The importance of teamwork is well known. Effective teams are what separates a high performing culture from a mediocre one.

However, working from home has resulted in teams to work in a desynchronized way. With the abrupt shift to a remote work setting, without prior measures taken, team members are facing the dilemma of delayed communication, thus resulting in the team bonding to be affected as well.

Thus, managers and leaders must take suitable measures to build engagement among remote teams. Here are five ways to do so:

1. Icebreaker Questions

Icebreaker questions are the epitome of being the perfect engagement activity for teams. The reason why icebreaker games are so effective lies in its simplicity. Conduction a session of icebreakers for the team will increase morale in team members and establish the feeling of bonding and belonging.

The goal of this team engagement activity is to help a group of people who most likely are feeling alienated in a virtual work setting, connect with their peers by indulging in conversations that’ll arise due to the nature of the questions asked.

There are multiple benefits to conducting an icebreaker session, including:

  • A relatively zero-cost fun activity that is quick and effortless.
  • The key to building trust within your virtual team by asking questions that help everyone get to know each other.
  • Promotes communication in a work environment that everyone was unprepared for.
  • It helps establish the concept of “fun at work,” which is essential in feeling engaged.

How To Conduct An Icebreaker Session

  1. Establish a moderator. It can be the team leader or manager.
  2. Ask an icebreaker question. Every team member should write his/her answer down in a sheet of paper.
  3. After a series of questions, ask everyone to share their answers one by one.
  4. Have a discussion of sorts traversing the answers that been given.

2. Virtual Team Lunch

Just because you no longer have the luxury of going out with your team doesn’t mean that you can’t share the much-missed office tradition of having lunch with one another.

In some instances, employees are quarantine alone or craving for the kinship currently missing from everyone’s life.

A virtual team lunch is an ideal way to establish a daily, weekly team ritual and overcomes the feelings of isolation, stress, and disconnection that many of us are experiencing.

There are no set steps to conducting this virtual team activity. Ask team members to set a particular time and have a virtual lunch date with the whole team or even in a group of twos and threes. The power of casual chitchat in improving one’s mood should not be underestimated.

It is easy, has 0 zero cost, and is mostly practical.

3. Health Challenges

Working remotely will either be a strong contributor or a might detractor from forming healthy habits. Not taking care of one’s overall health can be hugely detrimental to the overall health of an employee.

You can support your remote workers in forming healthy habits with the help of regular health challenges. To get started, choose a theme that inspires healthy habits such as “3,00 steps every day” and track it. If you invest in a corporate wellness app, it could do the tracking for you and gamify the challenge to make it seem more interactive and exciting.

You can allocate specific points or rewards, which will fuel the motivation for employees to push themselves. Not only will it benefit your workforce, but it will also ultimately profit your company by boosting engagement, productivity, and overall health.

4. Free Time

The problem with working from home is feeling like you are always on the clock. Especially when it comes to connecting with peers, the balance between home and work life blurs, thus impacting team bonding as well. This hectic and busy lifestyle undoubtedly leads to team disengagement and ultimately burnout.

However, you can reverse employee burnout by scheduling free time as being a part of the everyday work routine. Give your employees time to rejuvenate, hang out on virtual conference calls, and talk about non-work related topics. The position of not having to be productive all the time and simply relax for some time will surely make your remote employees feel more satisfied with their jobs and also serve them in connecting with their peers.

5. Celebrate Small Wins

Such chaotic times call for everyone to cherish and appreciate the good things in life. Celebrating small victories such as completing work before the deadline might seem insignificant but a considerable morale booster for teams.

Virtual recognition is an easy process (that can be further encouraged by implementing a rewards and recognition platform) that is perhaps the most effective way to create an engaged workforce. Here are a few pointers to appreciate your top performers virtually:

  • Acknowledge the achievement publicly through virtual meetings, online boards, social media channels, or team meetings.
  • Recognition delayed is recognition denied. Instant and on the spot recognition should be practiced.
  • Though verbal recognition is affecting, rewarding takes the process to a whole other level. Point-based rewarding are perfect for the virtual setting.