Team building exercises are essential in startup businesses and workplaces, but it isn’t easy to make effective team building activities while working remotely. In this video, I suggest a few team building tips that lead to team cohesion and an increase in productivity.
Hey everyone. In a recent video, I spoke about how you can make remote work both fun and exciting for everyone involved. And one of the key components for me is that you do not only talk about work all the time, but you consciously create room for you and your colleagues to get to know each other as human beings.
A distributed team
Why is this so important? Well, to give you a bit of background, we at Tomahawk.VC are also a distributed team. Claude and I are in Switzerland most of the time, but we still work from separate offices almost all the time. We get to see each other face to face every now and then, that’s usually when we have meetings with third parties, companies founders, or when we get together for something else footwork. But then Bojan, who also works with me for approaching five years now he lives in Skopje, Macedonia. And so he and I don’t get to see each other very often, and in fact, Claude and Bojan haven’t seen each other in person yet. Bojan was actually supposed to come and see us here in Switzerland just as COVID-19 started, so we had to postpone that trip for hopefully a later time this year or the latest next year.
So given that we are a distributed team, and we talk to each other almost all the time, but also a big portion of that will always be about work just because there’s so much to do. We thought we needed to create a way for us to get to know each other as human beings to be better and also have fun chats rather than just being focused on work all the time.
Know each other as human beings
So how do we make sure we get to know each other as human beings and not just as colleagues? Well, there are two things that we do on our Friday call. Every Friday, we have a 30-minute chat where we update each other on a review of the week, what have we accomplished, which top priorities have we made progress on, and then we also give a preview of the next week.
Get to know each other better
But that’s only the first 15 minutes of that column and the remaining 15 minutes and sometimes we go a bit over be used for two fun things that help us to get to know each other better. Number one is Trivia. Claude and our team usually prepare some fun trivia about venture capital, about startups, about the venture ecosystem. And he typically prepares a few questions around a certain topic. To give you an example recently, the question was, ” In 2019, in Europe, what was the biggest funding round? Who led it? And what company did it go into?” If you think you know the answer, please let me know in the comments. I’d be curious to know how many of you have heard of that company before? I certainly hadn’t, which was shocking that there was such a big company, big funding round, and it had completely slipped my radar. But one thing I didn’t get right, which was who actually invested in that round. So as I said, let me know in the comments if you do think you know which company it was, how big the funding round was, and who left the round.
So that’s only the first part. That’s a fun way for us to learn a bit more about venture capital and kind of advance our knowledge as a team and hear about fun stories, and then the second part is more personal. For the second part, we currently go on a website called icebreaker.range.co, and we pick some icebreaker questions for each and every one of us. I was inspired to do this by a game called On Game, which is a card game that you play with physical cards with friends that just has a number of sometimes funny, sometimes very serious questions on it, and you go around the circle, and everyone picks a card and answers the question that’s on it. And we use that website in a very similar way. We go on the website, someone starts, we pick a question for them, and then they answer the question on the spot for everyone else. And sometimes, you get a question like the one we just saw on range.co, and you immediately have an intuitive answer. And sometimes it kind of trips me sometimes. It takes me a few seconds to just order my thoughts and think about how I can and want to answer this question.
So there you go. These are two ways for us to have a bit of fun and get to know each other better as human beings, not just as coworkers in our Friday call. Number one, we do some Trivia, could be anything by the end. By the way, we just like to keep it focused on venture capital right now because that’s where we all want to learn, but it could be movie trivia or anything else. And then number two, we use icebreakers, just simple questions that we go around and circle and everyone answers one. We do this once a week. And since we started doing this about maybe five or six weeks ago, we had some different processes before. It’s been really fun. Maybe that’s the last takeaway, switch it up from time to time when you realize it gets boring. Make sure you introduce some new concepts, new questions, new ideas, and hopefully this will be helpful to you in building your remote or partially distributed team.
If you have any processes, systems or games that you use in order to get to know your colleagues better, especially in a remote team, please let me know in the comments, it’d be great to hear and be inspired by your ideas.
And with that, I have a beautiful day. Stay curious, and I will talk to you soon.