As the workforce becomes increasingly remote, many companies are grappling with how to build camaraderie amongst a team that may never have met in person. The isolation that comes with working from home can take a toll on employees’ motivation, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. This is why it’s important to prioritize team bonding in virtual environments. But, with geographically dispersed teams, how can companies effectively foster a sense of community?
In this blog, we’ll explore the different techniques teams and organizations can use to build camaraderie, trust, and cohesion amongst colleagues through remote icebreaker ideas.
Why Is Team Camaraderie Important?
Team camaraderie is important because it improves organizational culture, motivates employees, and increases productivity. In traditional work environments, camaraderie occurs naturally because colleagues have in-person interactions throughout the workday. They grab lunch together, chat during breaks, sit together in meetings or on company trips. However, it’s not the same in a virtual environment where team members may be working from different time zones and communicating mostly via technology.
In a remote work environment, many employees feel isolated and disengaged, and this feeling can easily spread throughout the team. If remote employees don’t feel part of a team or have a good relationship with their boss and co-workers, they may feel less motivated to do their work, which can have ripple effects throughout the organization. Conversely, if employees feel connected to their colleagues, motivated, and engaged, they’re likely to be more productive, take on more responsibility, and feel satisfied with their work.
Remote Icebreaker Ideas
While it can be more challenging to socialize and build relationships with teammates when working from home, it’s not impossible. Remote teams can have icebreaker activities similar to in-person ones to encourage co-workers to get to know each other and bond. Here are some remote icebreaker ideas that organizations can use to foster a sense of camaraderie even from afar.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Virtual Scavenger Hunt is a fun way to get employees moving and spark conversations. In this activity, the organizer sends the team members a list of things needed to be found within their home or working space. The scavenger hunt coordinator can be adventurous with the types of items on the list. For example, he can ask participants to find a red stapler, a photo of their pet, or a plant. Set a time limit for participants to find the things and keep a tally of who got the most items. This activity is flexible enough to work across different time zones because the team members can play whenever they’re available, and tallying the score can happen during virtual meetings.
Virtual Pictionary entails using a drawing platform that the team members can access. It’s a great way to get team members to work together on creative problem-solving. After dividing the team into two groups, each team takes turns having one of their team members draw a picture with the others guessing what it is in real-time through chat. The team that gets the most correct answers within the timeframe chosen is the winner.
Personal Trivia is a popular icebreaker game that allows remote workers to learn more about each other. The organizer can send out a questionnaire before the meeting asking participants to complete it. The questions can be about different interests, favorite food, places visited, and talents. During the virtual meeting, the organizer can share each person’s responses, allowing everyone to learn about each other’s likes, dislikes, and personalities. This activity encourages team building by finding common interests and bridging distance gaps with jokes, funny stories, and discussions.
Two Truths and a Lie
This famous icebreaker game can be played both in-person and remotely. The objective of Two Truths and a Lie is to get team members to know each other’s peculiarities, personalities, and life experiences better. For this game, participants share three statements about themselves – two truthful statements and one lie. The others have to guess which statement is false. Team members can take turns sharing their facts, and the group can share in the fun of guessing the lie.
Open Mic Night
Open Mic Night is more laidback and creative than most icebreaker activities, and it gets the colleagues away from their screens for a little while. Before the meeting, ask each person to prepare a song, skit, or performance to share. During the virtual meeting, create a space where team members can share their performances. The event can be entertaining and exciting, and participants can learn new things about each other’s interests and creative abilities.
Virtual Escape Room
A virtual escape room is a fun and challenging way to get team members working together. A third-party escape room company can facilitate the activity, leading participants through a set of puzzles and riddles for a designated period. This activity is particularly helpful if the team members work in different time zones across the globe. However, the organizing committee must collaborate with the team members to find a suitable time for everyone.
Virtual Book Club
A book club is an excellent way to encourage colleagues to engage with each other and keep the virtual relationship going. Teams can start with monthly meetings and choose a new book regularly. This activity keeps everyone on the same page, ensures that deadlines are met, and allows participants to share opinions and ideas during meetings. The book club can be an excellent way to promote communication and collaboration while fostering a shared interest in books and literature.
Organizations that prioritize team camaraderie can benefit from a more productive and engaged workforce. While it can be challenging to build camaraderie in a remote work environment, using icebreaker activities can help create bonds that overcome the barriers of distance. Fearless organizations can also look at tried and tested traditional activities and reimagine how to do them online. Resiliency and openness are key qualities that leaders and employees alike must have when navigating the virtual working space. The remote icebreaker activities we’ve highlighted in this blog can kick you off on your journey to a more united and collaborative virtual team culture.