5 Motivating Virtual Team Building Activities for the Workplace

When your remote employees are struggling to connect and stay excited about projects, use these virtual team building activities for the workplace.

When you began working for your current employer in a remote management position, you were so impressed by the enthusiasm and camaraderie your team exhibited—it’s one of the main reasons you took the job in the first place.

Now that you’re a few months in, though, it feels like things have gotten quiet.

Your copywriter used to be eager and friendly all the time—she loved using emojis in her e-mails—but now, she sticks to very basic conversation, and only when approached.

Your graphic designer used to always be available on HipChat, but now you rarely see his name pop up during regular office hours.

And, to be honest, even you’re feeling a little disconnected and wondering if you’re suffering from burnout.

Managing a remote team isn’t the same as leading a group in-person. Part of your job is ensuring constant communication between all employees (that includes you) and keeping the team motivated to do extraordinary work. It’s entirely possible to get your team back on track and running like the well-oiled machine it once was—you just need to cook up some motivating virtual team building activities for the workplace.

Why are virtual team building activities for the workplace so important?

We all need friends, and that applies to work friendships as well. Harvard Business Review notes that employees are happier at work when they form friendships with co-workers. And this doesn’t mean your employees need to be BFFs—building camaraderie, in general, gives workers a collective sense of purpose, encourages them to rely on one another, promotes loyalty, and creates a shared discipline toward the work at hand.

In an office environment, you wouldn’t have to try as hard to bring your team together. Over time, after regular morning chats at the Keurig, brainstorming sessions, and office birthday parties, employees naturally start to come together and get to know one another. In the virtual world, though, it’s your job as a manager to continually create opportunities for your team to connect and feel a sense of community—even if they’re scattered all around the country. Collaboration activities can help team members relate and understand each other, as well as come to understand the team dynamic and dependencies that each member has. The group’s overall emotional intelligence will also grow as the individuals become connected.

Virtual team building activities for the workplace should always be a priority for you, but if your team is currently stuck in the doldrums, you’ll need activities that don’t just encourage connection—they need to motivate as well.


You may have been a great manager in an office setting, but when you lead a remote team, there’s a new set of rules. Learn how to be an effective, engaging virtual leader by signing up for any (or all) of our online courses.


Ideas for motivational virtual team building activities in the workplace

Team building can be more than bringing your entire team together all at once. It can happen at the macro or micro level, be for individuals or an entire group, or one-on-ones with manager and employee, or employee and employee.

1. Celebrate the milestones

Your employees are living great lives behind their computer screens, and celebrating events, milestones, and achievements can make them feel good and appreciated. Celebrating something like the birth of a child, marriage, or a birthday can unite employees as they use events to share similar experiences and relate to one another.

2. Have an all-day virtual meeting

Create a channel on Slack for the day where your whole team can gather and work on some project together. You don’t have to talk the whole time (there’s work to get done!), but just being on a channel together encourages conversation and fun banter you would encounter in an office. By the time those eight hours are up, your team could be totally reconnected again.

3. Schedule informal one-on-one video chats

You can talk on the phone, e-mail, and type to each other in chat platforms, but nothing beats that face-to-face connection via video. You can never really understand an employee’s personality, sense of humor, or tone of voice until you actually talk to them in person. Schedule regular one-on-one video chats between team members and their managers (throw yourself into the mix, too!) Even a small amount of casual conversation during these meetings can form bonds over simple topics like pets and sports.

4. Offer professional development opportunities

No one likes to feel stagnant in a job, so show your employees that you care about their professional development. Motivate them to get out there and learn new things related to their current positions. Encourage them to let you know when they find an opportunity they’d like to take advantage of, but also send them classes or events proactively with other members of the team, so they get some face-time in.

5. Mail remote workers small tokens of appreciation

E-mails are so common in our everyday life now that when we get a card or package via snail mail, it’s pretty exciting. Don’t you think your employees feel the same way? Send out real cards via USPS for their birthdays, or even when they do great work that you want to thank them for and recognize. Send each team member a personalized small gift around the holidays that makes them feel valued and appreciated.

Keeping your employees motivated isn’t optional when you’re managing remote workers. It’s an essential part of your job that can make or break the efficiency of your entire team.

How do you keep your virtual team motivated? Share your tips in the comments below!


You may have been a great manager in an office setting, but when you lead a remote team, there’s a new set of rules. Learn how to be an effective, engaging virtual leader by signing up for any (or all) of our online courses.