Working remotely is becoming more and more common these days and it is pretty likely that many Assistants will have some if not all of their team working from home or other locations. They may even have Executive’s who live in other cities around the world. It can be pretty tricky including remote teams and remote workers in all of the various things that organisations do to create a team atmosphere. In a physical office, it is pretty easy to get everyone together, down to the pub or out for some sort of team building event. With half, if not all the team, working remotely it can be pretty tricky getting everyone to bond – let alone creating an office culture that is fun and friendly. Office culture and creating a great team dynamic often falls to the Assistant in the office. Assistants are pretty much always going to be asked to organise team drinks, team building activities and just be the life and soul of the team. So where do you start if your team live in a completely different country?! Here are 10 team bonding ideas for remote workers that Assistants can use to create a great remote office culture.
#1 Shared Calendar
If you work with remote teams most of you will have a shared calendar. Make sure that everyone adds details to the calendar that will help everyone get to know each other. So for example, add birthdays and special anniversaries. Ask everyone to add if they are travelling and where they are going (for business and pleasure). Obviously, it is up to the individual how much he or she shares but adding a little bit of their personal life will give the team more information for general chit chat and the possibilities if things in common.
#2 Weekly Hangout
Make sure your remote team are meeting virtually as often as they need to. There are loads of brilliant collaboration tools that will help your remote team keep up to date on what is happening in the physical office. Also, make sure you have a weekly hangout that isn’t work-related. So, for example, every week you could have a different theme. It could be movie hangout, or karaoke hangout or games night. Whatever it happens to be, make sure everyone is able to come together online to share some time together that isn’t about work.
#3 Group Chat
Again, I’m sure your remote workers will be using group chat tools to discuss current projects and tasks but do introduce some fun group chats. Find out what everyone is interested in and go from there. You could have a fitness group chat, a tech group chat, a movie group chat. A fun place to start is a ‘meme of the week’ group chat. Who doesn’t love a meme!?
#4 Leaving drinks
Leaving drinks are pretty much the staple of a team building session. Everyone feels like they have to go along to somebody’s leaving drinks and usually the leaving drink turns into more leaving drinks and before you know it you’ve missed your train home. Hey, we’ve all been there. So, to give those leaving the team a chance to say goodbye why not organise a remote ‘leaving drinks’ party and encourage everyone to get together online, with whatever drink is appropriate at their point in the day.
#5 Team Collections
Okay, team collections are just the worst thing for Assistants to organise (cards left on people’s desks, money going missing, nobody giving any money). But they do make people feel good so why not keep the tradition going with your remote team? There are loads of online team collection sites that will help you organise the next birthday gift or baby shower present or leaving card. Check out Group Together.
#6 Book Club
A monthly book club is a great way for people to get together and bond over a common topic. Pick a book; you can do this through an online poll, choose a date everyone has to finish the book and a date that everyone can get together to discuss. Pick five questions to get the conversation started and off you go. Maybe you could ask your organisation to front the cost of the book. That would be a nice incentive!
#7 Team Spotify Playlists
Again, this one is just a nice way for the team to get to know each other a bit better and actually when you do work remotely you do end up listening to a lot of music. So, why not ask everyone to put together their own Spotify playlist that everyone else can access. You’ll find the team will bond over a shared taste in music and there will be a lot of “I can’t believe you listen to that noise!”
#8 New team members
Onboarding a new team member and getting them involved in the team culture does take time. It can be more difficult with a remote team so why not make sure that you have some structure in place for your remote team. Every new team member should have a little hangout with the rest of the team. At the next monthly team meeting ask them to come prepared with3 facts about their life to date. You could ask them to write a short ‘day in the life’, and this is emailed round to the rest of the team. Get them involved in the other team activities so that they get to know everyone as soon as possible.
#9 In-house training
In-housing training is such an excellent way for people to up-skill at work. But, this isn’t an option for remote workers. Why not introduce a quarterly in-house training session. Ask a great trainer or speaker to record a webinar or training video and live-stream it to the remote team. You could use YouTube Live to get everyone together and give them the chance to introduce and ask questions during the training.
#10 In-person meet-ups
With all these fun activities it is easy to forget the importance of face to face meetings for remote teams. At the very least everyone should get together once a year. But, also encourage the team to meet up if they happen to be in the same location. Your organisation could pay for dinner to promote the interaction (within reason!)
So, there you go, 10 team bonding ideas for remote workers. Just because your team are not in one office together doesn’t mean you can’t create a great culture that encourages collaboration and boosts morale.