6 team building activities for your telecommuting team

Technology has led to many changes in our lifestyles by offering choices that weren’t previously available or even fathomable for some. You can have your groceries delivered, hire someone without ever meeting them, and also work a full-time job from the comfort of your home. Today, more than 3.7 million people work from home at least half the time. This trend is expected to continue.

When all or some of your employees telecommute, it can be a challenge to make them feel like part of the team. Co-workers often connect by spending time together and going through similar experiences, even if it’s just attending weekly meetings, completing projects, and eating lunch with each other from time to time.

That’s why it’s essential that you implement team building activities and bonding opportunities for your telecommuting employees. Keep reading to learn about six ideas you can consider incorporating for your team.

Schedule in-person meetings

Providing opportunities for your team to meet in person is one of the best ways to build their connection.

If everyone is in the same area, it can be easier to set up a meeting at the local office or even plan an activity that isn’t work-related. However, if there is a considerable distance between you, this can be more complicated and require more preparation for all involved. However, don’t let distance deter you.

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While you can always provide opportunities to do work, also consider allowing these in-person meetings to focus on having fun and team-building. If you can make it a mini-vacation or retreat that mixes work and play, you’ll create the best of both worlds for your team.

Another option is to attend conferences together. If there’s a conference that would benefit your team, send them together, and spend time learning, connecting and throw a little fun in when you can.

Even if the entire team doesn’t attend, sending a few team members together can allow them the opportunity to improve their relationship in a smaller group setting.

Play virtual team building activities

Since in-person, collaborative activities won’t happen regularly, another option is to provide opportunities for your team to have fun virtually.

The frequency at which you do these activities is up to you and the culture of your organization. Maybe you pick one day per week, month or quarter to try it out.

Another option is to offer them when your team needs a morale boost, or when new team members join to help them feel more comfortable with the team quickly.

Here are a few virtual team building activity ideas

  • Virtual polls or fun quizzes
  • Virtual gaming activities like Words with Friends
  • Virtual charades
  • Virtual contests like drawing or building things

Celebrate holidays

Depending on the culture of your office, holidays and special events can be a big deal. Be sure to incorporate your telecommuting team into these special days.

For big holidays like Christmas, set up a secret Santa exchange for your team and mail out physical gifts.

On birthdays, send gift cards to team members and hop online for a virtual party to celebrate the birthday person.

When these special days are acknowledged by everyone in the organization, regardless of their location, it can improve the overall team relationship.

Virtual lunch break

Offer the opportunity for your team to have a virtual lunch break together. With so many video conferencing services available, your team members can hop in a room and enjoy lunch together for this super simple bonding activity.

Depending on the size of your team, you might have to offer multiple rooms, so it is effective.

During the lunch breaks, you don’t have to discuss anything work-related. Instead, chat about life very informally as you would if you were having lunch in person. Be ready to facilitate these calls if your team is still getting to know each other to minimize the awkward silence that might come.

You can offer these opportunities weekly, monthly, or on whatever schedule you prefer.

Connect via social media

This should only occur if you feel comfortable, but connecting via social media is a great way to stay in contact without talking to or seeing each other regularly.

Obviously, it’s essential that your team members also feel comfortable with connecting via social media. Some people don’t mix social media and work at all, and that’s fine. However, having this option can be an excellent way to stay in touch.

Group chat

An alternative to connecting via social media is having a team group chat. While it should be used to communicate about business-related tasks and updates, it’s often easier to be a bit more informal via a group chat of some sort whether it’s through text messaging, a specific app or other technology that’s available.

You can send updates about business along with special activities, events, holidays, etc.

Strengthen the bond of your telecommuting team

When you have a telecommuting team, it’s essential that you find team building activities to build a strong connection. Your team will work better together when they have a connection, and if that can’t occur via regular in-person communication, it has to happen through virtual means.

Thankfully, technology makes it easier now more than ever to create, build, and sustain relationships no matter your location.