At a time when teams are working from home with limited social interactions, keeping the team’s spirit becomes a new kind of challenge.  While working from home has many perks, the physical distance of remote work can quickly create poor communication in your team.

Sound familiar?

According to research, remote employees have weaker relationships with their coworkers, as compared to their office counterparts. This fact isn’t surprising at all. When we work from the office, we usually have coffee breaks and lunch together. This is the reason why it’s important to create a comfortable environment for the team that the remote workers can rely on. Virtual team activities are a fantastic and easy way to boost team productivity, communication, trust, and cohesion.

Let’s check some of the benefits you can achieve if you implement remote team activities in your home-office routine:

  • It improves overall communication.
  • It improves creativity within the team.
  • Breaks down barriers between the team members.
  • Helps team members learn to resolve conflicts better.
  • It builds up trust between your team members.

Other benefits? It’s fun, of course!

The PFG team has put together a list of 11 fun, easy virtual team activities you can use to bring your virtual team closer.

1. Virtual Christmas Party

No reason to cancel the festivities. Virtual parties can be fun too. Just put your virtual Christmas party ideas to work. The key to a remote company party is figuring out a creative way to keep people engaged and feeling good!

Here are a few easy steps to do that:

  • Do something you haven’t done before. There are lots of different ways to have fun at Christmas by trying something totally new. What about a virtual wine tasting session or even karaoke?
  • Use a platform like Netflix Party, Hangouts, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams to host a virtual watch party with a group simultaneously or share your screen with audio. Before the event gets started, get your attendees in the spirit of creative competition.
  • Challenge participants to find any party decor and themed attire they have – or purchase items online if they wish – and reward the most impressive display with a prize.
  • Music – it’s not Christmas without songs. You could create a playlist on Spotify or YouTube that your mates can listen to when they’re getting ready, to add to the Christmas spirit.
  • Secret Santa: One of the great things about Christmas is that it brings everyone together, and nothing helps this more than by gifting. This traditional festive fun is something everyone can enjoy, regardless of whether you’re in the office or not. Get your employees to send their gifts in the post and save them to open on camera. Not only will this help people connect with colleagues they don’t usually work with, but let’s be honest, everyone loves to receive a gift.
  • Virtual Christmas party games can make your online gathering more joyful and meaningful – including anything from board games to a quiz night. Prepare different themed quizzes – from geography to sports history. You can adapt any of your ideas to suit your guests and keep the festive cheer flowing throughout.
  • Make it personal: If sending out packages to employees, make sure they’re personalized. It’s the best way to show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication – especially when this year has been so challenging.

So send out your e-invitations and have a wonderful time.

2. Yoga/Workout Session with Your Remote Team

Want a fun way to connect with your team members?  The people who move together work better together!

Have an online workout session. Taking some time together to move, breathe, and stretch. This is a fun team activity that eases stress and loneliness as well as boosts motivation! While you might wish to wait until the end of the workday to get seriously sweaty, a short, 20-30 minute virtual yoga session pre-launch could help your team de-stress and prepare to attack the second half of the workday in good mood.

Find a workout instructor who has experience in handling virtual sessions over video calls.  At the same time, encourage employees to switch on their own video so they can all see their coworkers’ progress as well. It could be really motivating for everyone.

3. Set up Tea & Coffee Break

Virtual Coffee or Tea Break

Coffee break with the team is not a new concept. Virtual breaks are opportunities for people to get to know each other over coffee or tea.  These breaks are an easy but effective way to catch up with your team members.

Schedule a 15-minute period every week when folks on your team can join a video chat held via your team management software. Use those 15 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk. Your conversations can be work-related or they can be purely for fun and entertainment, just like they might be if you were having a coffee break at the office together.

4. Virtual Happy Hour

Although you might not be able to physically grab a drink with your coworkers, you can still recreate the same vibe virtually over a video meeting. Break out the margarita (or water) glasses and join coworkers for an informal happy hour after a day’s work. No big secrets or prep required here. Simply set some time aside to shoot the breeze with your team and enjoy an adult beverage or two.

5. Online Learning Together

There are a number of education resources available that teams can sign up for, such as storytelling, writing, coding, and more. The courses could be work-related or not, but it provides a chance for people to learn together and share their new skill sets with the team. So use your time to learn something new, and share your experience with your colleagues.

6. Gaming Time

Virtual games can help teams to reduce stress, boost team bonding and trust, and enhance communication. There has been a recent explosion in virtual games for teams to play while remote.  At the beginning of the week, send out an email or message to the team asking them to vote on their favorite virtual group game. Get everyone’s input and then block off an hour at some point during the week for everyone who’s interested to get together and play as a group.

Two truths and a lie is a good variant – This one is the perfect game to get to know your team buddies. Ask your team to draft a list with 10 truths about themselves at 5 lies and then set up a video call. You can count points and get a winner at the end of the game or just let it roll and have a little fun getting to know the people you work with. You might be surprised!

7. Team Movie Night

Sometimes, people just want a chill night but still, they want to have the company of fun people. This is a great way to do so that’s relatively easy to organize and doesn’t put pressure on participants. However, as always, make sure the choices for movies and music aren’t too serious. In a similar vein, you can also host a monthly or quarterly team movie night (or day).

Ask everyone to submit a vote for a movie and a time to watch it. Agree to watch the same movie or TV episode during the week, then challenge members to share and compare something about what they saw.  Share reviews and get requests for the next movie night selection!

8. Online Cooking Lessons

Online Cooking Class

Jump in, be brave, and embrace something new! You can create a totally positive team experience with your colleagues, from the comfort of your own homes.

You can look at videos with the chef or a culinary expert, who conduct fun cooking lessons for your team. It can be anything from pizza making to gourmet dinner. Make sure that you decide on the duration and also get a list of all the ingredients and other kitchen tools that the team should have. Decide on the menu beforehand to ensure everything on the ingredients list is easily accessible.

9. Virtual Pub

Your team can’t go to the pub together, but they can still do pub trivia and similar virtual happy hour games.

First, invite everyone to a call and let them know they can bring a pint of their favourite drink.  Whether that beverage is tea, beer, or wine. Then, a host organizes everyone into smaller teams and reads out questions. Participants must answer as a team, and each correct answer wins points. You can create a list of your own questions or use one of the many suggestions at Google.

10. Volunteer on a Project

Christmas is also a great time to give back to other people. You don’t need to be physically together to volunteer for a project. Volunteering together is an incredible opportunity for a team of any size to participate in social good and foster meaningful relationships with each other and the company.

You can simply choose to donate a sum of money, оr to decide a different volunteer project you want to be part of. You could even make a group activity out of it and build and fill the shoeboxes together over a Zoom call. Pick an organization that’s in need of some help with something your team is skilled at.

The right activities will increase employee engagement and help your team members connect meaningfully.  See what works for your own unique team.