Two and a half years of working from home have given many business owners and HR professionals a difficult time. To put it simply, it’s extremely difficult to keep the members of your team close once they stop seeing each other at work.
Moreover, new team members don’t even get the chance to introduce themselves to the team. Hence, they are often ignored by the vast majority of the people who don’t directly collaborate with them.
If you don’t take precautions, you will end up with a team of people just sitting at their computers. Naturally, this isn’t the best basis for healthy company culture.
The Wellness of Your Team
This is an important issue you will tackle by organizing remote team building activities. People in traditional work settings spend eight hours working next to other people. Socialization is one of the key elements of any company. Additionally, it can bring great joy to the people you are managing.
Let us be clear. There are some benefits to remote work. For example, there is no commuting, you’re able to focus, spend more time with family, and become more productive. Yet, working from home leaves you with no socialization outside of calls and chats for those eight hours. This is one of the major contributors to mental health deterioration. In short – if you have the opportunity to organize a stress-free session your team would enjoy, you should do it.
It can be difficult for new employees to get to know their coworkers. Even in an office. However, this gets even more challenging if a person never sees their peers due to remote work. Here are some remote team building activities to help everyone feel welcome.
1. Icebreaker Questions
This is a great option for teams that have never worked in the same office. They’re also very useful when the team has had new additions.
As the name says, these team building activities consist of asking and answering different questions. There are many questionnaires online that can be used in these activities.
However, if your team isn’t too large, you can also create the questions yourself. In fact, we recommend this option. The questions can be more personal and better fit your company culture. For example, a design company will have much more artistic questions than a law firm. So, be creative and help the members of your team find common interests.
Don’t be too serious with the questions, as this is an opportunity to make team members comfortable around one another. Our only tip is to stay away from questions any team member would be uncomfortable with. These include
- Religious views
- Political orientation
- Financial state
- Marital status
Just to name a few. Keeping things light is probably going to encourage the older team members to give funny and engaging answers.
2. Let a partner/roommate/child tell a story about you
This is a great icebreaker option as well. The previous version of the game doesn’t require much time. Moreover, it’s better to play it as a rapid-fire sequence.
In this case, you should give your employees enough time to prepare a presentation. Seeing how friends and family see people brings an interesting perspective.
You should choose this option if you want to relieve some tension. For example, an accounting company can use it after a fiscal period. The friends and family should tell an interesting occurrence that happened with the team member.
These stories can even be presented in an audio or video format. As an employer or manager, you will be able to see the theatrics or comedy chops of your team. For example, someone could make a film from the perspective of their pet.
The possibilities are basically endless.
3. Introductions through “user guides”
This is one of the greatest remote team building activities to introduce team members. It is especially interesting if you’re in the creative field. In short, you will be able to see your team’s skills in a casual setting.
The premise of the game is simple – team members create a user manual for themselves. These can include useful information, such as “don’t disturb from 10 to 11:30”. This can help the management understand their workers as well.
Establishing company culture without actually being in the same place is a great benefit of this activity. That is to say, the employees will learn about one another.
To add some humor you can ask the employees to prepare a Powerpoint presentation about themselves.
4. Superpower sharing
This is another interesting way to get your employees to introduce themselves. We often think about our capabilities as nothing special. However, even the regular little thing you take for granted can impress others.
So, you can organize a superpower contest. This, in reality, is an opportunity to share a talent. Participants shouldn’t have to take things too seriously. The reason for this is simple. Even the best of us can make a mistake. Hence, the entire showcase can take on a joking tone.
You shouldn’t worry about this, as some of the most memorable moments are bound to come from fumbled attempts. This is also a way to let the more shy team members it’s okay to make mistakes, and they could surprise you with their superpowers the next time you organize the event.
5. Common interests
Again we cannot overstate the importance of finding people who are interested in the same things as you. Creating a positive company culture means establishing positive relationships between the employees. Hence, it is in your best interest to help them discover the basis for these positive relationships.
You can do this in two ways. Firstly, you can ask questions (this is another form of icebreaker) about your team members’ interests. Secondly, you can organize an online event to showcase hobbies and interests. Let all employees write down three things they enjoy. Then let them present those interests in short form.
There are bound to be some matches. You can create specific channels to discuss these interests. On the other hand, you can simply encourage your team to talk about them. The important thing is for the employees to start a conversation and share their passion.
6. Show us your treasure
The smallest things can mean a lot. They can also tell a story about their owners. That is to say, talking about these small things is a great way to introduce a new member to the team.
Again, this is a great ice-breaker, as it doesn’t focus on talking about yourself. Instead, the employees showcase something important to them. It is a good idea to allow the employees to choose whatever they want to showcase.
For example, you’ll probably hear some stories about pets. This is an easy way to connect animal lovers within the team. On the other hand, some team members can show their favorite albums, books, or their favorite DIY projects.
