You’re managing a remote team—good for you! You’ve saved yourself from the expensive cost of renting a brick-and-mortar office. Now, if you’re thinking that you’re also spared from building relationships with your employees, you are dead wrong! Remember that you are still dealing with living, breathing beings that have emotions and souls.
Instead of occasionally sending them messages, it would be helpful you take a few minutes to bond over things other than work. Remote workers also want to know that they matter and the best way to do that is by putting a face to your name and voice. So, it wouldn’t hurt if you organize quick team building activities even when your employees are scattered around the world. Yes, it’s possible!
Is Socialization Important for Remote Employees?
Just because remote workers prefer doing their job in their home office or a café, it doesn’t mean that they detest human interactions. Not all of them are anti-social individuals who proudly wear a resting (sometimes intentional) bitch face like an accessory. They may not admit it, but a lot of freelancers want to have a healthy and professional relationship with their boss and co-workers. Chances are they’re occasionally doing a Google search on your name. They simply want to have a good, sentimental reason why they shouldn’t snag the next tempting job offer that comes knocking on their door.
As a team manager, you should engage your remote workers in regular socialization. By establishing a genuine human connection, you can build inclusion and trust among your employees. Of course, having team building exercises can have a positive impact on company culture. Your freelancers will feel valued—they will know that they are important members of the organization.
Team Building Activities for Remote Workers Scattered Around the World
Just because your employees are separated by different oceans, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have meaningful connections. The interactions don’t even have to be simple ‘chit-chats’. You can organize online team building games that will get everyone involved. Here are some of the activities we recommend:
1. House Tour
Remember in the 90s when MTV Cribs was a big thing? It’s probably one of the shows that saved the music channel at that time. It’s baffling how many people are interested to see celebrities’ countertops and throw pillows. Perhaps, getting a peek into their homes gives people the sense that they know these celebrities on a personal level.
It may be a hilarious way to get to know your remote workers, but having a house tour can be among the interesting indoor team building activities you can arrange. You can begin by letting every team member show off some of their favorite things or areas in their home. Of course, you can let them skip the part where they wink and say, “This is where the magic happens.”
2. The Deserted Island
You’re probably familiar with this game because a lot of us used to play it in school. Oh, the Deserted Island has had thousands of teenagers praying to God that they get into the same team as their crush! Now, in this virtual team building activity, you will tell your remote workers that they are stranded on a deserted island. They will be given seven objects from which they can choose three to use for their survival. Make sure you choose strategic and obscure items that will challenge your team members to think and plan. For example, you can throw in a pocket knife, a bag of vegetable and fruit seeds, 2 liters of kerosene, a 100-foot rope, a lighter, a bucket, and so on.
Split your workers into two teams, then let them collaborate on which items to select. Once they’ve used up the time, you can get everyone onto a video chat to discuss the results. Team building games like this allows your workers to see each other as teammates, fostering healthy competition, pride, and excitement among them. It will also show how good collaboration can generate better results while training your team to work together in a virtual setting.
3. Movie Night
Are you starting to feel some tension among your remote workers during virtual meetings? Well, you might be able to let them chill a bit when you arrange a non-work related event. From time to time, you can host a movie night. It is an excellent way to get the team together and let them do something fun.
Now, if your team members are scattered all around the world, you may wonder how you can get this to work. You can schedule a video conference call while keeping your group messaging chat open. While the film is running, team members can make their remarks. Forcing your remote workers to take a little downtime can be a good experience for them. They can have something to joke about and bond over later on.
Pro Tip: If you’re struggling to squeeze in movie night to your employees’ erratic schedule, we recommend that you use a task monitoring app like Traqq. Aside from monitoring your remote workers’ productivity, you can also use it to manage their miscellaneous activities. You can tell them to simply log movie night into Traqq to ensure that their tasks are properly accounted for and that they are still justly compensated.
4. Video Game Tournament
We’re not asking you to join the multi-million-dollar e-sports industry. You simply need to organize a weekly video game match that may run for a month or two. Does any of your remote workers love plotting the downfall of humanity with the help of the Zaunite plague rat Twitch? Oh yes, you got it right! We are speaking about League of legends. If so, then ask them to get their League of Legends download ready! To make things even more exciting, put up a cash prize for the League of Legends champions! For sure, a lot of them will search Reddit for League of Legends tips and tricks.
