Pulse Check: Effective Virtual Relationship-Building Activities For Remote Teams

by / ⠀Employee Engagement How-tos Office Snacks Wellness / March 18, 2021

teamwork scrabble pieces

Great leaders know how to build a strong team. Why is this important? According to Gallup, the strengths and dynamics of your team directly affect business outcomes. 

But how do you increase engagement and build better relationships virtually with your remote team?

It begins with understanding that strong teams start with the individual. When leaders like you respect, trust, and view your employees as individuals who are separate from their job or work, their engagement increases. 

In fact, 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by you as a leader. Your company will also experience lower absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity, and higher profitability as a result of higher employee engagement.

Now that you know the importance of building strong bonds between remote employees, let’s go over the team relationship-building self-assessment you and your employees can take to determine how well you’re doing to cultivate a connection with your team. 


Reflect on the quality of your remote teams’ relationship

One way to do this? With the Team Relationship-Building Self-Assessment from the book, Beyond Thank You.

This assessment explores how well leaders like you are able to nurture relationships across your remote team. The 10 questions answered on a scale of 1-10 are:

  1. How often do you laugh and play together as a team?
  2. How often do you do things to learn and grow together?
  3. How well do you feel you know your team members? 
  4. If you are feeling burned out, sick, or have a personal issue, how safe do you feel to tell your colleagues?
  5. If you make a mistake, how comfortable do you feel to admit it to your colleagues?
  6. If you feel frustrated with a colleague, how comfortable do you feel to ask them to speak?
  7. If you are struggling with a task, how comfortable do you feel asking for help?
  8. How often do you and your colleagues celebrate and express your appreciation for each other?
  9. When we have a conflict on the team we most often… 
  10. How valued do you feel by your team? 

If you’re ready to strengthen the bond between your employees, here are the best virtual relationship-building activities to do with your team depending on how they scored on the assessment. 


Activities to develop relationships with your remote team

A score below 50 indicates you have work to do. For leaders at the beginning stage of team-building with their remote employees, it’s time to experiment with bonding activities unrelated to work or your job.

It can feel overwhelming to be in charge of a remote workforce with no physical space to connect everyone. Here’s what you can do today: Schedule a one-on-one check-in with each member of your team. This is the time to ask them how they’re doing personally or what they might need help with professionally. 

Another option? A peer-to-peer recognition session. This experience can open your employees up and offers them a safe space to express their emotions and find the confidence to take risks and feel challenged.

Regardless of how overwhelming it may feel to tackle this on your own, the time to start developing relationships with your remote employees is right now. 


Activities to nurture relationships with your remote team

A score between 50 and 74 tells you that you’re on the right track, but to kick the fun up a notch. Once your employees feel closer to each other, it’s up to you as a leader to create an inclusive team environment.

How can you do this? Lead by example, encourage individuality, and allow members to experiment without fear of negative consequences. In your next meeting, you can try an activity like trivia, question of the day, or celebrate small victories.

As a leader, it is also a good time to schedule one-to-one meetings with each of your employees to reflect on how they get along with their coworkers, how comfortable they feel bringing up issues, and how valued they feel as an individual working for you.


Activities to maintain relationships with your remote team

A score above 75 and, by now, your remote team feels safe to express themselves and works well together. You’ve laid the groundwork for a connected team and now you need activities so everyone can continue to learn, grow, and stay healthy together. 

You can try a few different options such as a scavenger hunt, a challenging customer role-play scenario, do a fun year-in-review, or team shout-outs to increase engagement, boost morale, and bring on the laughs

These activities are unique, proven methods designed to help leaders like you reap the benefits of a healthy and connected remote team. 

Virtual relationship-building with a dispersed workforce isn’t easy, but a strong bond between your employees leads to positive long-term outcomes like more trust, strengthened communication, and increased engagement.

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