18 Unexpected Benefits of Team Building for Remote Teams

You definitely should not be missing out on these.

Cover image courtesy: Business photo created by katemangostar – www.freepik.com

Yes, team-building activities build effective engagement and collaboration in the workplace. But to reap the benefits of team building at work, these activities need to be more than an annual picnic or a Christmas dinner or (thank you, pandemic) a monthly coffee catch-up. 

And if your team works remotely and/or is distributed across countries and time zones, this is doubly true. Virtual team members can feel isolated and lonely.

20.5% of remote workers named difficulties with collaboration and communication as their biggest struggle with working remotely.

Buffer's 2021 State of Remote Work

Well-designed team-building activities increase motivation and promote cooperation. Better communication, enhanced collaboration, and increased efficiency are just some of the benefits of team building, making the workplace a more positive space.

Why Team Building for Remote Teams is Important

Okay, yes, team building activities are not something which instantly excite everyone, but it can be one of the most important investments you can make for your organization when done well. Team building for remote teams is not only beneficial in the multiple ways we recount below, but if done thoughtfully, it can be a way for your team to have a lot of fun.

#1 Betters Communication

Team building activities that encourage team members to talk to each other to solve challenges in an out-of-office environment can go a long way in improving communication. Being outside of work allows people to relax and open up while participating in a superficially fun game. If properly planned and carefully chosen, it can engage each team member and enhance interpersonal communication.

#2 Improves Collaboration

Some studies have shown that in virtual teams, cooperation declines unless the organization works on establishing a collaborative culture. Collaboration allows team members to understand each others’ roles, trust each other and learn from each other. Team building for remote teams builds interpersonal connections and encourages them to work as a cohesive group.

#3 Enhances Productivity

Better communication and collaboration in a team impact productivity levels positively. In a team-building activity geared towards solving a common challenge, there is lower friction, fewer chances of duplication of work, and increased contribution by each team member.

A group of multicultural people working together
Team building improves collaboration and productivity. Photo by fauxels from Pexels

#4 Improves Group Dynamics

Virtual team-building activities can help organizations build connections among geographically distributed and diverse teams. It can make them feel like they are a part of a group. A Stanford study found that “Membership in a social group appears to greatly influence persistence in pursuing tasks and goals that are seen as important to the group.” Team building exercises can go a long way in helping foster group membership.

#5 Boosts Morale

When your team works online, they can feel isolated and disengaged. Team exercises and activities are a great way to engage team members, break down barriers between employees, and boost morale. Participating in challenges together and completing them gives team members a sense of solidarity that can make them more invested in each other and their work together.

#6 Enhances Leadership Qualities

When a team participates in a challenge without the pressures of office hierarchy or roles, the innate strengths of a team member can come to the fore. It becomes easier for managers to spot natural, tactically-inclined leaders geared towards bringing team members together, encouraging everyone, and solving problems.

#7 Stimulates Innovation and Creativity

Pick a challenge that gives the team the permission they think they need to be creative and think outside the box. In a diverse group, this can bring about fresh perspectives and combine it with expertise. It translates to a workplace where creativity is considered welcome and bouncing ideas off each other becomes a given.

#8 Fosters Friendships

Did you know that studies by Gallup have found that close work friendships can boost employee satisfaction by 50% and that people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work?

Activities that encourage team building for remote teams are an excellent opportunity for people to get to know each other better outside the office environment and develop a more natural relationship.

#9 Promotes Company Culture

By encouraging team building and investing time and resources to bring your team together, you show team members the kind of company you are and what you stand for. A great way to showcase positive company culture, it also shows employees that they are valued, which makes them appreciate the company more, retains them, and draws in good talent.

#10 Highlights Underutilized Team Strengths

If designed as challenges with little in common with everyday work, team-building work exercises allow team members to showcase strengths and talents otherwise unutilized. These newly discovered skills enable managers to reassess how to utilize a team member best and try new things at work. Strength-based workplaces can be a great way to improve productivity. Studies show that “employees who say they use their strengths every day are 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.”

Three people figures carrying a log across a gap
Team building activities can go a long way in increasing trust among team members. Image via GIFER

#11 Increases Trust

During games for team building at work, especially in virtual teams, team members must trust each other and rely on their expertise to complete challenges. Team building activities can be a crash course in developing relationships based on trust and devoid of second-guessing. But this can take time which is why these activities need to be positive, frequent, and interactive.

