As an increasing number of companies shift to remote and hybrid models, leaders are looking for ways to develop a stronger sense of team and culture among remote employees. These positive relationships within the workplace lead to happier, more engaged, and productive employees.
Why should employers care and invest in team building efforts for remote and hybrid workplaces?
Employees who feel valued and empowered within a solid and supportive culture will be more likely to innovate and share ideas.
A sense of community and friendship can boost morale and happiness, especially during times of stress, when remote work can be lonely.
Getting to know the strengths and challenges of your team members leads to well-balanced teams and improved collaboration on projects.
Building engaged teams with personal relationships and encouraging fun in the workplace helps relieve stress and develops a supportive work environment.
21 FUN Remote Team Building Activities
Create a virtual break room. The casual water cooler chats that happen naturally within an office may not seem monumental, but they go a long way to developing relationships within the workplace. Creating a virtual breakroom on an app like Slack can give your team a place to go during the day to check-in and chat.
Encourage tours of remote workspaces. Give employees the chance to take everyone on a quick tour of their home or workspace to encourage a more personal connection. It can provide a bit of lighthearted relief from the workday and allow team members to bond over mutual interests.
Hold virtual company events. Getting the entire organization together in some form helps to keep teams connected and reminds everyone of the company’s bigger purpose. Just as you would for a live event, create an agenda, include a host, speakers, and the opportunity to ask questions. Offer door prizes or games to add fun to the event.
Create a stories board. Using a platform such as Trello or Google Jamboard, create a place for your team to share good news. Encourage employees to share happy events, uplifting stories, or anything that will inject a bit of positivity into the workday.
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition. Ask employees to give shout-outs to their peers for anyone who goes above and beyond by exceeding goals or regularly displaying company values. Create a plan to share the recognition, such as a Monday Motivation email or in the first few minutes of a weekly team meeting.
Create a space for sharing wins. Get employees in the habit of regularly recording their wins for the day. These don't have to be significant accomplishments; the simple act of recognizing and celebrating small daily successes boosts confidence and motivation.
Design team-building challenges. A little bit of lighthearted competition can inject some fun into the workday. Depending on your team members, you could create a fitness challenge, a reading event, or a list of new things to try.
Host a theme day once a month. Create a dress-up day once a month with a specific theme, whether based on a movie, book, or general topic. Allow employees to take turns choosing each month.
Introduce informal training sessions. Set up opportunities for employees to host informal training sessions on their specific skillsets. These could be related to work skills or personal interests, such as a cooking class, guitar lesson, or painting night.
Play 21 Questions. Help your team learn more about each other. Each team member selects a topic, such as ‘best vacation’ or ‘strangest thing I ate’, then everyone asks yes/no questions until someone guesses correctly.
Organize virtual coffee dates. Often, we can get in a rut of talking to the same people every day and don’t interact with anyone new. Designing virtual coffee chats and drawing random names from a hat will encourage people to expand their social circle within the workplace.
Host a Friday Happy Hour. Host an hour-long chat to go over team wins to end Friday on a high note. Invite everyone to bring a snack and beverage, or take it one step further, and host a cocktail hour, delivering the ingredients and recipe by courier.
Create virtual clubs. Create various clubs for employees to join depending on their interests. Ideas for the type of clubs could be exercise, knitting, poker, crating, cooking or music. Encourage team members to share their mutual interests as a bonding experience, or maybe try something new together.
Develop Pinterest boards. Create group boards on Pinterest to allow employees to showcase their skills. Everyone can share ideas about things they want to try and give feedback on how the attempt went.
Set up a game night. Choose an online game and invite team members to join. Try something like Win Lose or Draw, with categories and themes related to the business. Play Icebreaker to get to know your team members, or 2 Truths and a Lie to encourage personal connection.
Host a wine-or beer- tasting. This can be either a high-end tasting where you have bottles delivered to your team or a more casual event where each member suggests a wine or beer they like, and those who want to join can grab a bottle to try it out.
Create a gif or meme battle. Using an online platform such as Slack or Trello, create a gif or meme battle. You can host rounds, each with a theme, or keep it open and casual, with team members voting for the winner.
Create playlists. Encourage employees to create playlists and share what they listen to during the workday. These could have various themes, such as get it done list, a motivational playlist, or calming music when stress levels are high.
Share a travelling toy. Pick a stuffed animal or small toy that can be mailed easily. Have employees take turns hosting the toy and taking pictures of it within their workspace or in funny situations.
Unveil personalities. Get everyone to take an online personality quiz and share what they learned about themselves. Keeping the conversation all around strengths will ensure a positive experience for everyone.
Create a poem or story. Write a poem or story one sentence at a time, with employees taking turns. The theme could be work-related, such as company values, customer experiences, or biggest wins. (Or it could be silly, with the focus on giving everyone a laugh).
Incorporating team-building activities into the workday doesn't have to be an overwhelming undertaking. Little things like encouraging open communication, regular check-ins, and simply asking, “How are you doing?” at team meetings are all great places to start. Small but intentional gestures go a long way to creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, heard, and supported.