In today’s world of “internet science” articles and Google searches, it seems like there are endless ideas for improving your workday experience—“How to Make Your Co-Workers Like You,” “How to Be Confident While Presenting,” “How to Be More Productive.” One thing that is often overlooked by remote and co-located teams alike is fun. Fun may seem like a distraction (or, even worse, forced bonding time), but it is vital to a happy, healthy, productive team.
Whether your team is distributed across the country or across town, you can have fun and build relationships that can lead to better business outcomes. Here are ten ideas for connecting and bonding with your team:
1) Designate a Water Cooler Space
The water cooler is a magical place where spontaneous socializing can bring your team together. But when your team is remote, it can be difficult for this kind of spontaneity to occur. Coming to work in an online office can help your team connect on a deeper level by creating a space where people can convene and leave work behind for a minute. Designate a virtual room as your water cooler space and encourage your team to take breaks and hang out there.
2) Celebrate Holidays
What better way to have fun with your team than to celebrate holidays? Have Christmas parties, Chanukkah parties, St. Patrick’s Day parties, whatever holiday parties you can squeeze into your schedule. Gather in an online office space with video enabled and hand out awards for the best Halloween costumes. Play music and have a holiday sing-off. The possibilities are endless.
Holidays are also a great way to share what makes your team different. Everyone celebrates different holidays in different ways. Create a space for sharing these traditions—it will enrich both the party as well as your connection with your team.
3) Hats and Costumes
Designate one Friday a month as a hat, jersey, or even costume day, highlighted by a team video chat. Sometimes working with a virtual team actually allows people to share their lives in a much more personal way, and having a team-building fashion show is a great way to highlight this.
4) Talk Tag
Break the ice by holding a game of talk tag once or twice a month. Send your team a list of open-ended questions. Examples include, “What was the most agonizing hour of your life?” “What do you feel is your life purpose?” “What are you freakishly good at?” “What was your very first job?” “How does it feel to be a mother for the first time?” Go around the physical or virtual room—once you have been asked a question by a co-worker, you must now ask another co-worker a question from the list.
5) Virtual Charades
Charades is made so much better with the advent of the online office. For instance, if your team mainly communicates by voice chat, team members can imitate famous voices. If your team works via video conference, you can do full impersonations. Who doesn’t love a good game of charades?
6) Story Line by Line
Did you ever play that game in elementary school where your whole class made up a story line by line? Online chat makes this game super easy, especially if you have a group messaging system. One person writes one line to start, then, in turn, each person adds a line to create a story. There can be a cap put on the number of lines, and everyone can contribute whenever they have a free moment throughout the day!
7) Trivia Games
Trivia games are great to play over chat or video conferencing. They can happen sporadically throughout the day or during an organized team break. Trivia games are a great way to shine light on your team members’ hidden strengths. You might discover that Becky knows a whole lot about Star Trek, or that Mike is a history genius. Get to know each other and have a friendly competition at the same time.
8) GIF Battles
Not every infusion of fun in your virtual office has to be a planned event—sometimes subtle additions make the biggest difference in improving the workplace dynamic. While not appropriate in every situation, a lighthearted reaction GIF can go a long way to soften a tedious email from a supervisor or deliver difficult news that may be out of your control. These little glimpses of humor and personality will help your team build trust and camaraderie, translating to a greater willingness to go above and beyond in getting the job done.
9) Virtual Dance Parties
Not only are dance parties a great way to improve your mood and get out of your seat, but they will up the fun factor in your workspace. Just pop into an online office space or video conference, crank up the tunes, and get grooving! Bonus points if your team makes a dance party playlist together.
10) Video Competitions
There are a couple directions that you could go with this one: lip sync battles, music videos, or “day-in-the-life” documentaries. Who can recreate the best music video? Who can make an original music video? You can also create a company-wide video with each person assigned a section of a song or a sketch. This would not only look pretty awesome on your content marketing page, but it would also give your team a chance to work together on something fun.
No matter where your teammates are located, bringing your team together in a Sococo online office space allows your team to connect spontaneously and genuinely, rather than trying to force a conversation over email or text. Learn more about building your own Sococo online office for work (and play) here.