Today, as remote working has become more common in the workplace, HR managers have to get creative to build tight-knit, collaborative teams.
There is no water cooler to gather around for fun conversations. So how can you bridge the virtual gap and bring your team together?
What did we do at Springworks?
Two months back, I came across Radhika Mohata’s tweet about Remote Games. It sounded very interesting and I DMed her to get more details.
Radhika is a relationship coach who’s making work fun for companies with Remote Games. We onboarded her and she did three remote games and activity sessions with our team.
It was a nice escape from the routine locked down lives. These team building activities helped our teams to get closer to each other.
See what our employees are saying:
Table of Contents
- Why Remote Team Building Is Important
- Why Remote Teams Should Play Games
- 7 Virtual Team Building Games and Activities
- Ready to bring your remote team closer together?
Why Remote Team Building Is Important
When people work in the office, they do face-to-face interactions, lunches, meetings, celebrations, and play office games together. It helps them to build a relationship with their teams naturally.
But virtual team bonding activities are much different than in-office team building. Remote team building is not just putting your team in a video call together and telling them to work together.
According to Buffer Remote Work Report 2019, remote workers face a lot of challenges like loneliness and less communication.
When your team is never under the same roof together, you have to take different approaches, techniques, and skills to build a strong team culture.
Regular team socializing helps to build a genuine human connection with remote teams and builds trust. And virtual team building games and activities result in more productive, effective, and happier teams, and a stronger company!
And the best part: Remote team building is not expensive!
All you need is:
- An Internet connection.
- A video conferencing tool like Zoom.
- A team messaging app like Slack or MS Teams.
Why Remote Teams Should Play Virtual Games
Games relieve stress
One of the most common challenges remote workers face is Stress. The boundary between work and home life blurs for people as they have to work in the same place they sleep. They can get worried about their career, growth, and families and they may get anxious and stressed.
Studies have shown that games can help in reducing stress. We all love playing games. It’s a great escape from all our worries and anxiety. Today, companies not only support their employees’ career goals, but they also support their mental well-being.
Playing a 15-minutes game every day will help you feel included and connected to your team.
Games improve productivity
Games are a great way to improve performance, productivity, and creativity within the team. Teams have more tasks, deadlines, targets to meet, and they tend to lose focus and motivation.
I found that moving to a remote setup actually brought some challenges in front of us. Along with a regular workload, employees have to communicate more and deal with distractions in their households. So we decided to play 15-minutes games every day, such as Trivia quizzes, drawing, paper boat, storytelling, and more.
In our remote employee pulse surveys, employees said that they like this initiative and feel more productive.
Games help remote teams socialize
Let’s face it: remote working can be a lonely, disconnected experience.
According to a study, more than half of remote employees say they feel disconnected from in-office employees.
Think of virtual games and activities as a replacement for the “watercooler.” It’s an opportunity for remote employees to catch up, socialize, and connect in a way they might not otherwise.
For example, one Friday, Radhika hosted a storytelling activity with our remote team. And people shared their untold stories and experience – From a life-defining trip that brought the first purchase of an iPhone to volunteering work with underprivileged children. The virtual team-building event was a success. Think creative ways to engage your team.
Recommended Read: Mental Health of Remote Employees: 11 Ways to Support Them
7 Virtual Team Building Games and Activities
1. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts allow team members to collaborate with one another, while also letting them delegate tasks and utilize each other’s strengths and skills.
Split your employees into two or more teams. Create a list of items that you think most people will have in their homes. Set the clock for 5 minutes and get each team to go and find their items. If you’re on a video call, ask each team to show what they have found. And the team with the most collected items is the winner.
We, humans, live for stories! Create a Zoom call and give some random words to every person. And then, ask them to create a story using those random words. It’s really fun and your employees are also going to love it as they spread laughter with their stories.
3. Creative Introduction of New Hires
Starting off a team-building session is important, as it sets the tone for the rest of the activities ahead. Here’s a fun, creative method of making introductions of new hires less awkward and more light-hearted.
Ask each person, “If you could be any cartoon character, which would it be?”
Each person must then write their answer on a piece of paper. Count to three, and ask people to show their answers.
4. Riddles and Quizzes
You can post a riddle and ask your team members to reply with answers within a time-frame. Tell them not to use any search engine or write answers they might have already known.
You can also play virtual quizzes. Just jump on Trivia, and create a quiz. Invite your team to join and give them a few seconds to respond to each question. Tally the scores and announce the winner. It will help teams bond, no matter where they are.
5. Memory Games
Want to check how creative your employees are? Play a memory game. It’s a communication game where someone describes a picture, and everyone draws what they hear.
You can use tools like Skribbl, Wordraw, and Drawasaurus or just use Zoom’s Share Screen+Whiteboard feature. Just get the team online and you can immediately start playing.
6. Two Truths and a Lie
It’s a light and fun game. Host a video call and ask each employee to tell two truths and one lie about themselves(not work-related). Keep the lie realistic, so it won’t be so easy for everyone to guess. The other employees need to guess which was the lie and whoever guesses the right gains a gift.
7. This or That
A simple game posing questions involving two choices. The players are supposed to make their preferences known by choosing an answer option, even if neither of them really appeals to them.
There are no right or wrong answers in the game. It’s the option chosen by the majority that gets you through to the next round.
8. Backgammon Online
The objective of backgammon is to move all of your pieces off the board before your opponent, while strategically blocking their progress and hitting their pieces to send them back to the starting point.
The online version of backgammon is an excellent game for teams to play remotely as it encourages communication and teamwork while challenging players’ strategic thinking, making it an ideal choice for virtual collabs and friendly competition among team members, even when physically apart.
Ready to bring your remote team closer together?
Do you play any remote games at your company? Or do you have any questions? Please drop your thoughts in the comment section below.
How do you make team meetings fun virtually?
Team meetings are fun when you pre-plan the event efficiently. Keep a host for each meeting who will decide the agenda and the activities that are to be taken place.
Consider more happening and interactive games and activities that will make everyone feel involved and help them get to know each other better.
What games can you play virtually on teams?
Above mentioned in the article are a list of different activities you can play virtually:
- Virtual Scavenger Hunt
- Riddles and Quizzes
- Memory games
- Two truths and a lie
- This or that
- Creative intros for new hires
Here is a list of few more games which you can play during a virtual retreat
How do you conduct fun activities virtually?
Fun activities are totally possible virtually. All you need to do is:
Decide a host -> set the agenda/plan the meet -> create a Zoom/Google Meet link -> Invite particular teams/cross-team members -> Start with a fun activity.
How do I make remote employees feel included?
Here are a few ways through which you can make remote employees feel included:
- Conduct regular 1v1s with them
- Focus on more informal interactions weekly
- Make them comfortable with the new environment they are a part of
- Have a buddy system