The 21st century has bought a lot of changes in our day to day lives, including our work culture as well. The constant evolution in the field of cloud computing has made things easier for us than ever before. Unlike earlier, professionals can now work from anywhere aided by real time collaboration tools. And with the rise of remote workers, the need to employ virtual team building activities have surely gained popularity.
Fast forward to the present day the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the usual world order. Several countries are now under a state of lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. And this has eventually led many businesses to adopt work from home policy to keep their employees safe and workflow intact.
However, with no sign of any cure yet and social distancing being the only viable measure, work from home has likely become the new normal. But, staying away from the usual office setup for a prolonged period is also going to affect your employees adversely.
This is where the managers need to step in and take appropriate measures to keep up the team spirit. And for ensuring this, virtual team building activities are the way to go.
Implementing such activities in your daily routine helps the employers on two fronts i.e.
Enhancing the scale of cooperation between the distributed teams.
Maintain high employee engagement for good remote working experience.
Hence, to help you out I have created a list of some of the best remote team building activities. And I'm sure that these activities will help you keep your teams connected and lift their morale.
10 Best Virtual Team Building Activities for a Remote Workforce
1. Online Office Games
Time- 30 Minutes to One Hour
Objective- To build better coordination between your distributed teams.
Team building activities are always incomplete without any icebreaker games. Well conducting such games is much easier when all your employees are around. However, you can still organize such team games online for your distributed teams over a group chat.
I’ll keep it very simple here, you can combine a variety of these games into one competition. Then divide your employees into different teams depending on the size of your workforce. Try to mix up the employees from different departments while making teams. Also, make sure that all the teams have at least 3-4 members.
After making the teams, list out some ice breakers that can be played in online multiplayer mode. Nowadays, many such games are available for both mobile and PC. Decide a structure where winning points are based on the complexity of the game.
Always keep in mind that every member of the team should actively participate in the game and earn points. Thereby encouraging healthy competition and build a strong relationship among the team members.
2. Team Health Challenges
Time- 20 to 30 Minutes
Objective- To encourage a healthy lifestyle amongst your remote team members
Employee wellbeing has become a norm across the business world.
Every organization now desires to thrive with a healthy workforce. And for, this many are now implementing corporate wellness programs in their workplaces. However, it becomes quite different in case of your remote team members.
Here, one of the most effective ways to ensure the same is to associate health challenges as a part of your virtual team-building exercise.
I have already mentioned above on how to create and maintain your teams. So the next step here is to assign different health challenges to your teams.
Here, you can consider throwing tasks to your employees like
- Completing “X” number of pushups, squats, lunges.
- Run for “X” Kms in a week.
- Complete “X” number of steps daily.
- Joint meditation sessions through video chatting to boost mental health.
Another great way to host such virtual employee health challenges is through a corporate wellness platform.
Platforms like this allow you to
- Create flexible employee health contests.
- Track your employees’ progress in the health campaign.
- Gather vital insights about your employees' health status.
- Encourages healthy competition within the workforce.
- Incentivize your top performers for motivating them.
Thus, gamifying your workplace health initiatives and helping you create a healthy and engaged workforce.
3. Virtual Coffee Breaks
Image source: Unsplash
Time- 15 to 30 Minutes
Objective- Bridging the communication gap between your remote employees.
Who doesn’t like to grab a cup of coffee and engage in an interesting conversation with their colleagues?
I guess no one will say “No” to that!
But for your remote teams, this is no less than a luxury. Coffee breaks are a great way to enhance the professional relationship between your employees. Such breaks also allow your employees to de-stress themselves and bounce back with great productivity.
Hence, you can include virtual coffee breaks as a part of your remote team building activities. You can treat these breaks as informal team meetings over a conference call. And allow your employees to engage in some random talks with their colleagues. Further, to jinx up these breaks, you can include other fun elements to it as well.
4. Spread the Knowledge
Time- 30 to 45 Minutes
Objective- Rejuvenate the thought process of your employees
I must say that it’s one of the best virtual team activities that you can host for your employees, whether they are near you or not.
The only requirement here is active participation through video conferencing and your employees willing to share their knowledge about various things with others.
