From a Distance: Team-Building for Remote Workers

Many of today’s workplaces include a mix of local and remote employees. How does a leader conduct team-building with employees who cannot be here face-to-face? This article shares some ideas.

  • Embrace video and build team member awareness. Today’s technologies, like Microsoft® Skype®, Google™ Meet, Zoom and Apple® FaceTime®, offer easy ways to connect face-to-face to support team-building activities and simple connection opportunities. One short team-building activity and communication game is to encourage people to have a video call with a person, and then write down visual elements from the call – what pictures were in the background, what was the person wearing, what other decorations do they recall? Heightening awareness of another person’s environment can help people connect more with other individuals and encourage people to become more curious about the background of others.
  • Integrate remote employees into team-building activities. In our team, remote employees join team-building activities using video, chat and phone. When we start an activity in the room, we ask remote participants to chat their responses in online and to talk on the phone. Putting the teleconference on mute in the central room and turning down the volume allows remote employees to have a conversation at the same time as the group in the room. When we all come together again, a representative from each group summarizes the work of their group.

Keeping remote employees engaged during team-building activities is a challenge – however, the communication technologies that are available today can help connect employees across multiple offices in new and innovative ways.