Top Virtual Team Building Events for Remote Employees

Top Virtual Team Building Events for Remote Employees

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Posted on June 13, 2023

One of the downsides of remote working is the sense of loneliness or seclusion that team members might experience. Even online meetings are related to short sessions on work-related issues. And additional communications are done in the form of asynchronous messages. 

To counteract the adverse effects of loneliness in remote working, companies could invest in virtual team-building events for their remote employees

These entirely remote events exist to consolidate collaboration and friendliness among team members. Having these events in your work routine will improve employee experience and team productivity. 

Let’s find out more about them.  

What is a virtual team-building event?

Virtual team-building activities include team challenges, puzzles, games, wellness workshops, and other kinds of bonding experiences that help strengthen ties between team members. Remote teams can organize virtual bonding events via event management platforms and video conferencing tools.

Studies show that meaningful workplace bonds drive high performance, as they fulfill one of our most basic needs: belonging to the environment surrounding us. Closely-knit teams tend to be more productive, creative, and satisfied with their jobs. That’s why investing in holding team-building events is a brilliant strategy for improving employee experience in remote teams.

So, what kind of virtual events can you hold for your team?

Wellbeing workshops

GenZ expects employers to invest in employee wellbeing activities. That’s why 91% of employers will likely focus their investments on improving employees’ mental health in 2023. In a nutshell, wellbeing workshops teach employees methods to maintain positive mental and physical wellbeing.

Mindfulness workshops, yoga and meditation sessions, breathing exercises, mat pilates, and various other virtual activities can help your team:

  • Identify and control personal stress factors during a team effort
  • Develop effective ways to cope with work-related stress
  • Improve mental and physical health
  • Build confidence in each other’s competency

Naturally, these are all slow processes that unfold over time. So patience and consistency is the key to seeing some positive results. But wellbeing workshops are budget-friendly too. You only need a few yoga mats, an online mindfulness coach, or several home workout kits. You can also include the training equipment in your new hire welcome kit. Alternatively, the well-being workshops can sometimes touch sensitive topics such as obesity and try to come up with solutions such as suggesting services like Henry Meds.

Be mindful that not everyone may want to join group wellbeing sessions. Or they may refrain from having their cameras open during such activities. You’re always better off making these activities optional and not forcing your team to turn on their cameras.

Strategy games

In strategy games, players make independent decisions that significantly affect game results. They make educated decisions based on available information about existing conditions and resources. And group strategy games call for cooperation between players, which makes them double effective as team-bonding events.

A strategy game day event is the perfect opportunity for your team to understand how each other’s minds work, how teammates interpret new information, how information influences their decision-making, how risk-averse or risk-seeking they are, and so on. Individuals can observe how players behave when faced with various situations and discover new ways of effective group communication.

Dominion, Trains, and Trains: Rising Sun, War of the Wizards, Codenames (kind of), and various other online games can serve well as team-bonding events. You can also set up your situation games inspired by real-life events.

You can, for instance, simulate scenarios where players will need cooperation and creative decision-making to get out of situations. Lost at the Sea is a famous one where the team has to survive a sinking boat.

Similarly, you can tie it to their Job role and create engaging games. For instance, if your DevOps team is playing this game, you can give them tasks like how they would monitor the Kubernetes cluster without using any of the paid tools.

Neal Taparia, the founder of Cribbage-Online, explains, “We have a dedicated team building day where our team plays classic strategy games like Hearts and Spades online. The games require critical thinking and are great for bringing our team together.”

Similarly, for your marketing team, you can come up with something like increasing the ranking of a website without adding any new blogs or landing pages. This would foster creative thinking in them and, at the same time, brainstorm new ideas. 

Virtual marathons

In an office marathon, aka hackathon, employees divide into teams and compete to finish a marathon project. Hackathons used to be a developers’ thing. Today, a growing number of teams across industries organize hackathons. These events help teams learn from peers and experts, grow closer, and develop creative-thinking skills.

Internal hackathons usually take one or two days. The event starts with a welcoming session where the hosts welcome attendees and explain the challenge and the rules. Then, webinars and workshops occur, where experts share insights into topics related to the hackathon theme.

Finally, the competition begins. Teams finalize their projects within the given timeframe and present them to the judges and each other. The judges make a decision, which can happen before an award ceremony.

Marathon projects can focus on improving your processes, automating day-to-day tasks, contributing to social causes, or anything you deem serious. Projects can also be about coming up with new product and service ideas. You can ask competing teams to create prototypes that you’ll test together at the end.

