10 Effective Ways to Create a Cohesive Remote Team
Creating an engaged and convivial work culture can be difficult when employees see each other every day at the office. This task becomes even more tricky when trying to evoke a sense of togetherness for a team that is not together physically. Creating a compatible and hospitable culture when you have a handful of remote members or a full remote team scattered across time zones, embedded in different cultures and diverse backgrounds can seem impossible.
Yet team compatibility and cohesiveness is vital. Perhaps even more so when there is no water cooler to engage in natural banter.
How do you encourage the organic development of interpersonal relationships between colleagues?
Virtual team building activities can be fun and effective in promoting employee happiness, retention, and productivity.
But team building isn’t a “one and done” activity! Remember that when nurturing any type of relationship, ongoing and consistent engagement is how longlasting team cohesion is maintained.
To get started here are 10 creative ways to build and maintain a cohesive remote team.
For building a new team.
1) Virtual Home/Workplace Tour
Encourage each member of the remote team to make a short video of their home, their workplace (especially if they work in a coworking space), or a day in the life. The vlog could include interesting details about their city, country, weather, front-page news, and local holidays or traditions. This is great for new hires and existing employees.
2) Team Member Spotlight/Q&A
Each member of the remote team, in turn, will create a short presentation about themselves based upon 5 questions submitted by the rest of the team. The presentation becomes an “icebreaker” and a great way to spark meaningful conversation among colleagues.
This is a great activity for existing members to meet new hires, however it can be adapted for existing teams by having the presenting team member will then nominate the next team member to present.
For already formed remote teams
3) Team Book Club
A monthly or quarterly book club is a great way for team members to get together and bond. Choose a book that is in alignment with your company’s mission or will be beneficial in achieving an organizational goal. Assign a moderator for each book who will come up with 5 questions to initiate conversation.
Observe how different departments interpret or resonate with aspects of the book. An added incentive is if the organization pays for the books.
4) Team Playlist
A great way for the team to get to know each other better is to create a team playlist. Since most remote workers end up listening to a lot of music, this can be a great way to share favorite music and podcast. Ask each team member to create their own playlist (on Spotify or Apple music) and sharing the link to a Slack channel.
5) Share Favorite Recipes for the Regional Holidays
Create a Pinterest board, or Slack channel where everyone can share their favorite recipes, especially for their regional holidays. This creates an opportunity for the team to try new tasty dishes and provides an opportunity to learn about different holidays and more about their colleague.
6) Monthly Favorite Things List
Though probably not as exciting or luxurious as Oprah’s infamous favorite things, every month team members can submit 1-5 of the items that they most appreciate or “just can’t live without” to the organizational newsletter or Slack channel. Creating an organizational favorite things lists can be a great way to get to know each other.
The list can be curated for apps, tools and resources for the organization. Or the list can be a personal favorite things list, including kitchen appliances, skincare, coffee roasts or tv shows. If you use slack you can set up channels for each to encourage even wider company wide conversations.
7) Funny Picture Slack Channel
Use a Slack channel to post funny pictures of your team member’s pets or Gifs that make you chuckle. Create a space where everyone can comment, laugh and swoon over fun non-work related photos.
8) Awful Movie Recommendation
Ask each person to “recommend” an awful movie with a short blurb explaining why they think the movie is horrible. Encourage members to watch the movies and give their opinions as well. This will undoubtedly create some light banter and friendly disagreement between the team.
9) Guilty Pleasure Music or TV show
In a similar vein as to #8, have everyone submit their guilty pleasure musical or television indulgence. This also creates an atmosphere for team members to get know each other and playfully guffaw each other or come together in solidarity over a shared guilty pleasure.
10) Team Fun Run
Create a team running club. Get everyone to agree to sign up for a fun run in their respective cities. Agree upon a training schedule and download the Map My Run app, or similar platform to track daily runs and share with the team to hold each other accountable.
More people are looking for positions that are location independent. Companies are welcoming the savings (less or no need for physical workspace) and advantages (availability to tap a global pool of talent) of employing a remote workforce. However, the ever-present problem of workplace culture: creation, maintenance, and acceleration of a happy and healthy work culture can be mitigated with consistent and sincere engagement.
Tweet at us, @amdeellc with at least 2 activities that you are considering implementing in your organization.