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remote team building

6 Meaningful Team Building Ideas for Remote Teams

Written by
Kylie Bradbury
Kylie Bradbury

It’s been two years since the start of the pandemic that has changed the way we all live and work, especially when it comes to team building. 

One of the most obvious and, very likely, most permanent changes has been the shift toward remote and hybrid working. A recent study of North America’s largest 50,000 employers found that remote opportunities leaped from under 4% of all high-paying jobs before the pandemic to about 9% at the end of 2020, and to more than 15% today. That same study predicts that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 😲.

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Remote work: the highs and lows

There are so many benefits to remote work—increased talent pools for employers, improved work-life balance, and a positive impact on the environment—just to name a few. But with remote work also comes new challenges in the workforce, especially for HR and people leaders. 

Even organizations and teams well-versed in company culture and team building activities have experienced challenges in providing similar experiences to their remote workers.

Get your recording (and go on a virtual safari!): creative ways to engage remote teams

At the beginning of the pandemic, most of us can remember the scheduled Zoom happy hour—that Friday afternoon on-screen get-together where we all shared drinks and glimpses into our personal worlds. But as the newness of this remote reality settled in, Zoom fatigue became a thing, and we found ourselves weary of yet another virtual conversation at the end of our week. 

Despite the positive impacts remote work had in our lives, many began to miss the close, personal connection we built with coworkers during our time in the office. A 2021 Buffer study found that 17% of remote workers were experiencing loneliness and 11% even said they felt decreased motivation.

It became clear to team leaders that culture and team building is still essential to our employees’ happiness, even in this new virtual world. After all, remote team building comes with similar benefits to in-person team building, including:

  • Increased morale and camaraderie among team members
  • Improved motivation and overall productivity
  • Better cross-team collaboration 
  • And more…

6 unique remote team building ideas

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What can we do to improve team camaraderie and connectedness while we’re miles apart and behind a screen?

Believe it or not, there are lots of things you can do with your team to have fun together and build a strong bond while being 100% remote. 

At Bonusly, we’ve done our fair share of virtual team-building experiences, and have had a lot of good fortune in finding some super interesting and unique activities. We’ve collected some of these in a list for you!

Watch our recent webinar on creative ways to engage remote teams

1. Virtual safaris 🦒

Yes, you read that right! Marco Experiences can take your team on a wild safari ride, where you can meet giraffes, rhinos, flamingos, and more—all from the comfort of your home office. Marco offers additional unique group and team-building activities—including mixology classes, comedy shows, and private concerts.

Ps: we just hosted a webinar with Welcome and Marco that featured said safari! 🦁

2. Remote cooking classes

Another company we LOVE is Rockoly. The marketing team at Bonusly recently partnered with Chef Emily for a fun and interactive cooking class. Rockoly makes it super easy to arrange this—even sending the ingredients directly to your employees’ homes! We learned how to make a pizza from scratch, which opened up space for lots of great conversation. Pineapple on pizza anyone? 🍍

2022-03-17 - Bonusly - Italian Pizza - Chef Emily-1

3. Virtual escape rooms

Escape rooms were at the height of popularity when the pandemic suddenly locked us out of those nail-biting rooms full of clues and riddles. Organizations like The Escape Game have pivoted their offerings to virtual escape rooms with all the benefits of teamwork and puzzle-solving that in-person escape rooms give you.

4. Themed trivia

What better way to spark some friendly competition among your team than with a challenging round of trivia? In February, Bonusly employees got together with TeamBuilding in recognition of Black History Month for trivia focused on Black figures in pop culture, science, engineering, sports, history, and more. Trivia is a fun, no-pressure way to get to know each other’s skills and interests outside of work.

5. Donut chats

At Bonusly, we’ve partnered with Donut to provide the opportunity for our team to meet new people within the company each week with Donut chats. These short introductions allow people from different parts of Bonusly to meet people they may not work closely with on a regular basis. 

6. Regular peer-to-peer recognition

Peer recognition is when employees are empowered to express appreciation for their coworkers, including their peers, managers, and direct reports. We’re partial to Bonusly 😏 but there are many ways you can incorporate a culture of peer recognition into your company’s remote work structure.

The takeaway

Team building has always been important for happy, productive teams and will continue to be—even as more and more professionals move toward remote work. Luckily, there are so many versatile options for people leaders who want to create these opportunities for their remote teams.

Do you have any team-building activities that you love not listed here? Share with us in the comments below! 💚

Employee Appreciation White Paper

Originally published on March 22, 2022 → Last updated March 24, 2022

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Kylie Bradbury

Kylie oversees virtual events and social media at Bonusly and loves talking about company culture, inclusion in the workplace, and employee recognition. She loves a good cup of coffee and making memories with her husband and daughters.

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