Today, 4 million UK citizens are choosing to work from home. For most remote workers, bonding online is a great way to bring the team closer together despite the distance. However, many Fortune 1000 companies are revamping the way they run their virtual teams.

The lack of interaction between remote teams is one of the biggest disadvantages as they can affect the overall performance of the company. In addition, the bond between colleagues can make a difference in team morale and satisfaction – both online and off. So, what can team leaders do to improve the bonding factors even beyond time zones? Boost remote employee relationships with team building activities, of course.

Embracing “Old School” Video Conferences

Video conferencing is one of the least, yet essential features needed by remote teams. In fact, it is one of the most useful tools to build trust with each other online. So, why not make it part of your team building routine? Set aside 30 minutes for a video meeting every 2 – 4 weeks. The goal is to have everyone join in and get an update from all team members about what’s working and what isn’t.

In addition, a dedicated channel on Slack will give members a place to share photos, discuss group issues, share their work, and connect with everyone on the team. If you plan to connect with everyone, set up a specific time for all members to be online to discuss challenges, weekly tasks, or give recognition.

Geocaching in the Great Outdoors

For remote teams located within the same region, planning an annual teambuilding trip is a great option to ‘get out and explore’ without traveling too far. Once you’ve set your area, an activity like geocaching provides a unique opportunity to spend a day outdoors with colleagues that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. If the company cannot provide GPS devices, there are simple apps that groups can download. When choosing your cache, aim to simplify the process by avoiding any items that will be difficult to find. Instead, use tickets that can be traded once a geocache is tracked. You can also include messages such as puzzles or riddles for teams to find to make the outdoor activity more exciting.

Encourage a Lunch ‘n’ Learn

Whenever an employee attends a conference useful to the team, ask them to present a summarized presentation of what they learned. Whether the team is located within the same region or in different time zones, invite the team to sign in the online group discussion. To help encourage the team to join in, management can purchase a reloadable gift card or bonus fund to use towards a virtual lunch during the presentation. That way, the whole company benefits from the conference and the ideas gained from it.

Team building shouldn’t be limited to non-remote companies. Members who work remotely don’t have to miss out on the “water cooler experience” of a physical workplace. Instead, use these tactics to keep teams in sync, productive, and ultimately strengthen the bond beyond time zones.

Author: freelance writer Lucy Wyndham
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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