In the age of remote work, a lot of companies are still struggling with how to build social bonds amongst their distributed workers. Of course, it’s not easy for a virtual team to build a strong bond when they don’t see their colleagues every day. But it is possible to overcome this problem by planning fun activities that engage the team and create a great company culture.
Team-building events, activities, and meetings are an essential part of any company culture. However, it’s not always easy to organize activities for your team members. But with a little creativity and some planning in advance, you can organize effective activities that bring happiness, productivity, and focus back into your remote teams.
If you’re considering introducing virtual company events, here are some tips to help you get started.
What is Company Culture and Why it Matters
Company culture is the foundation of a company. Defined as the core beliefs, ideas, and values that determine how an organization operates and how its employees relate to one another.
If you have a great culture, everyone in that company is going to be happy. They will feel like they are working with friends and will go above and beyond to help one another. They will love their jobs. However, if you have a bad culture, people will be miserable. They will be fighting with each other and this will be reflected in their work as well. Thus, a strong team culture not only helps your business, but it makes it a great place to work as well.
An example of great company culture is Google, rated one of the best employers on the planet. They offer their employees perks like free food, massages, excellent pay, and gorgeous office spaces. They also work on the relationships in the company with team meetings, team activities, and team events.
Why Virtual Team Activities are Important
Planning activities for your remote team is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and motivated. Team activities can be as simple as planning a virtual team lunch, or as complex as organizing a remote team retreat.
Activities like these serve to keep your team feeling connected to one another even when they can’t physically be together. This is really important because when your employees work remotely, they may feel disconnected from the daily happenings of the company.
Encourage high levels of productivity and focus, it helps to keep them motivated and engaged. If you can bring your team together and keep them motivated, then you’ll have a team that’s working together to achieve the same goals. Planning regular fun activities that have a personal touch are an easy way to do that.
How to Plan Virtual Team Activities
To help your team to build trust and sociability, it’s important to plan engaging team activities. It’s not enough to just get everyone together, have a meeting, and then log off. Before you attempt to organize an activity for your group, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Stay organized with a team calendar and send out invites making sure that everyone can attend.
- Make sure activities are shared experiences for the entire team. No one should feel left out or isolated. Monitor activities and invite quieter team members to speak up.
- Before you plan an event, make sure that you are aware of what your team enjoys. Not all of them will enjoy the same things.
- Make sure to have a clear goal in mind about what you want to achieve with this activity. For example, if the goal is for the team to have fun and de-stress don’t talk about outstanding work at the event.
Fun activities help to build relationships within a team, and that’s where the magic happens.
Ways to Create a Fun Remote Team Culture
Your company culture is important because it impacts your employees, and what affects your team will eventually impact your customers. If your employees are happy, they’ll be more productive and more engaged. If your employees are engaged, they’ll be more likely to go the extra mile for your customers. If you want to improve your remote culture, these tips will help to get you started.
- The first thing you could do is to figure out what kind of culture you want to create. To do this you need to look at your virtual team and work out what matters to them. What do they value? What motivates them? Think outside the box about what matters most to your team.
- The second thing is to look at your current company culture, and then close the gap with incremental changes until you have the culture that you want.
- Hiring people that understand your mission, and fit into your culture is essential.
- Encourage the learning and development of your team.
- Commit to working with a diverse team of people.
- Show your commitment to your team’s health and well-being.
- Make sure that no matter where your team is working that the physical and virtual work environment is transparent and supportive.
When you have your culture statement about how your company interacts with its workers. Next, try to think of some activities to help you to communicate those values to your team.
How to Make Your Remote Team Happy in Their Jobs
Happiness is subjective, but we can agree that there are some values that most of us share that are not so different. Things like respect, belonging, accountability, trust, and communication. When our values and needs are being met we feel happy and are more productive as a result.
15 Ideas for creating a virtual environment for a confident and happy team:
- Don’t be a micromanager. Trust is one of the most important parts of a remote work environment. Give your team more freedom, when you establish trust with employees give them the space to do their job and the freedom to be creative.
- Be flexible with your remote team about when they need to work, especially if they don’t have to stick to a 9-to-5 schedule.
- Hold your staff accountable for their work but also praise them generously when they do well.
- Empower your staff to develop and do better.
- Be respectful and polite at all times with your staff.
- Make sure that each person feels that they are being given a fair and equal chance to exist in the team.
- Encourage employees to take holidays from work and discourage overworking.
- Encourage positivity and focus as much as possible on what is going well.
