There’s no water cooler banter to create an atmosphere of camaraderie, so the small business owner has to work even harder to duplicate this sort of self-bonded team in a virtual world. It may seem like an impossible task, but remote workers respond to team-building just like workers in real locations. When it comes to your remote colleagues, these team-building activities may be powerful and useful:
- Get social! Your workers are probably on social media, and if they’re not, it’s high time to introduce them to the ultimate virtual meeting place. Facebook’s new Workplace platform was made for teams to do business while being more social, but if you’re looking for something less formal, the original Facebook groups can be a great place to house chit-chat, ask questions that stimulate conversation and allow your team a place to blow off steam about anything, even work.
- Have regular video meetings. Believe it or not, regular video meetings can create real connections between colleagues, even if those meetings are allowed to dissolve into office chatter. If the whole point of the meeting is really to get everyone together for a chat, then accomplishing a small work goal before allowing everyone to talk between themselves is a sneaky, but effective, way to let your team connect to one another on their own terms. It may take a few tries and you may have to give them prompts, but group discussions are always handy to help team members get to know one another.
- Try a group movie night! It might sound a little crazy, but having a group movie night can give your team something to focus on outside of work, as well as a common place to start building a relationship. Choose a popular movie that everyone can easily access, then flip on group chat as the movie’s running. As the team lead, you’re going to be the one who has to make this seem like a normal activity even if it feels a little weird at first. Working in a virtual workplace is a little weird anyway, so the way you connect to your team is going to have to work outside of the box.
- Real life luncheons. If your team isn’t so scattered to make it impossible, a real life luncheon or dinner once a month or so gives them a way to connect face-to-face. Besides a free meal, your team will get valuable one-on-one time with coworkers who might be video shy or not particularly articulate via email. Getting a whole sense of the people you work with can help you figure out more ways to solve problems together and to handle work-related issues should they arise.
Running a remote team can simplify many different types of projects, but it also adds unique challenges like how to properly team-build. If your team isn’t connecting on its own, these team-building activities can help create stronger ties and better understanding—just like a team that works together in a real office!