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I'm a manager of managers - and I have a counterpart on the other side of the ocean with ~9 hours offset.

I'm wondering how I can foster the relationship between those managers that are located here in Europe and in the US.

We have video chat in place, but I'm looking for some kind of "remote activities" that people can do to build up a professional and personal relationship.

What are your thoughts on this?

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With geographically distributed teams, I recommend gathering everyone in one physical place to meet each other. This could be flying the US team to Europe, the Europe team to the US or some in between location for some team building activities. Unfortunately, remote geographically distributed teams work better when most have met each other face-to-face already.

At my company, we frequently fly people in to meet everyone when we're kicking off a large project.

  • Surely somewhere between US and Europe is going to be very wet! – Ed Heal Dec 17 '18 at 18:06
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    that sounds like a huge expense and one that a lot of companies probably cannot afford. – SaggingRufus Dec 17 '18 at 18:20
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    @SaggingRufus If you are going to have people working remotely but needing to have good professional relationships, it may be an expense you cannot afford to skip. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 17 '18 at 18:36
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I think you have a tremendous challenge, unless you are fortunate enough to work for a company that can afford and is not adverse to a large travel budget.

If you can get the budget for it, I would suggest an all hands meeting quarterly. At the meetings you could do various team building activities, which are easily searchable on the internet, but will vary depending upon the destination you choose. This destination selection is critical as it needs to be as painless as possible for all your employees.

If your unable to get the budget, you are already doing what you can with video conferencing. Here is a quick list of activities I found with a Google search, some of which can be done remotely.

  • Potluck. Let your employees show off their cooking skills (or at least their skills at tracking down delicious food)
  • Show-and-tell
  • Two truths, one lie

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