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The 10 Best Remote Team Building Activities

Someone smiling and waving on a remote team video call.

As remote employment becomes more and more popular, companies are trying to find new techniques to help employees to cooperate and work together. One great way to get the most out of a remote team is to implement fun remote team-building activities. Recreating the best parts of traditional office camaraderie, these can help foster a more collaborative work environment.

Of course, figuring out what works can be a tricky process. Some interactions just happen more naturally in the office. People are only a few steps away when you need something. The proverbial water cooler is right there, helping conversations flow. The same cannot be said for a remote work environment, where the only interaction that happens is on a video call.

If you’re building a remote team, you’ll have to think creatively about how to create camaraderie between employees. This article will discuss ten of the best team building activities for remote teams that are as fun for employees as they are effective.

First and Foremost: Why Bother With Remote Team Building?

Remote team-building involves activities and projects with a specific purpose of growing and connecting employees in a remote workspace. This matters because employees who understand each other tend to do better work—plain and simple.

Team-building is extremely important for all companies. Without a dynamic and efficient environment, difficult projects will take a lot longer, and the quality of the work can suffer.

It may take some time to get used to and tackle, but the benefits of having strong teamwork are essential for a well-performing business. Here are some of the major benefits that reap from team-building:

  • Strengthens Communication

  • Allows for Collaboration

  • Allows for Learning Curves

  • Builds Trust for One Another

These are just a few of the many good things that come from team-building exercises. Team-building builds trust, which in turn leads to innovative ideas from all employees and more effective decision-making.

Team members smiling and interacting around a table.

The 10 Best Remote Team-Building Activities

While team-building may feel challenging in a remote environment, there are quite a few effective activities that allow for collaboration, innovation, and an overall healthy relationship between employees. These activities can be performed on many different group software platforms.

It’s important to remember that the effort goes in all directions. In the end, everyone is responsible for putting their best effort into making an ideal remote working environment. As a leader, choose the methods that are best suited to your company and encourage employees to participate.

A bulleted list of the best remote team building activities

1. Virtual Water Cooler/Break Room

The first and most popular team-building technique is having a virtual place for people to take a break and talk informally. In the office, the “water cooler” is often referred to as a break spot, where people will go to talk about anything other than work. It’s an important retreat, even when there isn’t a physical office.

The Remote Water Cooler could look like a chatroom or channel created specifically for this purpose. Employees can use this space anytime to talk casually about their lives or share interesting links and media. It is a good place to get to know each other's personalities and sense of humor.

As a bonus, it keeps non-work topics out of other channels!

2. Icebreaker Questions

It’s very common for groups to go over icebreaker questions when everyone is first introduced to each other, or when a new team member is onboarded. Some remote workspaces have icebreaker questions at the beginning of each weekly team meeting.

It is always fun to learn something new about someone, and one of the best ways to do that is via icebreaker questions. Here are some examples:

  • What is your favorite food?

  • What is your dream car?

  • What are the top things on your bucket list?

  • What are your top 3 movies?

As time goes on and your team gets to know each other better, these questions can evolve. Starting meetings off with this type of friendly interaction is a great way to connect and share a positive moment. It also sets an interactive tone for and makes for livelier, more creative meetings.

3. Virtual Company Events

In a traditional work setting, there are occasional company events. These range from holiday parties to movie nights, cookouts, and other social gatherings.

Many of these can be hosted virtually as well. Some companies will have events where employees can all watch a movie through their video call software. Similarly, some companies have weekly screenings of a TV show that employees can watch all together.

Planning virtual company events may seem intimidating, but they can be very easy to set up and maintain. You can start with something as simple as a recurring movie/TV show night, or a virtual coffee hour once or twice a month.

For more extroverted teams, another fun example of an online company event is a karaoke night. Someone will screen-share a karaoke video to a well-known song, and people on the call will sing along.

Optional activities like this allow teams to grow together.

4. Friendly Challenges

It is always fun to have a little bit of competition in the workplace, and doing that in a fun and friendly manner is one of the best ways to build a dream team. Here are some examples of different virtual challenges that can be hosted online:

  • Gingerbread house competition

  • Digital Art contest

  • Messy-desk contest

  • Any photo contest

Some companies will even do fitness challenges and workouts. This is a smart idea because it also helps each employee maintain their physical health while interacting with other remote employees.

Related Article: How to Set Team Goals

5. White Elephant Exchange

A popular Christmas-time game that is played almost everywhere is the white elephant gift exchange. People will collect impractical humorous gifts and choose from the pile one at a time. After a gift is chosen, each person can choose whether or not to keep it or steal someone else's present.

This can be done virtually as well, the gifts can be shown over a video call where people will follow the same rules. After the game is done, the presents can be shipped or picked up. If this is too much of a challenge due to distance or team size, you can always substitute non-physical gifts, such as digital prizes, gift cards, or offers to complete small, annoying work tasks.

6. Mini Games

There are a multitude of workplace-friendly multiplayer mini-games all over the internet. One popular game that is often played during remote meetings is Kahoot. A fun game like this will draw people in. Getting back to work after a fun cooperative game makes it a lot easier to focus.

At the Regional Economic Development Center, we help businesses, job seekers, and students at Yavapai College by offering training and company development resources. The REDC offers over 500 different courses for different career paths. If you are building a remote team, these courses will ensure that all your team members are trained and qualified for their role.

A woman smiling and fist pumping while looking at a tablet.

7. Playlist Creating

One of the best features that Spotify and Apple Music have to offer is the ability to add collaborators to playlists. Remote businesses can take advantage of this, creating a channel where people can put their songs into community playlists.

Some playlists can be motivational and upbeat, while others are for more chill quiet times. Team members can put suggestions in, and discuss whether or not certain music belongs on certain playlists. This is not only a great collaborative practice for employees, but also a great way to get to know each other by music taste.

8. Show and Learn Sessions

Show and learn sessions are some of the most enjoyable and nostalgic activities that remote teams can partake in. They involve someone showing a skill or a unique talent that they have to their coworkers. This allows people to get to know each other on a more personal level.

The reason for this being nostalgic is because it is the virtual version of show-and-tell, a classic elementary school activity. A lot of people have done show-and-tell games, so it should be pretty familiar.

Tip: to get more out of this format, consider using it to promote skill-sharing between employees with different areas of expertise at work.

Related Article: How To Become a Team Player

9. Fun Polls & Gif Battles

If your team communicates regularly in a work chat like Slack or Google Chat, GIF battles are some of the easiest dynamic icebreaker activities for companies to implement into their remote programs. It is a super fun and silly way to get to see people's sense of humor. It involves a prompt that is followed by people posting appropriate gifs. Whoever gets the most votes wins.

10. Ask Me Anything Sessions (AMA)

The final best team-building activity for remote employees is the Ask Me Anything sessions. These involve an experienced company leader, or anyone in some cases, answering questions from any employee. This is a great way to gain insight and learn a thing or two from someone experienced and knowledgeable in the field of work.

Preparing Future Business Leaders at REDC

At the REDC, we prepare business leaders in Arizona and beyond to recruit, train, and retain the most qualified employees. There are over 500 different courses for hundreds of different career fields and remote or in-person work. View our courses to get started.

Home LinkThe REDC is a Division of Yavapai College.Go to yc.edu

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