Best team building activities for REMOTE teams!

by Wendy Soon on April 21, 2014

iStock_000005904003Smallbanner2Following up on our previous blog post on “best team building activities”, you wonder, these are not useful at all for remote teams!! I agree. So here are now some recommendations for team building activities for REMOTE and VIRTUAL teams:

 

  1. Virtual office tour — Since you’re using technology to do your work, why not use it to the maximum to bond with your team? Give your fellow teammates a tour of your office, using your laptop webcam. Have a walk around your workspace, show off your desk, your office digs, and your dog. Then have them do the same.

  2. Decorating contest — Expand the virtual office tour into a workspace decorating contest. This can be physical (decorate a work desk or a computer monitor), or virtual (decorating the desktop). Have a closing date or time to the contest, and have team members take a picture of their creation. Post the photos to a shared space and take a poll. (Optional: do it live! Have a video-conference so everyone can show off their creation over their webcams, and even rally team members for their vote!)

  3. Virtual gossip — Make it a point to call one team member a day (or a week) to talk only about non-work matters. Chat about movies, your weekend, or your upcoming vacation plans.  (Optional: If time zone differences is not an issue in your team, expand this to virtual coffee chats or virtual happy hours. Create a fixed coffee break time for all your team members to gather and gossip together, even if it is over the internet.)

  4. Go social — Make full use of all the social networking platforms out there. Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, etc. Make clear that these platforms are only for non-work-related discussions, so as to encourage light chats and sharing of personal comments.

  5. Plan a meal (30 minutes) — Split your team into 2 or more smaller groups, asking them to plan a seven course meal each. After 15 minutes, have each group present their selections. Then, together as a single team, come up with one menu. The “light bulb moment” in this activity is that more heads are better than one, and that the best solutions are usually the result of a group effort. (Optional: have a post-game debrief with the teams, to talk about how they went about the process of brainstorming and communicating as a virtual group. What communication tactics worked well? What frustrations were there, and how could those be resolved in future situations?)

  6. Virtual charades (0.5-1 hour) — This is especially applicable to teams that usually set up video conferences for meetings. It will have everyone working together, solving problems and having fun along the way. Charades requires the player to mime or imitate a certain action or subject that the rest of the team has to figure out. For teams who use voice chats more often than video chat, try Voice Charades instead. The player needs to imitate the sound of an object or person, such as printer sounds, R2D2, traffic jams, President George Bush, jogging along the beach.  (Optional: have a drawing version of charades, using virtual whiteboards such as Scribblar and Syncpad. To decide who will go first, enter all team member names onto a site such as Random.org and choose the first name that shows up)

  7. Spin a Tale (15-30 minutes) – This fun game fosters creativity and helps team members think on their feet. During a meeting, make up the first line of a story. Then ask team members to take turns and add each subsequent line until a whole plot develops! Let the story go along on its own path and deviations. This is the fun part of the game; you never know what perils or fortunes can occur next! You cannot start thinking of the statement you want to add until you hear the previous person’s contribution, because the plot can change drastically with each statement! The best thing is, even though your team may develop favourite start tags, the story will never end up the same! In other words, you learn how to think innovatively. Here are some ways you can start your tale:

  • It was an unusual Monday morning…

  • BOOM!

  • The coffee overflowed…

  • 15 years, 15 months and 15 days later, I finally saw it in my letter box…

  • As I reversed into the parking lot…

7 comments on “Best team building activities for REMOTE teams!

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  3. Your 7 points about team building programs are effective. I loved your post and would appreciate if you highlight the significance of the team building activities in current scenario.

  4. Hi! This is a great post. I’ve just come across it. Thanks a ton. Communication and teambuilding is not the easiest part in remote companies. Teams are dispersed so why bother and communicate about “stuff”. But it is essential indeed. Number #3 is my favourite easy-to use and brings lots of good team spirit. I gather all useful stuff about remote teams, drop by anythime http://reremote.com/

  5. Trishna on said:

    wow!! it was a really fun post with great ideas!! I read the earlier posts on team building activities and found loads of ideas for the workshop in my organization!! thanks a ton!!

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