To put it simply – variety is the main appeal here. We recommend having a time limit for the presentations. Additionally, you can include some discussion and Q&A time as well.
Activities to Bring the Team Closer Together
Just knowing someone’s name and interests isn’t enough for a great business and personal relationship. Thus, you should take measures to build friendships within your team. Common interests and spending time together are great ways to do so. Here are some suggestions.
7. Virtual coffee/lunch break
Offices are places where members of all teams can see each other and start friendships spontaneously. This is one of remote work’s more important issues. Meetings don’t allow for a lot of personal updates, and there’s no opportunity to talk to coworkers in other departments.
Assigning random lunch or coffee break partners is a great solution to this problem. Make sure everyone is paired up with a person from a different department. Then dedicate a lunch or coffee break to the team members getting to know each other.
Video call technology has made this fairly simple. One-on-one conversations are the best way to go. Namely, the employees will be able to talk and get to really know each other. In contrast, group settings can lead to an employee feeling excluded and remaining quiet.
The briefness of a common break is one of its biggest appeals. The coworkers can determine whether they’d like to continue talking.
You shouldn’t organize these remote team building activities too often. Once in two weeks, or even monthly is a good option. Otherwise, some employees can feel overwhelmed. Additionally, disrupting people’s work rhythms can be detrimental to their work results.
8. Virtual break room
Break rooms are an integral part of many companies. By working from home, your employees don’t get to experience it. So, creating a virtual space for all employees to hang out while on their breaks is a great way to simulate it.
The break room is sure to encourage some friendships that wouldn’t happen otherwise. This is true as many employees from different departments wouldn’t get to talk to each other otherwise.
Depending on your budget and goodwill you can “equip” the break room with different simple online games.
This is a great solution if you think a one-on-one break wouldn’t be a great solution. Namely, this solution can seem forced. In contrast, spontaneous conversation in the break room is much more natural and is more likely to continue later on.
9. Book, music, and movie clubs
Sharing an interest is one of the best ways to get closer to anyone. Hence, a company can use this to establish positive relationships among its staff.
Starting a club in which your employees can share their interests is a great idea. These activities will allow movie, book, and music enthusiasts to share their favorites with their coworkers. In other words, there won’t be any awkward silences, as the topic of the conversation is determined upfront.
The way you, as a company can endorse these clubs, is simple, yet effective. Namely, you can create channels dedicated to the clubs in the communication channel you are using (i.e. Slack or Microsoft Teams). You can also provide the groups with poll tools. This way they’ll be able to vote on the next piece of media they’ll be discussing.
In short, this activity is sure to engage your team members. Additionally, it is very low-effort for the company. This type of remote team building activities simulates water cooler chats. The team members will get to know each other and share interests. Yet, they won’t be doing it on company time, which is a great bonus.
10. Workshops & classes
If you are willing to set aside some funds for remote team building activities, this is a great way to invest them.
There are a plethora of online classes for different skills. Calligraphy, photography, and creative writing are some of the most popular ones. Yet, depending on your industry, you can be as creative or practical as you want to.
The joy of learning something new can be a wind to the sails of the employees working from home. Additionally, discussing the classes, sharing personal progress, and getting feedback is a great, non-forced bonding experience.
To put it simply, common interests will allow your employees to have non-strained non-work-related conversations. In other words, the team members will get to know each other’s personalities. This will also reflect on their cooperation within the team.
Additionally, the employees will appreciate the fact you’ve enabled them to develop their skills. Showing that you care often results in a positive relationship with the company.
11. Trivia Night
This is a great option to bring some well-spirited competition to your team. A trivia quiz is a great way to allow your employees to open up. Yet, you won’t be forcing it.
Simply put, most people enjoy showing their knowledge. Especially so when it comes to their fringe interests.
We advise randomly assigning teams. This is a good option, as people from different teams will have the opportunity to interact.
The game will need a host, first and foremost. Their role is to create the quiz and be a master of ceremony. In other words, they will be asking questions and assigning points. Naturally, you want an open and quick-thinking individual for this.
From the technical aspect of things, you can make the quiz as simple or complex as you want. You can use an app or create the quiz on your own. You should make sure the questions cover a wide variety of topics. However, a bonus round of questions tightly woven into your company’s business.
Your company could have a variety of different departments working on completely different tasks. In this case, the bonus round can get very interesting and personal.
Remember, winning isn’t as important as having fun. Yet, the winning team should get a reward. This is another important aspect of the game. A great incentive can help you get the buzz about the trivia night going.
12. Send meals and merch
This is one of the remote team building activities that require a bit of logistics. Namely, the meals (or company goody-bags) should arrive at your employees’ doors in time for dinner. Fortunately, many companies deliver food with high precision.
