With the technological advances of today’s world, many companies are employing teams of people which are either fully or partially distributed – some teams might have a few central people all working in an office together and others from remote locations, and other companies may have all of their employees working from different parts of the country or globe. One company that has seen success with creating a thriving company culture while also employing a dispersed team is Museum Hack.

Group photo-op from a Museum Hack trainage.

Group photo-op from a Museum Hack trainage.

Museum Hack offers unconventional museum tours at some of the most recognizable museums in New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Most of their team members are based right there in one of the three cities, but they have a supporting team of people working in customer service, sales, and marketing in locations all over the globe – multiple U.S. cities, as well as Canada, Columbia, and the Philippines. This allows them to cut down on overhead costs like expensive office spaces in New York City, and cuts out a commute for most of the employees. In a recent blog post on their website, Museum Hack identified some techniques they use to improve company culture, and specifically, team building practices they employed to help include their remote team in the company.

Tips and Tricks of the Dispersed Team Building Trade

  1. Icebreakers – this may seem sort of like a team building buzzword, but there’s a reason icebreaker games and questions are a popular form of group bonding…they work. Museum Hack has found that by beginning or group chat or phone call with a soft question allows their remote team to be seens as individuals with experiences and desires, not just a worker. And as an added bonus, icebreaker questions involve zero monetary investment and minimal planning, which makes them easy to adopt into your company’s culture right away.
  2. Company Trainages – once a month or so, Museum Hack hires a consultant to teach much of their staff a new skill. They bring in both full-time and part-time employees for an evening of education and fun. While they admit that it is a larger financial investment than icebreakers may be, they see a huge ROI from their evenings out building new skills and friendships.
  3. Paid Trips for Localization – definitely the team building technique with the greatest financial investment, but Museum Hack has seen tremendous results from paying for employees to come in to NYC for a weekend and meet the whole team. Meeting one another in person contributes a noticeable increase in productivity, dedication and collaboration from their remote team members.

While working with a distributed team can have great advantages – allowing employees to work almost whenever and wherever they would like, they have their disadvantages too – a feeling of isolation and lack of connection can easily crop up. However with a few simple techniques in place, even fully dispersed companies can flourish.

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