Remote Team Building Exercises in IT

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Remote team-building activities in IT are becoming more and more popular. They are a great way for team members to bond despite the distance and possibly never seeing each other face to face.

Businessman in a video conference call while working from home. Company using remote team building exercises

In today’s dynamic work environment, the concept of a traditional office space is rapidly evolving, thanks in large part to the rise of remote work. Now more than ever, IT teams are dispersed across different geographical locations, collaborating virtually to drive innovation and maintain the technological infrastructure that powers our world.

However, the distance that separates team members in remote settings can sometimes pose challenges to building strong interpersonal connections and fostering a cohesive work environment. That’s where remote team-building exercises come into play. They offer a solution to bridge the gap and create a sense of camaraderie among IT professionals, even when miles apart.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of remote team-building exercises in IT, exploring effective strategies and activities:

  • to strengthen bonds,
  • enhance productivity,
  • and promote a positive working atmosphere in the digital landscape.

Whether you’re a team leader seeking to bolster your IT squad’s unity or a team member looking for ways to connect with colleagues from afar, this guide is designed to help you navigate the virtual terrain of team building with success.

What are team-building exercises?

Team building exercises are activities or tasks designed to enhance collaboration, communication, and cohesion within a group of individuals working together as a team. These exercises can take various forms, such as problem-solving challenges, outdoor adventures, role-playing games, or even simple icebreaker activities.

Why are they important?

The primary goal of team building exercises is to foster better relationships among team members, improve their trust and understanding of each other, and boost overall team performance. They encourage participants to work together and identify and utilize each other’s strengths. Moreover, team members can develop effective strategies for addressing challenges.

Team building exercises also provide a platform for team members to relax, have fun, and build a sense of camaraderie. This can ultimately lead to increased productivity and a more positive work environment. In essence, they are vital for promoting a cohesive and motivated team, which is essential for success in both professional and personal settings.

Why are team building exercises when using IT staff augmentation services so important?

Remote team building exercises are essential when collaborating between augmented staff and an in-house team in the IT industry for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the IT sector is known for its diverse and globally distributed workforce.

👉 Augmented staff 👈, often comprising freelancers or remote contractors, bring specialized skills and expertise to complement the in-house team’s efforts. However, physical separation can hinder effective communication, trust-building, and cohesion, which are vital for successful project outcomes. Team building exercises bridge this gap by fostering:

  • stronger interpersonal relationships,
  • improving communication,
  • and building trust among team members, regardless of their physical location.

Secondly, the IT industry places a premium on innovation and problem-solving. Effective collaboration and creativity flourish when team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and perspectives. Team building exercises, especially those designed for remote teams, can help break down barriers and encourage individuals to express themselves openly.

This leads to a more inclusive environment where the augmented staff feels like an integral part of the team, rather than outsiders. It enhances the overall team dynamics and can lead to increased creativity and problem-solving capabilities, ultimately benefiting the project’s success.

Remote team building exercises play a pivotal role in harmonizing the collaboration between augmented staff and in-house teams in the IT industry. They foster trust, improve communication, and create a sense of belonging among team members. This is all irrespective of their physical locations. By enhancing teamwork and innovation, these exercises contribute significantly to the overall effectiveness and success of IT projects.

10 team building exercises to try to bond your augmented staff with your in-house team

Check out some fun team-building activities you can implement to help with team bonding between your in-house team and augmented staff. Some popular team-building games include team video game playing, virtual workouts, remote dinners, and more. Let’s explore these and other team-building activities below.

Woman with other team members participating in a breakroom as a fun game for team building for remote staff

Create a virtual break room

The first team-building session you can try is to create a virtual break room. Creating a virtual break room is a brilliant idea for team building in today’s remote work landscape. It addresses the crucial need for social interaction and camaraderie that is often lacking when teams are dispersed. To make it work effectively, start by selecting a platform that offers a user-friendly and immersive virtual environment. For example, you can choose a 3D virtual world or a video conferencing tool with breakout rooms.

Encourage team members to participate in scheduled virtual break sessions. This is where they can engage in casual conversations, play games, or share their interests outside of work. These sessions should be informal and relaxed. Thus fostering a sense of connection and trust among team members.

