Breaking Down Barriers: Tips for Including Remote Employees in Team Building Exercises

Did you know that only two out of every 10 US employees have someone they consider a work “best friend?”

The pandemic changed the way a lot of people work, but it also changed the way employees can interact with one another. It might seem small, but remote team-building activities can help your team a lot. How can you get started, though?

Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Benefits of Remote Team Building Activities

So, what benefits can you begin to see when you consider remote team-building activities? Here are a few of the best to consider.

Improved Communication

When team members feel closer, it’s easier for them to communicate effectively with one another. Encouraging open and consistent communication in a relaxed environment, like the one that team-building exercises provide, is a great way to bring everyone together.

When everyone is happy, you’re likely to notice a difference in their overall performance levels.

Better Engagement

Team activities can help create excitement around working together. When your employees are excited about their jobs, they’re more likely to be productive during working hours.

It’s also a great way to show your employees you care. When you do this, they’re a lot more likely to feel safe in their work environment. When your employees feel valued, you’re going to experience a boost in office productivity and morale.

“Employees with low morale often feel their current employers aren’t meeting their needs,” Business News Daily wrote.

“If employees are comfortable in their roles and have a positive outlook on their companies, they are likely to stay rather than jump ship to another employer.”

It’s important to remember this when you’re looking at different team-building exercises. Consider what your team would want to do, and then book different activities from there.

Challenges to Overcome

When pulling any group of people together, there are automatically going to be challenges you’ll need to overcome. Here are a few to keep in mind so things can go smoothly when you start planning team-building activities.

Problems With Technology

This first one is a given. When you’re gathering a large group of people online, it’s essential to anticipate technological problems.

Scheduling a timeframe before getting started to work out potential problems can help things go smoothly once your event actually begins. It helps encourage that relaxed environment you’re working to build, and it’s going to make things easier on those who aren’t facing problems.

When everyone is prepared and shows up on time, you’re a lot more likely to have a smooth, enjoyable event.

Time Zone Differences

If your team works together from different time zones, there’s automatically going to be a disconnect when it comes to availability. That’s why it’s important to be considerate of everyone’s time zones when you’re thinking of activities or even booking meetings.

There’s no need for anyone to conform to someone else’s standards, and it’s essential for your team to know that from the beginning. The more you can encourage everyone to speak up about their availability, the easier it’s going to be for your team-building efforts to be successful.

Cultural Barriers

Cultural barriers can lead to communication problems or other awkward social dynamics. That’s why it’s important for everyone to get to know each other, and to learn about what’s OK with their teammates and what’s not. That’s why it’s also important to use clean and concise communication whenever possible.

If you or someone else is unsure about something, it’s best to simply ask. Rather than assuming you’ll offend the other person, you can avoid any awkwardness by gaining clarity from the beginning.

Involving Your Remote Team

“People talk about the freedom of working remote, but not the cost,” Dan Schwabel, author of “Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation,” said to NBC News. “There is a dark side of working remote and that’s the loneliness [stemming] from lack of interaction.”

Schwabel implores the importance of human connection among workers. Luckily, there are a few ways you, as an employer, can further involve your remote team during the work day.

Virtual Tools

With the invention of communication tools like FaceTime and Microsoft Teams, it’s easier to connect with team members on a personal level. It’s easy to feel empty at the end of the workday without that face-to-face interaction, and working to schedule more of it throughout the day is a great way to encourage involvement amongst your remote team.

The ability to detect non-verbal cues is also a great way to encourage more effective communication. It can be difficult to detect tone over email, but seeing each other can help eliminate all of that.

Leverage Technology to Foster Communication

You can also schedule consistent one-on-one time with team members. It’s important for employees to be able to communicate with their higher-ups, and it can be difficult for remote employees to do this.

That’s why booking weekly meetings or one-on-ones can make a huge difference. If people know exactly when they’ll get a chance to communicate with you, it can feel a lot less stressful throughout the week if they’re facing problems at work.

Don’t Neglect Remote Team Building Activities

When it comes to remote team-building activities, it’s important to put your team’s well-being above all else. Investing in fun, enriching activities is great for bringing everyone together, which is great for helping your company as a whole. Luckily, you don’t have to find activities all on your own.

We’re here to help every step of the way. Contact us to get started today.