By harnessing the power of remote team building activities, you can have a working team of staff that is just as tight-knit as it would be if everyone were attending a meeting in person. Research suggests that working from home can in some cases increase loneliness and make workers feel more isolated.1 

Trust and confidence between team members is also much lower in virtual teams when they first begin to work with each other, and it can take longer for strong connections to form.1 With this in mind, strong leadership and making an effort to connect staff members via virtual team building games and activities can lead to strong engagement levels. 

Here we’ll discuss some ideas for remote team building activities to get everyone on the same page.

What is remote team building?

Remote team building involves getting staff members to take part in various games and exercises together over a video call, so that they can take some respite from work and build stronger connections with the people they are working with – even if they are based remotely.

Whether a team is remote or office-based, team building is important to ensure staff have a positive and productive dynamic. Virtual team building ideas and remote team building games are worth spending time on, even though they can sometimes be dismissed or pushed aside because of time constraints. 

Virtual team-building games keep everyone energised, motivated and on track to achieving team and personal goals. Workers can share any issues that remote work can bring, and team members can develop strategies and techniques between themselves on how to approach tasks and general work.

The social side of work

There is also an important social side to remote team building activities, because having a team spread across the globe in different time zones can be particularly isolating. 

Homeworking teams that don’t take part in frequent remote working team building can be prevented from building social relationships and enjoying some of the benefits of being present in an office-based team. Such exercises enable people to collaborate, work towards shared goals, and improve productivity.

Remote team building ideas

Below are some remote team building ideas you could try out with your work team over video call platforms.

Try a rose/thorn virtual icebreaker

This is a remote working team building exercise that is very straightforward and a great way to introduce colleagues to new people and to get to know them. Start your team building exercise by going around the table and asking each person to share a ‘rose’ (anything that makes them feel happy or excited), and a ‘thorn’ (something that is a challenge, gripe or frustration). 

Each person can share stories with the team on life’s general ups and downs, as the rose/thorn can be non-work related or work-related, depending on each person’s preference.

Virtual trivia quiz

Who doesn’t love a good old quiz? A quick 15-minute trivia is a great way to start the week off on a Monday morning, or it may help to close a meeting that has been particularly challenging. Someone will need to be quiz leader, and everyone will need to write their answers down on paper, or submit answers via a cloud docs sheet. 

Different subject areas can be included, and topics that are work or non-work related, and other features like a ‘guess who’ round, or a ‘minute to win it’ round.

Picture sharing

This is a great way for colleagues to share stories, ask questions and come together over shared interests. It should only take between 5-10 minutes but is time well spent. 

Ask everyone to take pictures on their phones of something like their garden, desk, pets, kids, an outfit, their fridge, etc. Get everyone to upload their pictures to a shared online board, and then spend some time asking questions and making observations about the pictures. You could even submit photos anonymously and guess which one belongs to which person.

Show and tell

This may seem like something you’d do in pre-school, but a show and tell session is a fun remote working team building exercise that is quick and easy to prepare, with sometimes hilarious results. 

All you need to do is organise the meeting call, and everyone needs to do their own bit to prepare. As the title suggests, go around the group and get everyone to share the story of the object they are presenting to their team.

Achieve goals together

This exercise gets everyone in the team to focus on their goals – either collective or personal. It breaks down boundaries that some people may have in setting and sharing goals. By asking members of a team to share goals, it increases accountability for them, and creates the drive that is required to meet them.

Organise a team meeting and get everyone to prepare to share their goals – both in terms of work, and personal goals. Once this is done, everyone can put their goals into a shared calendar, with dates set to achieve their goals. At regular intervals, check in with the team to see how they are doing, to keep focus levels high.

Why is team building important for remote teams?

Remote team building activities are very important because they ensure inclusivity within an organisation, and ensure that staff are not lonely or disconnected. Remote working does have its challenges – including feelings of isolation, depression, and problems with relationships.3 

Many people working in fully remote teams have never met in person, so virtual team building games offer an opportunity for engagement. If they are well organised, remote team building activities keep workers motivated, while boosting productivity and morale. 

They also help workers to achieve a better work/life balance, which can be more difficult in the context of remote working. In the US in particular, 70% of employees work at weekends, and 45% of remote workers work longer than eight hours a day.4 Remote team building games allow people to relax and be themselves.

Benefits of virtual team building

Here are some of the many benefits of remote working team building:

  • It develops trust between colleagues
  • Workers can communicate better and discuss issues more easily
  • It encourages collaboration, empathy and understanding
  • People can create a rapport with colleagues which helps personally and professionally
  • It uncovers talents and skills within a team



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