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Virtual Team Building Activities to Foster Relationships Remotely

Maintaining strong employee engagement in work from home arrangements is essential for a communicative remote workforce. From virtual training sessions to online workouts, team building activities are an important leverage for organisations to keep employees connected.

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For many corporate organisations, working from home is becoming a new reality. One of the biggest challenges of such arrangements is maintaining continued employee engagement. As employees work remotely, organisations need to find alternative methods of sustaining unity within and between teams, and ensuring they remain engaged.

What is employee engagement and why is it important?

Employee engagement refers to a workplace approach that emotionally connects an employee to the organisation’s values and goals, resultingly strengthening his/her commitment to the company. This makes employee engagement important for organisations, both small and large. With a positive connection to the company, employees are more likely to invest in their roles, develop higher satisfaction and care for their responsibilities, and eventually produce good quality work for the organisation.

There are many ways to bolster employee engagement, from recognising employees for their hard work and setting work-life balance strategies to fostering strong relationships among employees. These relationships can be strengthened through team building activities, especially useful in work from home arrangements. In contrast to office environments where colleagues can easily communicate with one another, remote working can induce feelings of loneliness and detachment as there is a lack of time spent with co-workers. Virtual team building activities help fill this void by creating a more communicative remote workforce, translating to better collaboration and productivity.

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What are the best team building activities for remote work?

Telecommunication has provided organisations around the world a conducive platform for team building activities within the virtual space. From team building games to training and development programmes, the cyber realm lends itself as a proactive solution for corporations as these digital tools continuously upgrade to provide improved user experiences. These allow for some of the best virtual team building activities you can consider for your company:

1. Training and development

Training with peers is one of the best ways to build intra and inter-team relationships. Taking this online is easy with a plethora of video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams. Companies that conduct training and development programmes can replicate them online by utilising the platforms’ features such as screen sharing, non-intrusive chat functions and breakout rooms for separate team discussions. Take Google’s Googler 2 Googler classes, for instance. A regular programme where staff come together to teach different and unique skills, the classes migrated online to offer a medium for remote employees to host live streams, ranging from cooking to yoga sessions.

2. Team building games and recreation

Telecommunication makes virtual team building games and recreation possible. Some organisations often engage third-party vendors to set up these activities. Others go a step further to create their own. Such team building activities can be company-led or employee-initiated, like HubSpot’s version of Pictionary and Mafia, put together for employees across the Asia-Pacific. Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Horangi also holds remote karaoke sessions for colleagues. Similarly, global hardware and software provider HP organised movie nights, in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, and a dance party for its offices worldwide. Such team building games and recreation play a critical role in promoting friendships and alignment with co-workers, encouraging more positive relationships and greater understanding among colleagues.

3. Virtual team workouts

Virtual workouts are gaining popularity around the world and organisations are jumping on the bandwagon to provide such opportunities for their employees. Whether through an external trainer or an internally-led session, sweating it out with colleagues, albeit remotely, is a good way for employers to encourage a healthy lifestyle among employees. Apart from karaoke sessions, Horangi also holds virtual workout sessions every morning, with its chief executive officer leading these exercises involving squats, push-ups and jumping jacks.

How to create team building activities for your remote workers?

If you are intending to create team building activities for your remote workers, here is a simple checklist for you to get started:

  1. Understand your employees’ needs and wants
  2. Decide on activity and clarify its goals in line with employee expectations
  3. Design activity and establish success measures
  4. Consult employees for feedback
  5. Evaluate employee sentiments and apply a similar strategy for future team building activities

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