WHAT IS A REMOTE TEAM?
A remote team is a group of people with complementary skills who have common purposes and goals. This type of team works directly to provide specified work for a company or organization but the participants are not located geographically in the same area.
According to a study, 66% of companies have allowed remote working and 16% are completely remote, which shows how common it has gotten to work virtually. Remote workers are actually expected to make up about 72% of the American workforce by 2020, according to a study by the International Data Corporation.
However it’s completely understandable to not really embrace this type of working as some companies believe they won’t actually know how much their employees are working, they won’t be able to communicate as well and could even damage their work culture. There are actually some big companies such as Yahoo and Bank of America who are planning to eliminate this form of working.
WHY DO SOME COMPANIES CHOOSE TO HAVE A REMOTE TEAM?
It is clear that one of the main reasons at the moment to choose this type of working is because of the current situation we are living with COVID 19, which has forced a high number of companies to swap to remote working.
However, here are the reasons many companies are embracing remote work:
- It has proven to increase productivity – working from home or somewhere you feel completely comfortable can make you more creative and can make you focus more on your work as sometimes the office’s environment can be distracting.
- A big company might find too expensive to bring thousands of employees from all around the world together which is why it is cheaper and faster to do it virtually
- It is also a way to attract top talents as maybe they are located somewhere else in the world.
- It would also be cost saving because if they are virtual, they won’t spend money on renting/buying an office, buying supplies, etc.
- Time saving -Employees won’t need to spend time traveling to the main office for a meeting and can be more time efficient. Face to face meetings usually require a fixed time schedule, and on the other hand, employees who meet virtually can catch up from anywhere and can easily resume with their assigned projects.
- Increases flexibility: people become self sufficient and efficient because the employees have control of their own time.
REMOTE TEAM BUILDING GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
Despite the advantages mentioned above of having a remote team, it’s completely normal to have a lack of trust within the team as there isn’t a way to build that connection when they are constantly communicating online. However, there are some ways where a manager or even an employee can help build this trust by coming up with some games and activities.
Remote teams do not have the “water-cooler talks” in a traditional office environment that can build camaraderie. One approach around this is to inject some team building games for your remote team. If you need some ideas, here is a list of games and activities that will help build the trust that’s missing within your team:
- Icebreaker Questions
The best way to start a team building activity is to create a template where you can write down some icebreaker questions, which allows each member to answer questions about themselves and at the same time, get to know more about each other. This is a good activity especially when there is a new staff member or the company is quite new and no one really knows anything about each other.
Here is an example of a template you can use for your icebreaker questions:
- Birth map
This is a good activity to get everyone involved and be able to know a little bit more about each other. At the beginning of the meetup, an image of a world map has to be shared (it can be done through a collaborative map from google maps), then, every person has to put a stick on a map to show where they were born and each one of them have to share a story about what they love most about this place.
- Virtual Clue murder mystery
It is a good remote team building activity where your team will collaborate virtually to solve a deadly crime. It gives you everyone the chance to join no matter where they are in the world.
Firstly, the Clue Virtual Murder Mystery has to be sent out, then using this app, the group will be split into teams to examine clues, review case files and channel their inner detectives to solve the crime.
The team will have to collaborate and communicate effectively in order to successfully solve the mystery. However there is a time limit, so if you solve the case in time, you can celebrate the victory and if you don’t, it is a good way for your team to talk about what they did wrong and how they could have been more efficient together, which is a good reflexion for future work-related tasks.
For more information watch this video:
- Virtual quiz
There are several quizzes that you can do to have fun with your college and get to know them better.
- Match the fact to the colleague: Get everyone to write a fact about themselves on a shared document and then get the rest of the team to guess who it is. This is a great way to test how well you know each other and in case you don’t guess them, you are still learning new things about your team.
- Who’s workspace is it?: You just have to create a shared document where everyone has to post a picture of their “home office” and then each one has to guess whose it is.
- What would you rather?
This is a simple and classic game where a question with two choices is proposed. Each player has to choose the one choice that they like the most even if none of them really appeals to them.
To make it a bit more interesting this game can be played a bit differently by making it a competition. There is really no right or wrong answer but it can be established that people that chose the most popular option are the ones who get to the next round. It is a good way for each one of you to test how well you know each other and be able to tell which option is the one that will get chosen the most.
Examples in case you run out of ideas:
- Virtual party/coffee or tea time
It can also be a good idea to host a fun virtual call where you can either have a virtual party and all drink together or even just have a coffee or tea time which is a way to get involved in some random conversations and at the same time have fun and get to know everyone a bit better. It is definitely a good opportunity to have some time off work.
