Five easy remote team building activities

By Garima Sharma
June 8, 2020
5 min read
Remote team building

COVID-19 has upended the current world order, and in such unpredictable times, remote team-building is something that can’t be ignored. 

Countries are following the norms of nation-wide lockdowns and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. In a scenario where a physical workplace concept seems to be fading (at least for now), employees face the challenge of tuning themselves to the new normal – remote working. 

Leaders (and internal communicators!) have to ensure that people can smoothly adapt to this work transition. They need to make sure that employee engagement levels remain high, and employee productivity also does not face an inevitable dip. This is where remote team building activities step in. 

But before we go on to the activities, let’s understand why it is so essential in the first place. 

Social distancing and working remotely are not easy transitions. Humans are social beings, after all. Prolonged work from home can make people feel isolated, depressed, lonely, and low on morale. Now, when we look at the present times, we have a few extra challenges:  

  • Concern for the safety of family and friends 
  • Limited access to basic amenities 
  • Higher stress levels 
  • Lack of physical activity 

This is why team-building activities and initiatives for remote workers are essential, now more than ever. Leaders need to focus on taking up appropriate measures to keep up employees’ spirits and boost morale. In fact, a recent study has revealed that 94.2% of employees admit team building activities have improved their relationships with their employers.

Interaction and communication with teams help strengthen relationships, build trust, promote company culture, and support personal wellbeing. Engaging your remote team through some form of socializing is imperative.  

Virtual team building activities help reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging. Here are a few team building activities to keep your teams working, committed, and connected:

Top 5 remote team building activities you must try    

5 Easy remote team building activities you can try in 2021

1. Time for a quick ice breaker 

Ice breakers are a great way to ease the awkwardness of video calls and ensure an engaged audience. When you have video call meetings, kick the session off with a quick round of icebreaker questions. This will help to create an instant connection and ward off any tension or unease that may exist. 

Virtual icebreakers work best when supported by video and sound platforms for a seamless and smooth experience. Shy of the camera? Video communication is vital for remote teams. Here’s why

One example of a virtual icebreaker could be to have everyone share something they are grateful for, plus something that seems like a challenge. This could be work related or personal. Remember, the aim is to break the ice and bring the team closer in a friendly, approachable way. Here are a few more creative ice breaker ideas to help.  

2. Quiz Time! 

Quizzes are the simplest way to get people together. You can manage the process on a video conferencing tool or a focused quiz tool like Mentimeter, depending on your goal and company size. How do you run the quiz? Here are two options you can try:   

  • Quiz 1: A fun fact-guessing game with colleagues. Who has bungee jumped above a pool of alligators? Who has completed the Antarctic Marathon twice? Personal quizzes are a great way to learn more about your team and foster a closer connection. 
  • Quiz 2: A trivia challenge. Check out the general awareness levels of your people (in a fun way, of course). You can prepare questions on various topics related to business, technology, culture, geography, current events, and pop culture. 

3. Enjoy a quick virtual coffee break

Apart from online games and activities, fun and informal sessions are essential because it lets your employees spend some time with their colleagues and relax with casual conversation. Allowing breaks like this (or even virtual happy hours) helps people brighten your employees’ moods and in turn, keep up their productivity.  

A tool that can come in handy here is Donut, it’s an extension from Slack that randomly pairs up team members for every one to four weeks, so employees can bond one-on-one. Connect, engage, and have fun!   

4. Start a casual team health initiative 

Remote working can affect the mental, physical and psychological health of employees. Encourage and support your employees to lead a productive, safe, and healthy routine while they work remotely. How? 

  • Ask your team to take short breaks from their daily work schedule. Take a break from the screen, take a quick walk within the house, stretch, and get some fresh air. 
  • Talk to your employees on wellness and mental health issues; these are often shied away from the workplace. 
  • Facilitate online therapy, peer mentoring, wellness coaching programs.

Advertising company Incubeta started a daily 5-minute afternoon dance party with a dedicated Spotify playlist hosted on Google Hangouts to boost employee morale and health. Have a quick boogie with your colleagues to dance the stress away! 

Alternatively, fitness and wellness startup CureFit launched a range of workout, meditation, and yoga classes that can be taken from the home. Encourage your team to enroll in a class! Some of these sessions are for just 15 minutes. You can also join real-time sessions, promoting a greater connection.  

5. Ideate and solve problems together 

Why not bring your team together by brainstorming some problem-solving challenges? It’s simple: create a challenging work-related scenario, group your employees in teams, and ask them to work on a solution collectively.  

You can either create a fictional scenario, an experience, or something current to the organization. These activities can help participants build management, teamwork, and decision-making skills. It can also prepare you for an unforeseen situation while maintaining cooperation to increase team effectiveness. 

No matter if it’s your office team or remote, team building is one of the most critical parts of developing and managing your employees. By creating a remote team-building strategy for your employees and identifying their preferences, you can easily keep them upbeat, excited, and on the right track while achieving the company goals.
So, what’s your favorite remote team building activity? Comment below, or if you need some real inspirations to keep your team up and going in these odd times, book a 15-minute FREE DEMO with us now. Not quite ready for a demo? Take our complimentary internal communications assessment to get a detailed report of your internal communications efforts!

By Garima Sharma

Garima Sharma is a guest contributor for IC Thrive. She is the assessments and surveys lead at GreenThumbs, a recruitment and talent assessment agency. She is a subject matter expert for personality assessments, 360-degree appraisals, employee engagement, and feedback surveys.