Fun team building activities for remote employees
7 min read
Want to run a team building activity for your remote them?
This post contains 6 proven team building activities for remote teams that are working great right now (In 2022).
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
1. Give your team a health or fitness challenge to complete
A fitness or health challenge is great for both team building and improving employees’ health. People have been stuck inside their homes for months now. Gyms have remained closed for most of the year. The constant isolation and stream of negative news has left people mentally drained.
By combining team building and health into one activity, you can literally kill two birds with one stone. It will be a lot of fun for folks and keep them in shape.
Here is what to do:
- Ask your remote employees to do some physical or mental activity such as walking, running, pushups, yoga or meditation and share the video/photo with the team.
The easiest way to do this is to create a social channel on Slack and let people post their videos and photos there.
- Encourage people to take part by giving a small gift to the person who gets the most engagement on his/her post.
People love public recognition, even an insignificant one. Even a $10 Amazon gift card will motivate your team members to go the extra mile to get others to like their posts. They will get creative to catch attention. They will work hard to make this activity a success.
- Prime up the activity by talking to a couple of folks who you know will love to do this. Seed the channel with some photos and comments. Everyone loves to go to a party that’s full. The initial posts and engagement build excitement and draw in others.
- Spice up the activity by making it competitive. Ask employees to share screen grabs from their fitness tracker every day with a reward for the person with the most calories lost. This would get your team really active.
The ideal duration for this team building activity is one week. People will lose interest in anything longer, while anything shorter will not build up enough momentum.
2. Build team bonding through quiz competitions
When people compete as a team, they develop emotional bonding with each other. They prepare, strategize, and compete as a team. Whether win or lose, the experience of working together instills critical team skills in the team members.
The best part? It’s super easy to organize a quiz competition. Here is how to do it right:
- Decide a quiz topic. It could be work related but is more fun if it’s not.
- Form teams of employees. Ideal team size is between 3-5 members. The key to a successful outcome in any team based activity is not to let employees form their own teams. If you do, people will team up with folks they already know well or get along well. Your goal is to team up people in a way that exposes them to folks outside their close circle. It achieves two goals–allows people to expand their social network and forces them to learn to work in a team.
- Use a video conferencing tool like Zoom or Teams to run the competition. It’s important to choose a tool that allows private chat messaging so team members can coordinate the answer.
The one problem with organizing quizzes is scale. Unlike the fitness challenge, a quiz must be synchronous i.e., everyone must take part at the same time.
If you have too many participants, do multiple preliminary rounds where the winners progress to the next round.
Invite all employees to join the live competition. Live audience will make the event more exciting and make everyone feel part of a bigger family.
3. Organize a group session to watch a sports event
Organizing a session to watch a live sports event is difficult but doable in a remote team setting. Select an event that most people in the team can watch, even with their time zone differences.
Another variant of this team building activity is watching a movie with your team. Watching a movie together is another way to bond with others. A movie show over the weekend is a fun way for employees to get together, especially during these times. The movie time will help them feel cozy and de-stress.
They can chat, comment on the movie, and crack jokes. The openness of the session helps team members get closer with each other and build a stronger team.
Select a popular movie for the show. It’s better to select a comedy as it will help people destress and enjoy together.
Bring accountability to your team
4. Organize an online brown-bag lunch session
A brown bag lunch is a meeting where team members have their lunch together while discussing a professional topic of interest to the team. Each week, one team member shares his or her knowledge with the group.
It’s a great way for team members to learn from each other in an informal and enjoyable setting. You can recreate this ageless team building activity for your remote team.
Here is how to organize the online version of the brown bag lunch:
- Organize your remote team into multiple smaller teams that can get together at the same time. If you have people living in different time zones and countries, it will be hard for them to get together at a convenient time. So build teams where members have enough overlap in work hours to make it happen.
- Let the teams decide the topics. It will create ownership and genuine interest.
- Do not create formal rules that make it appear like a mandate from the management.
Gamify this team building activity to improve participation. Create a scorecard that awards teams points for each meeting and percentage of team members who take part. Even without a reward, just the scorecard will create enough competition to ensure high participation from everyone.
5. Organize your own MasterChef event
You can organize your very own MasterChef competition for your remote team. It’s one heck of a team building activity.
Here is how to do it:
- Set a theme for the event like Thanksgiving, Indian cuisine, Baking, etc.
- Give everyone 60 minutes to cook a dish of their liking
- Ask every participant to stream live using computer or phone camera
- Invite all team members to watch the event, even if they are not cooking. Having a live audience will make it more fun and exciting.
- At the end of the cook, ask the viewers to vote for their best dish
Get a professional MC to anchor the event to make it appear like a big thing. A professional MC will also be able to whip up some excitement by getting the viewers involved.
6. Run a 1-minute video challenge
Tiktok and its competitors have proven how engaging short but hilarious videos can be. You can run a similar 1-minute video challenge to draw out your team’s creative juices and entertain them at the same time.
Since some countries have banned Tiktok, use Slack or a similar tool for this competition. The key features you want is the ability to create a group/thread, post and like a video.
How to organize the video challenge:
- Set some basic rules everyone needs to follow, like avoiding controversial topics and ideas
- Set up a Slack channel just for this and ask team members to post their 1-minute videos. Ask everyone to like or vote on the videos.
- At the end of the challenge, tally up the Likes or votes to find your winner
Limit the video length to 1-minute or less as people are more likely to watch a short video than a long one.
Ready to start some team-building activities for your remote team?
All the above activities are tried and tested. Companies using these have seen great results in terms of better team bonding, increased productivity and employee loyalty.
And you can do these activities online.