Team Building 101 for Remote Companies

April 12th, 2022Remote Work

Team Building activities are critical for a group's cohesion, collaboration, and communication. High-performing teams are fueled by team bonding activities that allow them to know each other beyond a simple Slack message. In fact, a Gallup report states that those who have a best friend at work "are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce higher quality work, have higher well-being, and are less likely to get injured on the job.".

In a remote company context, it's important to ensure that you are approaching remote team building in a realistic and strategic way.

Team Building 101 for Remote Companies: What to Consider and How to Make it Happen

Here are the main factors to consider when standing up your corporate team building activities for a cohesive remote team.

Frequency

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The first thing to consider when standing up team building activities for your remote team is the frequency at which they will happen.

Thinking about this beforehand is key, as one-off events are fun, but they fail to become rituals that make up the fabric of remote team cultures. A Harvard Business School study discussed the importance of rituals, and explained that “It's not that we do rituals and then, magically, we like doing our work later that day,” he says. “It's that over time, rituals themselves become meaningful to us—a sense of ‘this is how we do things around here.’ And that meaning is then linked to find more meaning in the work that we do.”

For immediate teams (aka those you work with every day), taking at least 30 minutes each week to connect over something fun is a best practice. For large teams, divisions, or cross divisional groups, connecting bi-weekly or once a month is an adequate frequency to keep people connected.

Guest List

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The second to consider here (and maybe one of the most important) is the guest list for your team building activities. Not just those who receive the invite, but those who are actually committed to showing up. Company-wide cohesion can be just as important as small team cohesion, so that departments can work together effectively.

TriplePlay works with hundreds of clients on their team building rituals and found that one of the biggest indicators of the success of programs is if senior leadership shows up.

Virtual team building events with senior leadership present (managers, heads of departments, CEOs, etc) had a 30% higher attendance and participation rate than those without. Why? When employees feel that senior leadership cares to connect with them, spend time with them, and get to know them, this can be a huge motivating force to show up and have fun. Without this, employees can easily feel that these events are put on 'for show'.  

Activity

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Photo by Carl Raw / Unsplash

The star of the show... the team building activity itself (or the ritual that will become part of your culture). In an in-person setting, team bonding might have happened at lunch when your crew would pop down to the foosball table. Virtually, teams needs to adapt the activities that they do to create team cohesion.

Services like TriplePlay have built games and programs for virtual team building that companies like Telus, Deloitte, Ledn & Certn use to form rituals that translate to company culture. In TriplePlay's Company Cup offering, scores of games like Trivia, Penguin Launch, Codewords, are tracked on a team and individual level week over week, so that this ritual then turns into a point that people can constantly connect and bond over.  

It's important that whatever team building activity you do as your ritual, it's not carried out on the same video platforms that you do business on (like Zoom or Teams). By now, employees have a negative association for fun on these, after sitting on so many socials where they were on mute in a sea of 50 people.  

Pre Event Hype & Follow Up

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Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Pre event hype is vital to getting your team, department, or company to show up to team building activities or rituals. Here are several ways you can hype up your crews to show up:

  1. Calendar hold with exciting language about your event
  2. Poster about the event to send in slack
  3. Email with all of the information about the events
  4. Prizes to indice people to come!

Post-event follow up is also important to consider. To keep the hype from the team building activity going, following up with scores or results from the event is important, as well as any material that employees can share around to spread the word to other employees who didn't attend or to the general public on social media. Your company's social media can also use this material to show off your amazing virtual company culture.  

Feedback

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Last but not least, it's vital to collect in-event feedback to understand how your employees are enjoying your team building activities. Without being intentional about this, you'll be missing out on vital information about how to better your team building programs and rituals. Typically feedback forms that are sent out after an event don't get much response, so it's best to collect this feedback within the event (typically at the end, of course) in order to get as much data as possible.  

Ready to launch a team building program with ease?

Our team at TriplePlay can put regular, fun and culture-building activities on auto pilot for you. We'll go over your team building goals with your and present you with a custom program that your teams will go crazy for... it's what they've been craving.

Request a demo with us today to learn more about what a team building program would look like at your company.