Team Building in a Virtual / Socially Distanced Environment

Team Building in a Virtual / Socially Distanced Environment


The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted every aspect of business. While the most crucial changes to your business include pivoting your products or services to suit the needs of your clients and customers; supporting your employees during the global pandemic should be of great concern for business owners. In an environment where your employees and coworkers are working from home several days a week, creating a cohesive and engaged team can be difficult. Implementing Team Building activities into your business are simple ways to improve camaraderie and limit the feelings of social isolation among your employees. Team Building gets a bad reputation due to the perceived “forced relationship building” of most traditional team building activities.

If you have read Walking to Destiny, you know that one of the most important Intangible Capitals in your business is your “Human Capital”. Building a strong business begins and ends with a strong team. Motivating and retaining your employees is one of the easiest ways to improve performance. You might feel that the costs involved with team building activities are too extravagant for the return. But think of it this way:

How much will it cost to hire and train new employees if my current employees do not feel valued in this company and choose to leave?

I guarantee that implementing team building activities will be much more cost effective and provide more value to your business.

Virtual Team Building Activities:

If your team is in a mostly virtual environment, try to implement some of these engaging team building games and activities. The best team building activities are those that do not feel like a corporate cookie-cutter program. Select activities that match your employee’s interests. If your team is highly competitive, try a trivia game with topics based on each employee’s favorite movie or television show. Here are some of our favorite virtual Team Building activities:

  • Create a book club – Every month, read a book suggested by your coworkers. You can learn a lot about a person based on their favorite books. This is a simple way to get to know your coworkers and limit the amount of time you are looking at a screen in a virtual world.
  • Friday Afternoon Games – After a long week of work, give your employees a fun entrance to the weekend with an afternoon of classic games. Take a look at this New York Magazine article on the best games to play over Zoom.
  • Employee Trivia – Get to know your coworkers in a fun and creative way. At the beginning of the week, send everyone an email with five questions about themselves. The more creative the questions, the more you will learn about your coworkers. Here are a few suggestions: “What is your favorite animal?”, “If you could be a fictional character who would you be?”, or even “What is your dream job?”. At the end of the week, hold a trivia event instead of a team meeting and guess what each of your coworkers responded.
  • WFH Guess Who? – By this point, you might think you have a deep understanding of the inside of all your coworkers home offices. But could you guess whose office when your coworker is not in the frame? Have each of your team members submit photos of their work from home set up and have everyone guess whose desk is whose.

Socially Distanced Team Building Activities:

Here at EPI, we are working in a split virtual and socially distanced environment. During the pandemic we gained a few new employees. Now it is no surprise that it is hard to meet people and learn more about them if you never see them in person. We are a small team and strive for a cohesive workplace between our departments. Here are a few of the socially distanced team building initiatives we have implemented the past few months:

  • Lunch Pool – We are a team that is heavily influenced by food. Every month, each of our employees write down two of their favorite restaurants (that are available for delivery) and put them in one of our EPI coffee mugs. Once a week, we pull a restaurant from the mug and enjoy lunch from that location. This is a great way to try new food and enjoy a break in the day where we can all eat and chat, from six feet apart.
  • Ropes Course – Last week, the EPI team went to the Mohican Adventures Aerial Adventure Park. We have a highly competitive team, of varying strengths, so a ropes course was the perfect way to build camaraderie and some muscle mass. We learned how to communicate instructions and ideas to match our coworkers learning style, discovered that we have a large “never give up” attitude, and got to see the strength, both mental and physical, of each of our teammates.

  • Yard Games – Here in the Midwest, corn hole is king. We ended the day early, set up some yard games in our office parking lot, and had a nice cookout to celebrate a great week of work. Corn hole, ladder golf, frisbee, and giant Jenga are just a few of the games we played as a team. The weather plays a factor here, but we still have a few nice weeks left to get outside and play some games as a team!

Building human capital is one of the most important things you can do in your business. Invest in your team and you will see a large return.

Learn more about the Four Intangible Capitals in Chapter 7 of Walking to Destiny.