Additionally, consider incorporating themed events or activities to keep things interesting and engaging. By providing a virtual space where colleagues can unwind, bond, and build personal relationships, you’ll enhance team cohesion. Ultimately, you will create a more enjoyable and productive work environment.

Show & tell sessions

Another option for team building is a show-and-tell session. You can have each team member showcase a unique talent or skill. Moreover, they can also teach their team members this new skill or talent. Also, if they purchase something cool, or perhaps they are renovating a room in their home and feel comfortable sharing they can do that as well via video chat. It’s an interesting & friendly way to get to know someone and how they live their life. Or what they enjoy or what they are good at.

Kickback Friday for team members

Kickback Fridays can help foster a sense of connection and camaraderie among team members. These activities can include virtual games, themed trivia sessions, virtual escape rooms, or even a virtual happy hour where team members can unwind and socialize in a relaxed setting. By engaging in these activities, remote teams can strengthen their bonds, improve communication, and boost morale, ultimately enhancing collaboration and productivity in a fun and informal way.

Woman participating in a virtual workout as a team building game

Organize virtual workouts

Another fun team-building exercise is to organize virtual workouts. You create yoga sessions, pilates, tai chi, or other exercises that you can do at home. To gain a better idea of what type of virtual workouts your team would like, create a survey and see what types of activities will get the most votes.

You should choose workouts that don’t need any equipment so that your employees don’t have to spend money in order to participate. This is a fun way for team members to bond, especially for those who are into fitness.

Organize a virtual book club

If you are looking to encourage team members to boost their communication skills and creative thinking, you may consider implementing a virtual book club. Organizing a virtual book club can be a fantastic remote team-building activity. It can foster both personal and professional development.

To get started, choose books that are not only engaging but also relevant to your team’s interests and goals. For a diverse perspective, consider alternating between fiction and non-fiction selections. Create a schedule that allows team members ample time to read. Then gather virtually for thoughtful discussions. Encourage open dialogue, share insights, and even incorporate icebreaker activities related to the book’s themes. In order to strengthen team bonds.

A couple of excellent book recommendations could be “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni for a focus on team dynamics and “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens for a captivating fiction choice that can spark meaningful conversations. Ultimately, a virtual book club can not only enhance teamwork but also promote a culture of continuous learning. Moreover, it can provide shared experiences among remote colleagues.

Playing video games is an excellent team building activity for remote teams in tech

Time for video games

Playing video games can be a tremendously enjoyable remote team-building activity for several reasons. Firstly, it fosters a sense of camaraderie as team members collaborate to achieve common objectives within the virtual world. The shared experience of overcoming in-game challenges and celebrating victories together strengthens bonds and enhances team cohesion.

Moreover, video games offer a level playing field where everyone can participate regardless of their physical location or skill level, promoting inclusivity and ensuring that everyone can contribute to the team’s success.

Additionally, the immersive and competitive nature of gaming provides an engaging escape from the usual work routines, allowing team members to relax, unwind, and recharge their creative energies while having fun. Overall, video games offer a dynamic and interactive way for remote teams to connect, communicate, and build lasting relationships, making them an effective and fun team-building activity.

Here are a couple of examples of different video games:

  1. Minecraft: Minecraft is a sandbox game that allows players to build and explore virtual worlds made of blocks. It’s renowned for its creativity and collaborative potential, making it an excellent choice for team-building activities. Remote teams can work together to construct elaborate structures, explore vast landscapes, and survive in the game’s challenging environments.
  2. Among Us: Among Us is a multiplayer online game that challenges players to work together on a spaceship while identifying the impostors among them. It’s a game that requires communication, teamwork, and problem-solving as players discuss and vote on who they suspect the impostors are. It’s a great game for testing team members’ deductive skills and ability to cooperate under pressure.

These two examples highlight the diversity of video games available, catering to different preferences and team-building goals. Minecraft encourages creativity and collaboration. While Among Us promotes communication and teamwork in a social deduction context.

