoury goodies. Or if you're looking for something more personal, Thriving Box Co. offers bespoke corporate gift boxes that support independent businesses around the UK. Let us know what treats you want in your care package and we'll make it happen!
Thriving Box Co.'s Office Snack Box
Guess the baby
Nothing puts a smile on people’s faces like seeing baby photos, especially when they're embarrassing ones. And what better way to allow your team to get to know one another than laughing about each others' old baby pictures. Collect baby photos from your remote team members and put them into a slide deck. Place each photo on its own numbered slide and ask employees to write down which of their co-workers they think the baby photo belongs to. At the end of the quiz, you can go through the photos and get team members to share their answers.
Virtual team building activities are all about finding commonality and building bonds between your remote employees. So dig out the photo albums and get ready for team-wide embarrassment!
A Gif can say a thousand words
Every month select three employees to share what they’ve been up to in the past four weeks. Sounds easy, right? The twist is it has to be told entirely using Gifs. Why Gifs? They’re easy, fun and not too time-consuming. Let’s be honest, a Gif can tell a thousand stories as well as guaranteeing a few laughs.
The chosen employees must make a slideshow of 10 Gifs which accurately sum up their month. We recommend using giphy.com as it houses millions of options to use, simply copy and paste the Gifs you want to use. This virtual team building game is an awesome way to boost morale and add amusement to your remote team's day. It will also ensure each employee feels valued as their colleagues are taking interest in their out of office activities. It’s the perfect way to help your remote teams find out more about their colleagues and they’re home lives; one of the biggest challenges presented by remote work.
Business improvement exercise
Ok, we know this doesn't sound as exciting as snacks or Gifs, but hear us out. Split your remote teams into groups of four and ask them to come up with a 10-minute presentation on how they think your business can improve going forward.
The remote teams will join each other on video calls to discuss their ideas and put a plan of action together. This virtual team building activity will help your remote teams bond over what they like and don’t like about the way your company is operating. Get ready to strengthen relationships as everyone has a chance to vent and express their opinions.
Giving employees an avenue to be heard is crucial for employee engagement and essential for boosting employee morale. What’s even better is that acting on their feedback is paramount for business success. In fact, a study found that a boat part manufacturer turned employee feedback into $3.8M in increased production capacity.
Regular quiz afternoons about an employee
Select an employee to be the star of a monthly employee-focussed quiz. Ask them to send you ten fun facts about themselves, then create a multiple choice quiz in a 'two truths and a lie' format. Write down two false facts and one real one. Everyone then has to guess which answer is the true fact about the selected employee.
Which bedtime habit stops Bob from going to sleep at night
a) Watching videos of alpacas on YouTube
b) Binging the entire Scary Movie series
c) Devouring a whole wheel of camembert
You and the selected employee will be the designated quiz master’s who co-host the event. This is a great way to find out more about your co-workers and encourage your remote team to chat and engage with each other.
Boosting morale and building trust within remote teams is now more important than ever! Always remember a happy team makes for happy customers, so ensure employee wellbeing is always at the top of your agenda. Let us know which virtual team building ideas you've put into action on our Instagram or Facebook.