8 Fun Team-Building Activities for Your Newly Remote Team
When was the last time you had a team-building activity?
The BOOQED team had our last team-building session during our kick-off meeting in January. As a team that’s spread across 5 countries, getting everyone together in one place is a considerable feat, but the results can’t be underestimated. We got more alignment and camaraderie as a team and felt more comfortable with communication amongst each other even as we returned to our home bases.
The research backs that up too. According to the Harvard Business Review, “close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.” Also, “people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, team get-togethers have happened much less frequently, not just for the BOOQED team but for companies all over the world. However, with the necessary move to remote team-building for safety reasons, we decided to look at this change through a "glass half full" lens. We can now commit to holding activities regularly. Team-building also provides a sense of solidarity and support for teammates required to quarantine at home.
With the plethora of video conferencing tools available, we think more companies should make a more dedicated effort to do remote team-building regularly, especially if your teams are newly remote.
Here are 8 ideas for remote team-building that you can tailor to your company’s culture. We do think that there should always be a fun factor involved though!
Most of these setups are for a team size of about 12 to 15, so adjust accordingly.
Try these Virtual Team-Building Ideas
1. “See what I mean?”
Suggested Duration: 30 to 40 minutes
Preparation: A pen and paper, or alternately, a way to draw images on a computer or mobile device
Mechanics: Team member A draws a picture using only simple geometric shapes. He/she then chooses another person, Team Member B to describe the picture to everyone else. Team Member B can only mention shapes and their positions - “A small circle with two squares right below”.
Without seeing Team Member A’s drawing, the other participants will reproduce the image based on Team Member B’s description.
The objective is to replicate Team Member A’s drawing as closely as possible, but expect hilarious results!
2. Virtual Pictionary
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Mechanics: This is basically an online version of Pictionary. Your team would need to get on Skribble or Drawasaurus, or have someone host a Jackbox session and launch Drawful. Start a private room and get going!
Drawing can be relaxing and meditative too (not to mention, full of laughs), so this can be a good activity for the mid-week.
3. Two truths and a lie
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Preparation: A spreadsheet for keeping track of guesses and tallying points
Mechanics: Get the team on a video call. Each team member tells two truths and one lie about themselves. The other team members have to guess which is the lie, and the person with the most correct guesses wins. The winner gets to have a win to his or her name on your game leaderboard on Slack/Discord.
4. Picture sharing
Suggested duration: 1 week, asynchronous
Preparation: Smartphone camera
Mechanics: What are your teammates like outside of work? What are their surroundings like?
Suggest a theme - it could be your work setup, pets, kitchen creations, or a more abstract concept, like something creepy or inspiring. The team can take a picture for a specified theme with their smartphone, and share it throughout the week on a special channel on Slack/Discord/Communication platform of choice.
5. Typing speed race, while singing together (Yes, you read that correctly!)
Suggested duration: 3 to 10 minutes
Preparation: Get on typingtest.com
Mechanics: This is the ultimate linguistic cognition challenge. Everyone gets on typingtest.com and sets the same time and competition type. To make it more challenging, everyone also sings a song together while completing the challenge.
Want to amp it up? Try the singing portion in a different language.
When the challenge is done, everyone puts up their results on a leaderboard on Slack/Discord.
6. Themed pub trivia
Suggested Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Preparation: Select 2 team members to be the hosts. Set a theme, dress code, and prepare 10 to 15 questions based on the theme. Oh and Bring Your Own Drink. (#BYOD)
After following the preparations mentioned above, invite everyone to the video call. Then split into teams of 2 or more, with team sizes of about 4 to 6. Just like pub trivia, the hosts will read out the questions, and teams will have to answer the question first.
Team reps can shout out answers in a free-for-all style, but feel free to adjust the rules and decide how much coordination through Zoom verbal cues and Slack/Discord chat would best fit your setup.
7. “Weirdest thing I’ve ever done” guessing game
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Preparation: Each teammate thinks of 1 to 2 weird or outrageous things they’ve done and add it to a list.
Mechanics: Everyone fills out their guess for each item on the list. Afterwards, each team member reveals which items on the list are theirs.
This activity can be done either with or without video chat (asynchronously) but with video chat is ideal for maximum team-building benefits, such as creating a more open dynamic among teammates, and an environment where they also see a different side to their teammates' personalities.
8. Movie/karaoke/game night
Suggested duration: Depends on how long everyone wants to hang out
Preparation: A host to stream a movie, sports game, or music. Also #BYOD
Mechanics: Sometimes, people just want a chill night but still have the company of great people. This is a great way to do so that’s relatively easy to organize and doesn’t put pressure on participants. However, as always, make sure the choices for movies and music aren’t too serious.
BOOQED as a company is a big believer in team-building activities, as we’ve seen them create positive outcomes for our company culture. There’s a wealth of remote team-building activities you can do, even with very few resources. All it takes is dedication to make it happen and some creativity – and your favorite video conferencing tools, of course!
Bonus: Here’s us trying remote team-building for the first time!
Share Your Great Team-Building Experiences
What are your company’s favorite remote team-building activities? Let us know – we'd love to feature you on our blog! Just email the BOOQED team at email@example.com :)