Make sure to be aware of any team member’s dietary restrictions. This may seem like a small detail. Yet, it says a lot about your appreciation and care for your employees. Especially so when it comes to allergies.
The price tag of the meal depends on your funds. If you are leading a start-up or a small business, even a snack can be a great option. Some examples are donuts, sandwiches, and even fruit.
Making the delivery a surprise can be a great idea. If it’s possible, write a little note to go with the package. The note doesn’t have to be anything too extravagant. Yet, it should explain that you, as an employer, appreciate your team.
if you have the means, you should think about the living conditions of each employee. In other words, you should send the food to their family as well if they’re living together.
Finally, if you choose to send company merchandise, make sure it’s actually useful.
13. Online gaming
Gaming has never been as popular as today. Consoles are widely available, and PC and mobile games have been for quite a while. Watching other people playing games is another popular form of entertainment. That is why platforms like Twitch are thriving at the moment.
In fact, gaming has become one of the most popular hobbies due to the quarantine. Thus, it isn’t difficult to deduce that there are probably some gamers in your team.
You can organize an online gaming tournament thanks to screen-sharing technology. Let the team members cheer their coworkers on. Also, don’t forget to include a prize for the winner.
This is one of the remote team building activities that creates a casual, albeit online, space. Team members can chat and get to know each other in a relaxed environment.
You will spark some friendly competition between the players, and unify the observers. Additionally, the entire team can reduce the stress they’re under while watching their manager play a game.
14. Recognition and due credit
Being appreciated can cause honest emotion. If you are aiming to unify your remote team and turn it into a cohesive group, we cannot overstate the importance of recognition.
Giving praise doesn’t belong in one-time remote team building activities. Moreover, you should encourage it as a habit.
So, the next time you start a meeting with your team – ask them if they’ve had a coworker help them lately. Additionally, you can ask the managers of different teams if they have someone to give praise to. You can talk to the managers beforehand to make sure to avoid any awkward situations.
Of course, the frequency of recognition is determined by your industry. It can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Moreover, you can combine these methods too.
It would be nice (even though it isn’t optional) to give the people who keep getting mentioned a small reward. A massage coupon is a great one, as it will relieve the stress the biggest helpers are facing.
15. Online museum tour
Since the pandemic has begun, many cultural institutions have opened their virtual doors. That is to say, you can find many museum tours online now. Most of these tours are free, too.
We suggest organizing an online museum trip with your team. Give every team member a link to the museum’s site and let them explore.
These tours can be a great way to simulate travel. This is especially important if your country has a travel ban due to the pandemic. On the other hand, it is also great for teams that work from different countries and continents.
If you can, try to find a museum your team will truly enjoy. Some examples include art museums for creative thinkers, museums of aviation for engineers, etc.
You can let the team discuss their experiences and share favorite exhibits in a dedicated channel afterward.
16. Good news channel
There’s no denying that we are living in a time that doesn’t allow for much joy. People often feel like the bad news never stop. This, of course, impacts everyone’s mood. In turn, this can reduce work capabilities.
Yet, people still appreciate the small joys in life. Sharing personal victories, funny and heartwarming moments, and the good news are a great way to boost people’s morale.
Since team members are all at home, you can create a channel dedicated to positivity. Here, the employees can share encouraging things like
- New family members
- Passion projects going well
- Personal goal achievements
- Funny pictures
- Snapshots of their daily lives
- Good news from around the world
This type of channel allows everyone to de-stress, even if it’s for a few moments. It will also keep coworkers up-to-date with their teams, which is an important element of company culture as well.
17. DIY challenges
Are multiple members of your team interested in the same thing? DIY hobby-related challenges can be great remote team building activities in that case!
These challenges shouldn’t be mandatory. That is to say, they will be geared toward specific groups. Fear not, as this is also a great opportunity for the employees to get to know each other better. This is one of the main building blocks for healthy company culture.
Not to mention you’ll give other team members an opportunity to try out something they wanted to do for a while.
From the company standpoint, you can also give your employees a small incentive related to the challenge. For example, you can have a knitting circle (among other things) in your organization.
Sending each member a set of needles or stitch counters is an inexpensive way to encourage them to continue going. Not to mention the fact that they’ll appreciate the effort as well.
18. Scavenger hunt
This popular game can help even the most introverted team members shine. All while having fun too!
The premise is simple. One team member (HR personnel or someone else) has a list of objects. They read out the objects one by one. The rest of the team tries to find the object within their homes.
The list of the objects can be found on the internet. You can also create one to better fit your company. For example, if you are in the creative field, you can ask for a fountain pen or another writing or drawing utensil.
The team member/s who can find the most objects, (or take the least time to do so) are the winners. Again, we suggest having a prize budget ready. Additionally, if you want to make the prizes special, get them after the competition is over. This way you’ll be able to get the winners something they really need or enjoy.
