If you're a manager or team lead, it's so important to help your employees stay engaged with each other and with your mission. A great way to create an atmosphere of enjoyment and safety within your group is to play. With years of experience running remote teams, we've put together a list of great remote-first tools, ideas, games, and activities that will playfully engage your remote employees.
To bring a team closer, playing a "Get to Know You" game is a great (and easy) choice. This game deck is designed to get your team chatting happily, and connecting over the small stuff, and it's super easy to play over Zoom or Teams. To play, you'd just create an account with an email address, launch the deck (like a PowerPoint presentation), join in, and play along with the slides.
With questions designed to spark connection while still being work-friendly, like "Morning person or night owl?" and "Tell us your favorite hobby", your group can engage with each other even if they're not in the same room.
In "Happy Hour Bingo", remote employees cross off squares representing common moments during virtual happy hours, such as “working from a sofa” or “has a work-from-home music playlist”. The first to complete a line or pattern calls out "bingo" to win!
Perfect for teams looking for low-energy ways to connect and unwind together, this game helps remote team members find common areas of interest with their coworkers, fostering team unity and improving the overall work environment.
"Two Truths and a Lie" is a classic icebreaker where each person shares two true facts and one made-up story about themselves. Each participant then guesses which statement they believe is the lie. Once everyone has made their guess, the person reveals their lie.
This classic remote activity is simple and effective, suited for small to medium-sized teams looking to build better connections while having fun. It's perfect for repeated sessions, helping team members get better acquainted with each other.
Pop culture quizzes are an engaging way to delve into current trends, sparking lively online competitions. These fun quizzes fit seamlessly into smaller team gatherings or larger company meetings. All you need to host a remote pop culture quiz is a platform like Zoom or Slides with Friends. Create diverse questions, encourage team participation, and announce winners for an engaging and fun experience.
Focusing on themes and categories that keep things light and easy (like movies, music, and sports), pop culture quizzes ensure that everyone has a good time while boosting their knowledge. They're an ideal means to connect with colleagues in a relaxed setting and can also serve as effective icebreakers.
“Dungeons and Dragons” (DND) games are collaborative storytelling games set in a fantasy realm, where remote team members collectively tell a story. In these games, each player comes up with a character, setting off on an adventure filled with epic battles against evil, treasure quests, or anything else your imagination can create. Like in the Slides with Friends version, where team members work together to defeat the villainous wizard, Teamston Remoticus.
Tailored for storytelling enthusiasts, DND games enhance teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving skills, fostering communication, collaboration, and team bonding.
Virtual volunteering projects encourage remote team members to rally around a shared purpose, aligning team goals with broader societal aims—be it fostering diversity or driving social change. Volunteers join the action from home, erasing the barriers faced in traditional volunteering.
The benefits are twofold: employees benefit by enhancing team unity and boosting engagement, while at the same time doing good for those in need. Think mentoring veterans, recording audiobooks for seniors, or stepping up as a Red Cross volunteer—just a taste of the themed activities bringing teams closer while making a difference.
In virtual cooking classes, teams come together to learn cooking skills and techniques while preparing delicious recipes from their own kitchens. Hosting involves choosing a video conferencing platform and ensuring everyone has the required ingredients and utensils.
Opting for interactive virtual group cooking classes tailored to your team's skills and preferences—like Life At The Table, Kitchen On Fire, or Top Chef University—can strengthen team bonds, increase employee satisfaction, and improve retention through memorable shared experiences.
Virtual fitness challenges serve as a catalyst for remote team members to maintain their activity levels and prioritize their health. Participants are encouraged to set fitness objectives, share their progress, and engage in friendly competition, fostering physical well-being. The best way to implement a virtual fitness challenge for a remote team is by finding a tech-based solution that will automate as much as possible.
These challenges are ideal for teams dedicated to emphasizing health and wellness within a remote work setup. By promoting a healthy work-life balance, these initiatives elevate energy levels and contribute positively to overall well-being. Additionally, they play a crucial role in supporting physical health, effectively reducing stress, and enhancing focus and productivity.
Brainstorming activity sessions are structured online sessions that encourage collaborative brainstorming and idea-sharing. Team members can use various tools to enable connection, communication, and collaboration, such as video conferencing software, online whiteboards, instant messaging platforms, or templates like the "Brainstorming Session Template" by Slides with Friends. This template includes features like word clouds and user vote slides to make it easy for everyone to pitch and facilitate decision-making within the group.
These sessions particularly benefit teams deeply involved in creative projects or seeking innovative solutions, serving as a morale boost to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills for more imaginative outcomes.
Mindfulness and stress management sessions are a great fit for teams feeling the weight of remote work challenges. Engage through guided meditation, relaxed breathing exercises, and discussions on stress relief tools via platforms like Zoom.
These gatherings prioritize everyone's mental well-being, laying the foundation for a happier and more productive workspace. Be careful though and approach these sessions with care; they're about providing support rather than just urging you to "calm down for work's sake."
Amidst the evolution of remote work, fostering team connectivity and well-being remains crucial. These virtual employee engagement activities act as a bridge across physical distances, nurturing camaraderie and alleviating stress among remote employees.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by remote workers, these innovative activities promote teamwork and a sense of community. They prioritize holistic well-being, recognizing the crucial role of mental health in remote work settings.
These games and activities create an environment where each remote employee feels valued and supported. By weaving together creativity, wellness, and inclusivity, they enable individuals to flourish and contribute meaningfully to collective success.