How to Include Remote Employees in Team Building

When you have remote employees, team morale can be hard to maintain. Your workers are off in their own worlds, just doing their job and going on with their lives. It’s hard to create a working relationship with people you have little to no contact with. Having your remote workers do activities for team building is what you want to look into. 

How do you include remote employees in team building? A good way to include remote employees in team building is by having them get involved in virtual activities that help them interact with each other. Good examples of this are an exclusive page for coworkers to share their lives or ice breaker questions.

Having your employees show their coworkers who they are outside of the job is a good way to build team morale and productivity. These are just a few of the ways you can include your remote workers in team-building activities.

Including Remote Workers in Team Building

Virtual roles can be lonely and cause remote workers to distance themselves from the business. When they feel as if their job is merely an arrangement where they sell their skills, things tend to get a little impersonal. 

Having them partake in some kind of virtual team building activity can help increase productivity, as well as working relationships between your employees. To top things off, it will keep them around much longer than they would have stayed without team-building intervention. 

But what exactly is virtual team building? Does it really help as much as people say it does? Is it really that necessary? Well, we will get to all of those questions and more. By the end of this, you will have a much better idea of what it is and why it’s so important.

What is Team Building?

Team building is the process of building employees’ effectiveness in working together, drive increase in motivation, and forming cohesiveness. Having employees take part in team-building activities will help them work and function better both individually, and as a whole. It will help build lasting working relationships and build rapport among workers.

Team building will show major results in the business. When employees enjoy working with others at work, and they see that their employers are just as worried about their happiness as they are, it shows in their workmanship.

Methods for Team Building

There are many ways to create team building activities. The methods in which you have your employees interact all matter, as each method will increase rapport its own way. Each method that is mentioned from here on out has its own advantages and disadvantages. That’s why we will be discussing multiple ideas to provide you options so that you can see what best works for you.  Below is a high level summary of each method which will be discussed in more detail further down in this article.

Video Chats

These days, you have several options with regards to video chatting platforms. This includes tools like Google Hangouts, Teams, Zoom, etc. If your team is already virtual, chances are you probably already have a video chatting platform. One idea of team building is simply taking a few moments before each meeting to allow your employees to talk. 

You can send an email in advance with interesting topics before the video conference starts so that all members of the team can participate. You can have them answer one question per meeting, allowing them to share their opinions, desires, and dreams.

You can also have them all connect to the same video platform and have them play a game. Setting it up like you would see in a game show, you could easily find some kind of bell or buzzer system and make a game that they can all play either against each other or on teams. This will help break the ice for new employees, as well as create stronger friendships with the ones you already have.


This idea may seem a little dull after reading about something as fun as a game show at work, but there are ways to make emails just as entertaining. Games have always had a way of connecting people. They bring out the inner child and connect people through shared joy. Having your employees create relationships this way can build trust and increase rapport throughout your business. 

One way you can have your employees get involved is by playing a guessing game through the company email. Employees can send photos of whatever topic you choose, and others respond with their guesses. Topics for this game can include anything from movies and well-known vacationing spots to your employees’ personal lives.

Other Platforms

When team building, you don’t have to stay within the parameters of your company’s communication system. There are platforms of every kind out there, and the world of technology is ever-growing. 

Movie platforms are a good way to bring your employees together. It won’t help increase productivity, but it will build lasting friendships that will boost morale and productivity. Drawing platforms are another idea for team building activities.

Training Assessments and Skill Building

Training assessments and skill building may not seem as exciting as some of the previously mentioned ideas, but there are team building activities that can double as a company training. Many training activities even have a way of teaching people about themselves. There are also training assessments that help workers better understand others. This is especially good in a customer service job. You can build synergy in your teams to better communicate, practice patience, and solve problems.

Activities and Ideas for Team Building Activities

These are only a few ideas to get you started. You can take them as they are or put your own twist to them in order to better fit your ideals. The idea is to get results out of them. So, as you read, consider how each activity could help your business’s employees. Then decide who to include first as you will need a trial run to see if things will work out the way you hope. Asking employees for a survey after the activity may be useful as well.

Video Team Building

These are all ideas that involve some sort of video or screen-sharing program. These programs allow everyone to see and interact with each other easily. Though, with this method, you will have to send out a warning that they will be seen on camera. This will give them the heads-up that they will need if they want to get dressed and ready to be seen.

1. Pre-Meeting Chit Chat

This idea is simply setting aside ten minutes before a meeting to allow idle talk between your employees. It might not seem very important, but it is a good way to form friendships and good-natured discussions. This doesn’t necessarily have to be video conferencing, but it is always easier to communicate with somebody that you can see. 

