Team Building: Is Your Remote Control Working?
Updated: Jan 7, 2021
We all know the benefits of team building: cohesiveness, tight-knit work relations, camaraderie, professional bonds, strong communication and the list goes on. The level of success that surrounds high functioning teams is a game changer. Amid the work-from-home surge due to COVID-19, how has team building affected you and your team? It is probably very hard to keep a grip on things and impart that personable touch that team leaders and managers have the ability to do when they're face to face with their teams. Although remote teams are not new, I thought to take a more practical approach to helping many of you first-time remote teams with your team building skills. This APM article is a fun one and will get your remote teams excited about every meeting that is labeled as a team building exercise. I have 2 team building exercises that I created just for remote teams. One of the team building exercises will resemble an ice-breaker, while the other can be tailored to focus on organizational goals. Are you ready? Let's go!
Team Building Exercise #1: Email Menace
This ice-breaker works well with video conferencing, but it also can be done on conference calls.
What's needed: a computer, timer, consolation prize, and your high speed team members
Object of the exercise: Which ever team member has the Menacing Email in their box when the timer bottoms out is nixed from the exercise.
Rules: The team leader preps a short, but funny email message. I like those messages that keep the team members on their toes (Forward me NOW!). The team leader starts the timer for 10 seconds and sends the email to a member of the team. That member then sends the email to another member and the process continues until the timer times-out. Whichever team member has the email is the one who is counted out. The email CANNOT be forwarded back to the team leader. The final team member that has the email must now fight to the finish with the team leader. Whomever has gotten rid of the menacing email between those two is the winner!!!
Team Building Exercise #2: Note-taker Tantrum
This exercise is meant to be used at the end of a meeting and works best with conference calls.
What's needed: pen/pencil, paper, timer, consolation prize, and your energized team members
Object of the exercise: Each team member will be given 10 seconds to spout out the notes they've taken from the meeting. You get nixed from the exercise if you can't get it out in 10 seconds and cover all the highlights of the meeting.
Rules: The team leader explains the object of the exercise to the team; ensuring that all members understand that the highlights of the meeting are a must in order to win. The team leader then chooses the first team member and gives the ole READY-SET-GO! along with starting the timer. The team leader will listen carefully to ensure that the highlights of the meeting are in the details of the team member's notes that they have taken. If the team member covers all the highlights before the timer times-out, they are in the safe zone and gets to watch their other team members have their tantrum. If the team member does not beat the timer, they are simply nixed.
If you decide to use one or both of these team building exercises, be sure to give APM some feedback and feel free to tweak the rules of the exercises to suit your objectives.
The ideal consolation prizes can be centered around what you would normally give if it were an office game i.e. mugs, t-shirts, day off, a meeting break, or you can add a little organizational drive and allow your winners to submit their organizational ideas for review by top management. You know your team and you know what motivates them the most so, choose consolation prizes that they will find rewarding. Now, go Team Build your Remote Control!
A quick apology: Out of respect for the civil unrest that was happening around the world, APM did not post an article for the month of June. When the spotlight needs to be shined on more important matters, APM will take a pause. No topic is more important than the hearts, minds, and lives of our readers. We support your safety, equality, and your right to peacefully protest. Remain vigilant until the end.
Disclaimer: This article is not based on research results, but is a personal construct theory from personal observation and personal experience of current events. All articles of APM are to provoke thought and influence future research.
Author: Graduate Student of Touro University Worldwide, Industrial and Organizational Psychology Major, May 2021 expected graduation date