As teams work from home, it's hard to keep a pulse on team morale.
For most people, it's likely a mishmash of mixed emotions doing online work.
Working on your own, you only have your perspective and you can't balance it with others' ideas. Also as a leader, it's hard to tell how people are feeling in a digital world. Virtual work can be very isolating for remote teams. People end up working independently and rarely feel they are a part of a team.
Below are some virtual team building icebreakers and activities to boost morale on remote teams. The big thing missing in online work is people, emotion and experiences. It helps bring the people and the feeling back into the work with fun virtual activities.
Virtual Team Building Activity #1
Proud Moment. Every virtual meeting, you can highlight someone and have them talk about a proud moment relevant to their work. Encourage them to talk about pride in their team and the value or meaning of their work.
Virtual Team Building Activity #2
BRAG about your customers. Every day customers pay you to do something. Let's highlight those customers and appreciate them. It's always easier to complain about customers but more important to enjoy them. We want our teams to feel good about our customers, so continually recognize your customer's value.
Virtual Team Building Activity #3
Table Topics. If you've ever attended a Toastmasters meeting, you will remember the table topics segment of the meeting. It's fun, impromptu speaking on a topic. In a virtual meeting, it's time set aside for people to talk about something meaningful.
To choose who gets to do the table topic, you may draw names from a hat. It will feel daunting at first, but people will get used to it. Encourage people to speak on a topic for one minute. Sample topics could be...what I like about isolation, what I am most excited about in the future, the app that I use most often, my favourite TV show, my favourite vacation, my favourite part of the job, etc. Keep the topics fun and light.
You could encourage people to loosely follow a speech structure with an open, body and summary close. It is impromptu speaking (that you make up now); people do not have time to prepare their remarks. However, you can become a fantastic communicator if you practice creating off the cuff remarks that follow a structure.
Each table topic speaker is limited to 1-3 minutes.
Virtual Team Building Activity #4
BRAG about your team. Much like you brag about a customer, you can brag about a specific team member or the team as a whole.
Virtual Happy Hour.
I've been a virtual keynote speaker at over 150 online events, and this is a popular favourite. The intention is to replicate a live happy hour online. Invite participants to get a drink. Start a virtual happy hour with a toast to the group. Acknowledge people for their passion and enthusiasm and potentially highlight progress. Let the happy hour unfold with random conversations and spontaneous humour.
Virtual Truth or Lie.
This is a fun virtual ice breaker. Have a participant tell three true things about themselves and one lie. The audience has to guess the lie. These can be fun when they are linked to work. (i.e., I landed a 5K contract this week, or I went into the office twice this week)
All virtual ice breakers are used to personalize meetings by adding some fun and feeling.
People get overwhelmed and exhausted when they heavily focus on content online. Virtual events are meant to bring hope, humour, optimism, pride and passion back to a team.