Conducting team-building activities in the workplace is not a new concept. For decades, leaders and managers have been coming up with activities that foster interdependence and collaboration to bring out the best in their teams. And in today’s global community, such team-building, problem-solving activities are increasingly important. So, many of us nowadays are working remotely with peers we’ve never even met in person! And as a manager, you still have the responsibility of bringing your teams together and encouraging them to work with one another to achieve common objectives.
Although your teams may be global, you can still host fun team-building activities through a variety of remote collaboration solutions. The key lies in being able to successfully use these virtual platforms to teach concepts that your team members can enjoy, learn from, and apply in their lives so that they can ultimately improve performance and produce visible results. (Think of the Kirkpatrick Learning Evaluation Model)
Here are some ideas you can use to build your remote teams :
Friday afternoon coffee – over a video conference!
When your team is spread out around different locations – even globally, you don’t often have the chance to get together for happy hour or appetizers after work to enable you to bond with one another outside of the office. A great way to get to know your team members and encourage collaboration is to have a video conference on a Friday afternoon with your team. Treat everyone to coffee and have a laid-back video conference to allow everyone to casually chat “face-to-face” without the pressures of deadlines, deliverables, or project plans. Keep it light and talk about things you’d discuss at a bistro or lounge after-hours.
Set up a team-building activity via web conferencing and build up the morale in your organization
Let’s say you have a team of 15. Get everyone on a web conference, give them a “challenge” that they need to solve and break them out into 3 groups. Give each group 20 minutes to complete their activity then bring everyone back together on the conference to see who best accomplished their “challenge”.
Break out into focus groups – online
If there’s a problem that your remote teams have been experiencing in any of their tasks you can still bring them all together on a web and video conference to collectively identify the problem and discuss. Some web conferencing platforms give you the ability to break your attendees into virtual break-out rooms. You can break out your teams into focus groups and have them use these break-out rooms on the web conference to resolve the issue as a unified group. Reward the teams with various incentives for their collaborative problem-solving efforts.
Take the results of your collaborative problem solving efforts from the focus groups you created online and webcast the solution to the entire organization through a webinar service. You can make it interactive and engaging. Have polling questions and games to play. Host an award ceremony online for those who provided the best solution and broadcast it to everyone in your company via webcast. Boost the morale of your employees and give everyone a chance to have some fun together.