If your company’s staff recently embraced remote working, then you might want to arm yourself with some Zoom team building ideas to maintain your staff camaraderie while working from home.
We at Support Adventure are veterans at this point of using virtual team building activities and exercises, as we have amassed a staff of 40 employees on 4 different continents.
We are happy to share our top tips and strategies for keeping your remote team connected and feeling a little less lonely.
A strong company culture will help you incorporate virtual team building strategies
Before we get to the team building strategies, please consider strengthening your company identity first. If you can create a strong company culture, then it will be easier to establish Zoom team building routines.
Here are some elements that an ideal company culture should include:
- Collective vision
- Inspiring medium and long-term goals
- Encouraging management
- Transparent leadership and accountability
- Positive mindsets from employees and management
- Flexible work-life balance
- A motivating workplace
- Empowered employees
In your bid to establish virtual team building exercises, strong core values will help maintain morale.
For example, most of our employees and managers are expats and have the same goal of living abroad long term. We have employees who have moved all the way from Brazil to Serbia, and California to Colombia. This shared vision helps create a very motivating workplace, as we all feel empowered working for a company that helps everyone in achieving a similar goal.
Steps for establishing team building strategies for Zoom.
One last thing before we share with you exactly what has worked for us. You and your management should consider a few things first:
- How much time will you allow for your team building activities?
- In which time zones are those who will attend the meetings?
- What are the personalities of your staff like both in and outside of work?
- What activities will and won’t work with your company’s vibe?
- What existing office traditions can be transferred to a Zoom meeting?
Some team building strategies won’t work for everybody and their varying personalities, living situations and even the various time zones of the employees attending. So you’ll want to consider activities that work with every aspect of the group dynamic.
Zoom team building strategies that have worked for us.
We have used many tactics over the years for keeping our team feeling connected and excited working from home. Here are some of our favorite team building methods and exercises:
- Simply chatting
- Group exercises
- Social Breaks
- Traditions & Celebrations
A simple chat.
That’s right. Talking is team building. Simply talking releases the pleasure hormone dopamine; it bonds people and it can be oh-so therapeutic.
Think about it… People working from home are by default working alone. They spend long periods of time separated from other people, and they are surrounded by the same environment every single day.
That is why a simple conversation can be so exhilarating. Chatting with other people and learning about what they are experiencing is a sense of escapism from the monotony of each individual’s day.
Team building doesn’t have to be an exhausting activity like group ziplining or virtual bowling. Good old fashioned social dialogue can do the trick.
So when it comes to chatting during your Zoom team building time, some questions to strike up stimulating conversations are:
- What is one interesting thing that happened to you this week?
- What city/country are you in right now? (This naturally prompts everyone to ask follow-up questions about whichever city the person in question is in.)
- What did you do last weekend?
- What are your plans this week?
- Did you see _______ (on the news, video on Youtube, movie over the weekend, etc. )?
- Did you hear about ________?
As you might notice, these are pretty common questions asked in an actual workplace. And that is the goal. You are trying to bring a face-to-face environment to a virtual environment as best as you can.
Our exercise of choice at Support Adventure is yoga. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have a Zoom meeting that anyone can attend, where a yoga instructor leads everyone in some beginner exercises.
This not only builds community within our team, but it also helps get everyone active during what might have otherwise been a very stationary day.
Now, not every exercise will be right for everyone and their life situation. Some things you might want to consider before bringing on group exercises are:
- Is everyone in the right physical condition to perform an exercise?
- Is the exercise beginner friendly and accessible for first timers?
- Will everyone be available during the time it is held each week?
- Can the exercise be taught online?
A huge reason yoga works for us is because it can be taught online at a time that works for everyone. We find a time of day that works for our staff in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Yoga is also beginner friendly as it is easy to take a rest at any time when one reaches their limit.
Here are some other group exercises and activities that can be done with your team:
|Beginner to Intermediate
|Standing up & moving around
|Meditation & breathing exercises
A social break is an allotted time, or various times throughout the day, for doing something that feels social while working.
We have a Facebook group just for our employees to share pictures, memes, jokes, fun questions and random thoughts throughout the day.
We also have an end-of-the-week happy hour drink that commences an hour before an employee’s shift ends.
We know this doesn’t fly in every business or country, and it is definitely more common in Europe and the United Kingdom than the United States. But again, a big theme of our company culture is enjoyable remote work and travel. Going out for drinks on a Friday night is often part of the fun of traveling. That is why we incorporated this as one of our virtual team building activities.
As long as your social break activity fits with your company culture, then feel free to try it! Some ideas you can consider are:
- Alcoholic or non-alcoholic happy hour
- Facebook group for sharing pictures, memes, jokes and thoughts throughout the day
- Zoom chat while working
- Team playlist with music everyone can listen to at the same time
Traditions & Celebrations
Traditions and celebrations are a great way to incorporate routine and socializing into a remote environment. Oftentimes, you can bring those traditions and routines that you practiced in your office and apply them to the virtual team meeting world. Those might include:
- Social breaks
- Employee of the week/month
- Company Anniversaries
- Employee Anniversaries
- Outside work hours online events
- Staff Productivity Challenges
If you have a yearly dinner to celebrate your company anniversary for example, as we do, you can take advantage of Zoom meetings to take the company dinner online. You can pick a date where everyone on the team can be available and have a team brunch or dinner through a Zoom call.
If your team often partakes in a game night, you can recreate that on Zoom by having a day of the week where you all can play online games, or play a game that can be hosted with Zoom.
The sky’s the limit as far as traditions go. If you are unsure how to determine if a tradition can be done virtually, consider the following:
- Can the tradition be performed over a Zoom call?
- Does everyone have access to something they would need for the event (e.g. enough money to order sushi for sushi night)?
- Can everyone be available at the time the Zoom team building event would take place?
Team building on Zoom is helped by the quality of the meeting.
The Zoom software alone is not the only thing you will need to host successful team building meetings online.
You should also prioritize the following:
- Reliable internet – Each employee should have reliable internet, as well as a back-up internet source just in case.
- Strong sound – Horrible sound quality is unacceptable, which is why all of our employees receive quality Sennheiser or Logitech headphones when they start.
- An enjoyable staff – We’ll say it again. Hiring staff that fits your company values will increase the connection and positive outcome for your team building meetings on Zoom.
- Management meetings – Have meetings with your managers to get on the same page. Create a shared vision for how to conduct the meetings and nurture your company’s culture.
As long as everyone comes prepared and on time, Zoom meetings will be very effective in creating team unity.
See how easy it is to start conducting team building activities with Zoom! If you have any other questions about Zoom or team building in general, let us know in the comments below!