The whole purpose of hackathons is to encourage cross-functional collaboration, so make sure to team up with individuals from different departments. Blended teams can facilitate cross-learning opportunities to everyone’s benefit.

Office trivia

Work-life is only sometimes the most exciting, especially for remote teams. That’s why your team should gather now and then to have fun. And office trivia events are perfect occasions for that.

A virtual office trivia event creates a calm atmosphere where employees get to know each other engagingly. Team members answer questions about each other, the workplace, and the company culture. With the help of some visual material, hosts give background info and help players connect the dots.

Virtual team trivia will also be helpful when onboarding new hires. New employees can feel lonely when they first join a remote team and may feel like they’re not strictly part of the team. You can encourage them to play team trivia games on-demand to learn about their colleagues. This kind of gamified introduction is beneficial for fast-growing teams.

And creating an office trivia quiz doesn’t take more than five minutes. Most event management software comes with quiz-maker tools. You can even make it via Google Forms. All you have to do is to send an initial survey to your colleagues to collect information about them. Then you have all you need to organize an office trivia event!

These events could be part of a bigger plan called virtual retreats which are the virtual form of physical retreats and can last for some days. 

Learning circles

Learning circles are training groups with shared areas of interest. They collectively get together to upskill themselves in a specific site by motivating and helping each other. You can help your team create learning circles in many places they want to develop themselves in:

In a monthly learning circle, employees meet once a month to discuss books, documentaries, articles, or other educational material. They make presentations to let their teammates benefit from their expertise. And they organize quizzes to self-test their progress.

Any seasoned manager knows that people’s areas of interest do not 100% coincide with their expertise. That’s why you should invest in preparing young talent for their future jobs in your company. A good strategy is offering flexible training topics in fields they want to be an expert in, so they can pursue their desired career without leaving your company.

And making learning circles optional is the most sustainable strategy. It’s wise to offer your energy and resources to those who want and need them.

Team health monitoring events

Remote teams tend to sweep communication problems under the rug since they rarely meet face-to-face with their colleagues. Some of them won’t even have the chance to ever meet due to their employment type, and they may only interact through health roster or other tools.

But the more you ignore communication issues, the more problematic they become. So it’s ideal for remote teams to deal with issues head-on instead of pursuing a passive approach. This is where team health monitor events come in handy.

Team health monitoring sessions help teams evaluate how well they work together. In health monitoring sessions, teams assess their group’s communication skills and identify pain points.

These events are not about tasks—they’re not meetings. They focus on testing alternative ways of communication and finding the best one for your team.

Keep in mind that assessments should not be on individual performances. They should address the areas of improvement for your team as a whole. This is a safe way to discuss issues without stressing your unit out.

After reviewing all the information, you’ll see that some issues are major agenda items. Those are the ones that your team is most willing to work on. Pick several of those improvement areas and set goals until the next session. Offer the guidance and resources employees need.

You can also take health more literally in this context, conducting check-ins on how the remote working experience is impacting things like diet and fitness levels of employees. If problems are identified, offering solutions such as a meal prep service is better than forcing team members to fend for themselves.

Arts & sports club events

Your team can’t be physically together but can feel like one. Arts and sports events build emotional connections that unify people from around the world; as Mandela once famously said:

“Art and sport can change the world, inspire, and unite people in a way that little else can. Art and sport speak to people in a language they understand.” 

The great news is you can use their power to bring your team closer.

Your team can casually sit together and watch sports events, TV series, comedy sketches, movies, or performances. You can use the most interactive types of surveys and polls to help them decide what they’ll stream.

Attending these events doesn’t have to be mandatory, though. Team members can decide on 4-6 event slots every month and show up when they want.

Your role in these events is to offer support. You can make quizzes about the content to make things even more engaging. Or offer technical and financial support in using the event management platform or purchasing the content.

Finally: employee engagement

Remember that employee engagement is the top reason for virtual team-building events. So the main criterion for choosing the suitable event for your team is, in fact, your team’s opinion. If anything does not suit them or might cause tension, you need to skip them. 

Conversely, if your team members can develop an idea for an event, that’s your priority. Using an employee engagement software tool is a great help for keeping in touch with employees and getting their feedback. 

Another critical factor in employee engagement in virtual events is your platform. Either because of a lack of technical expertise or lack of technological support or software features, your team might experience difficulty participating in your events. You need to ensure your event management platform is suited for virtual and hybrid events, is intuitive to use by your team members, has gamification features, and provides excellent customer support in case anything goes wrong. 

Using an event management platform such as InEvent suited for virtual and hybrid events is a significant investment here.

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