October 31, 2020

Pros and Cons of Remote Team Building Activities

As more and more offices are embracing the virtual environment and having their teams work remotely, it creates a conundrum on how to keep people connected.  Team building is essential in the workplace, it helps build camaraderie, strengthen relationships, and allows colleagues to relate to each other beyond typical work activities.  One study showed that companies engaging in team building exercises have seen:

  • Morale improve by 38%
  • Productivity improve by 18%
  • Leaders emerge when they previously may have been overlooked for advancement opportunities


It’s possible to have a blend where some employees work and live in the same city, while others are spread out in different geographies.  Inclusivity is crucial, so the entire team can participate regardless of where they’re located.  If you’re in human resources or on a social committee within your department at work, you need to start thinking through the team building activities you can implement which allow both the remote and local workforce to participate.  The virtual team games and activities are still in their infancy, and many organizations are still working out the kinks.  Check out the pros and cons of remote team building games and activities below  and then determine how to best structure events that will work best for uniting the team in your organization. 


Pros of Remote Team Building Activities

  • Great way to connect when your team is in different cities and not everyone can travel to be together in the same location.
  • Beneficial if bad weather exists, say it’s snowing and it’s not safe for everyone to get the destination.
  • There’s a pandemic, like COVID-19, where it’s important to social distance or stay at home orders are in place.
  • Nobody in the group will need to fight rush hour traffic or drive across town to get to the destination
  • Low carbon footprint; no traveling equates to reduced emissions.
  • Less expensive, if the social budget is tight and your company can’t afford to sponsor a 3 hour event in a bar or pub, the remote game option is a nice alternative. It’s not unusual for organizations to fund a prize for the winner. Layer in a prize as low as a $10 gift card, it can be enticing and keep the teams and participants engaged.
  • Having a structured online game or activity creates a nice format for remote employees, there’s no awkward moments where everyone is trying to talk at once, and there’s a set start and end time.


Cons Of Remote Team Activities

  • You’ll need a conference line software like Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. Silver lining here is some of these platforms have free options. If your organization is working remotely now, there’s a good chance you have a conference software with screen sharing already in place.
  • Team building exercises can get a bit unwieldy for large groups of 30 or more. But if you break out into smaller groups or teams the interpersonal conversations can occur. Consider using the Zoom breakout room feature.
  • Group event planning takes a bit more thought and focus to make sure things don’t go awry. You’ll need to think through how to facilitate conversations and avoid awkward silence as well as multiple people trying to talk at the same time. 
  • Activities your group can participate in are more limited. This is especially true if you want your team to engage in volunteer work. 


While the virtual workplace makes it a bit tougher to build team spirit and have the bonding moments that are crucial to an effective workplace, they are still worth the effort. Without these activities tensions are more likely to build up over time and employees are more likely to burnout. Take a bit of time away from traditional work hours to allow your team to connect. The benefits will pay off in the long run.


team building trivia game