With remote working as the mainstay of the modern-day workplace, it is harder than ever to bring your team together.
No doubt, team building remains important, even in the age of remote work.
That’s why it is worth it to take out a few hours every month, or every other week, and conduct virtual team building activities. This gives your team members an opportunity to interact with each other outside the context of purely completing a work-related task.
All this contributes toward building a culture of teamwork and healthy communication. In fact, companies that have a good culture of communication are 4.5 times more likely to retain high-performing employees.
In no particular order, here are five exciting and engaging remote team meeting ideas for you and your team.
#1: Guess the Desk
This activity is simple yet fun. It is also easily scalable, meaning you can have however many team members involved as you want.
As the name goes, “Guess the Desk” involves everyone first sharing a picture of their desk and/or work setup. This can be done on a shared document, such as a Meetric document or a Google Doc.
If you’re the facilitator, make sure each person leaves their workspace as is. If it’s super messy with candy wrappers all around? Tissue papers lying in front of the desktop? Let the mess stay.
Next, team members can discuss which desk belongs to who using the mass video call.
You can encourage team members to jot down their notes on the document, perhaps below or above each picture. This creates a more cohesive image of the workspace’s owner.
For example, a photo of a very clean, neat desk could lead to descriptors such as “organized”, “tidy”, or “follows the rules”.
This game is great for getting each and every team member to get to know each other. As most people are aware, your desk is very much a reflection of yourself. This gives you a subtle insight into the personality and characteristics of every member of the team.
You could even expand this game to other areas!
Instead of just guessing the desk, you can guess the room. For example, by having team members share photos of each other’s bedrooms, or even the room they work in during office hours.
#2: Baby Photo Bonanza
There is nothing quite like chuckling over each other’s childhood photos. And this is something that is great for bringing team members together too!
The game is simple. Everyone puts their baby photos up on a shared document, such as a Meetric document, and the team has to guess which photo belongs to who.
Similar to the first game, this one also helps teammates get to know each other. Using baby photos gives everyone a glimpse into their teammates’ lives. In this way, this game encourages casual chit-chat amongst your team.
This is crucial! Small talk builds relationships between team members, and it’s almost impossible to do this when working remotely.
Some advantages of this game is that it is super straightforward and easy to execute. You barely need any materials or planning. Just remember to have your team members prepare a baby photo. Bonus points if you keep it a surprise till the day itself!
#3: Lightning Scavenger Hunt
This one might require a bit more effort, but it’s just as engaging, if not more so!
First, get the list of attendees and randomize the order. The person whose name pops up at the top — the first player — starts the game.
Next, he or she will type a scavenger hunt item or action in a shared document. Then they will do a countdown, and the first team member to complete each task gets a point.
This is a speed-based scavenger hunt. Like in-person scavenger hunts, it essentially involves participants having to complete a specific goal as fast as they possibly can.
The task can be anything that other participants can accomplish without leaving their house. For example, you can ask your team members to “grab a pillow” or “take the nearest blue item”.
What’s great about this game is that the structure is fixed, but there is lots of room for flexibility.
If you have fewer people, you can try out more complex tasks. For instance, having your attendees film a TikTok, or having every team member sketch out their workspace.
You can even arrange people into teams and have this become a team-based game, instead of having individual participants.
No matter what how you decide to play, your team is guaranteed to have lots of fun! You can even prompt discussions and create space for casual talk after each scavenger hunt item.
#4: The Artist Game
In a nutshell, you can think of this as something like reverse Pictionary.
The game begins with one speaker finding a random image. This can be done by having the player pick an image, or using a picture generator like this one.
The player then has to describe this image to the rest of the attendees, who have to draw out the image based on the player’s description.
However, there is a catch: the speaker can only use geometric shapes when describing the image!
For example, they can say “there is a large triangle and a square” or “two small rectangles next to each other”. But they cannot say “there is a house on the left”.
After a set time, about two or three minutes, the player stops describing the image. Everyone else then shows their work of art to the team. This can be done on a shared document, such as a Meetric document or Google Doc. The player that was describing for that round then shows the original image. Lastly, they select the best drawing.
This game challenges every team member’s creativity and makes them think out of the box. At the same time, it is also fun and therapeutic for those who are drawing.
#5: Virtual Murder Mystery
This last suggestion is a fun one: virtual murder mystery!
Similar to nostalgic games like Cluedo or Werewolf, this game focuses on bringing together by having everyone work toward a common goal.
In essence, this is not so much a specific game, but rather a general activity that everyone can do together. The cool part is that with the rise of remote work, games like murder mysteries and escape rooms have become more common. Not just among work teams, but for friend groups as well.
Popular online murder mystery games, like Murder in Ancient Egypt or The Great British Bump-Off, draw inspiration from familiar elements. For example, the first revolves around ancient Egypt, while the second puts a fun twist on The Great British Bake-Off.
All it takes is a quick Google search to find lists like this one that do the hard work of compiling murder mystery games for you.
Do take note that some are free to play, like The Movie Murder Mystery or Way Out West. However, others are not.
Some also require advance planning, as a live host is usually involved. So, on the logistics end, this team building option might require a bit more work and resources.