20 Team Building Activities for Remote Employees

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The post-pandemic era has led to an enormous evolution in the way we work. Many of us have chosen to shift to a hybrid mode of working, in which we’re remote sometimes and physically at work sometimes. Some of us have even chosen not to return to a physical office at all, preferring instead the completely remote mode of working. 

While this has been a huge boon for many workers, allowing them lesser commute times and greater work-life balance, it’s definitely taken a toll on the concept of teamwork as we know it. So now that the idea of where a team is based, and how it functions, has evolved – the idea of how to manage a team needs to evolve with it. 

From engaging remote employees so they can perform at peak levels, to maintaining strong relationships within the team, no matter where they are – all of this is a new challenge. They mean finding new ways to maintain the important parts of building a team – such as  good communication, effective coordination, collegial support, and, last but never least, fun! 

So we’ve prepared some comprehensive guidelines for you that we hope will be useful – whether you’ve been doing this for years, or have only just started.

What is remote team building?


Virtual team building is how remote teams create connections between colleagues, wherever they are in the world. 

In the office, you’re surrounded by your team. You spend 8 hours a day together, most days of the week – so becoming a strong unit happens naturally. These close relationships mean that when a member of the team needs a hand with a task, they don’t even have to think about who to ask. They can effortlessly collaborate to produce more exciting results.

When the team is remote, team building, forming relationships and maintaining these bonds is a process that needs constant work. The physical distance between workers can soon lead to feeling separated entirely, which can leave remote employees feeling unsupported and disconnected from those they work with.

Ultimately, this can reduce employee wellbeing and even increase staff turnover rates.

In basics, remote team building is the effort of building connections between remote employees to mimic physical teams. For the sake of morale, productivity, engagement and overall results.

Years ago it seemed impossible: to get together a group of people who haven’t and won’t ever meet and have them create a product or service that is used all over the world. But now, some of the most-loved SaaS companies are built by teams who have never met face to face. We humans have perfectly adapted to building those online as well. And with countless tools for virtual team building, it has become easier than ever.

Many companies now count remote teams as a strength. They’re not limited to locals when it comes to hiring, meaning they can build great teams regardless of location. 

After a year that has proven that there’s more possible than we could ever imagine, we know that as long as you build a sense of team spirit in every phase of growth for your company, you’ll be moving forward.

Why is remote team building important?


When an employee has a strong team around them, a support system is created. They’ll feel empowered and are able to share their ideas better if they know who is listening.

Remote working can be isolating and lonely at times, so creating a sense of togetherness can help to boost morale and happiness in times of difficulty. 

When employees really know their teammates and their strengths, they can collaborate better for amazing results.

Team building plays a big role in building a strong company culture. Having a company culture in place, especially remotely, will help you improve internal and external communication.

To harvest the full potential of all those talented individuals, you will still need to fit them together like a puzzle. There are many solutions for online working, from document sharing to meeting. But crucial in the success of virtual teams, is team building. 

Whether your business has a physical office or not, company culture is incredibly important. Having a sense of team spirit will ensure that your remote team is able to combine their talents and strengths and trusts each other. For remote workers, team building is even more important because it contributes to efficient communication.

What are the key benefits of virtual team building?


Playing team building games and making sure your remote workers are rewarded and feel recognised pays off:

Better collaboration, meaning that strengths can be combined optimally, and employees can help each other out to cover their weaknesses.

Better communication: while Slack and video chat are easy to use, that’s not all that remote teams need to work together. They also need to know who to speak to and feel empowered to reach out.

Better company culture: a little fun virtual team building can go a long way. You need more than just team building games, but investing in building connections promotes a strong company culture.

How do I pick the right team building exercises for my team?


Simply ask your employees what they would like to do in terms of team building activities. Make sure you create a healthy mix of fun games and structured programs for recognition and rewards, so you can really grow your company culture and nurture true connections.

For teams who never meet face to face, there are plenty of solutions to mimic office banter and create real human connections. Bring fun and a sense of togetherness into your remote company with these tools for virtual team building activities.

17 remote team building activities


Now that we’ve got through all that – what kind of team-building activities can you exactly do to bring your remote employees together? 

Just in case you’re out of ideas, we’ve curated this fun and easy-to-employ (hehe) list of virtual team-building activities for you! 

They range from simple games to elaborate exercises,  but they all have one thing in common – they will keep your employees engaged and connected. And the best part is – with their help, your employees can get to know each other, no matter where they are. 

1. Try live remote coworking


‘Live’ coworking is the idea that while you may be working remotely, all based in different places, you do so while hanging out together on a video call. You need to log in to this kind of virtual office, which provides the feeling of arriving at work. It also provides the live chatter we all miss while working from home, as well as the accountability.

This also helps improve collaboration, with the help of voice chat, video calling and screen sharing. 

There are even some apps that allow you to  ”bump into” colleagues from other teams on your way to a meeting, class, workshop or presentation! 

