Team building, you know we love it! From icebreakers, to games, to trainings, we love anything that helps us become a stronger group. We recently wrote an article about how we team build, giving you a glimpse into a company retreat we had in Philadelphia. But in this post, we want to show you a different side of our team building strategy: how we team build with our remote teams! Since we have team members all over North America and in different countries across the world, getting to know each other is critical to our overall success as a group. Trust us, we’ve tried all the remote team building tricks in the book! Here are our favorite team building activities that we find support and encourage our remote teams.
Weekly Team Google Hangout Calls
Weekly touch base meetings are one way our Marketing Team keeps in touch and stays efficient. A weekly Google Hangout call with a set agenda, and VIDEO, is perfect for our remote teams to get to know each other. Team members share their biggest wins from the previous week, what they are working on, or anything interesting they’ve learned through their work.
Weekly Touch Base Tips:
- Open each session with a quick and easy icebreaker. This helps set the mood and gets everyone comfortable.
- Invite a special guest! Invite a team member from a different department to the meeting. They can share a little about their job and what they do! This is great for helping a remote team connect. Sometimes you’ll work with someone in a different department and never see their face. This ensures all your teams “meet” and know a little about each other!
- Pick a topic and have your team members share how they deal with it. Example: Productivity. Ask each person to share a productivity trick with the rest of the team. Learning from each other is great way to make your teams stronger and more efficient.
The “Book Group”
Before you turn down this idea, think of it as an awesome and unique way for your teams to develop professionally. Reading is a great way to reduce stress and encourage analytical thinking. We started a small book group to help our employees in one department become even better at what they do. Read for professional development! Start an actual group where employees read together or you can also create your own spin on the traditional activity.
Read Together Tips:
- Create a list of books, novels, or essays, that have something to do with your team members’ jobs. The subject doesn’t have to be cut and dry. A salesperson might benefit from a book on effective writing techniques, while a marketing person could learn from a book on using images to persuade. Remember, unique topics can help inspire creativity and innovative thinking!
- Let them pick a book that they think is interesting, to make it feel less like work. Don’t forget to pay for the book too; that encourages everyone to participate.
- Talk about what you’re reading. Set aside time as a group, over a conference call or video chat, to discuss the books you’re reading. You can learn from each others’ takeaways.
Icebreakers for the Win
Perfectly executed icebreakers are essential for helping teams bond and for encouraging people who might normally be too shy to share! Icebreaker questions are great for starting a meeting, event, or even the work day. We love icebreakers and start most of our meetings with one or two! The stress-free format of the icebreaker is ideal for relieving pressure and can often help teams relax. The great thing about icebreakers is that they don’t take a lot of planning and your team probably won’t even notice they are team building.
- Ask an icebreaker before every meeting or event. It helps lightening the mood and get people warmed up for a big meeting.
- If you have remote teams, ask a weekly icebreaker in a company Slack channel or Know Your Company (however you communicate). Team members can respond throughout the week.
- Be vigilant. Once you convince your teams that icebreakers aren’t scary or stressful or boring, they’ll start looking forward to them!
- Ask your team members for fun icebreaker questions to get a sense of what they’d like to know about their teammates. The more involved they are, the closer they’ll feel to the group.
Company Wide Trainings
It’s no secret that at Museum Hack we love our company trainings! The cool thing is, we also have training for our remote staff (where we also incorporate our non-remote staff.). A company wide video hangout session, once every few months can work wonders for your teams. Just like we mentioned earlier, your teams may work together but they may have never met. We love to help put “face to the names” and get everyone working together. That can often start with introductions and feeling comfortable talking to each other.
- Include the CEO! It’s important to include the CEO in team building activities to help build a strong company culture and show people how much they all matter.
- Learn a skill, or have a mini training session. Mini professional development are always a win.
- Take a mini-mindfulness course or learn a skill together (one that’s easy to do remotely!). If you need to, send out a quiz with a few options for dates and times. This will be key to getting everyone involved!
Try these simple team building tricks when you are planning team building with all your staff. When it comes to remote team building you just need to be creative and open to all ideas! If you have only a few remote team members, use these ideas to help brainstorm more team building activities that involve the whole company.