This should be paired with some other icebreaker, but on the days that you just don’t have the time to spare, this idea is a good way to start a day or meeting in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

2. Guess That Song

This is more like a game show at work idea. You will want some kind of buzzer or bells to indicate the person or team that guessed first, a list of song names and lyrics, as well as a speaker and song list to play the songs. You could do all of this on your end and be the mediator of the game. 

The idea is that your employees’ race to guess the song title of a song excerpt that you play. You can pair them into teams or have them all play against each other; it all depends on how many players you have total.

3. Word Association

Word association is less of a game and more of a way to explore and share opinions. This is a good way to allow workers to either speak their opinions verbally through video or on a chat board connected to the video call. Once you have all of the responses from your chosen prompt, you can tell your employees what the overall opinion or association is. 

For example, you could pick a prompt that has to do with company culture and your workers have to pick a word to describe it. This is a good way to get honest feedback from your workers in a fun and non-intimidating way. Your prompt could be something silly that doesn’t have anything to do with the company, or you could choose one that has to do with complaints you have received, and you would like an overall opinion on the matter.

4. Location Fun Facts

Before a meeting or conference call, you can email your employees to find and decide on a few fun facts about the town they live in. This is a good opportunity for employees to share something about themselves, like their favorite coffee shop in town or what famous person once lived there.

5. Draw It!

This is a game idea for team building. Much like Pictionary, the game is about drawing, but there is a twist. A player explains a drawing by using only shapes and the other players have to draw what they imagine the picture looks like. The only person that sees the correct picture is the person explaining it.

The point of this game is for everyone to end up with the same drawing at the end. This is pretty difficult, and it teaches your workers how to effectively communicate.

6. The Battle of Wits Quiz Game

Trivia games are always fun. But this one is a corporate version, and it can be about anything. Before the game, you can have your employees send you subjects that you can quiz them on. When you play the game, they can answer through the chat so as to not give the answer away to anyone else. You can have them play in groups or against each other. 

This game is good for bringing a competitive edge to the office. Your employees will be able to learn interesting new trivia and learn how to work as a team all at the same time.

7. Coffee Break

Everyone needs a coffee break. And your remote workers are likely taking them when they have a moment to do so. So, why not schedule a virtual coffee break so that when your employees are unwinding, they can relax and chat with their coworkers. It is a good way to keep them in a working mind frame while they get to know each other and, possibly, discussing work.

Email Team Building

Virtual team building doesn’t always have to mean you have your employees on video chat or video conference calls. You can easily incorporate team building into the company emails. This is an easy way to contact and connect with everyone at once, with the chance that they could connect with each other from there on out. Giving them access to each other’s email is an easy way for them to continue the conversation after the activity is over.

1. Reply All

When you send out your morning emails, you can attach a question, or a few questions, and request that when your employees reply, they click the little “reply all” box. This will ensure that everyone you sent the original email to will receive their replies to your questions. 

Having them answer icebreaker questions is a good way for everyone to get to know each other. An example of the sort of question you could ask is, “If there was one person, dead or alive, that you could talk to, who would it be?” With a question like this, you will see who is more sentimental and who would rather talk to a dead president or something. 

If you would like, you can allow them to explain their answers in either the same email or a follow-up email.

2. Send a Picture

This is another way to ensure your employees have an open line of communication. It can go a few ways as well. For example, the first thing you could do with this idea is to have your employees “reply all” with a photo of something in their work area. You may be surprised by some of the pictures they send. And it could bring employees closer together when they realize they have a lot in common. 

Another way to use this idea is by having your employees send you a baby picture of themselves. You can send each picture in a different email each week and ask your workers if they can guess who it is. 

Lastly, you could use this to have a competition to see who can send in the best picture. You can choose a topic and have your employees send in their pictures. You can choose topics about anything, but a few ideas are hobbies, family, and down-time.

 3. Send a Video

This is the same idea as sending a picture. But instead, you can send a short video of things like a tour of your home or short clips of something you might have seen on blog. 

Something that you could do for your employees is to send them a short video recap of their work in progress. Everyone plays a part in the business, so it might be good for them to see that their work means something. It would be good for them to see what they helped build.

Other Platforms

When you are looking for ways to connect your employees to one another and have them build a bond, keep in mind that you have resources outside of the company too. There are apps galore out there that are meant to help people interact when they aren’t near one another.

1. Words with Friends

This is a pretty well-known game, so when introducing it to your employees, things should go smoothly. The game is a lot like Scrabble, only online. Players are given tiles with letters on them, and they are meant to organize the tiles into words. Like Scrabble, the person that earns the most points wins the game. 

