How do you team build with a remote team? Despite daily meetings and being virtually connected through chat all day every day there’s clearly a huge opportunity to bring people together face to face, which doesn’t happen like you would experience in a normal office setting.
I still quite honestly don’t know what it means to execute a proper team building exercise. That aside, I decided to rent a cabin on a river for a few nights and invited all my immediate team members for what would hopefully qualify as a team building event.
We rented a large cabin on James river so we could all hang out in the same building. It was awesome to be in the presence of the people I work with daily. I feel like even just spending a few days in the same house alone helps get everyone get closer but you know that team building isn’t just locking everyone in the same room for a while, or is it?
What I’ve experienced in the past is more exercise driven. Basically taking everyone on a field trip and doing something together like going skiing. To that point, we booked two excursions. One being a float trip down the river back to our cabin (pictured above) and the second was an escape room. I got over zealous thinking that I was with my team of high tech geeks so I reserved the most difficult escape room I could find. We got really close to winning but unfortunately did not. I should have asked if anyone had done an escape room before because it was the first time for everyone except me. ^_^ Live and learn. We had a great time working together anyway. The float trip was absolutely spot on though. Everyone got to relax and share a lot of laughs for about 5 hours straight.
We made breakfast and dinner in the cabin every day we were there. It was awesome hanging out, sharing a couple drinks and BBQing. Based on this, my opinion of successful team building is more along the lines of sharing good times with each other. Not necessarily succeeding at doing something together since we really push that line pretty much every day at work. That’s what work is though; effectively working together to meet a common goal.
When it was all said and done, the only thing I think we really could have done better is figure out how to schedule it in such a way that we could have had the whole team present. We were missing about half our team for various reasons. Next year we are going to prioritize making sure we can get all the team members in the same place. If we can achieve that as our primary goal then I believe it will be a successful team building event regardless of what activities we setup for our team to build in the traditional sense.