Give live remote working a try

Live remote work can serve as an innovative and effective form of remote team-building exercise. In this digital age, where geographic boundaries often separate team members, embracing live remote work not only facilitates productivity but also fosters a stronger sense of unity among colleagues.

Through collaborative virtual projects and real-time communication tools, teams can bond over shared challenges and accomplishments, transcending physical distance. This form of remote team building encourages members to trust each other, communicate openly, and adapt to different time zones and work styles.

It not only enhances the team’s cohesiveness but also equips them with valuable skills for remote collaboration. Thus making them more adaptable and resilient in an increasingly interconnected world. Live remote work, when strategically integrated into a team’s routine, can be a powerful tool for team building. Therefore, this ultimately leads to more motivated and connected individuals who contribute to a more successful and harmonious work environment.

Diverse business people in company organised dinner party. Company event for entire team that works remotely

Organize a company event or trip

If you can organize a company event or trip where people can meet in person, it might be something fun to try in terms of team-building activities. You can organize a trip to the mountains, lake, ocean, or other attractions. You can have your team spend the day participating in fun activities like:

  • go-karts,
  • escape rooms,
  • bowling, etc.

At the end of the day, you can have a nice dinner and put everyone in a hotel for the night. This will help people put a name to a face, and get to know each other on a fun level. They can build common experiences and memories at these events which will also make their work more enjoyable on a day-to-day basis.

Organize a random channel to share snapshots, jokes, etc.

A quick team-building activity is to create a communication channel where people in their free time can exchange memes, photos, jokes, etc. This isn’t time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be an everyday thing but it can boost team spirit. It can be open to everyone in the company and whenever someone has a minute they can post, for the rest of the team to enjoy.

Here at Swyply, we have a random channel, where we share memes, jokes, and other photos. Many of our memes are work-related or related to our positions. There are tons of memes about being a software engineer, copywriter, QA tester, designer, etc. It’s a great way to interact with other team members or staff, and it doesn’t take up a lot of time.

Remote team dinner as a team-building activity

Another virtual team-building activity is group dinners. You can plan a night for team members to gather on video chat with their dinner and sit together as if they were actually in the same room. They can chat, and share what they made or ordered for dinner.

Tips for remote team building with temporary workers & permanent employees:

Here are some of our tips for remote team-building activities.

Young professional doesn't engage with entire group as he is introverted

Include employees who are introverts

Make sure to encourage all team members to participate in any team-building event. You want to include team members who are introverted as well. While they may not be actively participating, they should still be included. It’s a great way to take a break from work and get to know the members of your team better.

Including introverted employees in team-building activities is crucial for fostering a diverse and effective workplace environment. Introverts bring unique strengths to the team. Strengthens such as deep thinking, strong analytical skills, and the ability to listen and reflect. Team-building activities provide them with opportunities to showcase these talents and collaborate with their extroverted counterparts.

Moreover, by involving introverts, teams can benefit from a more well-rounded skill set and a broader range of perspectives. Thus leading to better problem-solving and creativity. Inclusivity in team-building activities ensures that all team members feel valued and comfortable. Therefore, promoting a sense of belonging and increasing overall team cohesion. Ultimately, by recognizing and involving introverts, organizations can harness the full potential of their workforce. Thus creating a more harmonious and high-performing team.

Follow the 2.5 rule

The “2.5 rule” refers to the idea that remote teams may require two and a half times more effort and attention in terms of team bonding and communication compared to teams working in a traditional office setting. This concept underscores the heightened importance of fostering strong interpersonal connections and maintaining effective communication channels among remote team members.

The “2.5 rule” recognizes that distance, lack of physical presence, and potential feelings of isolation. These can pose significant challenges to remote team cohesion, making it essential to invest additional time and resources in team bonding activities.

Remote teams often face unique challenges. Challenges such as limited face-to-face interaction, differences in time zones, and a lack of informal water cooler conversations. These factors can lead to a sense of isolation, reduced team cohesion, and decreased morale if not addressed proactively.

To counter these challenges, remote teams should engage in more frequent team bonding activities, virtual meetings, and social interactions. These can help to build trust, enhance collaboration, and create a sense of belonging. Team bonding activities become a vital tool for remote teams. In order to bridge the physical gap, strengthen relationships, and boost overall team productivity and satisfaction.