- Save the company from aliens
In this activity, the team has to join a virtual call where they have to come up with some creative and funny solutions to the following situation: “if aliens landed on Earth and their goal was to destroy the company, what would you do to save the situation?”
This is a great way for each one to show their true personality and be able to have a laugh for a while.
- Baby photos
This is a very fun activity and it’s super simple and fun!
In this remote team ice breaker, every team member has to post on a shared document a picture of themselves when they were a baby, and then guess who it is within a certain time limit.
However this game only works when the crew already know what they all look like!
- Three truths and a lie
For this game, they all have a virtual call and then each person is asked to tell three truths and a lie about themselves, so the others have to guess which one was the lie and the one that guesses it correctly gains a point. It is better to keep the lie realistic so it is harder for the rest of the team to guess which one it is.
It is a very good game to help to get to know each other in a fun way.
- Virtual Bingo
Virtual bingo is a fun and easy game which gets everyone involved and helps everyone realise what they have in common with each other.
The game consists of creating a people-bingo card with a list of statements such as “has blonde hair” or “prefers dogs better than cats”. Then you have to call out statements and the team members have to put a cross in the box if they share that quality with someone else. The first player to get three in a row or complete the full card, wins.
Here is an example of a template that you can use if you don’t have any ideas.
- Virtual city tour
It is a great activity for a team whose integrants like to travel but can’t because of the situation we are currently living in. There are many virtual city tours that you can book and they can show you the city while you share this experience with the rest of your team.
You can find this kind of activity on Airbnb experiences all over the world.
Here is an example of a virtual tour around Rome.
- Bucket list challenge
Get everyone to join an online conference and get all the employees to think and write for about 5 minutes a bucket list (things that they would like to do in their lifetime), then each one of them has to share their list.
The point of this game is to get the rest of the crew to know if they share the same interests in life as someone else and then you can challenge them to work on them together, such as, running a marathon or travel together (as soon as it is possible), etc
It is a great way to connect with one another and make new relations!
- Forensic sketch artist
This is a fun and creative game!
To play, firstly, the crew has to be split into teams, then you have to tell the participants that there was a series of robberies the night before but that one person from each team is a witness as they got to see the robber’s face.
Create a face with a random face generator, show one person from each team the face of the robber and that person has to describe it to their team. The rest of the members of the team have to try to sketch the face based on the description.
Once all the portraits are collected the closest one to the original wins!
- Build a storyline
Get your team to join an online conference and give each one some random words. Then each person is asked to create a story using those words.
It is a very fun game as it will spread laughter within the employees with all the funny stories that will come up.
- 10- common things
Divide the team into small groups and ask them to spend 5 minutes coming up with a list of 10 things that they have in common. This is going to create a long conversation full of laughter that can lead to them creating a bond.
Once this is over they can share the list with the rest of the team. If you want to make it a competition you can tell them that to win they have to come up with those 10 things before any other group.
- Movie night
Get all your employees to vote on a movie to watch and then stream the most voted movie through a conference call, and get everyone to keep their instant messaging open so they can comment and point things out about the film.
This is a good game for the team to bond over the movie while offering them the opportunity to relax and share a laugh.
- Skill set
This is a good game for managers to get to understand and know their employees better.
Each team member has to share one thing they are excited to learn in the next months at work.
This will end up improving the productivity and satisfaction of the workplace as it gives managers the opportunity to get to know their employees better and helping them reach their goal.
- Letter hunt
This is a very fun game which can also involve the employees’ family members.
The first thing everyone needs to do is stand up and one person has to call out a random letter from the alphabet, then everyone needs to bring an item, no matter what it is, whose name starts with that letter to the screen.
The last person to bring something to the screen is out of the game and has to sit down, which will allow the rest of the participants to see who’s still playing and this will continue until there is only one person left.
- Never have I ever
This is a really good game that is not only used when drinking. In this situation it can be used to come up with some university or work related questions.
This is an interesting game that will specially help new team members get to know the rest of the team.
It’s not really a competition, it is just a game to get to know each other.
Here is list of questions that you can use in case you have run out of ideas:
Most of the time, music is the best topic to bond over and it is a good way to get to know another person. In this case, this activity will allow the team members to practice their music skills and find out who has similar taste to them.
This is similar to the Shazam app where different types of music will be played and the team will be put to test to see who is most knowledgeable when it comes to this topic. The person to guess the most artists and titles wins!
As it has been said at the beginning, it is completely normal for workers to not have that trust between each other if they have always worked from home or remotely. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t still try to unify the team and promote the camaraderie, trust and collaboration.
So if you want to build that trust and to keep your remote workers entertained, this list is going to help you to do just that!
This is definitely a good way to build communication, friendship and a happy workplace.