When you have your employees download the game, you can pair them with each other and have them play ongoing games. This will give your workers a competitive nature and an excitable spirit. It will help expand vocabulary and increase communication between workers.

2. Communicative Polls

Connecteam is an online tool that can help team building in a company. You can create group chats and social posts for conversation and build polls and quizzes. It is easily customizable to help you better align it with your company’s vision.

With this app, you can build a poll for a specific question and have your employees take a poll. This is an easy way to build communication and lasting relationships.

3. Slack Channels

Slack is a platform that is supposed to help increase the flow of communication easily. Instead of sending emails to select people, you can create an online channel that has all of the information for that topic right there for everyone to see. 

So, when your topic is team building, you can create a channel for your employees to send messages to everyone. It can open up a single line of communication for all of your employees to see.

4. Donut Calls

Donut is an extension of Slack that is for employees to be introduced to each other. It has conversation starters and a schedule, so your employees don’t miss their calls. It will automatically pair your employees together once a week.

5. Online Ice Breaker Games

Much like some of the ideas mentioned above, there are games online that help break the ice between employees. An example of this is QuizBreaker. It is an online platform with the goal to build trust and communication, as well as retention for employment.

After everyone answers your ice breaker questions, you put them into a quiz. Your employees will then take the quiz and guess what their coworkers answered for each question.

Training Assessments

Training assessments are a way to build teamwork and skills for the job. These are good tools to use within the company to help your employees learn about their coworkers and about themselves.

1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) is an online tool that helps your team learn about themselves or other team members’ personality tendencies. It shows your employees what their weaknesses and strengths are so that they are better able to work with one another. 

After everyone takes their assessment, they are able to leave with a plan to use the skills they have just learned. This is an essential tool in the workplace that can improve communication, aid in teamwork, and strengthen problem-solving.

2. DiSC ® Training

Much like MBTI, DiSC is an assessment that people understand their personality and behavior. Upon completing the assessment, you will receive a report about your results and advice on how to work with others that have a different personality. 

This tool helps your employees learn how to deal with conflicting situations and shows them what motivates them and causes them stress so that they are able to increase their own productivity.

What Type of Employees Does Virtual Team Building Help?

Anyone that has a virtual or remote job is a prime candidate to virtual team building. It will benefit all of your employees by connecting them to each other. This will increase communication between workers both during and outside of work. When you are not in an office, you typically miss out on the idle chat that takes place during the work day. Having virtual team building makes up for this lack of presence to help improve office culture.

You can even involve management into the mix, allowing for a stronger relationship between employers and employees. Management should be involved with their teams to build relationships and improve remote communication as remote workers do.

How Can Team Building Help Your Employees?

As remote workers have a tendency to only focus on their own work and stay out of company business, work can sometimes become dull and impersonal. Almost as if it’s just a transaction to be made. Virtual team building can fix this and prevent it from happening in the future. 

With virtual team building, you ensure that your employees are in a good frame of mind and attitude while they are working for you. It can help them build relationships with their coworkers and increase working competence and efficiency. 

With your employees feeling needed and productive, they will initiate working relationships on their own and get more involved with the company. Having a job that they feel a connection with will benefit everyone in the equation, including the business itself.

Why Should You Care?

Team building is essential for remote and virtual workers that have little to no contact with their coworkers. Having remote workers can be helpful for the company, but for a worker to be separated from everyone else can cause strain in their motivation and desire to do well. Team building activities can work as both a cure and a preventative measure for slacking workers. 

In order to get the most out of team building, you will need to set some time aside for the activities. It is essential to let your employees take their time to get to know one another. They might want to rush in and out, and just to get it over with, in the beginning. But allowing them to get comfortable in the situation is important for repetitive success. 

You don’t necessarily need a video chatting program to succeed in virtual team building, but it can be helpful. It provides a way for your employees to see one another and learn each other’s personalities. It gives a more personal feel to the entire process, so it won’t feel so forced later on.

With that in mind, it would be a good idea to have a screen sharing program handy. You can use this in team building, but it will also help in cases of work projects and such. A few well-known programs are Google Hangouts and Skype. You can not only share what is on your screen, but you can teleconference and send messages as well. 

If you don’t want to be there every step of the way, you will need to assign a leader for the team-building exercises. This person will only be able to moderate the activities. They will not be able to participate in the activities themselves. But they will still have the ability to get to know the employees on a more personal level.

Workers that feel needed and wanted in the workplace show better results. So, keeping them involved with the events of daily life and their coworkers can increase both productivity and morale. This will result in superior work and improve your company.