Although many people are enjoying a number of benefits that come with remote working such as; less time commuting, more time with family and friends, and the general flexibility to work anywhere with an internet connection, attention has also been drawn to the difficulty that can arise when trying to build team camaraderie.
Barriers of remote working to team building
In a company office, you are surrounded by members of your team and other coworkers. This means that throughout the day you are spending the majority of your time in their company and although it is unlikely you will be communicating all of the time, there will be regular conversations both work related and non work related.
These brief conversations are more integral to the success of a team than you might realise. When remote working, individuals do not have those opportunities for chance encounters at the kettle with co-workers inside and outside of their teams. Instead they may only communicate when absolutely necessary during team meetings which can prevent a genuine relationship being built.
To help encourage trust and rapport between your remote team members it is important to implement regular team building exercises.
Team building activities for remote teams
These do not have to be complex and time consuming activities, in fact some of the best and most effective ways to boost morale within remote teams are straightforward and simple.
Holding a virtual group lunchtime once a week can do wonders for bridging communication gaps between teams. Depending on the size of your business you can choose to do whole company lunches or split them off into teams. Have managers as facilitators with conversion starters and keep in mind to try and steer the conversation away from heavy work topics. This is a chance for employees to chat about what they did at the weekend, their children, hobbies and pets and really find out nuggets of information about each other. It might be daunting at first for some but after a few weeks it will become more natural.
Cooking or mixology activities
Once a month it can be a fun idea to send a package to your team members. This could be a cocktail/mocktail making kit or food package. Encourage everyone to take part in a virtual meeting room and hold it during work hours, potentially at the end of the day on a Friday. Moods and morale are normally better at the end of the week as workers look forward to the weekend, they will then be more likely to engage in the activity and contribute to conversations.
Separate work chat
Depending on the messaging software you have within your business, it is important to encourage conversations that do not revolve around work. Whether it is slack, skype or whatsapp, creating an extra chat with a team or whole business that is not for work topics is important. You could have a day where everyone sends a picture of their lunch or pets, or even a good news day where team members share a piece of good news. These quick exchanges will help to build trust amongst team members and allow them to understand each other better.
You might find it tricky to build a good team culture within your remote working environment, but employing small and regular changes and activities will slowly start to show positive results.