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Engaging Remote Teams: 4 Games That Can Help

Engaging Remote Teams: 4 Games That Can Help
Engaging Remote Teams: 4 Games That Can Help
You need to make sure you keep them alive remotely. Managers of remote teams need to be constantly leading new ways to engage and connect remote employees. Here are a few games that can help.
Engaging Remote Teams: 4 Games That Can Help
Engaging Remote Teams: 4 Games That Can Help

With offices shuttered throughout the pandemic, companies faced many hurdles relating to remote work. From the technical efforts on the part of employers to make sure workers had functioning IT, to managers coordinating Zoom meetings, to employees trying to set up spaces to work at home, the major upheaval was managed from top to bottom. 

Now, however, as we emerge from the worst of Covid and remote working arrangements remain in place in many cases, there are fresh long-term challenges. Most notably, studies indicate that employees working primarily remotely express feeling two times less engaged (182%) than their in-person counterparts.


This shows that employee engagement is going to be a major factor in staff satisfaction and retention moving forward. Building a strong remote working culture is essential, and involves linking remote work and corporate values, using appropriate remote tools, and so on. And as we've mentioned, it's about more than games and snacks. At the same time, games can be useful aspects of engaging remote teams, in that they can help to foster team bonding and a sense of belonging.

With this in mind, let's look at some helpful games to consider with your remote teams.

Words With Friends

There is a high chance employees will be familiar with this online take on Scrabble (it's been downloaded over 250 million times!). 

Android, iOS, and Windows Phone users all have access, and there is an option of cross-platform play, meaning that team members with different tech can still link up through the game. Meanwhile, each player can have up to 20 games going at once, which means you can get a fairly large team playing together (or perhaps set up one wing of the company to play against another).

Like its board game counterpart, Words With Friends involves turn-based moves that take only a few seconds –– providing a great way for players to take brief breaks without longer distractions. 

Ultimately though it's the social side of the game that's valuable for a remote team. Players can chat beside the word board and will gain a sense of connectivity with colleagues through repeated, light competition.

Torn

Billed as a text-based MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game), Torn can be played in a web browser or downloaded as an Android app. 

Players are set up in "Torn City," where they start life at the bottom of the pile in a corrupt environment and work their way up by whatever means necessary. 

Players can compete as individuals or form a syndicate of up to four, which means it can accommodate both the lone wolves and those in the office who may be more inclined toward collaboration. Either way though, it gets the whole team into a fun environment that has nothing to do with work to share experiences in.

Notably, Torn has earned acclaim for offering an environment that is "quite friendly and welcoming" for new players, and the mission-based nature of tasks means the game works for short bursts of play –– whether that means two minutes or a half-hour session during a lunch break.

Poker

A Friday night poker game around a kitchen table has represented an opportunity for friendly bonding and socialization for decades. This has held true throughout the pandemic, albeit in a different format; with numerous online poker platforms (like 888poker) reporting mushrooming numbers, it's clear that people have sought to replicate the "poker night" remotely.

This is easy to do with work teams through simple mobile applications. In fact, among the best poker apps available these days, there are some that are essentially built to support easy online games between friends (without real stakes). 

Zynga Poker allows you to create private tables from friends lists either on the app itself or from social media pages (so it can be hooked up to a company's internal Facebook page to loop in participants with minimal effort). 

Pineapple Poker puts forth an uncommon 13-card variant, which is a great way of leveling the playing field for those who aren't masters at the more common Texas Hold'em. 

And for those who want face time, Poker Face: Texas Hold'em Live utilizes uses webcams (or phone cameras) to stream players in as real-time avatars. All of these apps make it easy to set up casual team poker nights for a bit of remote bonding.

Pictionary

A 2019 survey at Buffer.com found that the biggest issues facing remote workers were unplugging after work (22%) and feeling lonely (19%). 

Having a social teleconference where colleagues can unwind and enjoy some together-time can be valuable, and Pictionary provides some light-hearted fun - whether that's the classic version on pen and paper, or via an online version like Skribbl.io - both can be played using Zoom as the facilitator. Drawing has always been a great way to express personality and creativity, which can help individual morale as well as create some collective fun at work.

We're undergoing something of a revolution in work culture just now. 

People will take time to adjust and while some workers flourish remotely, many struggle without the physical social interaction and camaraderie of the office environment. Keeping folks engaged is key to keeping them happy and productive.

About the author 

Jamie Ellis is a gaming enthusiast and freelance writer. He is passionate about covering gaming's place in modern society. In his free time he loves to hike.

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Wednesday, 06 July 2022

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