Team building boosts morale, fosters collaboration, and creates a sense of belonging that supports everyone’s mental health — and ultimately, your company as a whole.
Virtual team building is an entirely different animal, though. It’s arguably more important than in-person team building. Remote workers don’t have the same opportunities to socialize as office workers do, which can result in a sense of isolation and loneliness. Your team doesn’t have to feel disconnected just because everyone is in a different location.
Josh Haynam is the CEO and co-founder of Interact, which helps entrepreneurs, creatives, and businesses use quizzes for lead generation, recommendations, and engagement. Interact’s fully remote team is small but mighty with the mission to empower digital creators, entrepreneurs, and brands to grow their business through listening, understanding, and true human connection.
Josh: Back in college to make some money, my co-founder and I liked building websites for people. Serendipitously, we found this idea of quizzes as a list-building tool because all of our web clients just wanted to get to the email list. They didn’t really care about the website, they just really wanted people on their mailing list. So we came up with this idea to do a quiz and it converted like crazy - around 50%!. As naive young people, we decided to build that into a platform which turned out to be harder than either of us could have imagined. But we did it and now anybody can make a quiz to build an email list, and the average conversion rate is still 40%. It works.
J: We have 8 people working full-time. We do a trial system for any new people coming in. It’s a 2-way trial, with no commitment on either end. We have one person in the trial now to see if they enjoy working with us and we enjoy working with them and see if it’s a good fit - so 8 hopefully soon to be 9.
We are concentrated in the Bay area and mostly in California, but we hire from anywhere and we really like being remote. Our team is very invested in their lives outside of work, which is an important thing for all of us because work can be up and down and it can be very stressful. And so that's a big part of the reason why we're remote.
J: Since the beginning of the pandemic, I realized that if you don’t make an effort to go and be active during the day, then you are just NOT active that day. And this lack of activity has all sorts of negative effects.
So walking meetings are good for my mental health - sunshine and walking. Since 2020, I’m trying to make an effort to be outside more and go on walks and if I can overlap it with a meeting, it’s really nice, because it allows me to go on my walk, but it is also intellectually stimulating at the same time.
My walking meetings are usually 1:1 meetings - anything that doesn't require sitting down and looking at numbers, spreadsheets, or designs. I try to sprinkle it in and stay pretty flexible with it. I think on the flip side it can feel like an obligation of “I have to go on walks because I'm supposed to”. Sometimes we are tired and don't want to go outside. So it's kind of a mix.
J: Yes. Because it's naturally less formal. It's less “let’s focus on this one thing that needs to be figured out right now” and it’s more free-flowing in a way and that gives you an opportunity to just chat a little more candidly, which I think is really valuable with remote work. Sitting lacks that creativity of just chatting about stuff, riffing on ideas, and thinking about things away from the computer.
In my opinion, technology, in general, is just so siloed. It’s nice to be away from a computer and not think about things like “what can I do on this computer” and instead, think in broader contexts like “what are we actually trying to do here” in terms of the effect our product has on people's lives. I think walking can help facilitate that.
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