How do Holiday Virtual Team Building Activities help Improve Remote Team Productivity?

Team building activities can be a great way to improve remote team productivity and grow your business. Holidays are great opportunities to introduce these fun virtual games and activities.

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    With companies like ours, whose employees are scattered all over the world, working remotely isn’t a new practice. 

    Over the years, there’s been plenty of work-from-home jobs in every known career field, with some industries having more remote work than others. For instance, web developers, writers and sales reps. 

    Remote work has always been embraced for its valuable benefits. Not only by the employees, but by their companies too.

    The benefits of remote work

    With remote work-from-home jobs comes;

    • Happier and fulfilled employees
    • More flexibility in work-life balance
    • Independence 
    • Reduced need for office space
    • The ability to hire from anywhere in the world
    • Minimal commuting costs for employees
    • A cut down on wasted meetings

    etc, and all while the company saves money.

    The  COVID era has further seen an increase in this remote work-from-home trend.

    All of a sudden, companies had to shift from the normal go-to-office everyday to a work-from-home setting, with only a few days and not enough time to prepare for this new shift.

    This created a new challenge in itself, as well as another in keeping their teams connected, as employees went from interacting physically to virtually, and communicating through messaging apps.

    Why is this a challenge to remote teams?

    • Without daily face-to-face interactions, building meaningful relationships amongst employees becomes a hassle.
    • Promoting a company culture to predominantly remote teams is a challenge without the daily face-to-face interactions that help, along with the general atmosphere of the office to cultivate that culture. 
    •  Communication across remote teams becomes difficult.
    • Existence of language and cultural differences that may influence how remote workers interact with each other.
    • Without direct contact with remote teams, employers can’t easily track their work performance and productivity.
    • Unlike existing teams with already established relationships, new remote employees will struggle to know the formal rules by which every team works, affecting trust and team spirit. 
    • Remote workers are isolated, which breeds loneliness that affects their morale and productivity.

    How then do companies still ensure meaningful interactions and productivity amongst their employees?

    Holiday Virtual Team Building Activities

    Apart from constant communication, companies are venturing into regular holiday virtual team-building activities to create rapport and a spirit of camaraderie amongst their employees.

    Giving them a sense of belonging with the assurance that they are still valuable assets to the company, despite the distance.

    Some of the Most Engaging Holiday Virtual Team Building Activities

    1. The Aliens have landed

    The aliens have landed on Earth and want to learn about your company.

    Aliens don’t speak English or understand what you do. So tell your team to each draw five simple images or pictures that best describe and communicate your company’s products and culture to a shared document/folder.

    Take a few minutes and look at all the images and talk through common themes.

    Objective:

    Foster a better understanding of the company culture and objectives as you encourage creativity as well as out-of-the-box thinking.

    2. Draw the picture

    A hilarious holiday virtual team-building game where one of the players describes a picture, and everyone else draws what they hear.

    Objective:

    It is a great stress reliever. Considering that some people are better artists than others. You’re guaranteed a good laugh as everyone shares their masterpiece.

    3. Personality tests

    Send a personality test to your employees and have everyone send you their results.

    Do a team video call where you talk about the different personality types and how they fit in with team dynamics.

    Objective:

    Reveal individual strengths as well as weaknesses, for the employer to determine where their talents are best served.

    4. Praise train

    Everyone loves a compliment, regardless of how they respond to it.

    Start a praise train where each person compliments each other’s work in sequence.

    For example, you could praise someone for their creativity, and that person could praise a colleague on a successful sale, and that person could praise another for timely submission of articles and so on.

    Objective:

    Boosting morale and motivation, while encouraging employee engagement, job satisfaction, productivity as well as team bonding with remote employees.

    5. Donut conversation

    Donut is a Slack extension that randomly pairs up team members every 1-4 weeks so employees can have non-work-related one-on-one conversations amongst themselves.

