10 Fun Team-Building Exercises For Remote Teams

Vanessa Damaso

by Vanessa Damaso     4 MIN READ

In recent years, remote work has evolved from a niche concept pursued by startups to a mainstream work mode used across many organizations.

Companies rewrite their playbooks and enhance their strategies; they typically use online tools to enable better remote collaboration.

However, no matter how advanced the digital tools may be, remote workers still need to interact with other people.

Newer remote teams are at a disadvantage because learning from their senior teammates and developing social relationships with them is more complicated.

While it is challenging to replace natural interactions during water-cooler moments, Forbes Magazine asserts that human connection is essential for success.

Creativity is an essential key to success, particularly during these challenging times when the world is shifting toward working from home. Productivity is highly affected by creativity; therefore, encouraging creativity in the workplace can be used to improve employee morale and support productivity

As a leader or a team member of a remote workgroup, you might wonder what some simple ways to improve your team's morale are? You may have found that taking team-building activities into account allows you to weather the ups and downs of working with not co-located people.

At Vineforce, we faced the same challenges. Being a remote team for over seven years, we experienced a roller-coaster ride with remote work. A tactic that has helped our team cope is incorporating weekly or monthly team-building activities into our schedule.

Some of those activities and others will be expounded on below.

1. Guess Who?

There are various ways to get people to work together on a project, but one fundamental truth remains: communication is king. Communication issues arise when teammates do not have adequate opportunities to interact. Hence, many remote team-building exercises exist to create a dialogue among members of a distributed workforce.

One way to facilitate communication among employees is to play a guessing game, and it is also a good way for employees to get to know each other better. During your scheduled team building activity session, have employees take a survey answering things like "What is the last song you listened to?" Then the facilitators will read-aloud group responses from the survey and have employees guess who wrote what.

2. Rebus/Bust

Rebus or Bust is a game where your team will solve rebuses (words, illustrations, and symbols that stand for words or phrases) as quickly as possible to make the most correct guesses by the end of the game. To play Rebus or Bust, you will need to split your team into groups and give each group time to list down 10 rebuses, or you can look for rebuses online. Each team will take turns guessing the answers, and points will be awarded for every correct answer.

3. Have Fun with Logos Games

Logos Games - Remote Team Building

Another fun activity to help your team members bond is to play a logos game. We learned that there are hidden messages in logos at some point in our lives, and it felt like an "Aha!" moment. With logos games, your team is tasked with actively looking at famous logos (symbols or signs) to determine their hidden symbolism.

This activity can be played individually or as a team. Logos games are intellectually stimulating because they give logos you see every day a new context and prompt you to think beyond the obvious. You can check online for the famous logos you can use for this activity, and do not forget to have fun!

4. Seven degrees of Kevin Bacon

If your office has a slow day, consider playing Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon to stimulate activity. This group activity is a simple way to get your team members to interact. Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon challenges your team to exercise their minds to find links between objects that may not be apparent at first. It is usually done using scraps of paper, but you can also do this with MS Teams.

How it works: Requires Video/Camera on.

  1. Divide your team into two groups.
  2. List objects or ideas that are unrelated to each other.
  3. Write them down on colored paper and place them in separate jars.
  4. As the facilitator, share your screen and show the jars with colored paper.
  5. Ask either group to choose from the jars and show them what is written down on paper using your camera.
  6. Give each group 60 seconds to create a link between the unrelated objects or ideas.
  7. The group that gets the correct answer will win a score.

5. Online Bingo

Online Bingo - Remote Team Building

Working from home can be stressful, so building connections with co-workers is a challenge. Virtual bingo can help an organization's teams build relationships and find common ground; it is known by most people, and we always play this fun game at Vineforce. An efficient way to play bingo online is to personalize it based on the company culture or products so everyone can understand what other teams are doing in the same organization.

Online bingo games can be quickly scheduled with Microsoft Teams—all you need to do is schedule a meeting and turn on the camera so a host can engage everyone with a shared screen. Since you will be doing this activity virtually, you can host your own Bingo bonanza and create personalized bingo cards.

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6. Who is that Baby?

Sharing childhood photographs with colleagues can be a great icebreaker. A simple activity involves gathering photos of all the team members, typically from before they began working together. These photos are then distributed via a video conference using MS Teams and allow people to guess which picture their co-workers are. The team member who guesses correctly wins the round.

Playing this game is an excellent way to spark curiosity and creativity in teammates by encouraging them to recognize facial features they may observe in those they are unfamiliar with.

7. Mobile Tournament Games/Esports

Mobile Legends - Remote Team Building

Host mobile games competitions, such as Call of Duty, Mobile Legends, or Players Unknown Battleground. In this way, you can get to know your employees and have fun together. These games are played in squads, so your team members will have to form a competitive group, and the team that wins will receive a prize. These mobile games are available on Android and iOS devices.

8. Online Lunch Date

Vineforce has been doing remote work for the past few years, but we still manage to have lunch together like a family. One excellent way to get to know your team members and improve positive behavior is to sit with them and then have a little chit-chat while eating.

Everyone can be creative when it comes to sharing what they will have for lunch, such as going to their favorite café, ordering delivery of their favorite food from their favorite restaurant, or simply cooking a favorite dish. This activity can be done with Teams, and since it is available on the mobile version, joining a video conference is easy, like Sunday morning.

9. Forensic Sketch Artist

Forensic Sketch Artist is a uniquely enjoyable party game, engaging office workers and team-building groups in an interactive exercise of skill. Microsoft 365 has the perfect tools for this activity: Microsoft Teams for video meeting and Whiteboard for drawing or sketching.

To play, each player should be split into groups of two or three and encouraged to invent a story about a robbery. One player should be chosen for each team to take on the role of a forensic sketch artist. The rest of the group members should describe the robber, who will try to sketch their descriptions. The sketch artist should be warned that it is likely that no one will be able to perfectly recreate their descriptions...the object is just to have fun!

10. Messy-Desk Photo Contest

Messy Desk - Remote Team Building

You can simply walk to your co-workers' desks for help if you have questions about a project or task when working on-site. If you work remotely, you can send your co-worker's quick messages and hope that they will respond as soon as possible.

But have you ever wondered what your co-workers' worktables at home look like? Messy Desk Photo Contest gives everyone a chance to brag about their tiny office spaces at home by sending pictures on your group chats. Microsoft Teams is a perfect tool for this activity because you can have your channel for everyone and the chat features allow you to react or send/reply with an emoji, a GIF, or attach a picture.

Team-building activities can help eliminate the boundary that often hinders employees from communicating more effectively and freely. Engagement activities help increase employee productivity, morale, engagement, and trust.

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