Here is our list of the best socially distant team building activities.
Socially distant team building activities are events where team members can safely engage with each other while physically separated. These activities can be in-person or virtual. For example, Tower Building, Show and Tell, and 50 States Challenge. These exercises aim to safely build camaraderie while practicing essential skills, like problem solving and communication.
This list includes:
- social distancing team building activities for adults
- non-contact games for social distancing
- social distancing games for adults at work
- socially distanced team building activities for students
Here we go!
List of socially distant team building activities
Encouraging teamwork and participation in workplaces are essential. However, sometimes, you must plan socially distant team building activities to keep all team members safe. Here is a list of distanced team activities.
1. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are excellent non-contact games for social distancing. In a scavenger hunt, employees work together to find objects in their environment. These items can be specific, for example, the movie Die Hard. Or the clue can be general, like, find your favorite mug.
Scavenger hunts are great for social distancing as teams can work together without being in close contact. You can divide your group into pairs and have one player reading clues and the other teammate finding items. You can also play this event virtually using a platform like Zoom. To solve the hunt, team members must communicate clearly and work together.
2. Desert Island
Desert Island is a fantastic option when planning social distancing team-building activities for adults. This game encourages critical thinking and communication skills. There are a couple of different ways to play this game. First, divide the team into smaller groups of no more than five people. Then, give participants a list of several items.
- a pocket knife
- duct tape
- a lighter
- a bucket
- a shovel
The task is for teammates to narrow down the list to only five items.
Another way to play this game is to divide the team into small groups. Then, ask team members to come up with five items they would need on a deserted island. After small groups have come up with their items, have all the groups present their ideas. Both situations require participants to think critically and communicate clearly.
You can play this activity in a large room where team members can socially distance themselves or via Zoom.
Check out more problem-solving games for adults.
Bingo is one of the best socially distanced team building activities for students. Traditional Bingo with letters and numbers is an option. However, customizing your bingo boards is a great way to inspire team members. Using an online generator, fill up Bingo cards with fun options. For example, someone commenting on the weather, the coffee maker is empty, or mentioning last night’s “big game.” Players can work towards five-in-a-row, four corners, or a blackout. You can play Bingo in an open space, encouraging team members to be respectful of space while filling in their cards.
Tower-building is a classic game. In this exercise, teammates receive basic supplies like uncooked spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. Team members then compete to build the tallest tower.
One way to socially distance this activity is to split participants into small groups of 2 to 3 people who already work in close quarters. This approach is a great way to limit exposure. Another option is to have each employee build their tower. Then, all builders should describe what they made and why they chose that model.
In this activity, team members will practice observational skills and effective communication. To play Copycat, divide your team into smaller groups of 3 to 4 participants. Each group needs legos, paper, craft supplies like markers, paint, or building blocks. Next, show one participant from each group a model. This model can be a statue built from legos or blocks, or a drawing or painting. Be sure to keep the shape simple and repeatable.
After seeing the model, the participant returns to the team and instructs them on how to recreate the object. The participant who viewed the model cannot physically help in the building. The team that recreates the structure most accurately wins the game. To make this activity socially distanced, divide the group into pairs and encourage them to keep a safe distance when communicating.
Gratitude is a great way to build up teams remotely or in person. To do a gratitude activity in the office, create a large board or wall for employees to write down reasons for thanks. You can encourage team members to think about personal and professional blessings. The board can be a large poster board or a wall with available sticky notes. For instance, ask employees to list one daily reason for gratitude for a month.
To facilitate Gratitude in a remote setting, set up a Slack channel dedicated to the event. Throughout the month, encourage teammates to post daily reasons to be thankful. Encouraging team members to think about what they are grateful for increases optimism. Furthermore, seeing what other people are thankful for encourages other employees to appreciate their environment.
Check out more office bulletin board ideas.
Trivia nights are fun ways to build teams. Hosting a weekly trivia event is a great way to encourage participation. To plan this activity, choose a day each week where you will send out a brief trivia quiz to the team. For example, send out five questions every Monday at lunch. After giving participants some time to answer, collect and tally the results. You can send out the answers along with scores. Be sure to rotate categories to include the interests of all employees.
8. Show and Tell
Show and Tell is an excellent way for employees to get to know each other better. You can set up monthly or quarterly meetings to host a Show and Tell session. Before each meeting, encourage participants to pick an object representing a unique personal fact and helps their coworkers learn something new about the sharer. For example, an employee might bring a photograph of their white water rafting trip last summer or to-scale models of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Here are more get to know you activities.
