How can we include remote employees in team building activities? There’s a lot of value in periodically bringing all of your employees together for a team building exercise. When done right, these team building activities can improve communication, foster cohesion, and bolster morale.
Team building is harder than it used to be, and that’s largely thanks to the phenomenon of remote
workers. Simply put, it’s a lot harder to include employees in your group activities when those employees don’t work in the same building—or in some cases, when they don’t even work in the same town!
While it’s challenging, it’s by no means impossible. Let me offer a few specific ways you can include remote employees in team activities.
Remote Team Building Activities
- Start with some small talk. One of the disadvantages of being a remote employee is that you don’t get to participate in everyday small talk, like on-campus employees do. As a leader, you can encourage your virtual employees. Build some space into each conference call or video meeting for personal chat. Make it a point to go around to each employee, and especially each remote employee. Ask them something about their family or about how their week is going.
- Set up meetings off-site. With Wi-Fi accessibility, it’s easier than ever for your employees to spend an hour or two working outside the office—in a coffee shop, for instance. This can be a good way to include employees who live in the same community but don’t come into the office each day. Set up an afternoon for employees to get together in an external location—somewhere the remote employees can be in the mix!
- Assign on-campus employees to work with remote workers. A simple suggestion. If you have a project requiring two people, encourage one in-house person to work alongside a remote employee. Have them get together over Skype or Facetime to work on the assignment together. Simply facilitating these partnerships can be very valuable to building team cohesion!
How to Include Remote Employees in Your Company Culture
It used to be that people who worked together were more or less always under the same roof, sharing office space for a good chunk of their days. Today, that’s less true. Thanks to advances in online communication and collaboration, it’s easier than ever for employers to hire remote workers, allowing them to get their tasks done from the comfort of their own home or apartment.
This can be mutually beneficial. Not only is working from home a great perk, and an effective way to attract top talents. The right kind of employee can be far more productive and focused when working from home. Meanwhile, having a remote team can reduce overhead expenses. There is one downside, though, and it’s simply this. Having remote employees makes it much more difficult to build a coherent company culture.
This is truest of all when you have one team working together in the same space, but also a handful of employees who are working from home. Bringing them into the fold, and involving them in your company culture, is necessary to preserve your vision, your values, and the unity of your employee base.
Here are a few suggestions on Remote Team Building :
- Build face-time into your company’s routine. You may not see all your people every single day, but do make sure you see all of them at company get-togethers. Consider conducting all your employee reviews face-to-face, as well.
- Remote team-building sessions can also bring people together, without asking them to leave their homes. Consider hosting a webinar “lunch and learn” event for your team members. This will allow them to come together, albeit remotely, and apply their minds to a topic of shared interest.
- Have an understanding that some employees thrive in the remote environment, but others don’t. You can usually tell pretty quickly when an employee needs the interaction of the workplace. If you have an employee who feeds off the energy of others, encourage that team member not to work remotely.
Your team doesn’t have to share geography to be unified, and to feel together. These brief tips should help you accomplish just that.
One final suggestion is to contact a team building expert who can come in and make some specific recommendations. That’s something I’d love to help with. Reach out now and let’s talk about your company culture and team building needs.
You can contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.
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