For Symphony Agency — and countless other companies — the shift to working fully remotely happened fast. Sometimes it feels like we’ve always worked this way, and the memory of squeezing into non-sweatpants five days a week is only a bad dream. Other times, it feels like something is missing. That something is all the beautiful faces, voices, conversation, jokes, laughter, and delightful annoyances of my teammates.
I can personally attest to the fact that it’s difficult to replace the interactions that naturally and effortlessly happen when you’re working in the office with your team. Being physically distant can easily turn into feeling emotionally distant, which is why making employee engagement and virtual team building a priority is so important. Virtual team building — just as it would be in person — is all about creating positive interactions with your teammates and building upon your relationships. Here are four of our Greatest Virtual Team Building Hits!
The 4 Best Virtual Team Building Activities
1. Book Club
Oprah is really on to something here. A book club is a great way to encourage communication, and learn not only about a variety of new concepts, perspectives, and skills, but about one another. At Symphony, we have a running monthly book club with titles selected by different team members, which concludes with a week of discussion about different topics in the book.
2. Art Contests
As Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is contagious.” Fun, themed art contests are a great way to give everyone a way to express themselves, and the submissions are guaranteed to stir up a lot of laughs and conversation. The medium can be open, or be specific such as a drawing, painting, photograph, etc. As an example, we recently did a photo contest with the theme of “Home.” The winning piece is shown below.
“House of Carbs” by Matt Ashwood
Our team is most alive when we’re competing, and any game will do! Create a customized bingo or trivia game and award prizes to the winners, or splurge on a facilitated online problem-solving game or escape room. We recently played The Puzzle game as a team, and we give it two thumbs up (and more if we had them). You can also create uber-personalized games by collecting information from team members.
4. Standing Lunch and Drink Dates
One of the things our team misses the most is sharing a meal or drink or mountain of donuts together. As a substitute, having times set aside to recreate these moments virtually is sweet! For the early birds, schedule a standing morning coffee talk to chat while getting ramped up for the day, or a happy hour for winding down at the end of the week. Video group lunches are also great, and you have the added benefit of being able to turn off your camera momentarily to get the food out of your teeth.
We Can Do This
Although we can’t exactly replicate personal interactions that occur while working in an office, there are plenty of creative ways to connect and stay engaged with one another virtually. A little bit of effort and imagination goes a long way towards keeping the gang happy, and together.
About the author: Lauren Keel is the Office Manager at Symphony Agency. In addition to keeping things running smoothly, she ensures the fun-loving company culture stays alive — even during times of COVID-19.