Remote work is transforming the workplace and empowering organizations to hire people from all over the world. Having a global team undoubtedly makes for great business. Dispersed employees provide increased diversity, local expertise, and an edge in an increasingly competitive global economy. But with physical distance, there are plenty of challenges when it comes to team synergy. 

Research suggests that a fully-engaged workforce can deliver twice the revenue, with 86% of executives citing a lack of collaboration as the main culprit for company failures. It doesn’t take a data expert to determine that morale within the workplace directly correlates with employees’ productivity and teamwork skills. 

There are abundant strategies for forming bonds among a local team, like company outings or office celebrations. But team-building between colleagues from different countries and backgrounds is an entirely new challenge for leaders in global companies. Today, our Imprint Engine team is spread out across six countries and we’ve learned a thing or two about which global team-building initiatives actually work. 

Need to Skim? Key Takeaways

  • Building global teams is a game-changer for fostering collaboration, boosting competitiveness, and driving personal and professional growth amongst your team members.
  • You can unleash the power of creative virtual activities like virtual water coolers, wellness sessions, travel shows, and shared interest clubs to build connections and camaraderie among remote team members.
  • Creating tight-knit global teams means embracing empathy, promoting open communication, and understanding cultural differences to ensure your employees feel included, valued, and understood.

Table of Contents

  1. Why are Global Team-Building Initiatives Important?
  2. Global Team-Building Initiatives to Implement at your Workplace
  3. Understanding Cultural Differences with Global Teams
  4. Embracing Global Team Building with Imprint Engine

Why are Global Team-Building Initiatives Important?

Global team-building initiatives can result in unexpected perks. When you have a collaborative global team, your business is innately more competitive. Your recruitment net has no boundaries because physical locations don’t impact your productivity. Colleagues from across the world can combine their diverse insights to break into every market with a local approach. And when your team is constantly engaged with other cultures and points of view, they will inevitably grow on professional and personal levels. 

Global Team-Building Initiatives to Try at Your Workplace

We’re privileged to operate in a world where remote workers are equipped with tools like Zoom, Slack, or Teams to stay connected. However, in order to truly deepen connections, you have to get creative. Here are a few virtual activities to implement as ways to introduce new team members and foster bonds with existing colleagues.

1. Virtual Water Coolers

Millions of people have grown accustomed to remote work, especially over the last four years. Some may have forgotten the value of a common area where they can congregate and informally socialize with peers.

Virtual water coolers are an online space your employees can log into when they need a break. This space could be in the form of a Zoom meeting that is left open throughout the day, where employees can drop in and out whenever they’d like. It could also be designated Slack channel for casual conversations, which may be more accessible for teams that operate in multiple timezones. In the channel, your team can compete in photo contests, share movie reviews, play trivia, show off their pets, or discuss all sorts of virtual water cooler topics. It’s no Culligan cooler near the cubicle bay, but virtual spaces for non-work-related chit-chat are a modern alternative for global teams who might be a little nostalgic for office small-talk. 

2. Virtual Wellness Sessions

The best kind of bonding activities are ones that can strengthen the group as a whole and simultaneously benefit each individual. Virtual wellness sessions can include several health-related activities like learning from a featured expert about practicing mindfulness, calming nerves with breathwork, maintaining financial wellness and even live instructions such as yoga, stretching, or guided meditations.

Finding time each quarter to bring your team together to focus on their collective well-being is a great step toward effective global team building. These periodic touchpoints create time and space for sharing ice breakers and partaking in new experiences to ultimately forge deeper connections with distant coworkers. These sessions also serve as a great opportunity to treat your team to a memorable branded experience by sending them at-home wellness kits or upgraded company merch. These unexpected perks are proven to be positive investments back into your team. Imprint Engine helps every step of the way from brainstorming to fulfillment by getting to know your people and culture so that every gift or experience contributes positively to your team-building goals.

3. Virtual Travel Show

In case you didn’t know, the Imprint Engine team loves to put on a good show, so this exercise is right up our alley. In a virtual travel show, participants create short videos that showcase interesting places, landmarks, or hidden gems in their local community. They’ll take their colleagues on a virtual journey, sharing insights, cultural facts, and personal anecdotes about their featured places. 

This activity is a great way for team members to learn about different parts of the world while getting to know their colleague through personal stories and their “travel show host” personality. (Though this may be a big ask during busy seasons, you can always introduce it as optional or even offer an incentive to boost participation.) 

4. Virtual Shared Interests Clubs 

Like a virtual water cooler, virtual shared interests clubs can exist in chat channels as outlets for informal discussions. Whether it be cooking, gardening, books, movies, sports, coding, or even astrology, common interests are guaranteed to form and strengthen bonds within your team. Leaders can conduct a survey and ask people to share their interests. From there, create groups and include discussion prompts for participants to share their favorite book or their thoughts on current events or hot topics related to their interests. 

Understanding Cultural Differences with Global Teams

Bonding activities are pieces of the larger global team-building puzzle. In order to keep your team aligned and motivated from across the world, colleagues and managers must thoroughly understand each other’s cultural differences and maintain a healthy level of trust and communication. 

It can be difficult for a company to feel like a single entity when it operates from multiple regions, especially if the majority of the team is based in one city or from similar cultural backgrounds. The minority group may feel out of the loop or even unheard or misunderstood. It’s critical that leaders recognize any imbalances and bridge the gap to make everyone feel seen. This can occur through engaging team-building activities as well as consistent communication from leadership about expectations, growth opportunities, achievement recognition, and more.

Ultimately, multicultural collaboration requires empathy and openness from every single team member. Global teams may be confronted with language barriers, social nuances, or misunderstandings that can easily happen between people from different backgrounds. To strengthen your global team, implement initiatives that raise awareness, promote mutual learning and teaching, and showcase each individual’s unique skills and personality.

Embracing Global Team Building with Imprint Engine

Operating internationally comes with a fair share of challenges, but even more rewards. Our firsthand knowledge as a global company paired with our expertise in elaborate brand experience programs makes us the ultimate one-stop shop for developing your global team-building initiative. 

Ready to create something memorable? Contact us