#12 Creates Shared Experiences

If harnessed effectively, shared experiences can build high-performing teams with shared values, norms, and behaviors, which can help get done more efficiently and effectively. While formal events like training and onboarding are also shared experiences, they aren’t as effective. Team building work exercises can create a more long-lasting impression. But it’s important to remember that the experience in itself is not enough. The bond developed within the team comes from recalling the event and sharing narratives.

#13 Encourages Team Members to Share Responsibilities

Along with creating a shared experience, team-building activities also encourage team members to share responsibilities to complete the challenge at hand. Team challenges encourage people to collaborate in decision making, be team players, share information with colleagues, and work towards a common goal.

#14 Breaks Barriers

Geographically separated, diverse, virtual teams can often feel uncomfortable with each other simply because they don’t know each other outside the confines of the digital screen. Team building exercises are designed to get people out of their comfort zones and encourage conversations, building stronger intra-team relationships. Building these relationships can build familiarity and psychological safety, which is essential for high-performing teams.

#15 Betters Problem Solving Skills

No workplace is without the occasional disagreement. What is essential is the ability to navigate conflicts and resolve them. But how can remote teams develop conflict resolution and problem-solving skills? Games that encourage team building for remote teams can be a brilliant opportunity to develop and hone these skills. In an activity geared towards problem-solving, like our online escape room, it becomes vital for team members to communicate effectively, listen, and respond in a timely and appropriate fashion.

#16 Breaks Up the Routine

Team managers and leaders need to break the monotony of work and help their team recharge. Building teams that work well need you to invest in regular team-building activities that energize and refresh your team.

#17 Helps Discover Points of Improvement

Routine tasks can only tell you whether a person is effective at their assigned task. It doesn’t paint a complete picture of their strengths and weaknesses. But putting team members in situations outside of their daily routine and encouraging them to participate in team-building work exercises can help identify the team’s weaknesses and how their strengths can be used to build a well-rounded and synced team.

#18 Creates Respect

Activities that encourage team building for remote teams aren’t just a way for managers and leaders to identify team members’ strengths. It also allows colleagues to identify skills and qualities in each other. While working on problem-solving games and tasks, this can build a sense of respect for each other. 

How to Choose Team Building Activities for Remote Teams

Here’s how most people search for and choose team building activities. 

 

Step 1️⃣: Google “team-building activities for remote teams.

Step 2️⃣: Pick an activity that could help you improve collaborations between team members and, therefore, efficiency. 

Step 3️⃣: Organize said activity for your team.

 

Now here’s the problem with that. While the activity may be fun and may give your team half a day’s break from their routine schedules, it won’t necessarily serve the purpose you have in mind. For tangible results from team-building activities, choose ideas based on the impact you have in mind. 


According to Gallup, deciding whether the activities are meaningful and consequential depends on whether they relate to five broader tactics that serve as a blueprint for team management.

 

  • Does the activity serve a common purpose? Does it help identify team goals, objectives, and team strengths?
  • Does the activity help keep the team connected and build and nurture team relationships? 
  • Does it enhance communication; its efficacy, accuracy, speed, and strategy? 
  • Does it promote collaboration? Does it build and nurture relationships, help the team work together, and make decisions? 
  • Does the activity focus on celebration and your team’s successes?


Pick activities that help you with all or a majority of these. Our online escape room sets a common goal for teams through a series of challenges where each person has an assigned role. Successful completion of the challenge depends on how effectively team members work together. The debrief session that follows the escape room encourages participants to reflect and share and is designed to enhance communication and collaboration.

A view of role selection on Skyrocket Your Team: Each team member is allotted a specific role in the virtual escape room and success depends on seamless communication between team members.

Wrapping Up

Team building is a crucial aspect to focus on when you work as a remote team. In a brick and mortar space, employees interact unofficially at office desks, work events, or even cafeterias. Team members don’t have these spontaneous water cooler moments with remote work, and communication and team bonds can become strained. 


Choosing virtual team-building activities that promote team bonds and employee engagement helps build a collaborative and stable remote workforce. Creating transparent communication channels, getting the team together for activities with positive learning outcomes help your team thrive and improve business profitability.

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