Team Building Games for Remote Workers
When working in a remote team, especially an international one, you don’t get many chances to meet your coworkers. When this does happen, it’s during retreats which last for only a couple of days. You’re supposed to cram in a year’s worth of socialization within one week, which can be a pretty difficult task to pull off. The solution – team building games for remote workers, so that everyone in the team can bond within a short period of time. Here are some of them and how you can start with them today.
Team Lunch (or Any Other Meal)
Having food together is one of the best activities to bond, as it’s a time of tranquility where you can sit down, relax and enjoy your meal, having friendly conversation along the way. If you have the fortune of meeting your team in person, make sure to have daily meals together so you can talk and spend time as much as possible.
For remote teams, you can also have a video session where everyone sits together for a meal. Of course, depending on time zones, your breakfast could be someone’s dinner. Even though it may sound awkward, it’s a great way to connect even for those working from different ends of the world. Additionally, you can learn about other team members’ cuisine and cultures.
Show Off Your Surroundings
One of the beauties of remote work is that everyone can choose their own work environment. You don’t have to settle for a cubicle or an office with a monitor, printer and tons of stationery and paper. In fact, everyone chooses differently – even if you work from home, your layout and setup are vastly different from everything else out there.
One of the better team building games for remote workers is to have employees show off their work surroundings. This can be an image, a video recording or even during a live video chat through Skype.
You can learn a lot about a person just from viewing their work surroundings. From the way they’re organized (or not), to their desk, the items they choose to be around them, these are all small details that help remote workers piece together an image of their colleague without actually meeting them in person.
One of the remote companies I worked for has a custom of organizing “campfires“ once per week where a team member sits down and talks about their country, culture, cuisine, their hobby, personal life, professional life, anything that comes to mind. For half an hour, the stage is theirs to share what they have on their mind. The rest of the team listens and asks questions.
There are a few benefits to these team presentations. First, there’s one person per week, so you have to carefully consider what to speak about and make it count. Second, you can choose what to talk about and present something that’s interesting to you that you want the rest of the team to know. Finally, everyone gets to ask questions and find out what they want to know about a certain employee.
If your remote team has retreats, there’s a wide range of games you can play in person. Something as trivial as charades can go a long way and turn into a fun activity that everyone will love. On the other hand, playing games when the team is scattered around the world, it can be a bit more challenging.
In one of the companies I worked for, the management bought everyone a copy of the game we chose so we can sit down and play together after hours and for some part of the working hours. We chose Team Fortress and spent countless hours playing and chatting together.
If you already can work remotely and from anywhere you like, why would you choose to go to a coworking space? There’s quite a few reasons, but the top one is accountability – once you see a group of people around you, you are more motivated to get down to work and get things done. Coworking is a great way to meet people locally, but it can also be done with your remote team.
You can set up a Slack channel, a Zoom or Skype call and keep it open. The first person to sign in for the day starts broadcasting video and everyone else tunes in with their video feed along the day. The idea is simple – if you can’t be physically present with someone in the office, you can be present virtually through a video call. That way, the entire team can have the experience of sitting together in one office.
Even though team building is difficult in remote settings, it’s far from impossible. In fact, more and more teams are embracing the remote way of work every day, which ensures that every year, there will be more ways for remote teams to get together and learn more about each other, offline and online.
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