Start your meetings with a little team-building

When you have virtual chats, you can start these conversations with small talk or ice-breaker questions. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it’s a good way to get team members to build a bond and open up channels of communication. Sometimes taking five minutes to talk about nothing is helpful in terms of building team relationships.

Here are three examples of team-building activities that only take a few minutes:

  1. Two Truths and a Lie:
    • Before the meeting, ask each team member to prepare two true statements about themselves and one false statement.
    • During the meeting, take turns having team members share their statements while the others guess which one is the lie.
    • This exercise helps team members learn more about each other in a fun and engaging way.
  2. Virtual Scavenger Hunt:
    • Provide a list of items or tasks that team members must find or complete within their own homes or workspaces. These items or tasks should be simple and unrelated to work.
    • Set a timer for a few minutes and have team members race to complete the list.
    • Reconvene in the meeting and have everyone share their findings and experiences.
    • This exercise promotes creative thinking and a sense of shared fun.
  3. Collaborative Storytelling:
    • Start the meeting by sharing the beginning of a story or sentence related to a topic of interest or a work-related theme.
    • Ask the first team member to add a sentence or two to continue the story.
    • Continue around the virtual table, with each team member adding a sentence to build on the story.
    • The goal is to create a unique and entertaining story collaboratively.
    • This exercise encourages creativity, active listening, and teamwork.

Remember that the key to successful remote team-building exercises is to keep them light-hearted, inclusive, and respectful of everyone’s comfort levels. These activities can help remote teams bond and create a positive atmosphere for your team meeting.

Send fun/staff appreciation packages in the mail

Another way to build team bonds is to send staff fun packages in the mail. You can send them company merchandise, like a t-shirt, company mug, pen, headphones, etc. in a box in the mail. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive but it will make your team members feel part of the team. These packages can help build company culture. Your staff members can feel appreciated, welcome, and part of the team. They can feel a sense of belonging and that they are a valuable member of the team.

Close up smiley women chatting at company event

If you can meet in the real world

Another great team-building activity is organizing a trip where team members can meet in real life. You can organize a yearly trip to meet somewhere in the world to get to know each other face to face. Also, encourage team members if they can to meet in real life, even without the company. They can go out and grab dinner if they live in the same area.

Real-life meetings for remote teams are essential for fostering strong team dynamics and building a sense of camaraderie among team members. While technology has enabled us to collaborate effectively across distances, face-to-face interactions provide a unique opportunity to establish personal connections and deepen relationships. These meetings allow team members to get to know each other on a more personal level, facilitating better communication and empathy.

Moreover, they create a platform for team-building activities that can strengthen trust, boost morale, and enhance problem-solving skills. In-person meetings break down the barriers of virtual communication, ultimately leading to a more cohesive and productive remote team.

Remote team playing office trivia to build better bonds as part of team building

TL;DR: In a nutshell team team-building activities

Remote team-building exercises have emerged as a powerful tool to bridge geographical gaps and cultivate a sense of unity among IT professionals working from various corners of the world. Remote workers can foster strong team dynamics with the help of fun games, team-building activities, and more. Here are some of our best team-building activities for remote teams in the IT industry:

  1. Create a virtual break room
  2. Show & tell sessions
  3. Kickback Friday
  4. Organise virtual workouts
  5. Organize a virtual book club
  6. Time for video games
  7. Give live remote working a try
  8. Organize a company event or trip
  9. Organize a random channel to share snapshots, jokes, etc.
  10. Remote team dinner

As we’ve explored in this blog post, team building is not just about fun activities; it’s about forging meaningful connections, enhancing communication, and boosting productivity. It’s about transforming a group of individuals into a cohesive, collaborative team. In a world where remote work is here to stay, investing in remote team-building exercises is not an option but a necessity.

So, don’t wait any longer! Start implementing these exercises in your IT team today, and watch your team’s cohesion and productivity soar to new heights. Your IT team’s success and camaraderie await – take the first step towards it now! 👉 Drop us a line 👈 and let’s talk about remote team-building exercises.

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