5 Remote Team Building Activities for Employee Engagement

5 Remote Team Building Activities for Employee Engagement

Remote teams are here to stay. How do you translate in-person team building activities to remote life? Read on for five ideas on keeping people feeling connected and motivated while working from home.


Remote teams are here to stay. How do you translate in-person team building activities to remote life? Read on for five virtual team building activities to keep people feeling connected and motivated while working from home.

With so many companies moving to remote work and relying more on apps like Zoom or Slack to communicate throughout the day, it can be hard to feel that camaraderie with other team members in real time. But during this pandemic, it's important to keep your employees engaged now more than ever. Along with setting up a separate Slack channel for water cooler talk or setting fun virtual meetings, try leading team building events.

On the Cooleaf platform, we help employees stay connected with remote team building activities and challenge ideas for online team building, professional development, and healthy habits. So check out these five remote team building activities you can use to maintain a positive company culture with your remote employees.

Challenge Idea - Hop on a Video Chat for a Virtual Coffee Break

Workplace friendships are proven to boost employee creativity and productivity. While offline friendships are often born out of physical proximity during the workday, there’s no reason to shy away from online friendships for remote workers.

Encourage your remote employees to get to know each other virtually with a video call or virtual coffee date. In the Let’s Have Coffee Challenge, employees schedule a virtual coffee or lunch to get to know their teammates using a video conferencing tool such as Google Hangouts, Discord, or Zoom. If your team uses Slack, the Donut app can help create pairs for virtual meet ups too!

During the meeting, encourage employees to learn about one another by sharing a fun fact about themselves. You can even come up with a few fun icebreaker questions to get conversation rolling. Just be sure to keep the questions fun and non work-related. And don't forget to encourage taking a “selfie” screenshot!

Cooleaf Virtual Coffee challenge

Challenge Idea - Ask Remote Teams to Show Off Their Workspace

In the absence of in-person happy hour trivia, book clubs, or even karaoke, it can be difficult to get to know our remote employees outside of the office. But photos and stories are a great way to keep your team connected.

Encourage your team members to share stories and photos from their day-to-day life – no matter how imperfect it might be.

Work from home interruption funny

In the Share Your Workspace Challenge, team members earn reward points for sharing a work-from-home selfie or their home office.

You can get creative with this fun activity by asking team members to share photos of other things in their home. Such as desk decorations, favorite mugs, or favorite "coworkers" (furry or otherwise!). Or, create a work-from-home scavenger hunt and award points to the person who checks off every item on your list. It's a fun way to bring their home office to their virtual office!

Cooleaf virtual activity photo challenge
Fun challenges on Cooleaf allow teams to get creative and show off a more personal side

Challenge Idea - Focus & Productivity at Home

Working from home isn’t one-size-fits-all. With video conference calls and Slack channels to keep up with, all the notifications can be overwhelming. By sharing their best tips to stay focused and productive, employees can try out different tactics and learn what works for them.

In the Focus & Productivity Idea Share Challenge, remote team members share their best productivity hacks and resources for some team bonding. It's a useful and fun way to start conversation while problem solving together!

Have remote employees share their time management tips, organization tools, or workday playlists to help you get in the zone are encouraged. Teamwork makes the dream work, and in this case, teamwork makes at home productivity much easier.

Productivity Tip Sharing Challenge

Step Challenges

While the occasional virtual happy hour or ice breaker game is fun, try mixing it up with some group fitness! Step challenges are a fun way to encourage employees to meet physical fitness goals, establish healthy habits, and connect virtually with their team.

In this literal team building exercise, remote employees connect with a step tracker such as a FitBit, MisFit, or mobile device, and their steps automatically sync to the platform.

For distributed teams, you can even suggest taking one or two team meetings by phone to get steps in while you chat.

With Cooleaf step challenges, employees can compete to see who can reach the highest step count while earning rewards and getting healthy.

Cooleaf step challenge
Through Cooleaf, you can track daily stats and see who else on your team has participated

Challenge Idea - 10-Minute Mindfulness

Practicing meditation can help employees reduce stress and boost their immune systems. It's a great way to encourage your remote team to check-in with themselves too.

Online games and group chats are fun but can be overwhelming one after the other, especially with staying on your screen. Helping remote employees prioritize mental health with a 10-Minute Mindfulness Challenge encourages everyone to try meditating. In this challenge, we ask participants to utilize mindfulness apps such as Headspace to track their meditation time, and everyone's encouraged to try meditation for 10 minutes each day for five consecutive days.

In addition to meditation, remote team challenges can emphasize other techniques for stress-management and self-care during coronavirus quarantine or isolation. You may wish to help employees destress by sharing gratitude, practicing breathwork, or encouraging them to set a time to unplug and relax.

Virtual meditation challenge
Net Health uses Cooleaf to practice mindfulness through 10-minute team challenges!

Article updated on 5.5.2021

Interested in learning more about how to engage and motivate your remote team with more team building ideas? Cooleaf can help — let's chat!


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