20 Remote Team Building Activities [2021]

Emily Patz
Emily Patz
Posted March 23, 2020 in Employee Motivation

Just because your team is practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t stay close in other ways. 

You might be wondering:

How can we pull off remote team building activities when we’re miles apart and we weren’t expecting a long stretch of remote work?

The truth is, all your team needs are these several basic must-haves:

Check out these 20 easy-to-facilitate remote team building activities to boost engagement, foster collaboration, and learn a little more about one another at a time when thoughtful check-ins mean more than just about anything. 

Remote Team Building Activity #1. 

Throw in a Fun Update to Kick Off Your Daily Standup

iStock-1088347334Time Block: 5-10 minutes

Tools: Video meeting app or messaging app

Let’s face it. 

Moving your standup meetings to work in the remote world can be chaotic at first, but once your team gets in the swing of things, it’s easy to shake up your routine and incorporate a quick team-building moment. 

All you need to do is add a single question to get you started, like:

  • What’s your song of the day?
  • What’s your favorite quarantine snack?
  • What are you currently loving on Netflix?

You can switch it up each day, giving everyone their moment to share before diving into their work.

Another activity you can do before the workday kicks into gear is:

Remote Team Building Activity #2. 

Create a Team Playlist to Capture the Day’s #Mood

Time Block: 5-10 minutes to pick and pop in favorite songs

Tools: Spotify

Being holed up inside can be a bummer.

But it doesn’t have to be if you try this.

Invite your team to play DJ for a day by creating a collaborative playlist on Spotify.

You could choose a theme for your playlist or ask each team member to contribute two songs of the day. However you decide to stack your tracks, be sure to share it with the rest of the company to pump up their day.

Remote Team Building Activity #3. 

Call for Daily Pupdates and Babygrams

iStock-1020041426Time Block: 5 minutes to snap and share a picture and react to team members’ posts

Tools: Messaging app

What’s one way to feel close when working as a distributed team?

Ask each team member to share a snapshot of their new coworkers. Parents of children and fur babies alike will enjoy taking a break to show the team just who’s helping them get through this strange and challenging time. 

Remote Team Building Activity #4. 

Buy Your Employees a Team Lunch to Enjoy at Home

Time Block: 30-60 minutes to enjoy lunch together

Tools: Video meeting app, Giftogram (digital gift cards)

This is actually easier than you think.

Send your team $10-$20 digital gift cards that enable them to buy takeout, delivery, or groceries from various establishments

Note: A flexible gift card is key to making this work. 

Next, designate a time to “meet” and eat and share about your day.

Want to go a little deeper with your team connections?

See what’s next.

Remote Team Building Activity #5. 

Edit Down the 36 Love Questions to Work for, Well, Work

Time Block: 60 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app

Known for their ability to break down barriers and enable people to get to know one another on a deeper level, the 36 Questions That Lead to Love can actually serve as a remote team building activity among coworkers. 

But wait. How does that work?

Lucky for us, a good number of the questions can be plucked from the list to engage your crew. Here’s the tailored-for-teams version you can use today.

Remote Team Building Activity #6. 

Serve as Digital Fundraisers for a Critical Nonprofit Organization

Time Block: 60 minutes 

Tools: Messaging app, Canva (free social media post creator), personal social media platforms

While everyone’s feeds and TV screens are inundated with troubling news, it’s easy to feel helpless. 

But there’s one way to bring your team together to do something uplifting no matter where you’re based:

Take your employee volunteer program digital.

Here’s how:

Choose a nonprofit organization that is helping people during the coronavirus crisis. 

Organizations can include:

If the organization doesn’t have their own page that enables you to create a crowdfunding campaign as a team, you can raise money for them on your own by sharing their donation page.

Just follow these steps:

  • Post the organization’s donation page in your team’s chat group.
  • Create eye-catching images to go along with your ask using a tool like Canva. 
  • Draft captions that let your social networks know about the organization and why you’re supporting them. 
  • Act as fundraisers-for-a-day by publishing your posts on your individual social media feeds. You can also consider sharing a post or two on your company channels.