    If team members live in the same city, then they can even meet up for coffee or lunch if they get along well.

    Objective

    Building productive working relationships through those one-on-one conversations. 

    6. Movie night

    Stream the movie that the employees will have voted on through a conference video call, while keeping instant messaging open so that team members can make comments as they watch.

    Objective:

    Bringing your team together to relax.

    7. Guess the refrigerator/desk

    This holiday virtual team-building game gives a playful look into the personal spaces of team members.

    Each team member submits a photo of the inside of their refrigerator or a snapshot of their home workspace to a shared group chat. The other team members review the images and guess which refrigerator or desk belongs to which member.

    Objective:

    The vulnerability involved in sharing one’s personal space facilitates the fun kind of team bonding.

    8. Life highlights game

    Each team member spends a few minutes thinking about the best moments of their life. Then describe to the rest of the team members the 30 seconds of their best life that they would relive and why, if it was their last 30 seconds on earth.

    Objective:

    It is a great ice breaker that also encourages team bonding.

    9. Two truths and a lie

    Each team member presents three facts about themselves, one of which is a lie, but keeping the lie realistic so it won’t be easy to guess.

    The other members do their best to tell the truth from fiction. After everyone has guessed, the presenter reveals their lie.

    illustration of a virtual team building activity

    Objective:

    Rid out tension while getting to know your teammates on a more social level.

    10. Virtual team meetings

    Whether physically in office or remotely through a zoom call, team meetings are an essential part of a company.

    Use ice breakers/Catch-up sessions and give each attendee 3-5 minutes at the start of the meeting to answer an ice breaker question or share an update of how their week was.

    Engage your attendees by asking for responses or feedback, and also make note of who hasn’t spoken up during the virtual meeting and call on them too as part of the group conversation.

    Objective:

    Encourage employee engagement and productivity.

    11. What would you do?

    This is a scenario-based holiday virtual team-building activity.

    Split employees into teams or discuss as one big group.

    Then pose hypothetical questions and let employees discuss a plan of action.

    Objective:

    Fostering fun and employee engagement, as well creative problem-solving.

    12. Virtual scavenger hunt

    When everyone is on your Zoom call, issue the challenge of collecting a list of different items from around the house.

    The first person to make it back to the webcam with proof that they’ve collected all the items wins. And everyone can then decide what they think of each other’s items, and it can be really engaging.

    Objective

    Encouraging creativity and team building around a common goal, while having fun.

    13. Virtual ambassadors

    Virtually, each person acts as a country’s ambassador. During each round, a team member must describe either theirs or a randomly assigned country without saying its name.

    The rest of the team then guess which country the person is describing to earn points, and the player with the most correct guesses wins.

    Objective:

    Boost creativity and the spirit of camaraderie as teammates burst out into laughter.

    14. Say it with a picture

    Each team member sums up their life in an image taken on their phones. It could be a place they’ve travelled, a landmark, or a pet.

    Then share it with the rest of the team with an explanation of the significance and story behind the image.

    Objective:

    Establish good rapport within the team since work is more fulfilling when we love what we do and our teammates.

    15. Show and tell

    Ask your co-workers to prepare a quick story in advance, or do a more spontaneous “grab something within arm’s reach” approach.

    Each team member gets one minute to show and talk about what they possess.

    After each turn, save some specified time for a conversation from the rest of the team.

    Objective:

    Promoting storytelling and public speaking skills, while encouraging quick and creative thinking, as well as building meaningful relations as the team members share stories about their lives.

    Holiday Virtual Team Building Activities and Team Productivity

    Aside from the fact that holiday virtual team building activities cost less than the physical team building events, it is important to note that the right holiday virtual team building activities will among other benefits;

    Encourage teamwork with increased collaboration, improve communication, uncover your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, boost their morale, confidence, and creativity, while combating loneliness all at the same time.

    And with an acquired sense of purpose through these fun activities, remote team productivity is inevitable. 

    Resources

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