Around 5 million employees work remotely at least half the time. When your team operates under a remote or hybrid model, there are unique challenges to making everyone feel connected. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your team’s bonds, we have ideas and gifts to help.
Bond over teambuilding
Looking for some out-of-the-box teambuilding ideas? Try hosting a ‘campfire’ party with a s’mores kit. Have everyone log onto a virtual chat or video program and have them ‘roast’ their marshmallow over a tea light. Take turns telling ghost stories or swapping fishing tales for extra bonding fun.
Switch up virtual happy hour with a recipe swap. Whether favorite weekend snacks or heirloom dishes, sharing favorite recipes is a great way to connect. Give participants a silicone spoon to use while whipping up their coworkers’ shared recipes. After a couple weeks, have people rate their most-loved new recipe. Give the person with the most votes a measuring cup set.
Or play a simple word game. Have the manager act as host and start a sentence with the word “things.” Some examples include “things I’ve always wanted to do” and “things I wish I knew when I was younger.” Have team members submit their answer to the host via private message. The host then reads the answers out loud, and participants take turns guessing who said what. The winner gets a multipurpose screwdriver set.
Hold a competition
Want to add a little competition to the daily grind? Let their fingers fly in an online typing speed race. Winner gets a tech pullover. Give an art “assignment,” where staff compete to see who can paint the best picture using an online painting tool. Reward the winner with a set of colour pencils.
Get your team involved in a virtual “do-good” game. Break employees into teams and award points for each good deed they do. Activities could include writing to military personnel overseas, bringing in your neighbor’s garbage cans or plugging someone else’s parking meter. At the end of the game, convert points into a donation that goes toward a good cause. Thank your team for participating with remote employee appreciation gifts like wireless headphones or a vacuum mug.
Did you know that gamification can improve productivity up to 50% and increase staff engagement by up to 60%? Level up your workplace language by swapping words like milestones and goals with epic quests and missions.
Swap out training manuals for courses filled with riddles, fun characters and pop quizzes. Assign points for each task completed ahead of schedule or done exceptionally well. When a team member scores a certain number of points, they get a prize. A massage ball or wine accessory kit are great gifts for remote employees.
Use a chalkboard wheel or a prize drop to randomly reward top-performing employees. Write rewards and bonuses on the wheel—for instance, “$50,” “Half-day vacation” and “Free take-out.” Recipients will be thrilled with their random yet well-deserved reward. And other team members will be motivated to do their best.
Feeling seen and heard is crucial to connection. Encourage your team to communicate beyond work topics. Start an online chat channel where people can share what they’re planting in their garden or their latest Netflix® binge. Start a book club and provide bookmarks for participants. Do virtual workouts together and hold a monthly drawing for a yoga mat.
Schedule regular check-ins so different team members can socialize and catch up. Make these calls 15 minutes, once every two weeks, so people don’t feel the calls get in the way of work. Provide a designated journal with adhesive notes for staff to jot down what they want to talk about. Check-ins can alternate between peers and superiors.
Encourage socialization breaks like group lunches or happy hours. Virtual mingling helps people feel connected, get to know each other and be more loyal to your company.
Keep virtual team members connected
Whether your team is fully remote or has a mix of virtual and in-person employees, you can use these gifts for remote employees to help strengthen connections with everyone on your team. Good luck!