Remote Team Building Activity #7. 

Show Off Your Artistic Side with an Online Version of Pictionary

Time Block: 30-60 minutes 

Tools: Drawize (a free digital pictionary app)

That’s right.

You’ve got some undercover artists on your team. 

Bring them out by rounding up the gang for a game of online Pictionary. We think that Drawize will work just fine for you to bring the game to life online.

Remote Team Building Activity #8. 

Host a Virtual Happy Hour with Your Whole Crew

virtual-happy-hourTime Block: 60 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app, Giftogram (digital gift cards)

Your team totally slayed at shifting to remote this week. 

So what’s next?

Celebrate with happy hour the way you would recognize any other accomplishment.

The best part is:

You can buy a round - remotely! 

Get social and maintain the distance together. All you need to do is order these send-in-seconds digital gift cards that your employees can redeem at Wine.com or a retailer of their choice.

Next up is another way you can end the day.

Remote Team Building Activity #9. 

End the Workday by Watching a Movie or Show

Time Block: 30-60 minutes 

Tools: Twoseven (a website that connects people so they can watch movies and shows together online)

For many people, social distancing has made coworkers some of their only contacts outside those in their home. 

In addition to bonding over reports, how about watching a show together?

Here’s how:

Hop on to twoseven and laugh, gasp, and enjoy the side commentary of your colleagues on a movie or show. 

What to watch?

Consider quotable classics everyone loves like Mean Girls or buzzy reality shows that aren’t too deep like Love is Blind. 

Still not sold?

Send a survey and let team members pitch and vote for what you watch!

Remote Team Building Activity #10. 

Treat Employees to Funds That Familiarize Their Workspace 

fun-workspaceTime Block: 5-10 minutes 

Tools: Messaging app, Giftogram (digital gift cards)

Working at home without notice can be jarring, so invite them to spruce up their space with a small gift they can spend on the kind of desk tchotchkes the dearly miss since settling in at home.

In addition to funds, provide your team with these pro tips for designing a makeshift office, courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

After a week, ask everyone to share a photo of their workspace makeover with the team. 

Speaking of cool spaces...

Remote Team Building Activity #11. 

Invite Team Members to Host Their Own Episode of MTV Cribs

Time Block: 15 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app

Choose one team member each day to show off their living spaces and favorite things they love in and about their home. 

Why, you ask?

This exercise will literally give your team a glimpse into the lives of their coworkers beyond 9-5 and you may discover that you have more in common than you thought after all!

Remote Team Building Activity #12. 

Start a Book Club Cafe Break with Your Team 

Time Block: 30 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app, a book of your choice

Picture this:

Your team members, each with a coffee mug in hand, dishing on a chapter of a book you’re all reading during the time you’re staying at home. 

Sounds like a good way to bond, right?

To keep costs at zero, consider choosing a title that’s available free in digital format from your local library.

Remote Team Building Activity #13. 

Stump Your Coworkers by Playing Two Truths and a Lie

Time Block: 15-30 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app, Google Doc

In this game, each team member takes a turn one-by-one making three statements about themselves that consist of:

You got it. Two truths and one lie. 

Once someone lists their three statements, each team member must vote on which one they think is a lie. Use a Google Doc to tally each person’s vote. 

At the conclusion of the game, announce who knows the team best and give that attentive colleague a nice prize!

Need help coming up with a lie? Here are 50 ideas you can grab.

Remote Team Building Activity #14. 

Destress with a Team Wellness Activity

wellness-activityTime Block: 15-30 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app

Stressed about all that’s going on?

Here’s an idea:

Whether you’ve got a yogi on your team or you take advantage of a newly-free fitness app, virtual yoga or meditation classes can bring your team together to center themselves during this time of uncertainty. 

If your crew is more likely to benefit from a good laugh, consider this:

Remote Team Building Activity #15. 

