Five Social Activities for Connecting Virtual Teams

Every team needs a break!  Over time, people have grown comfortable with increased remote and virtual work–adjusting business practices and interactions to complete work at a distance.  It is also worth taking some time to build in some team level breaks and opportunities for social connection.  Here are five great practices we have seen work successfully with remote teams:

  1. Water Cooler Wednesday (or any day of the week): Establish 30-minute blocks when people can drop into a virtual meeting room to say hello and share updates, just like they would around the water cooler at work. No facilitation required, or desired!
  2. Trivia Time: This takes some planning and a permanent or rotating lead/facilitator. The facilitator prepares the trivia questions and then uses the polling feature common in many online meeting platforms to build polls or surveys.  These have an education element–like trivia about your industry or organization–or just be random and fun.  Participants join to guess at answers, and engage in casual chats!
  3. Virtual Office Hours: Generally led by leaders, this meeting offers a structured time for people to join a virtual meeting room to check in with leadership–either to get work-related questions answered, or to just say hello and connect. The leader generally welcomes people as they arrive and then interacts with each in order of arrival, encouraging group interaction when multiple people come simultaneously.
  4. Family Hour: This is a special social hour, where people are encouraged in advance to bring their partners, kids and or pets to meet the team. There can be an educational component to share the team’s work with family in a fun way, and to add some structure to the time.
  5. Awards Social Hour: Take some time to celebrate success! If you have an awards program already, take it online to acknowledge people for their work and successes.  If you don’t have an awards program, create a casual one with virtual certificates to mark noteworthy contributions.  The first part of the session should be a recognition event–then leave the room open for people to casually connect.

These types of activities keep people connected despite working remotely–AND–can include office teams for mixed work environments.