Our world has changed and team-building activities have changed with us. Evidence suggests about half of the workforce in the US is now working from home.
Remote working, while being welcomed by many employees, comes with its own set of challenges, not least of which is how to build togetherness as a team.
While nothing quite beats IRL (in real life for all you “noobs”), remote team-building activities are a great way to check in with one another, have fun, and build relationships.
The 15 Best Remote Team Building Activities To Try With Your Teams
1. Mystery Round
The host prompts participants with a series of questions and clues to solve a mystery. The team asks questions and deduce the answers either together or separately, in Clue-style fun. This round is great for small teams and encourages decision-making. Write down answers on index cards, whiteboards, or a piece of paper and have everyone hold up their answers at the end of the round!
2. One Truth and One Lie
Have each participant list off truth and a lie about themselves and ask the rest of the team if they can deduce which is which! You can mix some office trivia into this round for a bit of good-natured nostalgia. This is a fun round that can work with any group of people.
3. Never Have I Ever
In this game's remote version, each participant has to voice an activity they've never done. Team members who have participated in any or all of the activities others share must narrate their stories to the group.
Get ready to know your co-workers better while they relate their funny, absurd, or heart-warming stories. You can also source work-appropriate questions online or use sites like TreBOUND to enjoy this virtual activity.
4. Organize Virtual Movie Sessions
Remote team dinner or lunch activities can get tedious and awkward. But when you pair them up with movies, they're sure to become a hit among your team members. All you need to do is set a time, discuss the genre, and pick a movie.
Google Meet and Zoom might be good options for streaming the movies, but free extensions like twoseven will help you chat, share live reactions, talk, or stay connected through video while you enjoy a movie together.
Skribbl is similar to pictionary but individuals go head to head. The game gives each player a choice of words to draw in what can best be described as basic version of Microsoft Paint.
The player that earns the most points by guessing quickest, and drawing the most realistic pictures, wins. Simple!
To play Charades, divide your team in two. Choose the game's theme or go to Pantoparty to get random words, and hop on a video call.
Each team member enacts the subject given to them by the opposing team while their team members try to guess it. If they guess correctly, they will earn a point.
You can make this game more competitive by giving only 60 seconds to an actor.
7. Pancakes vs Waffles
In this game, each team member has to decide whether (and why) they'd like to keep pancakes or waffles in existence while the other would cease to exist. The final decision is made based on the item with the most votes.
As the game progresses, the winning item can be pitched against another new item (pancakes vs pizza, anyone?), helping your team pick up their debates where they left off every week.
8. Story Nights
Storytelling is a fun activity that can bring your team together. Just one person narrating a story while others listen can get boring, so give your employees free reign to create their own stories.
The rule: the host has to begin the game and set the stage with just one sentence. Each team member contributes one sentence to the story without killing the protagonist.
The host can start the story with something as simple as, "Once upon a time, there was a frog who lived in a well," and other team members can take it from there.
9. Virtual Meet And Greet
You can host a virtual meet and greet to unite cross-functional team members. But with a twist.
Sort your teams alphabetically and pick an alphabet at random. The chosen team gets 30 minutes to select one of the base skills necessary in their role and prepare their pitch.
They do a live demo of the chosen skill when their time is up. This activity will let teams understand each other's job roles better and encourage them to develop skills not strictly related to their job.
For instance, the Design team can give a simple demo on how they use Figma or Canva.
10. Jackbox Games
Jackbox Games is an online game-making studio that covers various games, which can be enjoyed on any web-enabled device in person or remotely.
Perfect for small teams (between 2-8 members), Jackbox's party pack offers games such as Quiplash, Fibbage, YOU DON'T KNOW JACK, Tee-KO, Trivia Murder Party, and Drawful.
Donut is a Slack extension that can give your team-building efforts a boost. This extension automatically pairs team members who can coordinate and set up a video call to get to know each other better.
To ensure that your team gets to know each other better, forbid work-related discussions on this video call.
12. Virtual Book Clubs
Book clubs will allow your diverse team to collaborate and share their thoughts on the book of the week or month. This virtual activity will help everyone communicate with each other freely.
Similarly, if your team members are not big on reading, you can start a virtual movie club, a podcast club, a fashion club, and so on.
13. DIY Craft Wars
Each team member gets 30 minutes to build a 'craft' using the materials available at their home. It can be as elaborate as a lego palace or as simple as a sketch. The goal here is to spark creativity and get everyone to participate in an activity together.
14. What Was Popular In The 90s
This activity is akin to the childhood game: Spot The Mistakes. Pick a random 90s movie or clip, and point out the elements that remind you of the 90s.
Payphones, bomber jackets, scrunchies, Nintendo, fanny packs, rollerblades, and VHS tapes are sure to spark nostalgia. This will serve as a history lesson for the Gen Zers on your team.
Trivia is a fun team-building suite of games you can enable on Slack. With games such as hangman, pictionary, GIF charades, and quizzes, this is a great way to engage remote teams and build friendships. The game's winner gets a unique GIF with their name on it.
The Trivia bot will also help you remember and celebrate your coworkers birthdays and anniversaries.
The Benefits Of Virtual Team Building Activities
The aim of the above games and activities is to bring teams together in an informal setting to help build relationships through play.
- Closer relationships
- Team problem solving
- General joy and merrymaking
- A stronger workplace culture
- Opportunities to promote your employer brand on social media.
For further guidance, check out our guide for individual contributors, managers, and organizations to help build relationships working remotely.
- 10 Best Virtual Event Platforms for Digital Engagement
- Virtual Event Planning in 2023: 10 Tips for a Stellar Virtual Event
- Five Challenges of Managing Remote Employees and How to Overcome Them
- 10 Best Task Management Software For Managing People Remotely
- Global Payroll Solutions for Distributed Teams
- 10 Best Remote Working Software for Distributed Teams
Pingback: How To Bring Creativity & Fun To Remote Teams (with Paul Lopushinsky from Playficient)