Put on a Prize-Winning Meme Contest 

Time Block: 5-10 minutes 

Tools: Messaging app

Who doesn’t love a good meme battle?

Let’s get started:

Choose a theme or caption and invite your team to meme-ify it. Once everyone’s posted theirs, take a vote and crown the winner. 

And remember, no voting for your own!

Remote Team Building Activity #16. 

Discover Something New in Employee Hosted Lunch + Learns

Time Block: 30-60 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app, Google Sheets

Many people are taking advantage of the time at home to take on a new project, sharpen their skills, or indulge in a hobby.

Chances are, you have team members who would be happy to share their passionate interests and valuable knowhow with their coworkers. 

Here’s how to pull off a series of Lunch and Learns:

Send a sign-up sheet with days and times that team members can sign up to give a presentation about something others may find intriguing or useful.

Not sure what would make a good topic?

What if:

  • Susan shared about beekeeping in her backyard
  • Derek revealed the finance rules he followed to pay off his student loans
  • Ryan demonstrated the fitness workout that helps him stay healthy

You may end up with a longer series than you imagined.

Remote Team Building Activity #17. 

Give Each Other Something to Smile About with Remote Secret Santa

Time Block: 30-60 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app, Giftogram (digital gift cards)

Why wait for Christmas to spread some cheer?

Think about it. 

Your team has banded together to get through one of the toughest, strangest times they’ll face as a unit. 

Celebrate your team spirit with a pop-up Secret Santa. 

To get started:

Fund the Secret Santa as a gift to your team. Send each team member a digital gift card at a set amount. You may want to bump up the amount to cover shipping costs.

Use this generator to assign Secret Santas to recipients and share rules and include a link to a spreadsheet with everyone’s address.

Once each team member gets their gift in the mail, have them open it on your video meeting app and let their Secret Santa reveal themselves.

Remote Team Building Activity #18. 

Flex Your Brain with a Rousing Words with Friends Tournament

Time Block: 30-60 minutes each day over several days 

Tools: Video meeting app, Words with Friends (digital Scrabble)

Balance out mind-melting reality shows with a game designed to work your brain, tournament style!

Here’s how to get it going:

Use this tournament pairing site to match up team members to go head-to-head at Words with Friends.

Update your team on the winners of each match and continue games until one winner stands victorious. 

Now, check out this kind of workout:

Remote Team Building Activity #19. 

Stay Fit with a Steps Challenge Contest

Time Block: 5 minutes per day over several days

Tools: Free step-tracking app, Google Sheets

Stuck in the house? 

Give your team a reason to get out with a one-week steps challenge. 

Share a spreadsheet and have team members update their column with how many steps they took each day. 

At the end of the week, give the winner a prize!

Lastly, here’s a great way for your team to stay emotionally healthy:

Remote Team Building Activity #20. 

Channel Good Vibes All Around with Weekly Shout Outsreward-with-giftogramTime Block: 15-30 minutes 

Tools: Video meeting app

Remote work can be isolating. When employees aren’t in sight, they often aren’t recognized. 

But there’s good news: 

You can change this. 

Here’s how:

Hold a quick meeting every Friday asking each team member to give two shout outs:

  • A shout out to themselves so they can share about something they accomplished this week that coworkers may or may not know about
  • A shout out to a team member that describes what they did and why they’re awesome

Now that’s how to end a week apart closer than ever. 

Recognize and Reward Remote Employees with Ease

Your employees need a pick-me-up now more than ever before. 

But ensuring your newly-remote team feels appreciated doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Giftogram digital gift cards can be designed, purchased, and sent to remote employees in minutes.

Best of all:

These fun, customizable gift cards cost nothing more than the face value of the gift. 

Yes, you heard that right.

You can create beautiful, branded digital company gift cards at no extra cost.

See pricing if you don’t believe us. 

Ready to create your free account? 

Get started now or give us a call at 973.887.1600.


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