While we are all working from home during these uncertain times and have been forced to connect with our colleagues virtually, it's still possible to take advantage of the benefits that team building provides. Even though we cannot chat with the person sitting next to us right now, there are still many ways in which we can replicate that social interaction through well-designed virtual activities.
Here at Team Challenge Company, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite easy team building activities for remote employees that do not involve hours of preparation. We hope that these remote team building ideas can inspire you and your team to seek out and try new ways of remaining connected.
This first fun team building activity for remote employees involves your team doing nothing more than taking a picture of their workstation and sending it to a nominated event manager. One picture per day is then uploaded and shared by this event manager, with the team guessing whose desk they think they are looking at. Not only does this make for a fun distraction in the day but it also provides a little insight into the life of colleagues and coworkers, developing the trust and interpersonal relationships which teams rely on to work effectively.
It feels as though everyone has been taking part in a virtual quiz during this time, either with family or friends. Making time for a quiz with workmates is a fun way of energising the team, possibly making for the perfect Friday afternoon remote team building game before signing off for the weekend. Here at Team Challenge Company, The Big Quiz Live makes up one of our team building activities and has proved highly successful for both physically collaborative teams and remote ones.
This requires no prior preparation other than making a coffee or preparing lunch before turning the camera on. In the normal office setting, it would be common for colleagues to have lunch together or sit and chat on a coffee break during the day. Just because we are working from home, it does not mean that this socialising has to stop, so why not invite the team to a virtual break where you can have relaxed conversations and maintain a positive working atmosphere.
Just as virtual quizzes have become popular so, too, have fitness sessions (Joe Wicks, anyone?). These activties can be tailored to suit individual preferences or abilities and can even be turned into something of a competition with colleagues – the push-up challenge. With the camera positioned so that the remote team-building exercise is in full view, nominate someone to referee and set the time to two minutes as everyone else sees who can complete the most amount of push-ups in the allotted time. Pride is on the line and it will also help to ensure your team are getting some exercise away from their desk.
If you are a user of social media, then you have likely already used (or at least heard of) the popular app Words With Friends. The game is essentially Scrabble, allowing you to play with another person online. Colleagues can set up their games and, if there is enough interest, create a tournament amongst the team. As there is no time limit between moves, with users able to pick the game up from where they left off, there is no concern of this team building game getting in the way of more pressing matters and affecting productivity.
Many companies are utilising programmes such as Microsoft Teams and Slack as a means of working together, whereby ideas and collaboration can happen with dedicated project channels. Creating a channel that is dedicated to non-work-related topics, a social channel, encourages colleagues to engage in the water cooler conversation that they are no longer able to do so in person.
Sitting alone at a desk for eight hours a day is not fun or healthy. Give your team a reason to get up out of their seat for five minutes every day with a virtual dance party. Nominate a person every day to choose a song (ideally something with a good beat) that the rest of the team can dance to and show off their moves via video chat.
Within your team, are there those that fancy themselves as the resident stand-up comedian? Or perhaps they have been practising some intricate magic tricks? If so, arrange a virtual open mic session, encouraging anyone brave enough to step up and take the stage with their act. It does not matter whether it is comedy, singing, magic or anything else, as long as it's engaging. This type of occasion creates team unity by exposing the personal interests of individuals within the team, encouraging communication and developing trust.
Who has not played Simon Says at some point in their life? The rules are simple, nominate one person to be Simon and they give out instructions to the rest of the team. If that instruction begins with ‘Simon says’, the rest of the team must carry that out on camera. Should instruction be given without first saying ‘Simon says’, anyone who does that task is out of the game. This continues until one person remains. Simple, casual and relaxed - perfect as a pick-me-up game that gets everyone laughing.
If you are not familiar with the concept of shows such as Through the Keyhole or MTV: Cribs, the object is simple. A person gives a showcase of their home (not revealing who they are) and the team must work out whose home they are looking at. There will no doubt be various clues that participants must try to piece together – smaller teams may want to limit the number of guesses to keep this team building game competitive.
Ask everyone to send in their baby photos (not everyone may wish to do so) and challenge the team to guess who is pictured. This could be a game in itself or make up a round of a larger online quiz.
This team-building idea for remote workers could serve as a fantastic ice breaker for new starters, asking them to draw up their bucket list and share it with the team. By doing this, the team can learn about their colleague and what makes them tick, as well as providing various topics for conversation when it may otherwise be awkward without any information to work with.
If your team is a fan of watching movies and would often spend their breaks discussing new releases, why not nominate a movie on any of the popular streaming services available to watch one evening and dedicate 10/15 minutes to discussing it the day after.
This is another of Team Challenge Company’s offerings and one that we believe will make for a fun activity for the team to get involved in. Escape the Mob is an app-based escape room-style game where teams work together to solve puzzles and complete challenges in an attempt to get away from the mob and to safety. Demanding effective teamwork and clear communication, Escape the Mob is engaging, educational and fun, the perfect balance for any remote team building activity.
Virtual karaoke has the potential to be equally as disastrous as it can be successful. Not everyone is going to have the voice of an angel, and that is half the fun. This will make for a good time, especially if you can arrange for this to happen on an evening when no one has to get up for work the next morning.
Based on the popular BBC game show of the same name, Would I Lie to You challenges players to work out whether a statement is true or a lie. The game can be played in several formats, but a common one is asking players to make three statements, two of which are true and the other being a lie. Can the rest of the team guess which is the lie?
Lastly, simply downing tools for the last hour of the working week will be a welcome way of heading into the weekend. Set up a video conference with all the team and have a laugh and a joke with your colleagues because, after all, we must remain connected and human, even when working remotely.
At Team Challenge Company, we have a broad collection of online team building games for remote employees, all of which offer exceptional learning and development opportunities as well as engaging the team taking part. We believe that the most effective teams are those who feel connected, a trait which only becomes more important when team members aren't able to see or speak to each other as regularly.
For more information on how Team Challenge Company can help your team stay motivated and productive, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us today.