With more people working remotely than ever before, the world of work is changing.
Until recently, asking to work from home even one or two days per week used to be something of a taboo. Even people juggling childcare or caring responsibilities felt unable to ask for flexible or remote working. Those who did request some flexibility usually waited until they’d got their foot in the door, proven their worth. Earned the right to request “special” treatment. But was this stance outdated? Has it been left in the past?
How many people have found themselves forced to relocate for work? It’s one thing choosing to ride off into the sunset and follow your dreams, but it’s quite another when you find “it”, whatever that thing is that you want to do, only to realise the only people hiring in that industry are based 500 miles away. How many couples, families, have gone through the hard slog of working away during the week, or for weeks at a time? With home working being the new normal, will this become a thing of the past for good? During the pandemic, I’ve heard of people applying to companies they never would have previously considered due to their location, confident they’ll be able to negotiate a form of remote working at the interview stage. For some people, this is giving them access to their dream employers, no matter what their location. “Location independent”, the new buzz word. Others have finally found some work life balance, eliminating their commute, maximising their day, for some people this has been a welcome break from the so-called rat race. They are healthier, better rested, more in control. But is this sustainable? Can human beings really do everything from behind a computer screen? What are the long term effects?
We now know countless companies who are succeeding at remote working, ourselves at Totem included! It’s no longer the novelty it was a few years ago. Over the last decade it’s been tried and tested, to great success. Like anything, there are those who love it and those who miss the office. Some people are ready to get stuck in while others need time to adjust.
In this post, we want to share with you how we at Totem strike a balance between keeping the momentum going and keeping things fun, so without further ado, here are our best original and fun virtual team building activities for conference calls, tried and tested by the team here at Totem. Whatever your goal, team bonding, employee engagement or developing company culture, we've got the right remote team building activity for you and your remote workers.
Effective Team Bonding Activities for Conference Calls
#10 Counting down from 10, let’s start with an easy one, virtual book club! First, team members submit their favourite books. Next, set your schedule. Once a month, every 6, 8 or 12 weeks, book club can take place as often as you like. Display the dates for your team building activity on a shared calendar, you could set reminders too. If you want to take things up a notch, have team members submit their favourite reads anonymously, and begin each book club session by taking it in turns to guess whose favourite it is, before the person reveals themselves and what the book means to them.
#9 Virtual cookery club! Once a week, month or quarter, team members submit their favourite recipes in advance for this team building activity, allowing everyone to get their ingredients ready on time. Set up a scoreboard and voting system for the best recipe with a whopper of a prize at the end of the year!
#8 Next up, wine tasting. Get team members to nominate their favourite wines and have miniatures delivered to their door. This also works well with cocktails - you can have the ingredients delivered in advance. If you feel like playing host, simply research the wines before the event so you can talk everyone through them, or bring in a professional. Alternatively, you can try making your own cocktails and ranking them to see which one is best!
#7 Language club! If you work remotely, chances are you’ve got remote team members spread right across the globe. Take turns teaching coffee break language classes. The host chooses what to teach, whether that’s basic greetings, how to sing happy birthday or their favourite swear words, it’s really up to them! Prizes for the best student!
#6 Take things one step further and set up a virtual map. Get remote team members to pin where they were born, where they live now, or where their parents are from. You can even use this map for employees to announce where they are headed on annual leave!
#5 We all know how guess the baby photo works, so let’s start with that. Then, move onto guess the pet and even guess the workstation. For a modern twist, submit a screenshot of your most used emojis keyboard and see if you can identify whose is whose. You can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned photo challenge either, choose titles and get remote team members to submit one photo per week, voting for the best one.
#4 Take a virtual tour together. Throughout this pandemic, great and historic buildings have opened their doors to the world, virtually speaking. Log on for a virtual tour with the likes of the Louvre, San Diego Zoo, Disney World, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, Universal Studios and many more. It really is the perfect team building event. Take this one step further and book an Air bnb tour as a small group, where a local takes you around their town. Team members can also step up and volunteer to host a tour of their own city.
At #3, we have Slack, an essential in our eyes. Slack is perfect for teamwork. If you’ve ever worked remotely we have no doubt you’re familiar with Slack. Slack has a ton of great features that make things easier for collaboration at work and keeping spirits up. If some of the team are finding the distance tough, we recommend setting up a coworking channel. In joining the channel, it's a fun way for team members to say to each other, "hey, if you need some company, I’m here." Switch your cameras on and work side by side like the good old days for some camaraderie and a cohesive team. It truly makes a great team building exercise. https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/
#2 Once you’ve mastered Slack, we recommend adding in Donut. Donut is an add-on extension that can be added directly into Slack. It sets up 1-2-1 chats between team members, mimicking the workplace connection shared over a coffee, donut or at the water cooler. Donut is a surefire way to improve teamwork, boosting team culture, skill sharing and creative thinking.
In at #1, Totem’s very own “Feel Good” Online Team Building. Choose from a DIY self-serve format or our premium package hosted by one of the team, a certified Totem facilitator. Our unique platform was designed for building trust and improving communication among team members carrying out remote work.
Experience Totem's team building game first hand and see the Totem effect for yourself.
- Bring teams together: A fun and rewarding team activity that has a lasting impact, bond with your team members over this shared positive experience. You won't believe the impact it has on your teamwork.
- Highlight each other’s unique strengths and qualities: Help others shine while discovering your own best self!
- Practice giving positive feedback: Break down communication barriers for open and honest communication with those around you using proven techniques founded in psychological research and personal development.