2. Connect different parts of your team


When working online, it’s very easy to speak only to the people on your immediate team and no one else. This leads to a great deal of isolation and feelings of alienation at the workplace. 

To avoid this, why not encourage the team members who generally never interact to get to know each other? You could set up a short meeting between them, sort of like a virtual coffee catch-up. Maybe even encourage them to get some snacks!

3. Encourage employees to use a virtual break room

Virtual break room

From our own experience, we can guarantee that the part about being in office your employees miss the most is simply catching up with  work-friends – some banter here, a short chat there. These kinds of informal interactions are essential to build relationships within teams – relationships that can be sustained beyond just emails. 

Fortunately, there are ways to recreate some of this feel online, if not exactly the same thing – and it’s to do with break rooms. Most online video-conferencing platforms allow you to have a main gathering area, and then a separate break room to go in and out of. 

This break room can become the place where your team hangs out occasionally for chats, or catch up over a cup of tea or coffee. When utilized properly, they can become  a great communal area like office break rooms do. So encourage your team to use them as often as they can during their work day!

4. Give new members as warm a welcome as they would get in real life


This is very important, as first impressions of a workplace can often be very long-lasting. When a new team member joins, organise a team-wide meeting, but also encourage individual members of your team to get in toucan and say hi. It will make the process less intimidating for the newcomer and will help the other team members get to know them better. 

It might even be helpful if you assign them a buddy. That way they know someone they can go to with all their questions about the new protocols they have to learn and resources they must refer to.

5. Encourage the Team to Personalise the Online Workplace


Since we don’t have cubicles to put up photos in, or personalise, anymore, a great way to get to know co-workers better is by encouraging them to share something they love, especially about their home office. This could be a pet, a favourite cushion, a plant, or their view – whatever they want. It shows what kind of person they are – and they’re sure to find other people with similar interests in the team. 

This kind of bonding is essential for a harmonious team environment. Of course, earlier we wouldn’t even have to worry about it as people would do it without any prompting – but now that we’re working in such changed conditions, you’d be surprised how much this could break the ice.

 6. Share good news via a dedicated channel every day


Most jobs are quite stressful – who amongst us would not like some good news once in a while? From a cute video of a puppy, to good news from your colleagues that they’re comfortable with sharing (someone got a new pet? Perhaps got married or had a child?), to good news from the greater world – all of it can go in this thread. 

Keep the channel active, informal and chatty, and encourage employees to visit it and contribute when they have something to share, or just when they need some comfort. What could be more wholesome than a repository of good news to visit together on a rainy day?

7. Celebrate achievements and encourage recognition


This is a hugely important part of keeping a team’s morale high. It’s easier to overlook individual contributions when everyone’s not in the same place. The best way to get around this is to have a dedicated way of recognising every person’s achievements by turns. This could be a regular thing done in end-of-week meetings, in a dedicated channel or even through a simple weekly email. 

This could become a team-wide, department-wide or even a company-wide recognition feed to focus on hard work. You and your team can together decide on rewards – and watch team morale soar!

8. Put together some company events


It might seem like a huge deal to hold company events on online platforms, but trust me when we say the benefits outweigh the logistical headache.

Events like these offer a welcome break from a work day, and bring employees together for reasons other than work. We’d recommend structuring them in the same way you would set up a physical meeting – with an agenda, a host, different speakers and the opportunity to ask questions. That way, everything runs smoothly and on time, and the resemblance to the physical events helps employees feel more grounded in an uncertain world.

It’s a great way to bring employees together for a virtual socialization event.

9. Go back to school –  attend some classes!


This one’s for the teams interested in upskilling. Often team members have similar needs and questions about career directions, and need similar skills to make them happen. 

What better way to bring them together than by holding virtual workshops to help them? Suggest the idea, have them vote on what they think they need, and then, with the help of colleagues, arrange for them to be able to learn these skills. Another inexpensive way to do this might be to find websites that offer online courses in these areas

10. Go back to school – set up some clubs!


Yet another way to connect team members with various common interests is to start clubs! Have a whole bunch of people interested in bird-watching? Historical tales? Spooky stories? Video games? Why not start a workplace club? People can join them, maintain threads or channels in which they can message about common interests, and even do virtual (or physical!) meet-ups.  

This sort of informal gathering is a great way to get conversations flowing. Different people can also get a chance to host events about their own passion – and you can watch them come alive in a way we can promise you probably haven’t seen before!

11. Encourage healthy competition


Healthy competition is always good for a team! It gives them focus and something to look forward to, and the little boost when a winner emerges is always fun. 

Set up little challenges for your teams – and we’d recommend making them non-work related, and not too strict, since after all it’s meant to be fun. 

Some good examples could be fitness challenges – perhaps encourage your employees to get at least 1,000 steps in per day, or a certain number of steps per week or month, given that remote work can become quite sedentary. The one with the most consistent record could get a reward collectively agreed upon by you and your team.

