Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

Remote Team Bonding

Vinyl Records

Photo: Unsplash

One of the challenges in running a remote team is finding ways to enable and encourage team bonding. With employees across the globe, it is hard to get everyone together regularly. If you do not encourage the team to interact socially then it is easy for team members to feel isolated.

Up to 65% of remote employees report that their teams only discuss project work.

These activities should not be mandatory as not all employees find them appealing. You should aim to run a few in parallel to cater to as many employees as possible. There is no limit on what you could try especially with the magic of video calls and Slack.

There are a lot of ideas on the internet such as:

  • Virtual Coffee Break. Arrange a time for a virtual call where team members connect from their local coffee shops. The aim is to discuss their personal lives, sport, entertainment or professional topics. You discuss anything but your project over your favourite brew.
  • Knowledge Sharing. Start a book club or arrange lightening talks to teach your team about new tools or libraries. These shouldn’t be about things directly relating to your project.
  • Fun Slack Channels. Pictures of your pets, film quotes, Dad jokes or selfie channels.
  • Board Games. You can arrange leagues and tournaments for games such as Chess, Drafts or Monopoly.
  • Team Lunches. Like the Virtual Coffee Breaks but you arrange to all meet up while eating lunch together. You can take this further with sharing recipes and agreeing to try each others.

When Ben, our new Head of Product joined Open Energy Market he suggested a music sharing exercise to bond with the team. On a Friday each team member gets to submit 2 music tracks on our team Slack channel. Once all the submissions are in then the team votes for a winner and Ben adds the winners to a Youtube playlist. There are no prizes. It can get quite competitive with some team members (in a fun way). It has become a staple of our week and for a music lover, it’s a great way to discover some new artists. There is a suprising mix of artists and genres for such a small team.

For anyone interested I have created a Spotify playlist of the submissions which I update each week.

I’d love to hear about your team’s approach to team building and bonding so please share them with me via twitter or email.