Working from home is here to stay and many business leaders find themselves managing remote teams for the first time. Although inspiring collaboration among people who might never meet can be challenging, it is also enriching and necessary for the workplace to function smoothly. Here are 12 ideas for team-building events remote workers can participate in.
1. Scavenger Hunts
Team leaders could devise a list of items for staff members to find in their homes. For example, a list could include:
- Something blue
- Something old
- Something that begins with the letter “F”
- Something very small
Once the leader sets a timer, team members must leave the desk and search the house for items matching the description. When the timer goes off, everyone returns and shares what they found. Leaders will award points for every correct item workers bring back to the desk in time. This group activity is a fun way to get to know co-workers.
2. Trivia Nights
Trivia has exploded in popularity recently, with the number of trivia game downloads nearly tripling in 2023 compared to 2017. Remote workers can break into teams or work individually to answer questions in categories like science, history, and pop culture. Some games even feature photo and audio rounds where participants must identify songs or celebrities.
3. Online Cooking Classes
Although 77.2% of virtual event attendees prefer online events, live virtual cooking classes are also a fun way to unite remote workers with a creative side. The host sends the ingredients to each participant or gives them a list of ingredients to pick up.
A professional chef then walks team members through making hot sauce, mochi ice cream or other cuisines. At the end of the class, the group is left with something delicious to enjoy and talk about.
4. Virtual Escape Rooms
Over videoconferencing apps like Zoom, this category of team-building events encourages workers to solve puzzles and riddles as a group. Some are even compatible with VR headsets for a more immersive experience. Teams win the game by escaping from a virtual environment before time runs out.
5. Happy Hour
A virtual happy hour is an online social event that usually includes games, activities and sometimes drinks. Workplaces often choose a theme — like Christmas or Star Wars — for virtual happy hours. People may ask each other icebreaker questions or participate in a shared task like crocheting or making cocktails to get to know each other better.
6. Virtual Olympics
One of the best team-building events for remote workers is virtual Olympics. Workers can compete in typing races, home office bowling or word games. They can also bet on actual Olympic sports fantasy-football-style if the games coincide with the work event. It might seem counterintuitive, but competition often brings people together.
7. A Book or Movie Club
Employees read a book or watch a movie on their own time, then get together to discuss it during remote book club meetings. They might share their opinions, or discuss deeper meanings and themes they found in the book or movie. It is an excellent way for team members to be social and expand their knowledge simultaneously.
8. Home Tours
Remote workers give a quick look inside their home or working space. They can showcase their favorite items — like their windowsill succulent collection or electric guitar — to give co-workers a sense of who they are. This activity helps remote teams bond over mutual interests. It can also give people new ideas for improving their home office.
9. Online Training
Not all team-building events are strictly social activities. Sometimes, they also double as work events that help get the entire staff on the same page.
Online training seminars like lunch-and-learn meetings allow employees to socialize while learning new skills related to their jobs. Managers can cover topics like cybersecurity, office harassment or using artificial intelligence in the workplace.
10. Brainstorming Sessions
During brainstorming sessions, employees pitch new ideas about workplace operations. They may have suggestions for improving productivity, communication or morale.
Everyone must have a chance to talk during these sessions — even new team members and people who do not usually speak up at work. Team leaders can facilitate communication by calling on everyone in the group individually, then promoting a more open-ended discussion at the end.
This team-building exercise helps remote workers get to know each other more personally. In addition to being a fun activity, hosting remote show-and-tell events can teach employees how to give group presentations.
Several days before the meeting, team leaders should send an email asking participants to prepare a talk about something meaningful to them. It could be an item or something less tangible, like a skill or hobby. Then, employees will share their show-and-tell presentation with the group.
12. Fundraising Events
Remote team members can work individually to raise money for charitable causes. Then, they can pool their funds together and see how much they raised. For example, employees can participate in virtual walkathons, each walking as much as they can in a given day or week. Fundraisers give employees a sense of working together toward a greater cause.
Team-Building Events Inspire Camaraderie
Remote team members may never meet in person, but they can still get to know each other and bond over shared activities. Team-building events are a welcome break from the usual workday. They can improve morale, collaboration and productivity, leading to a happier work environment overall.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.