12. Organise virtual workout or meditation sessions


Speaking of fitness challenges… In our increasingly busy worlds, many of us simply don’t get the time to exercise, or even meditate. 

So why not make it an adventurous team-building activity? At a fixed time of the week, you could set up a meeting that everyone can check into. You could invite a teacher to help everyone along, or do it with the help of free guided workout or meditation videos on Youtube. People can even do different activities – those who have treadmills spend some time on them; those with stationary bikes, and those with not a lot handy do equipment-free exercises. 

Yoga is a great activity for these, as it often requires no equipment at all, and combines exercise with meditation. Both of these are vital for mental health and stress relief. As we all know, exercise helps improve mood, and meditation is invaluable as a grounding activity after an exhausting day. 

The half an hour to one hour spent on this could become a welcome break for everyone just to slow down and take a breath, together. The decompression will help everybody – as stressed people do not make for good colleagues, and the group activity will help to make it more social.

Don’t forget that your team members may not all be at the same fitness levels – so take it easy! The goal is to get the team moving, and bring them together, and have some fun – not to train for the next marathon.

13. Play some fun games!


We’ve spoken about exercise and meditation – but there’s so many others that you could do together. 

Our top recommendation would be an escape room! 

An escape room is a safe, supervised locked-room environment. Players are provided with clues to solve puzzles and overcome challenges that will help them ‘escape’ from the room. They used to be mostly physical earlier – but now, virtual escape rooms are becoming more and more popular. 

An escape room is a fantastic team building activity. It’s tailor-made for big groups of people; it’s complex and immersive; and it brings out a healthy sense of competition among players. WYour team can work on their collaboration and communication – while having a blast.

Entermission Sydney is a virtual reality escape room, housing exciting games like Jungle Quest, Chernobyl, House of Fear, Mad Mind, Alice in Wonderland and more! We curate safe, supervised locked room environments via VR headsets. 

You have to solve puzzles and take on challenges to be able to ‘escape’.  From fighting aliens in space to fighting supernatural creatures in creepy old temples to fighting a super villain inside his own brain – you can do it all! 

We even have a special package specifically for remote team building – so you know you’ve hit the jackpot!

So book your slots for our escape room games today. Take a look at all our exciting missions here. And visit here to book your slot. 

Another great activity we can recommend is trivia nights!

We’ve all watched some quizzes, whether they’re just pub quizzes or televised ones like Jeopardy!, Mastermind or University Challenge. 

You could do it the old-fashioned way, with a set of questions on slides and having people write their answers in the comments – or you could go tech-savvy with interactive options on your meeting platforms, such as voting for the answer, or even using online buzzers.

The good news is that there’s a huge variety of online games that can be played together, from virtual versions of board games, to completely new innovative formats. You can do them as one-offs, or have a whole campaign that enthusiasts can keep track of via score sheets!

We’d even recommend online video games – perhaps something office-appropriate such as the FIFA video game series. Of course, for this, make sure the teammates are both willing and able to participate – as in, they already have all the resources needed for this.

14. Put on a show


Know that one of your team members can speed paint? Or one that can play the ukulele? Or one who can create entire rap songs in their head within a few seconds? Why not have them put on a show?

This is a great way to showcase unique talents that your team members have, get to know them a bit better, and bring them closer together as a team. You could even get people who would like to learn these skills to play along! And of course, don’t forget to start a new channel or thread in which participants can share their new learnings.

15. Hold a TGIF meetup!


We love this idea – why not have a virtual pub break at the end of a long week? It doesn’t have to include alcohol, of course – so those who prefer to abstain could bring whatever non-alcoholic beverage they prefer. 

Take half an hour out of your work day on Friday and just catch up about the week, and what you’re looking forward to doing on the weekend.

16. Bring back the team lunches!


Team lunches are extremely common in a world in which companies all work together in the same space. But now that that’s not true anymore – why not find a way to hold them virtually? 

One way would be to set aside a day, set a theme – say seafood – that everyone agrees on, and have the teams order it from a place close to them (that they can of course add to their expenses later!). Or you could try a food box service, and sign your team up for them. 

Once they get their deliveries, you can all get together virtually to sample the wares, and catch up over a delicious lunch.

17. Do some good for your communities


This is a great way to bring employees together, while giving back to the communities that have sustained us during tough times. Why not find a charity that has a presence in the different places your team is based in, and see if they’re okay with your team going in and volunteering? The members can pick the day and time that suits them the best. 

Or, you could focus on a day – like Earth Day – and have members take part in related challenges, such as composting or cleaning up a neighbourhood park (while maintaining safety and hygiene, of course).

The common goal, and feeling of having done something good, will be invaluable. 

And that’s our list of Remote Employee Team Building Activities! They’re versatile, and fun, and easily adaptable to the needs of your team. 

In these unprecedented times, we must do all we can to adapt to the new way of working. After all, with major companies heading the hybrid way, and employees embracing it, it looks like it’s here to stay. 

We hope these ideas help you and your team to be closer than ever.

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