The more international offices a company has, the harder it can be for teams to bond. Meredith Martini, founder and CEO of teambuilding firm PlayWorks Group, doesn’t let distance undermine staff teambuilding opportunities. “In the meetings industry, we are all passionate about face-to-face,” says Martini, “but with technology these days, you can simulate that face-to-face with video conferencing.” She explains four creative ways companies can take their teambuilding to a virtual level.
1. Start with names.
“Names are important,” says Martini. “They’re part of our identity.” Have each staff member create a digital audio file stating their names and explaining the meaning behind their name. Then share them with the entire staff. The exercise will help staff members who have only corresponded via email get to know each other better.
2. Do a day-in-the-life-of video series.
It’s hard to keep track of what every department is up to when you work for a large, multicity company. To keep everyone in the loop, create a video series detailing what a day in each department looks like, and then share it with the entire company. Not only will it help employees understand each other’s workloads, it also shows what resources are available to the entire staff.
3. Assign pen pals.
Working with an international team means you work alongside different cultures. Employees can get to know their global colleagues better through a pen pal system. “You could overnight your pen pal your favorite salsa,” Martini suggests. Or imagine an India-based employee is working with someone in the United States. The Indian employee could find an Indian restaurant down the street from the American staffer and have their favorite dish delivered. “You can share each other’s cuisine and get to know each other that way,” says Martini.
4. Create a social media fundraising campaign.
“It’s like a marketing exercise or simulation, but not so simulated,” says Martini. First, divide attendees into groups. Each group will pick a cause or organization to which they would like to give, and then decide how to deliver the message. Next, they’ll begin promoting their fundraiser on various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.), racing against the other groups to raise money. Whichever group raises the most money the fastest wins.