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10 Ways For Remote and Distributed Teams to Stay Connected

Friday November 3, 2023

10 Ways For Remote and Distributed Teams to Stay Connected

Friday November 3, 2023

Distributed team of five individuals participating in a team building experience together

With the number of virtual communication tools available, distributed workforces are becoming commonplace. Approximately 58% of employees work from home at least part-time, and a large number of teams have offices in multiple locations.

Logistically, virtual work is easier than ever. However, connecting with team members over long distances is challenging. Today’s leaders need to find ways to help their team connect despite the dispersed nature of their workforce.

Here’s an overview of the importance of connection to working with distributed teams, as well as 10 ways to stay connected with your virtual colleagues.

Why Is Connection So Crucial for Distributed Teams?

There’s a plethora of data demonstrating the importance of connection in the workplace.

A recent McKinsey study found that 51% of employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of belonging as one of their primary reasons. Additionally, 46% quit because of an unmet need to work with people they care about and feel close to.

Retention isn’t the only important metric, however. A study from Gallup revealed that employees with strong work friendships are seven times more likely to be engaged, and generally perform their tasks better.

Unfortunately, despite the importance of connection, a large number of employees feel disconnected from their coworkers.

Working from home adds an additional challenge to connecting with your team, even if it’s only part-time. In a study of hybrid employees, Gallup uncovered the following concerning metrics:

  • 32% feel disconnected to the corporate culture
  • 30% experience less collaboration
  • 24% have impaired relationships with coworkers

Global teams encounter further challenges. A recent HBR article explained that in addition to the physical distance, multicultural teams tend to struggle with communication issues, misunderstandings, and distrust.

Despite these challenges, virtual teams tend to be more productive, innovative, customer-centric, and diverse. It’s important for leaders to have the tools to overcome these challenges so they’re able to maximize the benefits of a distributed workforce.

How To Facilitate Connection Between Distributed Team Members

According to HBR, geographically distributed teams tend to struggle with social distance—the degree to which team members feel emotionally connected. Focusing on connecting employees and increasing a team’s overall sense of belonging is critical for leaders of distributed teams.

Fortunately, there are many ways to help remote and dispersed teams connect with one another through engaging experiences. A study of over 500 fully remote workers revealed that the most cohesive and connected teams routinely engage in virtual social bonding activities.

“It’s not only good but necessary to come together as a team for these kinds of experiences regularly,” explains a B2B Marketer who participated in one of our experiences. “The number of things you learn about how a peer thinks and what their motivation is is a million years ahead of a regular work meeting.”

Below is a list of 10 Teamraderie experiences to help your team bond and connect, and improve their sense of belonging and inclusion.

10 Ways to Connect With Distributed Teams

1. Connect Over a Shared Pastry and Coffee Tasting Experience

Research shows that sharing similar food improves trust and cooperation. Sharing a tasting experience, such as Teamraderie’s Tartine Bakery and French Press Coffee & Tea Experience, is an excellent way for team members to connect.

This experience will help your team:

  • Connect on a deeper level
  • Develop trust
  • Learn new ways of thinking

You’ll also receive an elegant kit with a French press, fresh ground coffee or tea, and a generous assortment of cakes, cookies, and baked items from San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery.

2. Facilitate Employee Recognition and Appreciation

According to Gallup, team members who feel recognized and appreciated by their coworkers are four times as likely to believe their organization is fair, and three times as likely to feel respected, valued, and comfortable being themselves. Teamraderie’s Digital Card Game To Recognize Team Strengths can help ensure team members feel recognized.

This experience gives your team the opportunity to:

  • Express appreciation to team members
  • Learn how their actions impact their team
  • Receive recognition and appreciation from their colleagues

Participants will take part in a science-based team-building game where they’re assigned cards based on their strengths and personality type. Using a custom virtual game board, they’ll then discuss the best qualities in each of their teammates and what strengths they bring to the team.

3. Participate in a Fun Experience and Learn Together

A recent study demonstrated a positive correlation between fun activities at work and employee creativity. Teamraderie’s Virtual Ice Cream Experience is an excellent way to spark joy while helping your team connect.

This experience will help your team:

  • Bond over a shared experience
  • Have an opportunity to participate in an enjoyable activity
  • Learn new skills together

Participants will receive a kit with all the ingredients needed to make a batch of ice cream at their desks.

4. Improve Team Empathy Through an Improv Experience

According to HBR, regularly practicing empathy as a team leads to higher satisfaction, improved teamwork, less emotional exhaustion, and more organizational commitment. This is likely why nearly 80% of CEOs believe that empathy is key to success.

