Team Bonding, Hybrid Work, and Employee Engagement Guide

The Best and Brightest has always been a platform for dialog, education and employee engagement tools. This guide was created to help executive leadership and organizations with virtual team bonding activities for employees to help amplify a healthy and uplifting culture through these unprecedented times.

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Internal Best Practices and Policies

  • 25/45 Meetings

    Let meeting times to either be 25 minutes or 45 minutes depending on the importance of the conversation.

  • CEO Q&A Coffee Hour

    During uncertain times, many employees find themselves having burning questions that they are not comfortable asking directly. Host a monthly coffee hour with the whole team and the CEO of your company. A week before the team meeting, have your employees submit their questions for the CEO anonymously. During the Coffee Hour the CEO can read and answer the anonymous questions to hopefully make some employees feel at ease.

  • Choose Your Own Return Date

    All employees feel differently about working at home or in an office. Especially now during the pandemic, if you plan on bringing your work force back in the office, allow employees to choose their own return to the office date depending on their fears and comfort.

  • EAP Services

    Ensure that your team members are well informed on the offers your organization provides through the EAP services.

  • Giftboxes

    If your budget allows, send your team gift boxes or gift cards to make their home offices more comfortable and surprise them for adapting to the virtual workforce. Holiday cards are also appreciated.

  • Mental Health Days

    In addition to PTO, you can offer a Mental Health Day per month for employees to be able to unplug.

  • Mental health time blocks

    Allow your team members to block calendars for mental health breaks on their own, or set a company policy that no internal meetings happen between specific times, so that employees can focus on e-learning, childcare, lunch, and daily walks or drives.

  • Meeting Schedules

    We all believe in Zoom meeting fatigue. To ensure employees can have time to work on their projects and stay mentally focused for meetings, here are a couple things you can do.

  • No Meeting Day

    Choose a day in the week where meetings are not allowed.

  • Required Time Off

    Many employees that work remotely especially in a pandemic don’t take time off. To ensure your team is taking advantage of non-screen time, you can create a required time off policy where you close the office hours early on specific days. For example: Monday – Thursday work hours are 8-5PM, and Fridays are 8-1PM.

  • Team Chat Channel

    Have a chat channel on your communication platform that is created for the fun and social aspect of your team members. You can all this your Virtual Water Cooler or The Hallway. Leave this chat open for anyone who wants to share announcements, celebrations, or photos of their families. You can have weekly ice breaker questions such as “What are you grateful for” that employees have social group conversations. This open channel creates an opportunity for employees to feel stronger relations not only with each other but also with the company. It provides a secure space in which employees can drop in and out easily and feel like they are not only disconnected telecommuters but a big part of something far larger.

  • Wellness Checks

    Have a point person that can call each employee and check on them. Some people will really enjoy talking to someone and have the opportunity to share their feelings and thoughts on the new changes. This gives the opportunity of employees being heard and planning the right accommodations for each one.

  • Working Parents Groups

    Create a working parents group that allows other employees to know who is on a special work day accommodation due to their children’s needs. Many parents are now asked to help with their kids’ schooling, so sometimes they may need to step away from the screen during regular work hours. As long as that working parent is able to work at different times than the company requires, they can still get their work projects done. Use your personal status on your communication platform to show if you are away and will return at a specific time.

  • Quarantine Buddies

    Randomly assign two employees to match together for two weeks. Then ask them to check in on one another and help stay connected while working from home. Change the partners every couple of weeks.

Learn a new language

Virtual classes can be held for employees to learn new languages. A professional can offer this class to all, or have fun with it and let an employee that knows another language share their knowledge with their co-workers. They can learn basic words, such as “hello” or “how are you,” or learn how to count.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Never Have I Ever

Play the remote work-friendly version of the “Never Have I Ever” game. As the event organizer, all the topics can be determined in advance or have team members submit topics that are filtered for the group. Never Have I Ever is typically a knock-out game, which means each player starts with five fingers up and loses a point for each of the topics that they have, in fact, done. For example, if the prompt was “never have I ever eaten sushi,” then everyone that has eaten sushi would put a finger down.

