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From cocktails to laughter yoga: How to bring people together with virtual team building activities.

Post by
Diyanah Afendy
From cocktails to laughter yoga: How to bring people together with virtual team building activities.

Team building plays an incredibly important role in shaping and managing a strong team, regardless if they’re co-located or distributed. As cliché as they are, those motivational posters up on the office walls do make a point – teamwork makes the dream work.

Organisations should continuously explore ways to improve workflows and build alignment to reinforce employee morale, strengthen team connections, and maximise productivity. This can be done by organising virtual team building activities to leverage team empowerment and employee engagement.

But first, what is virtual team building?

Virtual team building is the constant process of bringing remote teams together and creating deeper bonds through shared experiences. It forms the foundation for communication within distributed teams to make up for physical office spaces – like the water cooler, conference room or lunch area – virtually.

Leaders will have to deliberately manage virtual team building through specific initiatives to keep the team collaborative and on the same page.

Read on to find out 5 main benefits of virtual team building activities. We’ve even included our own ideas and activities for you to complete with your team that go beyond the traditional team building exercises.

1. Boosts morale

A work environment that focuses solely on deadlines and KPIs can cause disengagement and burnout.

Team building activities empower distributed teams with positive reinforcements and make each employee feel valued. It provides opportunities to build camaraderie, which boosts employee morale, and instills higher levels of trust and transparency throughout the organisation.

Some examples include:

  • Virtual coffee catchups/ check-ins.
  • Laughter Yoga (quirky, but effective!)
  • Weekly game of Team Taboo on the Remote Social Hub (register for access here!)

Laughter Yoga by Suzy Harvey.

2. Promotes collaboration

Distributed teams don’t have the luxury of tapping their co-worker on the shoulder to discuss their tasks or ask for help. This makes it challenging, because most tasks are interdependent and demand coordination between resources. There are greater risks of discrepancies in communication when working remotely.

Virtual team building helps employees stay well-connected with their colleagues and allows for avenues to work cohesively. Through various activities and multiple interactions, employees will also start learning of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which will help the team work more effectively and efficiently.

Some examples include:

Virtual escape room by Entermission

3. Increases productivity

Similar to the point above, when teams are isolated, chances are they don’t have a clear work direction or aren’t on the same page – which can decrease productivity. Virtual team building activities serve as platforms for team members to sync up and remind individuals how they fit in the big picture.

With a clearer sense of purpose, it motivates employees to work towards the same goal in the same direction, which in turn, improves the overall productivity of the team.

Some examples include:

Yin Yoga session for Stress Relief by Jennison

4. Reinforce positive work culture

Dr Ben Hamer, Future of Work Lead in PwC Australia, explained that “people need to feel needed… and feel like they belong as part of a team”.  Constant interaction within a distributed team will positively influence employees, thereby reinforcing positive workplace cultures.

Distributed teams need reminding, through shared experiences, that we can still have a laugh at work, create authentic connections, and come up with radically new ideas and processes together. Leaders, now more than ever, need to be more intentional when prioritising for these moments. Explore things that bring joy to your team, and create space for them to share and enjoy together.

Some examples include:

Happy Hour n’ a Half: The Cocktail Game Show by Beyond The Bar.

5. Build diverse relationships

Virtual team building activities help organisations build meaningful relationships and connections among geographically distributed teams and develop cross-generational relationships. When organisations  embrace diversity (cultural /gender /race /hobbies), not only does it make employees feel included and part of something bigger, they will also start to appreciate and value the team they work with.

Some examples include:

  • Discover Weekly – invite employees to curate a Spotify playlist to share some of their favourite tunes with the team.
  • Daily watercooler topics posted in your team’s Slack channel to start conversations. Questions like: “What cartoon or movie character would you want to meet and why?” or “What’s your favourite childhood memory?”
  • Personal facts guessing game: Collate everyone’s personal facts, compile them onto a document, and get the team to figure out which team member the fact belongs to!

Teamwork truly makes the dream work! Team building activities give your employees the opportunity to showcase their talents and passions. They also give you the opportunity to get to know your team better and continue to form strong relationships that will help become a better leader.

Looking for a team building experience for your team?
Check out our Remote Social Hosted Experiences marketplace. We have tons of activities for you and your team to choose from.

Tip: use an online collaboration document or tool, like a Trello board or Confluence page, and invite your team members to share some team building activities they would like to try. This way you have a document to refer back to which activities you’ve yet to try, and the outcome of those you have.