Building Empathy and Listening Skills through Improv is a Teamraderie experience that can help:

  • Increase team empathy
  • Improve communication and listening skills
  • Develop team trust

Your team will participate in a variety of interactive improv games, both in large groups and in breakout rooms. These games are intended to help participants put themselves in others’ shoes and learn to listen to one another.

5. Brainstorm Ways to Improve Productivity With Generative AI

It’s estimated that by 2030, activities comprising 30% of hours worked will be replaced by automation. There’s a common fear that AI will end up replacing a majority of modern jobs. However, the reality is that AI can be leveraged to empower employees, rather than replacing them.

In Teamraderie’s experience, Accelerate Your Generative AI Initiative Together, leadership and artificial intelligence professor Paul Leonardi will help your team brainstorm ways to empower employees with generative AI.

This experience can help:

  • Build team trust
  • Learn how generative AI can positively impact employees
  • Improve team productivity

Participants will learn how to apply the STEP framework to their roles and leverage generative AI to maximize productivity. This experience will help your team learn how to create value for your organization and individual team members as well.

6. Learn How To Empower Your Team

An article from McKinsey reveals that empowering employees leads to better decision-making and problem-solving.

Teamraderie’s experience Empower People and Teams Through Visual Collaboration will help empower your team by learning to represent ideas visually.

This experience will help:

  • Improve your team’s collaboration
  • Help your team communicate better
  • Increase productivity

Using a digital whiteboard, participants will learn how to use visual thinking to confidently share ideas and collaborate more effectively. They’ll also discuss the opportunities and challenges of distributed teamwork, and develop strategies for overcoming them.

7. Participate in an International Snack Experience

An international snack experience is an excellent opportunity for multicultural teams to connect. Teamraderie’s Snack Journey Around the World is an excellent way to achieve connection and open the doors to important conversations.

This experience will help:

  • Build connections with coworkers
  • Increase cultural awareness
  • Improve your sense of togetherness

Participants will try snacks representing multiple cultures and continents, and discuss their favorite snacks. They’ll also learn about the connection between food and culture. Teamraderie will ship each participant an elegant kit containing three different snacks and a beverage.

8. Enjoy a Virtual Happy Hour Together

According to HBR, taking intentional breaks at work is a great way for employees to recharge and can improve productivity. A virtual happy hour—such as Teamraderie’s Virtual Cocktail Class—is a great way to capitalize on these benefits while facilitating connection between your team.

This experience can help:

  • Rejuvenate your team
  • Counter exhaustion
  • Increase feelings of togetherness

Participants will craft three classic cocktails together, using a kit provided by Teamraderie that includes all the ingredients needed. The master mixologist will share tips and techniques for making cocktails, as well as how to add your own personal touch. The workshop will conclude with a tasting of the cocktails, giving participants a chance to connect and socialize.

9. Enhance Distributed Teamwork With Evidence-Based Games

Cohesion, collaboration, and connection are crucial to remote work. Teamraderie’s Evidence-based Games to Ignite a Thriving Team is a fun way for distributed teams to improve these qualities.

This experience will help:

  • Improve empathy and trust
  • Foster collaboration
  • Build connection

Your team will participate in three different improv games, each designed with a different goal in mind. The experience will be split between large group activities and breakout rooms, giving everyone the opportunity to practice their skills in different settings.

10. Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Research shows that teams with gender, geographic, and age diversity make better decisions 87% of the time. Diversity alone isn’t enough however, successful teams must also create a culture of inclusion. Teamraderie’s experience Applying Lessons from the Past for an Inclusive Present can be a great first step to facilitating an inclusive culture.

This experience can help:

  • Improve team energy and motivation
  • Build inclusion and belonging
  • Give your team a sense of purpose

Participants will engage in a meaningful conversation about inclusion and belonging, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marcia Chatelain. The conversation will explore how teams can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all members.

Ready to Improve Your Team’s Connection?

If you’re ready to facilitate connection and cohesion among your team, these experiences are an excellent starting point.

Companies that leveraged Teamraderie experiences to build camaraderie experienced the following results:

  • 20% increase in team connection,
  • 18% increase in commitment,
  • 24% increase in team trust
  • 32% increase in retention

Teamraderie was created in partnership with Stanford and Harvard Business School’s professors. We turned research about creating cohesive, strong-performing workplace teams into live, private, interactive experiences that teams share together. These experiences are used by global teams at several leading companies.

Teamraderie has over 60 experiences to choose from, each with different outcomes in mind. If you’re interested in discovering which experience is the right fit for your organization, take our experience quiz or ask our ChatBot, TeamraderieGPT.

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