It’s been over a year away from the office for some people, and while working from home has its perks, it can sometimes isolate employees who thrive in a team environment. A fantastic way to boost morale and keep your employees engaged while working remotely is through team-building exercises.
There are several virtual team-building exercises you can have your staff take part in remotely that promote discussion and bonding, so everyone will actually enjoy them.
1. Hold a Virtual Happy Hour
A virtual happy hour gives everyone permission to unwind, enjoy their favorite beverage and chat freely with coworkers as if they were back in the office. To organize your happy hour digitally, select your preferred video conferencing platform and send out an email invite to your staff a few days in advance, so they have time to prepare. Enhance the experience by encouraging everyone to dress up as if they were really attending a cocktail party, so they have an excuse to ditch the sweatpants.
2. Virtual Gift Exchange
Around the holidays, or even at the end of a successful quarter, consider implementing a virtual employee gift exchange, like Secret Santa or White Elephant. Plenty of services now offer virtual gift cards, allowing employees to send each other gifts using email addresses. You can set a strict price cap, ensuring nobody is financially stressed by the endeavor.
3. Gather Virtually for a Movie Night
Countless platforms can make arranging a remote office movie night easy. Netflix Party, Scener, Amazon Watch Party and Squad are just a few options for collective viewing that allow your employees to watch the movie synchronously and communicate at the same time. The shared experience offers a common talking point for the rest of the week and brings your employees closer. Reducing feelings of isolation and keeping your team feeling happy during challenging times is an enormous asset to any company.
4. Share a Photo
During busy periods, your team needs a boost in morale more than ever. Implementing quick but fun team-building activities to help lighten the mood and inspire everyone to return to work with newfound vigor after the fact. Asking everyone to share a photo of a previous vacation, something they did that weekend or a pet allows your staff to divulge more about themselves and see what they have in common with others.
1. Start a Virtual Book Club
This particular team-building activity requires a long-term commitment. Still, it is an excellent way for your employees to bond over shared interests and have something to chat about outside of work. Deep connections can form over literature and riveting stories, so why not facilitate a company book club for interested people? Set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting time, tell everyone to grab a glass of wine and let the discussions roll.
Keeping up with the reading list will also give anyone feeling bored at home something to occupy their spare time.
2. Virtual Escape Room
Many people have attended a real-life escape room for a birthday party or event, but virtual escape rooms are becoming a popular alternative. Using Zoom or another digital platform, your employees will have to work together to solve clues and control a field agent to get them out of the escape room under a time constraint. This activity requires effective communication and cooperation while also providing a fun break from everyday life.
3. Take a Virtual City Tour
Lockdowns have everyone itching for borders to reopen so they can start traveling, but with a virtual city tour, you can bring travel to the office. Have your team submit suggestions for which city or country they want to tour that week and then coordinate a time for your employees to log into the event together. These tours are available through multiple companies and can even be found as events on Facebook. Virtual exploration will inspire your staff for their future travels.
You can make the event more personal by encouraging everyone to share their travel bucket lists, sparking passionate discussions. Then, choose the city you will tour based on what appeared most often across everyone’s selections.
4. Two Truths and A Lie
Of all the icebreaker games you can play, this one is the most revealing and the most exciting. It encourages your team to learn about each other, practice active listening and demonstrate how well people know their colleagues already.
The premise is simple: Everyone shares three facts about themselves. Two are true, one is a lie and fellow teammates must determine which is the lie. Spice things up by adding prizes or incentives for employees who guess the most correct answers, proving they know their teammates well.
5. Have the Team Take Personality Tests
Personality tests are a fantastic team-building exercise. Not only will your staff learn more about each other, but they’ll also gain knowledge about themselves. While the activity itself is fun, it can also improve communication within the company as employees learn which communication methods their fellow workers best respond to. Popular free tests include the Myers-Briggs-inspired 16 personality types test or the Enneagram test.
6. Send Out Appreciation Packages
To thank your team for continuing to turn in quality work despite the work from home adjustment, you can orchestrate a virtual conference where all team members collectively open an appreciation gift from the company and celebrate the achievements of the past year. Choose quirky presents that will start conversations, like funny socks. Your employees will feel valued and included in an uplifting team atmosphere.
Start Planning Your Virtual Team-Building Events ASAP
Work-life balance is critical to your team’s continued success, and when work takes place from home, the lines between the two parts of life can become blurred. Finding ways to keep your employees engaged, growing and communicating while working remotely benefits everyone.
Try to integrate at least one or two of these team-building events into the company calendar each month, giving staff advance notice so everyone can take part. These exercises will give everyone on the team something to look forward to, talk about and bond over until they can return to the office and speak in-person.