Can you run team building activities with a remote team?

25 April 2023

Can you run team building activities with a remote team?

In recent years, remote work and working from home has become increasingly popular. While this has many benefits, it can also pose challenges for team building. 

Without regular in-person interactions, it can be difficult to build relationships and establish a sense of camaraderie among team members.

But that doesn't mean it's impossible. In this blog, we'll explore the question of whether you can run team building activities with your remote team and offer some tips and ideas for doing so effectively.

The challenges of remote team building activities

First, let's consider the benefits of team building activities. When done well, they can:

  • Foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration
  • Increase communication and trust among team members
  • Boost morale and motivation
  • Encourage creativity and innovation
  • Strengthen relationships and reduce conflict

Now, let's look at some of the challenges of running team building activities with a remote team. These can include:

  • Difficulty in coordinating schedules across flexible hours
  • Lack of access to physical spaces and resources
  • Difficulty in creating a sense of connection and engagement over video calls or chat platforms
  • Uneven participation, with some team members feeling left out or disengaged

In-person team building activities can offer additional benefits that may be harder to replicate virtually. For example, they offer a change of scenery and a break from routine, which can help team members feel refreshed and motivated.

Additionally, they provide opportunities for team members to interact in a more casual and relaxed setting, which can lead to stronger relationships and more effective collaboration.

How to run team building activities for remote employees

Despite its challenges, it is possible to run effective team building activities with a remote team. First, make sure the activities you choose are appropriate for your team's goals and objectives.

For example, if your team is struggling with communication, focus on activities that promote communication and collaboration.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose activities that can be done virtually: Many traditional team building activities, such as problem-solving or physical challenges, may not be possible in a remote context. Instead, look for activities that can be done over video calls or chat platforms. For example, you might try virtual icebreakers, online team games, or collaborative brainstorming sessions.
  2. Be mindful of flexible hours: When scheduling team building activities, be mindful of the hours your team members work remotely. Try to find a time that works for every member of your team if possible, or consider splitting the activity into smaller groups if necessary.
  3. Use technology to your advantage: Video calls, chat platforms, and other digital tools can be used to create a sense of connection and engagement among team members. Use these tools to facilitate discussions, encourage participation, and create a collaborative atmosphere.
  4. Make it fun: Team building activities should be enjoyable and engaging. Consider incorporating elements of humour, competition, or creativity to make the activity more fun for everyone.
  5. Follow up: After the activity, be sure to follow up with your team members. Ask for feedback on what worked well and what could be improved, and use that feedback to plan future activities.

While running team building activities with a remote team does pose some challenges, it is definitely possible.

Balancing virtual and in-persone team building events: Canoeing with New Forest Activities
Canoeing with New Forest Activities

Balancing virtual and in-person team building activities for maximum impact

While virtual team building activities can be effective in building camaraderie and teamwork among remote team members, it's also important to balance them with in-person team building activities.

In-person activities allow team members to build stronger relationships and can be particularly effective in building trust and improving communication.

Team building activities are designed to build trust and teamwork among team members while also providing a fun and engaging experience, this can often be lost virtually.

How to plan an in-person team building event for your remote team

If you've decided that an in-person team building event is the way to go, congratulations! Bringing your remote team together for some face-to-face interaction can be a powerful way to build relationships, boost morale, and improve communication.

Here are some tips for planning a successful in-person team building event:

  1. Choose the right activity: Select an activity that will be fun, engaging, and relevant to your team's goals and interests. Consider activities like canoeing, biking, or other outdoor activities away from a screen. Make sure to keep the physical and emotional comfort levels of all team members in mind, and choose an activity that is accessible to everyone.
  2. Pick a convenient location: When choosing a location for your team building event, consider factors like travel time, accessibility, and availability of accommodation if needed. You might also consider selecting a location that has plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities or unique experiences. The New Forest is just 90-minutes from London and provides a stunning location away from the home office.
  3. Create a schedule: Once you've chosen an activity and location, create a schedule for your event that includes a mix of team building activities, downtime, and socialising. Be sure to allow plenty of time for team members to get to know each other and bond. Your team building provider should be able to help you plan your day.
  4. Communicate the details: Make sure all team members are aware of the event details, including the date, time, location, and activities. Provide any necessary information about transportation, clothing, and meals. You might also consider creating a detailed itinerary to share with your team ahead of time.

Overall, an in-person team building event can be a great way to build relationships and strengthen the bond among remote workers. Virtual team building activities are great, but you really can't beat in-person events.

By planning carefully and considering the needs of your team, you can create a memorable and effective team building experience.

If you'd like help planning your team building event, contact New Forest Activities