Remote Team In-Person Events – A Real-Life Example
In our fast-paced world, team unity and strong interpersonal connections are essential for success. At this point, the majority of our clients have fully remote team members; some, a significant number. Even though remote work isn’t new, figuring out how to develop a high-functioning remote team is still a work in process.
One key aspect of fully remote work we believe is important to team development is the occasional in-person get-together. Can you live without it? Sure. Will your team be better off if you invest in it? Absolutely.
We’d like to take you behind the scenes of our own remote team to share some ideas on how you could structure your in-person events for remote workers.
We host two in-person events per year for our remote team. One is focused on brainstorming, problem-solving, fancy dinners, and big activities. The second is more of an in-person work week. This takes place in the fall, so we’ve dubbed the meeting “Fall Hands.” There’s less structure at this event, more “just working,” and lots of white space for organic conversations, quick questions across the meeting table, and almost no external meetings scheduled.
Our four-day meeting kicked off with a welcome from partners, and some branded swag of baseball caps and desk plaques. After that, it was independent work and a couple of mid-year feedback sessions. These quick check-ins are important to be clear about performance and our values.
To keep a balance between heads-down work, meetings, and fun, we took part in a few events during the week that didn’t break the bank or take a lot of time:
- White elephant gift exchange. Since we don’t get together during the holidays, this was our chance to give some *delightful* ($10 and under) gifts. Among the treasured items were a crocheted emotional support pickle, a “cereal killer” spoon, and a picture of Kristen’s brother Garrett (long story, ask later).
- Scavenger hunt. We embarked on a scavenger hunt using Let’s Roam, which tested our abilities to find landmarks and learn trivia about them, and work together under pressure. Clues led us on an adventure on foot through Grand Rapids, MI, creating a bit of friendly competition and excitement. There continues to be debate about which team “won.”
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Sharing a meal has a remarkable way of breaking down barriers and building bonds. Our Fall Hands meeting included group meals that allowed us to connect with each other in ways we do not interact daily.
On our second day together, we held a Vendor Lunch. This gave our remote team a chance to put a face to the name of the service providers we interact with regularly. Our HR consultant, IT consultant, and almost our accounting team (who ended up sick and on vacation) joined us for seafood. Most, but not all, gave the escargots a try.
For dinner on our last full day together, we went to the Rampe household for a family-style dinner. Playing charades and cracking each other up over tales of bad interviews in our pasts were all reminders that, beyond our roles and talents at work, we are individuals with rich histories and diverse backgrounds.
In the past year, Rosenberg Associates has expanded its team to include an executive assistant, a consulting associate, and a marketing director. We have not had all the new team members together in person at the same time until now. It was impressive to see the immediate cohesiveness of the entire team – carrying on face-to-face meetings, delivering feedback to one another, brainstorming, communicating, and accomplishing our daily work.
While there may have been a heated debate about whether or not you can “steal” the white elephant gift you brought to the game, our get-together fostered a sense of unity, face-to-face collaboration, and camaraderie. Everything we did over the four-day meeting reinforced our commitment to achieving success together.
If you look closely at the photos below, you can also catch a glimpse of our Shipping Department crew – the two young gentlemen who get your Rosenberg Books packed up and out the door.
You were probably wondering. Marc Rosenberg comes to our spring in-person week when we do the splashy, fun stuff. As he’s occasionally trying to retire, we let him off the hook for this one.
Developing a team’s well-being and cohesiveness is an investment in their success. What are you planning for your remote team members?
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