- Communicate effectively and encourage team communication Also, listen to your team, when you take the time to listen to what your team is saying you get many clues about how they are feeling.
- Regularly schedule team meet-ups.
- Send updates on what’s happening with the company
- Make sure that you have effective online communication tools. This facilitates easy communication and meetings but also helps people to stay in touch and communicate during the week. For example, services like Trello, Slack, and chat apps work well for this.
- Make sure everyone has the right tools to get their job done.
- Create a virtual office space for the team.
- Reward and recognize team members for doing a good job.
Activity Ideas For Fun Virtual Team Events
The beauty of virtual teams is that they can operate from anywhere in the world. That kind of freedom is a great way to improve employee happiness, and boost morale. But to take your company culture to the next level try scheduling team activities that are interesting to each person. Planning fun and engaging activities that mean something will help the team realize that you care about, and appreciate them.
Here are 9 ideas for activities to connect with and engage your team
Ideas for Activities to Make a Remote Team Interact:
- Host a virtually themed games night, you can play any game that suits your team. Playing games together boosts company morale and encourages teamwork.
- Set up virtual musical chairs where team members have to rotate around and meet the entire company. This will take some planning and a joint team playlist, but when the music stops all team members must talk to someone new. Zoom has a breakout room facility that could work very well for this purpose.
- Start team meetings with an icebreaker. Asking a question that causes everyone to think out of the box. For example, If you were stuck on a desert island what 3 things would you bring. Ask a different question each time.
Ideas For Recurring Events:
- Of course, everyone has to bring their own drinks but you could set up a recurring meeting for a Friday happy hour, where employees can meet virtually, mingle and enjoy some time together. You can do this with Zoom break-out rooms, where each room has a fun theme.
- Set up a virtual gratitude ceremony where you can share the positive impact that remote workers have had on the business. You could give out emojis, digital downloads, and thank you notes.
- Organize a monthly mastermind where everyone shares their experiences openly of the past month. For example what they are struggling with and what they have done well. If you have a big team you may need to split people into smaller groups.
Ideas for Activities That Have a Personal Touch:
- Buy a rotating team mascot, allow each person to take care of it for a few weeks before it is posted to the next person. It could be a company mascot, a trophy, a cool gadget, or another physical product that helps people connect with the idea of a team existing when the internet is off.
- Send physical birthday cards to your staff on their special day and invite messages from the rest of the team to help that staff member feel special. There are lots of online card companies like ‘Moonpig’ that deliver personalized cards for a very low cost.
- Every month send an employee something to eat or drink as a surprise. Food lifts the mood, will help them to have a better, more productive day. Just make sure to do it in a fair way that by the end of the year that everyone gets something. This would be easy to do with an app like ‘Just-eat’ or ‘Deliveroo’.
Ideas for a Virtual Company Retreat That’s Free or Low-Cost
From games and team-building activities to brainstorming and masterminds. Virtual retreats are a great way to focus on one area and support everyone to get onto the same page.
Team-building in this way can be very powerful because it fosters positivity. Here are a couple of ideas of fun activities for your company retreat.
- Organize a retreat that focuses on team relaxation, including activities that everyone will enjoy and more importantly can do together. Encouraging staff to take care of themselves shows that you care and will motivate staff to work more productively. Activities like group yoga, pilates, meditation, or any other relaxing activities are great for virtual retreats.
- Organize a knowledge-sharing training event where willing team members can share a skill and proceed to teach it to the other members. It could be work or non-work-related topics. Establishing skill-sharing as part of the culture further enhances the team by letting everyone know people’s strengths but also encouraging inter-team development.
How to Manage Virtual Employees After the Activities
As well as virtual activities, effective remote management is also an important part of building a strong remote team. It’s important to make sure that everyone in your reteam knows what they’re doing. As a remote manager, you need to clearly communicate your expectations and objectives.
You should check in with your team members periodically to see how things are going and to see if they need any help with anything. You should aim to create a healthy team environment, where people can enjoy themselves but also work hard to meet targets, this forms the foundation of strong company culture.
Team activities are a great way to build relationships, and they are vital to strong business culture. Team-building helps to break down barriers and gives your virtual team a chance to get to know each other better. It’s also a great way to help team members bond over a common goal, which is vital for a positive work environment.
If you’re operating a remote team, it’s critical to keep motivation levels high. Virtual employees need to feel like they’re a part of something bigger, and that they’re contributing to something great.
What are you going to implement in your business culture today, to motivate and engage your virtual team?