Examples to use: Never Have I Ever…
…adopted a pet
…worked in a restaurant
…made pizza from scratch
…seen a double rainbow
…shoveled snow
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Lunch and Learns with Employees and Their Families

This is a great way to highlight individuals in the organization and learn more about team members—their backgrounds and family members. Invite team members to select a lunch date that works best for them to tell a story they would like to share. This could include sharing about their religion, cultural background, a fascinating life story, etc. For example, team members who are parents with adopted children might share their adoption story, or ethnic team members might share about different cultural traditions.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Guess That Song

Prior to the game starting, have a play list of popular songs. Have all participants be muted and play a song. Ask the players to unmute or use the chat feature and shout the name and artist of that song. The first person that guesses correctly gets a point. Include all genres and generations in the play list.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

GIF Story Challenge

Using Microsoft Teams, you can play GIF Story Challenge, which compels players to tell a story using only GIF images.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Spirit Days or Spirit Weeks

Spirit Weeks or Days feature various themed activities to boost team spirit or to bring awareness to a specific event or cause. Team members are encouraged to wear outfits that correspond with the featured themes. Whole weeks are great, but a fun way to implement spirit days is to invite team members to wear something related to the spirit theme during team meetings. Team meeting Spirit Day ideas:

Favorite summer hat
National eyewear day
Favorites sports jerseys
Your favorite school
Wear your favorite color
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Recipe Share and Company Cookbook

Host a team lunch and ask team members to come prepared to talk about their favorite recipe. A theme can be determined for each session, for example desserts, traditional favorites, seasonal treats, and so on. Ask them to send their recipe and a few photos to Virtual Games and Activities the team member who will compile the recipe book. During the team building session, each team member will share their recipe verbally and share a story along with it. This is great for getting to know team members, while also creating something useful as a group. After all sessions, compile all recipes into a company cookbook.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Employee Spotlight Appreciation Week

For a week long activity (depending on the size of your team) and feel good moments, the employee spotlight appreciation week honors each one of your team members with a special shout out. One point person will send an email out every day with 5 (or more) employees that will be highlighted that day. Other team members can email these highlighted employees with special shout outs, texts, or photos highlighting a few of their special qualities. Don’t worry if the emails don’t all come in the same day, we have learned that once employees receive their spotlight emails from their peers, they will go back to send their own shout out emails as well.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

MTV Cribs: Remote Team Edition

Colleagues can still open their homes to one another and participate in some MTV style fun. Employees can give a house or office tour while they share stories about different parts or things in the house.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Pictionary

To play, divide into teams. Find a word or use the Pictionary word generator below and choose a team to play first, as well as a designated drawer on that team. The drawer generates a word and has one minute to draw that word for their team to guess. If the team guesses the word correctly, they get a point.
Pictionary word generator: https://randomwordgenerator.com/pictionary.php
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Scattergories Game

This weblink is a digital version of the game Scattergories and can be screen-shared for a group meeting: https://swellgarfo.com/scattergories/
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Guess That Movie

Prior to the game starting, curate a video playlist with movie scenes. Mute all participants and play the movie scene without revealing the film the clip is from. Ask the players to submit the name of the movie to the facilitator in chat. The first person who guesses the film correctly wins the round. A suggestion is to use “best movie scenes of all time” or “top movie clips” on YouTube to put together the list.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Jeopardy

Here is one way to create a game using PowerPoint. It will take about 20 minutes to create a customized Jeopardy game. Visit this link to see the full list of instructions: https://www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/how-to-make-a-jeopardy-game-in-powerpoint
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Run and Find – Scavenger Hunt (great with kids)

Get all participants ready on camera on a virtual meeting platform. Do not share the scavenger hunt list items in advance. Once everyone is on camera and ready, mention the first item that they need to find. All participants will run and find that particular item and bring it back to the camera. The first person that returns with the item back to the camera gets a point. Keep playing until all items have been collected. Participants must bring new items every time, no repeats. Tally up the points and announce the winner at the end of the game. Here are examples of scavenger items: a book with a person on the cover; something that smells good; an item that covers you from the rain; a coffee mug with words on it; a piece of fruit; a breakfast food; a flag; something you can use as weights; something that makes music; sports equipment; fresh dessert; something that can be turned off; something that provides light; something that grows and needs nurture; a key; a shoe.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Robot Training

