3 Unusual Ideas for Team Building with Remote Workers
And it isn’t just organizations getting in on the trend, employees are also opting for it en mass, so much so that a recent study  had this to say:
88% of remote workers would recommend remote working to people close to them and that they care about.
However, despite the positive trend, creating a cohesive and strong remote team  with healthy company culture is one of the most challenging tasks a manager has to overcome.
- How do you strategically build a team from a distance?
- And what is the purpose of team building?
- Do you really need it?
These are the questions that every remote team leader ponders on and we have their answers.
Team Building – Why is It Important?
In recent years, the phrase “team building” has become a buzzword with many connotations but yet still maintains its original purpose – corporate development.
Team-building activities are crucial not just for the immediate effect of the exercises carried out by the team, but also for the bonding, group skills, and the communication that results.
The outcome of team building is so strong that over 85% of failures  at the workplace are attributed to ineffective communication and a lack of collaboration between staff.
90% of leaders find that an engagement strategy would also help. 
These statistics show that regardless of the activity performed, be it having lunch together via video calls or embracing simultaneous digital learning, it is the means to an end: building a formidable team for effective contribution to company goals.
Remote teams help break down personal and political barriers, cut down on distractions because 90% of employees are more productive when they work remotely. 
Other benefits of team building include:
- Boosts morale and managerial skills
- Company goals and objectives become clearer to employees
- Increases organizational productivity
- Identification of hindrances to creativity
- Increases team problem-solving capability
- Solidifies team’s strengths and identifies weaknesses
How can you systematically build a team remotely?
There are the usual ways, like a get together once a year, but there are some other unusual and unique ways to do it too.
Here’s three of them.
1. Interaction Via Social Media Groups
Originally intended to connect people, social networking platforms emerged as 21st-century marketing powerhouses. They allow brands to interact directly with customers and prospects in ways that are more personal.
However, most organizations do not take advantage of social media for its internal benefits like team building.
You can include team-building strategies in your social media tactic to boost employee cohesiveness, productivity and job satisfaction.
Take the brand Buffer  for example; they harness the power of Facebook groups and start team interaction on the group platform by sharing jokes and inspiring materials like books.
This boosts employee engagement and brings a sense of oneness between remote staff as they interact with one another and gain inspiration from each other’s e-books for more productivity.
Studies even show  that 87% of remote workers have a deeper connection with their colleagues and upper management via the use of innovative technology like video conference calls than office-bound employees who need not use such remote access tools.
2. Photography Competitions
Pictures trivia. What’s a better way to learn more about remote colleagues than that?
The activity doesn’t have to demand fancy equipment, employees can use a smartphone.
Photos are a great way to gain insights into each other’s lives and unite workers around a common hobby.
Participants can take pictures of virtually anything based on a particular theme and it could even be selfies.
The person with the best shot then gets a framed picture of their shot as a gift or any prize chosen for the competition.
You may learn new and intriguing things about your team members – regarding their lifestyle, epic design skills or out-of-work interests and hobbies.
Maybe you even find out someone’s following the same TV shows or has a keen interest in gaming.
The whole experience would do wonders for the team bond, as employees would put a face and personality behind their colleagues.
An excellent take on this activity would be a desk show and tell. Chances are that you’ve set up your workspace  in a way that describes your personality or work ethic.
So, taking a photo of your workspace with an explanation of the picture can be a great way for other team members to know you better.
You could also play games like: what items on this desk would you want to have if you’re stranded on an island?
I’d probably pick the laptop charger as it can double as a rope, and well, my French press too! You can never get enough coffee wherever you might be.
The activity ensures that all team members feel equally included and recognized as valuable people to the company.
However, team leaders must ensure that the activity offers the same rewards and the same visibility that office-bound employees get.
3. Daily Morning Coffee Meetings
Daily scrum meetings are the foundation of solid teamwork. Every morning, the team leader calls everyone together and they discuss what they have to do throughout the day, while standing, to prevent the meeting from being too long.
But since you’re dealing with a remote team, you can spin this concept a little by having a coffee meeting with all team members every morning.
At the start of the day, each employee would locate a coffee shop close by and connect via video conferencing.
Everyone will speak about his or her daily tasks while sipping a hot cup of coffee.
The role of the manager would be to keep the conversation friendly and playful as it’s a team-building exercise, not an intense meeting or ranting.
Building a strong and united team is essential to achieving your company’s goals and objectives. 
Activities like photography games, coffee meetings, and social media interactions help break the distance and enable team members to connect with their colleagues.
Use these three tips to create a collaborative and productive environment for your remote workers.
If you have any additional tips, share in the comment section below!
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats whenever she can. Connect with Ashley!
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