19. Gift exchange
Gift exchanges are a time-honored tradition in many companies. Most of them come down to Secret Santa. However, you can organize a gift exchange anytime. And for no reason at all, too!
The exchange should take place after all team members are acquainted with their colleagues. That is to say, you should organize it after icebreaker rounds. Then, the employees will have an idea of what their peers would enjoy.
There are some rules you should follow when organizing this activity
- Determine a budget, i.e. the maximum amount of money to spend on the gift
- Make sure everyone can ship to anyone
- Choose a raffle method carefully
Then, you can organize a gift unboxing for all team members. Additionally, there’s a lot of fun in guessing the sender. Think about that option as well.
Many companies used to have TGIF-related activities before the pandemic. This, most often meant going to the local bar after leaving work early.
You cannot recreate the atmosphere of a bar when your team is working from home. However, you can organize Fri-yay remote team building activities.
This would mean letting the team relax a bit earlier on Fridays. Allow them to have a drink or a snack while still technically on the clock.
The surge of remote work has shown a great increase in productivity in all industries. Why not reward your team and have them relax a little? If you have the budget, you can even send them the drinks.
Again, this is a way of showing you care about your employees. You understand the dangers of overworking and the subsequent burnout syndrome. So, you’re giving them some company time to unwind.
21. Pet exhibition
There are a few things people enjoy more than having the opportunity to talk about their pets. This means you can utilize this passion to create an event the vast majority of your employees will enjoy.
You can organize a dedicated event where all employees can show their pets and talk about their personalities. This can get especially fun if they have an unusual animal (reptiles, rodents, etc.).
The employees can either bring the animal on camera or send in a video. This way everyone can bask in the glory of their coworkers’ companions. You can encourage them to talk about how they found their perfect animal as well.
On the other hand, you can also let the team continue to enjoy other people’s interactions with their pets. You can do this either through a dedicated channel or by including pet videos in the Good news channel.
22. Meme channel
Memes are everywhere around us. Many companies have realized this and started using memes in their marketing campaigns. You may not be able to do this. Yet, you can utilize the meme culture we face every day to bring your team together.
Sharing memes about work is one of the best ways to relieve some stress. Hence, you can create a meme channel where your employees can share their frustrations and successes.
The one rule you should make clear is that there shouldn’t be any punching down. Also, be prepared to be made fun of (in good spirit, of course).
This will especially increase the status of the company in your employees’ eyes. Expressing discontent and stress through jokes is something many companies discourage.
This is a great way to learn about the improvements you can make in your business. Again, this will show the team you’re ready to listen.
23. Trash removal
There are very few things that make a person feel as good as when they do something positive for their community. Remote team building activities are a great opportunity to tap into the human natural desire to be useful and improve our environment.
The premise of this exercise is very simple. Let all employees choose a small local public area. Set aside some time for the team to clean up and organize this place. Then bask in everyone’s results.
This is a great opportunity for some before and after visual storytelling.
The area of interest doesn’t have to be in public either. Let the employees clean up their desks, for example. The important thing is to encourage everyone to work on something they’ve been postponing.
24. Collaborative playlists
Music connects people very easily. Hence, these remote team building activities are great for international teams. This exercise allows everyone to learn about their coworkers’ personalities and traditions in a simple and enjoyable way.
You can organize a musical event, where every team member can share their favorite songs and musicians. You can also create a music channel to expand this experience to everyday work.
It would be especially nice to play the songs you’ve accumulated this way once your team is physically in the same place. Again, these small gestures can mean a lot to the employees.
25. Virtual workout
The pandemic has probably left at least some members of your team concerned for their health. Stress-eating and lack of movement due to lockdowns have made people lose interest in exercising.
This is absolutely normal, and no one should feel guilty about letting their health go. After all, we’ve all been struggling to keep ourselves safe, and have so much on our plates.
Thus, it could be a great idea to organize an online workout for the employees looking to get in better shape. These sessions can represent some much-needed accountability.
Make the exercises simple and assessable to everyone, in the beginning, allowing the less physically active team members to participate. Then increase the intensity for the jocks among the team members.
Typing away for eight hours in your apartment impacts everyone’s psyche. People start to feel alienated from their peers. Especially so in a pandemic.
These feelings can also negatively impact your bottom line. If you do nothing to enrich your employees’ surroundings and day-to-day lives, their performance will suffer. Also, they will get an impression that you as a boss aren’t interested in improving their circumstances.
Remote team building activities should be fun and creative ways to improve your employees’ lives first and foremost. Secondly, they should communicate your care for their well-being.
This way you will ensure the team remains happy. The employees will see your efforts to entertain them and increase their quality of living.
These things can make or break a company. In other words, happy employees mean a higher percentage of retention. This, in turn, means your organization won’t have to waste valuable time and resources on finding, hiring, and training new team members.
FREE 14-day trial – no credit card required