While Robot Training usually focuses on instructing a team member through a simple task like tying their shoes or assembling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, participants can also play this game entirely digitally. To play digitally, ask one colleague to share their screen. Then, using step-by-step directions, proceed to dictate the steps necessary to complete an action on their screen. For instance, ask the player to pull up a creative software for drawing and instruct them on how to draw a cat. It could be any software that requires instruction. The point of Robot Training is to develop team communication and cooperation skills.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild
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Please note that there is an additional resource guide dedicated to Wellness and Well-being in the Workplace. These are a few examples of group wellness activities for team bonding.

Social Distanced Walk/Hike

Pick a park or other walking location and invite team members that feel comfortable to go for a group hike.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Walking Meetings

If meetings don’t require computers, or note taking, encourage employees to go for a walk during the meeting with video/sound turned off. They can move their bodies and listen to important announcements at the same time. Another concept is to encourage employees to pick one meeting a day during which to walk, if appropriate, or to take a walk after a meeting. Encourage status messages that show they are on a walk or attending the meeting while walking.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Moments of Gratitude

Gratitude reflections are a great way to maintain a positive outlook. Before or after a meeting, open up the floor for conversations about things the team is grateful for. It’s important for leadership to participate, as well. Supervisors can provide journals to log moments of gratitude to each team member and can provide time on a routine basis during meetings to journal gratitude.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Group Meditations

Goal sharing is one of the activities in a wellness program that can enhance sharing of personal milestones and a collaborative spirit. Regular checkups with the team ensure they encourage each other towards accomplishing goals.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Virtual Workouts

Have a team member who is a fitness guru host weekly virtual workouts. The sessions can be held for 15-30 minutes and can start at an easy difficulty level, using any equipment attendees have remotely. Cameras should not be required, for employees’ comfort. There are many free online streaming workouts that can be screen shared, as well.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Goal Sharing Sessions

Goal sharing is one of the activities in a wellness program that can enhance sharing of personal milestones and a collaborative spirit. Regular checkups with the team ensure they encourage each other towards accomplishing goals.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Therapy Sessions

If budget allows, hire a therapist for a lunch and learn to provide tips and tricks on how to de-stress, relax, and unplug.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Wellness Chat Channel

Create a wellness social chat channel(s), where employees can share healthy tips, workouts, inspiration, and motivational quotes, as well as random stretch and water breaks throughout the day. Channels can have wellness related themes.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Dance party

If there is a dancer at the company, ask them to host a virtual dance party. The team can dance together with the same music and instructions or they can dance separately with their own music.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Nutritional Consultations

The goal of this activity is encourage employees to eat healthier. To that end, consider hiring a nutritionist for a one-on-one consultation or set up several virtual workshops to support dietary well-being. Cooking, shopping, and healthy recipes can all be shared digitally.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Healthy Cook Master Classes

Set up virtual cooking classes with an experienced chef or with a team member that cooks healthy food. There are also free online cooking resources to stream or share with the team. This is one suggestion: https://onsite.fun/activities/categories/cooking-baking-classes/locations/online
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Virtual Standup Comedy

Look for a workplace-friendly comic for a team celebration, virtual hour, meeting, or wellness activity. A budget-friendly version is to share workplace-friendly “dad” jokes, with everyone bringing three of their favorite jokes to share.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Walking Wednesday

In a virtual world, allow time each Wednesday for employees to go for a walk around their neighborhood at the same time or anytime during the day. Employees can then share photos of their walk paths via email or the wellness chat channel.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

Virtual Yoga

If there is have an avid yogi at the workplace, ask them to host weekly 15 to 20-minute yoga sessions virtually. Breathe and stretch for a relaxing moment. Keep the difficulty at an easy level to ensure participation.
September 21, 2022/by Lora Wild

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