Team lunch at the office, a fun day of activity outside the office, serendipitous inside jokes grow out of interactions at the office – there are so many ways to engage a co-located team. If your team is located all over the world, things get a lot trickier. Getting together for a remote team activity via zoom can become a burden. If your team crosses many time zones or works incompatible shifts it might even be impossible. Instead, you can opt for self-directed, selfie-worthy activities to engage the team. This modified version of Sneaky Cards is a good example.
Beware your extroverts/introverts
Most team day activities ignore the fact that some people are more comfortable doing things in public than others. Building trust in remote teams takes time, and sometimes even a zoom call can feel
public. In a remote environment, team activities can feel very taxing (for introverts) or very unsatisfying (for extroverts) if performed alone, in front of a computer screen. Awareness is key when designing your team activity – you don’t want anyone to feel excluded.
Sneaky cards for remote teams
Sneaky Cards is a set of 54 activity cards with prompts to create, grow, connect, engage, care and surprise. Each card presents one activity and includes a code for tracking. The original idea is to register the card, do the task, and then pass the physical card on to the next person. I’ve adapted the game for my remote team, taking into account that mailing out the cards was not an option. Some of the countries my team members are located in simply do not offer a reliable postal service.
To give you a bit of context, these are some examples of cards (you can see the full set on their website:
I divided the cards into an extrovert and an introvert pile, based on how much social interaction is required for a task. “Make an origami animal” might end up in the introverted pile. “Take a selfie with a total stranger” is for extroverts.
Depending on their self-assessment, each team member then received two cards. They can veto a card if it seems completely out of scope and trade it in for another card. Then they have one full week to fulfill the two tasks and post the result in our slack channel, either as a photo or explaining what they did.
Trying new things, sharing experiences
The result was far more engaging than I expected. One team member shared a video of them reciting the poem they learned for the challenge. Another shared a selfie with their neighbours who gracefully listened to his nervous elevator speech and shared how excited they felt for having met people who live nearby and were eager to engage. Seeing others growing and engaging with their own comfort zones was just as amazing as doing the tasks themselves. Our experiences very much matched those shared on this Instagram account.
PD: They just released an extension of the game focussing on spreading kindness. That might be an even better fit for support teams. It’s available for Amazon Prime customers here.
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