Now, if your freelancers prefer playing shooter video games, then you should organize a tournament for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Suckers for good campaigns will love the experience more than the competition itself. After all, it has the right blend of challenges and fun. So, it is worth encouraging your freelancers to download Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for PC. On the other hand, if you want your remote team to opt out of the traditional single-player campaign, then get them to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 instead. The game is packed with modes that will allow your team to revisit and replay for every scheduled tournament you have. At last, you can check out this list for more games.
If You Can Get Them in One Place
Scheduling can be challenging if you organize bonding games over a virtual call. Now, if you can get your remote workers in one place, there are plenty of team games you can choose.
1. Heads Up
Heads Up is the ever-popular game developed by Ellen Degeneres’ team. It is so outrageously fun that it made celebrities like Kaley Cuoco and Usher lose their poise! To make things a bit easier, you can stick with the names of film, sports, or political icons. To make it a bit challenging, you can choose the most obscure action verbs. Imagine how funny things can get once they pick out the word ‘twerking!’
You can either use the Heads Up app or simply write the words on Post-It notes. Stick the word on the guesser’s forehead while making sure that they can’t see it. They can act out the word or say phrases related to it. Aside from being one of the most fun team building games, Heads Up also makes your remote workers aware of categorizing or stereotyping others based on certain characteristics.
2. Electric Fence
If you want to get your employees moving, you can outdoor team building activities like Electric Fence. In this game, you will create a hypothetical electric fence. The players must go over it without touching it, or else, they’ll ‘die’. You can create the fence by tying a rope to two chairs, elevating it to about waist-height.
Keep in mind that the players cannot go under it. What’s more, they can only teach each other with one hand. In this way, they can collaborate and think of ways to get every team member across the fence. Indeed, this is among the retreat games that will entertain your remote employees while encouraging them to work together.
3. The Possibilities Game
Do you sense your team’s creative juices drying out whenever you have brainstorming meetings? Well, one fun way to bring out their quick-thinking skills and innovation is by letting them play the Possibilities Game. Gather random objects like a scarf, a basketball, or a hula hoop. Give each member an item and let them act out an alternative use for it. Other members will have to guess the function they are demonstrating.
Aside from increasing employee morale, team building activities allow virtual managers to become familiar with each worker’s skills, talents, and personalities. Of course, this can be beneficial for helping them delegate tasks more efficiently.
4. Two Truths and a Lie
For this game, you’ll hand out four identical slips of paper to every team member. Then, you will ask them to write two truths and one lie about themselves. Remind them that the lie should be convincing to some extent. Of course, the list shouldn’t be crude or offensive. Once they are done, let each member read their statements in random order. Then, the team, as a whole, will decide which statement they believe to be the lie and which are the truths. This is one of the recommended 5-minute team-building activities for coworkers meeting for the first time.
5. The Egg Drop Challenge
The Egg Drop Challenge is a popular summer camp game. However, it can also be considered as one of the ideal corporate team-building activities. In this game, you’ll split your employees into groups and hand each team an uncooked egg. Using straws, tape, cardboard, and newspaper, they have to build a protective structure around the egg. Once the time is up, you’ll let them test their work by asking them to drop the structure from an elevated height.
6. The Barter Puzzle
For this game, you have to split your employees into groups of equal quantities. You will then give each team different jigsaw puzzles with the same level of difficulty. Let them know that they have to assemble the puzzle within the set time. However, there’s a twist. Some of the pieces in their puzzle belong to the other groups. So, they have to figure that out in time and find a way to retrieve their missing pieces.
7. A Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is one of the best team-building activities, especially for companies that can rent a private resort. However, this will take some preparation. You have to divide your employees into equally numbered groups. All the teams must go around the area to find items that the organizers hid. You’ll give them clues, and they have to get back to the starting point once the time is up. The team with the most items wins. This game will force your employees to work as a team. It also encourages creativity, especially if they have to solve riddles to find items.