Before beginning this activity, you can ask your employees to submit what they would be sharing with their peers. After that, you can randomly select some of the submissions and ask the employee to share it with others the next day. This way, you not only encourage your employees to learn new things but also instill respect for each other among your employees.
5. Dig Up a Fact or Scavenger Hunt
Time- 20 Minutes (Per Team)
Objective- Building the trust and confidence within your employees.
Dig up a fact is another great way to educate your employees about some lesser-known but interesting facts. These facts can be about anything like a region, a person of importance, corporation, or profession.
For doing this activity, you can ask your teams to decide on an area and then dig up some amazing less known facts about it. You can further spice it up by asking your teams to prepare a short presentation on it and present it to their colleagues.
It is a perfect virtual team building activity as it brings everyone together to deliver one common thing. With this, your employees will not only come to know some new facts, but it’ll also promote better camaraderie and enhance their ability to function as a team with everyone having different roles to play.
6. Quiz Up
Time- 20 to 30 Minutes
Objective- Encouraging the spirit of learning amongst the employees.
Enough of learning new things and now it’s time to test how much your employees know. Since it’s a fast-paced event, it’ll challenge all your teams to give their best and win whatever is up for grab.
You can prepare questions around various topics related to business, technology, culture, geography, current events, and many more based on your preference. Here, you can also arrange a few helplines like for example -
Allowing a team to get help from any other team for a maximum of two times, and if the answer is correct, the point will be divided among both the teams. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? Therefore, making this game of wit even more interesting for your remote employees.
7. Meetings over Lunch
Image source- Unsplash
Time- 45 Minutes to One hour
Objective- Boost your employee relations.
Socializing with colleagues is very important for ensuring healthy workplace relationships. An important thing that your employees miss while working from different locations is going out for lunch with peers, which is one of the best ways to socialize.
However, you can fill this void by organizing meetings over lunch via video conference. It will make your employees feel good when they all meet each other over lunch even if it’s virtual to discuss any important matter or just get involved in some fun chat. Make it a point to keep holding such meetings frequently so that your remote team members feel connected.
8. Solve It!
Time- 20 to 45 Minutes
Objective- Encouraging out of the box thinking and implementation of ideas.
While planning for any team building program, you must also keep some room for activities that requires a lot of brainstorming.
A lot of employees now spend the majority of their time in front of their machines, often doing the same monotonous tasks. Well, you can break this chain by challenging them to solve any code, problem, or puzzle.
Here, you don’t need to worry about creating unique problems for each team, but you can throw one single challenging code and ask them to solve it within a given time frame. And as obvious it is whichever team can solve it first earns the reward.
9. Create a Story
Time- 30 Minutes to One hour
Objective- Creating a culture of teamwork.
We, humans, are really good at creating stories that can amaze anyone be it our friends or our HR managers (What’s the best you have heard so far? Comment below).
The same also qualifies to be made into an engaging and fun team building activity. The only thing that you need to do here is to give some random words that will be common for everyone. And then, ask them to create a story using those random words or sentences. Doing this is going to be fun and your employees are also going to love it as they unfurl laughter with their stories.
10. Who are you?
Image source: Unsplash
Time- 10 to 15 Minutes
Objective- Perfect for ice-breaking especially when you onboard new remote team members.
Each one of your employees is unique. They have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They have their own share of struggles and achievements. And it’s essential to bring it all out in front of everyone to build a healthy relationship.
Hence, you can host an online event where you can encourage your employees to share their stories with everyone. This will positively impact your employees by scaling up their self-confidence. At the same time, it will also inspire others to open up about themselves. Thus, building trust amongst your employees and taking your company culture to new heights.
Here’s a list of some of the best ice breaker questions for you to check out.
The biggest issue associated with remote working is that employees feel disconnected if they don’t receive proper attention both from their colleagues and managers. And to keep this in check organizing online team building activities from time to time becomes very important.
The virtual team building activities listed above provide you a way to fill the gap and bring your remote employees closer. You can either opt for organizing any one activity or combine a few of them to create an engaging virtual team building program.
If you’ve got some other virtual team building ideas, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below.