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How do you all make connections with team members in different offices or who are remote? Any tips besides Skype or more phone chats or ideas for bonding activities like team drinks?

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It’s hard. Out of sight, out of mind. The best way is to meet in person and spend a few days bonding and interacting (in a non-forced way, like a conference or workshop). Find common ground in work and non-work areas of life. And then... like any relationship, you gotta invest the time. Reach out for non-important, non-work reasons occasionally. Be willing to ask silly questions. Works sometimes.

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Gamification - run cross-office stuff. Fantasy sports leagues, charity thing, stock market games. Can be biz oriented - quarter-over-quarter results comparisons. Certification drives. For the finance / ops geeks timesheets compliance contest ; 0

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Also, that iPad on stick might seem like a shtick but it’s really dope. Allows for more hallway-type non-scheduled dialogue, can save the need for many meetings, and help bolster the relationship.

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Every call with a remote team, I video chat. It is so, so helpful to see faces and make connections that way. I always spend at least 5 minutes asking questions and getting to know the team (or getting an update if I already know them) on their personal lives. I also have sent little gifts (usually souvenirs from my city and hand written notes) to remote teams abroad when I have a little extra budget or work with the HR person in the sister office to coordinate a lunch/coffee/team outing for the remote team. We’ve also set up a rotating presentation where each team member shares a side hustle or something about themselves via a Skype call (again with video) to learn more about others. Whenever I am on personal or work trips anywhere close, I extend my trip and meet people in person.

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Email banter can go a long way. Find an excuse to email them about a job, and then do it frequently to build repertoire. If they’re the type to be on LinkedIn, being their contact and liking their posts etc also helps. Sounds lame but it will make you feel like more of an ally to them.

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Agree on the group emails idea - that’s a great way to feel like your part of a closer team. Assuming you have good one-on-one relationship with everyone, and this is about them all connecting with each other? I find Skype calls difficult for this reason because it ends up being you talking to everyone rather than them talking to each other! Group emails whether it’s directly about work or something interesting to read work well. Tough one because you rely on their personalities being responsive and open to reply! Group Skype works if you ask someone else to present something they’re working on, so it’s not always you talking at them.

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apparently ZOOM has some really good team facetime features designed specifically to help teams maintain connections over distance... thoughtworks use it specially for international team work to cut down on flights... apparently it’s working well for them

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Fantasy football. March Madness

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Video drinks, online video games, and IRL meet ups. If you can get the company to pay for the IRL meet up the better. Themed random slack channels are a good way to find the nuggets about someone's personality, we have a #cutedependents for kids, pets whatever.

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