8. A Corporate Trivia Game
A bar is not the only place where you can have a game of trivia. You can also bring your employees together by playing a corporate trivia game. This game can challenge their brains in areas that don’t necessarily relate to what they do at work. You can break them into teams of three or more. Make things more exciting by offering prizes to the group that scores the most points. If you’re struggling to come up with trivia questions, you can always search online and find what you need.
9. Blind Drawing
For this game, you will divide your workers into groups of two. Then, in every team, one member must sit with their back facing the other person. Give the other member a blank sheet of paper and a pen. The one with their back against the other will be given a photo, which they won’t show to their teammate. Instead, they have to describe what they see in the image without actually naming things in the picture. Meanwhile, their teammate will draw what is described to them.
10. Catch Phrase
This is a classic party game that your remote workers will also love. You’ll break them into separate teams. Then, the players will take turns in describing a phrase or word to their teammates without mentioning the phrase or word itself. You can use any phrase or word and describe whatever you like, such as idioms, celebrities, or even a random object found in the office. Let’s say your phrase is “birds of the same feather flock together.” In this case, the clue you’ll give will go somewhere along “similarly colored fowl flying side by side.” This game is a great way to foster cooperation and communication among your employees.
11. Human Knot
For this game, you’ll ask all team members to form a circle, facing towards the inner circle. Then, instruct everyone to put their right hand forward, grabbing the hand of a random person across them. Now, they’ll put their left hand forward and reach for the hand of another random person across them. The facilitator will set a time limit, and the group must untangle themselves without releasing their hands. Remember that this works best for small groups. So, if you have multiple members in your team, split them into several smaller circles.
12. The Minefield
When playing The Minefield, your team has to be in an open area like a park or an empty parking lot. You’ll place random objects like bottles, balls, and cones across the open space randomly. Then, divide your employees into pairs. In each pair, one person should be blindfolded. Their partner will guide them through the area while ensuring that they won’t step on the objects. The guide will lead, using only verbal instructions. Moreover, the blindfolded person is not allowed to speak while crossing the area. You can also increase the difficulty level by creating specific routes for the blindfolded person. The Minefield encourages communication, trust, and effective listening among your employees.
13. The Perfect Square
For this game, you’ll have to ask your employees to form a circle and sit down. Then, hand each team member a blindfold. Tie the ends of a long rope together and place it in each person’s hand. Everyone should have ahold of the rope. Once you leave the circle, you’ll instruct the group to use the rope to form a perfect square. They have to do this without removing their blindfolds. When they’re done, let them remove their blindfolds to see what they’ve formed. This team-building activity is a great way to exercise leadership and communication skills. Some members will give directions, while others will listen and implement the instructions efficiently.
14. Group Timeline
For this activity, you’ll need a cork board and thumbtacks. You’ll create a blank timeline that dates as far back as the company’s establishment or the oldest team member’s birthday—whichever came first. Every year should be marked on the timeline. Then, each one should take narrow strips of paper and write down important dates for the organization. For instance, you can note when the company launched a new product or went into a merger. You’ll also give each team member four slips of paper. Then, you’ll instruct them to write down four important events in their life. Ask them to pin their milestones to the timeline.
This activity is ideal if you have relatively new members in the team. It will get them acquainted with the history of the company and help them get to know their co-workers better.
15. This Is Better Than That
For this team-building activity, you’ll need four or more objects that are distinct from each other. Then, you will split your employees into equally large groups. Now, you will present a problem or scenario that all the teams have to solve, using the objects assigned to them. You can come up with anything. For instance, you can tell them that they’re stuck on a building’s rooftop or that they’re saving the world from an alien invasion. Let the teams rank their objects according to their usefulness for the scenario.
16. Sneak a Peek
Sneak a Peek takes the game of Pictionary to the next level by adding a test of memory to it. In this activity, you’ll split your employees into groups of four or more. Team members will take turns in recreating objects from memory. You can use building blocks, clay, LEGOs, or any set of toy construction items. The game facilitator will build a structure or object that every group must recreate. Every member will get around ten seconds to ‘sneak a peek’ at the object. Then, they will return to their respective groups and describe what they saw to start recreating the structure.