5 Fresh Team-Building Activities for Your 2021 Remote Workforce

What are the best team-building activities for your remote workforce for 2021? We list the best-of-the-best here.

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Fun, easy ways to improve morale and build relationships virtually

Whether online or offline, team collaboration is essential to business success. Seamless teamwork can boost productivity, improve reporting, accelerate growth, and boost retention.

In fact, 97% of both employees and executive members believe that teamwork affects the outcome of a project. And a whopping 54% have said a strong sense of community kept them at the same company.

There are a few ways to increase your teamwork. One way is to boost your communication with online tools. Letting your employees socialize during their break times is another way to foster relationships. But the most effective method is through regular team-building activities.

But how can you bring your team together if you are all working remotely?

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Even before COVID-19, businesses with primarily remote teams found fun and simple ways to boost morale and build relationships. While these methods may not be as charming as a full-weekend retreat or a potluck, you’ll find that many of these suggestions are easy to organize and just as effective.

Engage your employees and let them lead the way

When it comes to team-building exercises, the key is to be creative and receptive to employee suggestions. Feel free to test what works or what doesn’t, or have employees vote on what activities they’d like to try first. From virtual games to online talent shows, house tours, and Slack channels — there are many ways to get your employees on board and involved.

From virtual games to online talent shows, house tours, and Slack channels — there are many ways to get your employees on board and involved.

Break up the monotony with virtual games and icebreakers

There’s an excellent episode from The Office that shows Jim in his new branch, playing a first-person shooter video game with the team. While your team can indulge in full-feature PC games, there are numerous other low-cost options. Some of them you may already be familiar with.

If you want to keep it simple and host a game session on a Zoom call, you can use traditional games like Pictionary, trivia, or charades. Online vendors also make it easy to play games that require group materials like Bingo and popular card games.

But there are also excellent icebreakers you can use:

  • Two Truths, One Lie: In this classic icebreaker game, each employee offers 2 true facts about their life and one lie. Everyone in the group gets a chance to guess at the lie before it is revealed.
  • X or Y: This 5-minute game is perfect for jumpstarting a regular zoom meeting. Each meeting, ask your group about their preferences: Do they like hot dogs or burgers? Comedy or action films? Country or pop music?
  • Favorite Things: A more passive game, Favorite Things can be played in a Slack channel or group phone chat. Simply pick a topic, such as the company, food, or movie, and ask employees to submit an image of their favorite item in that category.
  • Lateral Thinking Questions: Everyone loves a good puzzle — and lateral thinking questions are just that. Consider choosing one puzzle a week and asking employees to submit their answer, with small prizes for the winners.

All of these games can be dressed up or down depending on how competitive your team is. Feel free to add a point system or prizes to raise the stakes.

If you’d like to further automate the process you can use programs like OffSite Co, Treasure Mountain, QuizBreaker, Go Games, or Slack integrations like Donut to keep employees connected. Donut also includes programs that help introduce teammates in different regions or buddy programs for new remote workers.

Challenge your teams long term with in-depth activities

Icebreakers and games are great for short-term fun, but what about long-term team-building exercises? There are several activities and challenges that can bring your team together, no matter how far apart they are:

  • Book or movie clubs: Pick a short book or film once a month and let your employees discuss it in a structured meeting. Not only do you learn more about your employees’ personal preferences, but you can better understand their thought processes.
  • Fitness Challenges: Encourage your employees to stay healthy with nutrition or fitness challenges. This can be as simple as counting steps or calories, and employees can use whatever scale or app works best.
  • Betting Pool: Have a lot of sports fans in your virtual office? Consider starting a friendly betting pool to foster competition.

Set aside structured social time

Looking for more structured team time but want to give your employees some leeway to bond? Focus on integrating planned, “no-topic” watercooler sessions.

Looking for more structured team time but want to give your employees some leeway to bond? Focus on integrating planned, “no-topic” watercooler sessions. This can include virtual lunches, 15-minute coffee break, movie nights, or virtual parties.

These suggestions are meant to simulate real office gatherings and make it easy for employees to “catch up” with their teammates. Since remote workers are at higher risk of loneliness — which can affect productivity and morale — structured social time can boost your employees’ mental health, too.

Learn new things, together

In addition to these fun activities, you can also look into upskilling your workforce. Individuals from different departments can offer to share their skillsets with others in the group. For example, an accounting professional can show the rest of the team some amazing Excel or spreadsheet hacks, while your HR representative can offer organizational or operational training.

You can also bring in speakers or do an online course together with your team.

To make it more interesting, you can schedule a full-day or half-day retreat and plug in some of the virtual games discussed earlier in between training sessions.

Whichever tactic you choose, we hope these tips help bring your work family closer together in 2021.

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