The pandemic and subsequent shift to remote working truly turned the process of team engagement on its head. No longer can you bounce ideas off your teammates in a meeting, or catch up with your colleagues during a coffee break. Safe to say, communication has suffered and so have team building activities. It can be difficult to process this change and understand how you can boost remote employee engagement in your workplace. Supposedly, the virtual workspace is going to continue, whether as is or in a hybrid setting of partial in-office days. Meaning, modes of communication and ways of engagement need to change. And all the traditional ideas of building and managing a team have to be reworked to fit this new reality. We absolutely need virtual icebreakers. It can be hard to figure out a framework for virtual team-building in a remote workplace And so, how do you engage your team virtually?
The process of hiring, onboarding, and virtual team building in a remote setup needs to be carried out with the same effectiveness as in a traditional offline setup. But doing so virtually can be a difficult task.
The virtual onboarding process in particular can be a very daunting process for any team but is needed to make new members feel a part of the team. Effective virtual meeting communication and engagement are key in ensuring new hires find their footing within a virtual team and work towards a common goal.
Using SlideUpLift’s ‘Remote Engagement Pack’, we have come up with virtual team building activities that a manager can do virtually in order to engage their team and build trust and confidence within their remote team.
Here are our top virtual team building activities –
1. TWO MINUTE PURPOSE SPEECH
It is a team exercise that focuses on a leader’s ability to articulate the team’s purpose to others in a way that is inspiring, creative, and persuasive.
The reason why this may be a great remote team-building exercise is that it articulates to the entire team the importance of their purpose, and how to identify ways to work as a team and be goal-oriented. It is also a great exercise in building communication skills and training the team in vocalizing their output and aims.
It is an approximately hour-long group activity where participants get to view and analyze famous speeches that were purpose-driven and led to a significant impact in their field. The team should take note of what made these speeches great and how well they were able to articulate and execute their purpose within the speech.
It is one of the virtual team building activities that attempt to raise awareness on how a potential lack of humility may completely disrupt a team atmosphere. This exercise will allow the team to self-assess, recognize their limits, keep accomplishments in perspective and forget the individual to concentrate on the advancement of the team.
Oftentimes, a highly skilled team can completely fall apart due to a major difference of opinion and a rigid stance on certain aspects of the work. This problem can be further exacerbated in a remote team as clear communication is key when you cannot meet your team physically. Thus, inculcating humility should be your strategy in building communication and managing a remote team.
It is an approximately hour-long group activity where participants will be asked to talk about what humility means to them, in order to gauge their teammates and encourage positive behavioral patterns within a team.
3. REMOTE TREASURE HUNT
Remote Treasure Hunt is an activity that allows for the teammates to get to know each other on a personal level, as well as grasp the range of skills, strengths and attributes the team consists of. It may also be beneficial in breaking barriers that do not accommodate for previous biases certain teammates may have, such as stereotypical understanding of someone from a different background.
A traditional onboarding process includes team introductions and a run-down of the skills and experience of the team members. However, in a virtual team setup, this process can be quite overwhelming and not as clear-cut. Also, a new hire may not feel as comfortable approaching the team they are not very familiar with. This virtual employee engagement idea may provide impetus to your teammates to get to know one another in a semi-informal setting, building a sense of comfort and clarity for the team.
It is an approximately 30-minute long group activity where participants go around asking their teammates for very specific responses, or “treasures”, and is a perfect way to start conversations and for people to introduce themselves to the team, especially in a diverse or multi-national setup.
4. TALK IN MOTION
It is one of the virtual team building activities that aims to combine ideas, discussions, and fitness. This exercise allows one to explore the synergy between the body and the brain, the connection health has to innovation.
In a remote workplace, the opportunity to leave the house becomes quite constrained, especially if your work requires you to be in front of the screen at all times. This activity is great at managing remote employees as it allows you to get ahead of screen-fatigue by planning activities that account for physical activity, along with the actual work.
It is an approximately 30-minute long pair activity where participants will keep the COIN (Context, Observation, Impact, and Next Steps) framework in mind to get to know one another and discuss ideas and plans for the team, which will be aided by being in motion, and thus improving vitality and imagination.
5. CATCH A BREATH
It is one of the virtual team building activities that combines the benefits of meditation with virtual engagement, creating an atmosphere that is conducive to work and innovation.
In simple terms, accounting for a period wherein your virtual employees are allowed to “catch their breath”, will significantly boost morale in the virtual workspace. This allows your employees to feel calm and refreshed, which automatically boosts creativity and zeal, something which is required when working in and managing a remote team.
It is an approximately 5-minute long individual activity where participants will meditate and let go of all the noise in their minds, refreshing them for a new day of work.
6. ASK TO INCLUDE
It is one of the virtual team building activities that seek to create an engaging remote team, one where opinions and ideas come from every team member in order to produce results that are well thought out and effective.
Inclusion is the name of the game when it comes to solving problems and getting results. Promoting innovation and creating curiosity are essential when it comes to getting different viewpoints within a virtual team. Growth can only occur when everyone in your team feels heard and valued.
It is an activity that essentially continues in every remote meeting or engagement activity where there is communication and collaboration between the team members.
7. BUILDING TRUST
It is one of the virtual team building activities used to build trust amongst team members at any point in the team’s life cycle. It is a way to empower communication between those with different skills and experiences, allowing the team to be a space for growth and learning.
It is an essential part of remote team building to provide clear routes of communication and onboarding new hires in an environment that allows for a clear understanding of each team member’s role. This means sharing experiences and snippets that create role-models in the team and promotes bonding between members.
It is an approximately 40-60 minute long group activity where participants tell stories and snippets of interesting experiences they’ve had that can contribute positively to the team atmosphere. This includes anecdotes and discussions that are pertinent to the work and the outcomes expected from the team.
8. PRESENCE AND MINDFULNESS
It is one of the virtual team building activities used to understand and adopt mindfulness as constant work practice. It is an exercise that aims to introduce the practice of mindfulness within a remote team, involving the processes of judging intent and practicing meditation.
The classic definition of mindfulness consists of focusing specifically on intent in a way that’s present and non-judgmental. What this means, in a remote team-building exercise, is to make the members of the team understand the intent behind their actions in the workplace. This includes analyzing your work habits, your colleagues, and your team as a whole.
It is an approximately 30-60 minute long group activity where the focus is to reflect on one’s intentions in the workplace, and adopting mindfulness while making decisions and creating interpersonal connections within the team.
9. ADDRESSING ARROGANCE
It is one of the virtual team building activities that will help team members identify what arrogance is and use that analysis to be self-aware and promote behavioral change in the team.
This activity aims to understand modesty and arrogance in opposition to each other. This is great in inducing open conversation in the team, and allows for members to self-reflect and self-correct behaviors that may be detrimental to the whole team.
Remote working is not going anywhere. And it’s time we update our strategies and build new frameworks that can make managing this new virtual workplace an effective, productive, and efficient process. Hopefully, these virtual team-building activities can help you engage your team better and build confidence amongst your teammates!
TO GET DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR EACH OF THE LISTED ACTIVITY, USE OUR ‘TEAM UPLIFT REMOTE ENGAGEMENT EXERCISE’ DECK