Slack and other business communication software are rising in popularity, especially as more companies offer remote work opportunities or open satellite offices around the world. The popularity of Slack is no joke – 725,000 companies use Slack as of June 2020. According to a study by Slack in 2018, 91% of workers want to get closer to their colleagues, with 85% want to connect with remote colleagues.
With the return to the office on hold for a while and Zoom fatigue plaguing even the most extroverted employees, how can you engage your remote team in meaningful and fun ways? As a company who was already 40% remote before the pandemic, Poll Everywhere has a few tried and true team bonding activities that can easily be done in Slack.
Get creative with channels #️⃣
After a quick Slack poll with our team about their favorite ways to keep in touch, we were surprised by the results: 50% said group chats were their primary form of communication. At Poll Everywhere, we encourage our team members to create Slack channels based on their special interests. This is a great place for members on different teams to get to know each other and speak on topics they are passionate about in smaller group chats. Some of our favorite topics for channels include pets, plants, cooking, and music. Encourage members of your organization to own their own channels and create bonding activities within the channels. This is also a great leadership opportunity for those who don’t typically lead projects or groups.
Spark a debate with a poll 📊
Ever wondered who on your team likes pineapple on pizza? Or who pronounces GIF as “JIF”? Ask your team a fun icebreaker with Poll Everywhere for Slack, a seamless way to take polls and engage your team without leaving the Slack app. With the app, you can ask multiple choice or Q&A questions and gather interesting opinions. Peak your team’s interest by asking a simple question in the group chat and watch it turn into an exciting debate in the thread. For inspiration, check out these 30 fun and fresh icebreakers perfect for engaging your virtual team on Slack. Here are a few of our favorites you can copy directly into your Poll Everywhere account:
- What is your favorite season?
- You’re stranded on a desert island. What are your top three must-have items?
- What is your favorite stress reduction technique?
- Worst show on Netflix?
Virtual coffee and Donut 🍩
One of our favorite Slack integrations is Donut – a remote-friendly virtual engagement facilitator that offers a few tools for starting conversations in Slack with your team. Donut does all of the work, you just need to set it up! Donut offers a variety of programs to facilitate conversations but our favorites are Virtual coffee and Watercooler. Virtual coffee pairs two team members for a quick 30 minute chat via Slack, phone, or video call. Watercooler is a dedicated channel for discussing anything but work. Donut shares a weekly prompt for our team to debate or share our opinions on, which can lead to new friendships or fun recommendations for everyone to try. For example, our team shared our favorite ice cream flavors and discovered that butter pecan was a favorite amongst all of our mothers.
Celebrate birthdays with Cakeday 🎂
Are birthday celebrations a big deal at your organization? Bring that energy to your Slack channels with Cakeday! Cakeday takes the hassle out of planning a birthday celebration by setting reminders and planning events for you! Cakeday will remind your team of upcoming birthdays, collect birthday wishes, and even prompt your team to make celebratory videos. Never miss another birthday with Cakeday.
Start a thread 🧵
If you aren’t interested in an app like Donut or Cakeday, a super simple way to engage your team is to just start a thread! If your organization has a #random channel, consider just dropping random questions or conversation starters and having people reply in the thread. Get creative with the questions – don’t limit yourself to simple yes or no questions. The best types of threads are ones where people can share photos. If you aren’t sure what to ask, consider researching national fun “holidays” such as National Cookie Day to base your questions on. Here are a few examples of threads that were a hit with the Poll Everywhere team:
- It’s National Sibling Day! Share a photo of you and your siblings.
- What is a fashion trend you REGRET following?
- Share a picture of your ugly Christmas sweater!
- What are you having for lunch today?
- Drop your favorite GIF!
Drop a riddle 🤔
Sometimes working from home can be mind-numbing. Get your team’s brains going with a fun riddle! Drop random riddles throughout the week for your team to answer asynchronously through Slack or with Poll Everywhere. Using the Poll Everywhere app will allow your teammates to answer the riddles without giving it away to everyone else. Riddles are a fun and low stakes way of engaging your team, especially if your team members are busy and cannot join a virtual happy hour or hangout. Here are some challenging riddles to ask your remote team:
- What has to be broken before you can use it?
- Someone’s mom has four sons named North, West, and East. What is the name of the fourth son?
- You can find me in Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn but not Venus or Neptune. What am I?
- The person who built it, sold it. The person who bought it didn’t use it. The person who used it, didn’t see it. What is it?
- What is always in front of you but can’t be seen?
- I am tall when I’m young and I’m short when I’m old. What am I?
We hope these activities will help you stay more connected with your remote team. We love discovering new and exciting apps to help facilitate our virtual team engagements. Are you going to try one of these virtual engagement activities? If you do, consider sharing it with us on Twitter (@Polleverywhere)!