How to Make Remote Working Fun for Distributed Teams

man at a coworking space in Austin

This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Avanti Shukla.

Virtual team-building activities are preferred by companies to strengthen interactions and interpersonal relationships between distributed teams.

You can conduct games and fun activities through team-building exercises to create a feeling of harmony and bonding among your employees. As a result, your remote team members will feel comfortable engaging and conversing with each other; thus resulting in greater productivity and customer satisfaction. 

two people on a video call while working from home

1. Virtual Watercooler

A virtual watercooler is an effective tool to conduct virtual team-building activities and virtual team games. It helps to set up a relaxed environment where distributed teams can chat with each other, discuss problems, and create interpersonal bonds. Typical virtual watercooler talks, chats, conversations, questions, and discussions are focused on:

  • Personal interests or hobbies
  • How to maintain work-life balance
  • Advancements in digital and modern technologies
  • Quizzes, debates, and online competitions
  • Smart ways to save money during a pandemic or financial crisis
  • Health-related guidelines and medical assistance
  • Interesting podcasts or new books 
  • Best audio and video conferencing tools 
  • Future career and growth opportunities 
man working from home with a baby

2. Remote Team-Building Activities

Remote or virtual team building activities are a powerful tool to introduce new employees, overcome the sense of isolation and anonymity, increase the motivational and inspirational level of remote employees, and share experience and knowledge.

Here are some examples of remote team building activities that your team can try:

  • Conduct a debate between your remote teams on any topic related to science, current news, etc.
  • Plan for virtual tours to exotic travel destinations in the world by walking along the roads or riding a bike virtually.
  • Before the start of your virtual team-building activities, ask the participants to be prepared with Lego blocks. When the session begins, ask them to make a symbol using the Lego blocks that represents the company’s brand.
  • Conduct live brewing sessions where participants can prepare tea or coffee in their respective kitchens.
  • Hold a talent show where each participant gets 5-6 minutes to showcase their talents.
  • Allow each member to select one letter from the alphabet and describe themselves with 5 to 10 words starting with that letter.
  • Ask every remote team member to draw a funny self-portrait of themselves, display it to everyone, and explain the portrait.
  • Ask each remote team member to show a live picture or video of their workstation. The other team members then need to list out the objects they see at the workstation.
  • Divide the teams into groups, and ask each group to imagine a fictional scientific discovery and elaborate on it.
people playing virtual team games at a coworking space

3 . Virtual Team Games

Virtual team games, or virtual team building activities, increase collaboration and efficient communication between remote team members. They provide excellent opportunities for employees to learn each other’s interests, expertise, and experience. Some fun-filled and interesting team-building exercises and games are listed below: 

Two Truths and a Lie

Ask participants to come up with two true facts about themselves and a false one. Other team members need to guess which is true and which is false. 

Dumb Charades

Provide a person with a word to act without speaking and only using sign languages. Others need to guess the word.

Have You Ever

Participants are asked to hold their five fingers up. Questions like the following can be asked: “Have you ever tripped in front of your supervisor?” If a participant relates, they put one of their fingers down.

10 Common Things

Divide your team members into groups and ask each group to find 10 things that are common to all. 

four people on a video call

One Word Icebreaker Game

The participants are divided into groups and each group is provided with a question to answer. As the name suggests, the answer must be given with a single word.

Desert Island Scenario

This is one of the popular online team-building activities. The remote team is segregated into groups, and each group is provided with 7 objects. They need to imagine being stranded in a desert where they can only select 3 objects among the 7 provided, and decide which 3 they would select.

The Hot Seat

One person is placed in the hot seat virtually. Others are free to ask any questions, although avoiding questions that are too personal or controversial.

Peek Into the House

Each remote team member shares a video of their house and others need to guess the items in the house.

Building a Story

One person initiates the starting line of the story. The next person completes the second line. The chain continues until a story is formed involving all participants.

Questions for Online Team Building Activities

Last but not the least, let’s discuss some popular questions that can be discussed or asked during virtual team building activities. They can be work-related or related to personal interests. The listed questions for virtual team building activities have been proven to be very effective in many companies.

  • If you were asked to change your name, what would your top three choices be?
  • If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?
  • What past interesting experiences have you had?
  • Have you ever dealt with a customer who had a weird attitude?
  • What achievements do you what to share?
  • What is your future vision for your career?