10 remote team building activities to have fun for remote teams
More and more companies are building teams that work remotely. This has many advantages because it allows workers to manage their days and their lives with greater flexibility. But when it comes to creating a united team there are some difficulties. Members do not meet and limit their interactions to working dialogues across the screen. However, it’s not true that you can’t do anything else from working with remote teams! Here are 10 activities to have fun among remote teams, that are also great remote team building activities!
1. Multiplayer gaming
There are many games created exclusively for Internet players. Games of all types, suitable for anyone, not necessarily experts or skilled players. Best “Office games” has those features:
- Short games (no more than 15’);
- Little to no setup;
- Ruthless competition (!);
- Enough customization to make any player “specialized” on something;
Here is a few games that are classic, new, simple or complex. But all are excellent remote activities and can teach you to work like a real team:
- Counter Strike. There are many games where the main objective is to shoot enemies, even in a very playful and not necessarily violent way. Counter Strike is free (you can find it on steam), well structured, fast to play, and it is one of the shooter games that most requires a spirit of collaboration and teamwork (talking about remote team building activities). You never win as a single! Another great free game is Team Fortress.
- curvefever.pro. It represents the category of immediate games, easy to learn, very easy to play and suitable for everyone. A game server is created with one click and the games are great fun!
- Another great example is The neighborhood, which is more on the strategic side;
- If you are willing to spend a little for the team you can check Rocket League, which mixes up driving and football! But there are thousands more!
Through platforms like Roll20, you can even have regular role playing game sessions (like Dungeons & Dragons), that does not require meeting in someone’s house! But those violate the “less than 15 minutes” rule…
2. Show and tell: my home
A nice way to “get” into the lives of others and get to know them better is to find out where they live. Houses, food, habits change radically from one country to another and see how a teammate lives increases the affection. Every so often you can organize a virtual home visit in which one presents their home or habits. In general their life! The Wedo team is split across Europe and it’s always fun to learn how a Spanish breakfast works or what is like to live in a Budapest flat!
3. The dumb / random / meme chat
This is an inevitable tool. Whether you use Slack, Skype or any other business chat tool, you always need a chat dedicated to nonsense. To random things. To memes. Or to tease each other!
It could be a thematic chat, in order to allow everyone to post things by reducing the risk of offending someone by mistake. For example, a chat dedicated only to jokes about IT, or to post pictures of pets. But it could also be wider: a space where everything fun or interesting finds space.
Remote work requires a chat! That can be a valuable activity to have fun among remote teams, and easy to build too!
4. Meet and greet in person
Let’s make one thing clear: even if the teams are remote, it doesn’t mean they always have to be. There are two great ways to meet:
- Periodically invite a remote team member to the main office. So he can meet the CEO and other executives, see how things work in the office, and even explore a new city while still working;
- Make a periodic party where all the team members gather to share experiences, get to know each other and work together.
Both are very nice possibilities and excellent activities for remote teams.
5. The remote work game
Games that can be made online may not even be “video games”! They can also be “work” games, much quieter but still fun and suitable for everyone. These are games in which you discover more about teammates and develop good skills that are also useful at work.
These are also excellent examples of how a well thought activity brings together a remote team. Some examples:
- Weird question time. Choose a weird question or a scenario, and ask everyone to respond. It can be something funny or it can be even something that helps everyone to learn more about teammates. There is plenty of those questions but here’s some of our favourites:
- What’s you dream? How do you want to change the world?
- What does happiness means to you?
- What do you love about your life? And what would you change?
- What’s your super power?
- What was your favourite toy?
- What are your 3 favourite movies and why?
- Personal fact guessing game. You need a person to be a game manager and collect a lot of special facts from all the team members. These facts can be obtained results (ran a marathon), characteristics or skills (knows how to play the piano, gym obsessed), details of life (has more than 3 siblings, worked in a pet store) and everything that can help people get to know each other better and to learn more about each other. Then in turn everyone proceed to guess. The winner is someone who knows his mates best.
- Fortunately/Unfortunately game. It works like this:
- One person begins with a sentence (e.g., This morning i decided to bike to work).
- The next person tells something unfortunate that happens (e.g., Unfortunately, I punctured a tire halfway).
- The following person adds a fortunate event (e.g., Fortunately, I had a spare tire with me).
- The fourth person will adds an unfortunate event (e.g., Unfortunately, the tire was only suitable for trucks.)
- And so on.
There’s no end, just a big funny story.
6. Live streaming movie night
With a shared screen you can also do other things than discuss work. For example, you can watch a movie together.
How you do it in a remote team?
A live chat is maintained in parallel to the film, where the group can comment or discuss directly while watching. It seems a small thing but it makes a big difference. On the other hand it is not that you can exchange big talk during a movie! Yet seeing what others think of it makes the film a shared experience.
It also serves to get out of one’s comfort zone and see a film that otherwise would not have seen due to laziness!
7. Doughnut & coffee to go!
Would you like to invest some money on your team happiness?
Why not offer your remote members a day off the usual office (home)? A small survey is enough to find some very beautiful, comfortable and original places to work in any city. The important thing is to have internet, right?
It seems like something that is not suitable for an entire team, but it can be done as a team, sharing different experiences at the same time and sharing your impressions about the “outside of home work”. All done while working.
An alternative is to send a bonus in the form of food (a nice glazed donut or a Starbucks cup) directly to a colleague’s home! This is a surprise that is always welcome and creates a nice climate even remotely!
8. Photography competition
A competition! What a nice idea! A prize contest or even without prizes (glory is already a prize) is a good idea to highlight the skills of teammates and create a little… well, competition.
There are some competitions that can also be done online. Especially if they are based on material that can be sent to the whole group. The most classic example is the photography competition. All have photography devices available. Why not leave everyone a space to show off their photo shoots and vote periodically for the most beautiful?
Does it seem too repetitive? Change the theme! Animals, landscapes, people, or something related to the work of the company! Not only is it a great activity to have fun among remote teams. You may even discover new hidden abilities of your teammates.
9. Virtual coffee break
Sometimes creating funny moments between remote teams is just a matter of timing.
When you have people working at different times, perhaps even at different time zones, it becomes difficult to meet. Even just meet virtually. The problem can be solved in a very simple way: to establish a virtual coffee break for the group. Everyone does exactly what they did in their usual breaks, but at the same time.
In this way the group has time to share something extra work, without having to take time out of work.
This strategy is very simple, but it creates fun moments!
10. The virtual charity jar
Can we do something for charity together, even if we are far away? Of course we can!
You can support a charity project that starts with tiny money figures and that can become a rewarding team effort! How can it be done? By creating a joint fund and inviting everyone to make a small periodic waiver (a coffee a month for example) noting what he gave up to contribute! A kind of diary of beautiful things made for the world.
Or you can create a virtual “swear jar”, where everyone makes a contribution every time they break a promise. For example, don’t say bad words in chat, don’t be offensive or angry with customers. If you want to collect thousands of dollars you can force IT guys to pay a dollar for every bug.
The reference projects are many: an example? TeamTrees accepts payments even from a few dollars to plant new trees on Earth! All you need is to is find a project that everyone likes.