9. Group Masterpiece
Creating art together is one of the best socially distant team building activities. There are a couple of ways to organize these events. One way to create a group masterpiece is to set up several blank canvases in a common area along with supplies. Consider water-based paint to make clean-up easier. Then, throughout the day, team members can add their designs to the canvases. The result will be a truly unique collection of abstract pieces that are personal to your office.
Another option would be to provide a large, blank canvas and a classic reference art piece. As employees have time, employees can drop into the area and try to recreate the classic s. Consider dividing the original painting and the blank canvas into corresponding zones to make copying the art easier. Team members will appreciate seeing their collective hard work come together with either option.
At the end of the activity, hang up the paintings so that team members can enjoy the art for the rest of the month.
This exercise is an excellent activity for social distancing as team members can participate one by one as schedules allow.
Check out this list of online group art classes for more options.
10. Team Lunch
Sharing meals encourages relationships between team members. Planning a socially distanced meal takes a little planning, however. Whether your team is remote or in-person, it is possible to arrange a distanced team lunch.
If your team is remote, then you can host a virtual luncheon that you invite team members to once a month or once a quarter. Have some team building ice breakers ready to encourage bonding and communication during lunch. For example, Two Truths and a Lie or Desert Island. We recommend planning a standing appointment, like the first Tuesday of the month. You can keep a Zoom meeting room open for an hour so all participants have a chance to drop in during their lunch break. If your team meets in person, you can host a safe lunch by ensuring the location is big enough to allow social distancing or meeting outside.
Here is a guide to doing team lunches remotely.
11. Fitness Class
Physical exercise is essential for healthy bodies. Allowing team members time to care for their health will create a positive work environment. There are many ways to include physical activity into the team building schedule. For example, a brief, 10-minute yoga session after lunch is a great way to encourage healthy habits. Or, you can schedule a weekly or bi-weekly half-hour or hour-long session for a more robust workout. These sessions can be with a leader in person or from a video. There are many free options on YouTube to follow.
If your team uses Slack, then Donut is an extension that encourages “virtual water-cooler conversations.” To use Donut, download the extension to a Slack channel. Then, the app will pair up teammates for a 30-minute conversation. Be sure to encourage participants to steer clear of work-related talk. The goal of these conversations is for teammates to get to know each other.
13. Dance Party
Dance parties are great socially distant team building activities. If your team is remote, then hosting a dance party can be as simple as playing a couple of songs at the end of a meeting. Be sure to encourage all participants to let loose, as no one is judging their abilities. If your team meets in person, then randomly choose a time to play one or two songs. Employees can get up and dance at their desks. Either way, team members will get their blood pumping and burn off a little energy.
Here is a list of motivational songs for work.
Meditation has many benefits, including increasing self-awareness, reducing stress and negativity, and increasing patience and creativity. Hosting a meditation session for your team can create a more productive atmosphere and improve morale. To plan a meditation session, encourage team members to turn down their lights, find a comfortable position, and focus. An office can enhance the atmosphere by lighting candles and turning down the overhead lights.
Check out more employee wellness ideas.
15. Book Club
Book Clubs are creative ways to build relationships and learn about new topics. You can choose a variety of fiction and non-fiction books to allow readers to help readers build knowledge of different topics. You can host Books Clubs either in person or virtually. To consider team members’ schedules, you can schedule meetings either monthly or quarterly. To encourage more participation, ask team members to volunteer to host different months. The host can choose the book and organize questions to facilitate a productive discussion. You can provide snacks and drinks, as well.
For reading recommendations, check out these lists of books for work.
16. Never Have I Ever
While you might know this as a drinking game, there is a way to make Never Have I Ever work-appropriate. To play this game at work, prepare a pre-made list of items like “Never have I ever eaten oysters.” Or ask team members to come up with statements on the spot. To start, give each participant 5 points. Each time a player is guilty of a “Never Have I Ever” deed, they lose a point. At the end of the game, whichever player has the most remaining points wins.
Here is a list of work-safe Never Have I Ever prompts.
17. Two Truths and a Lie
This classic game is a fantastic way to build camaraderie in your team. To play, ask each participant to come up with three statements. Two of these statements must be true, and one must be a lie. To keep the game interesting, encourage teammates to develop unique facts that coworkers do not know about them. For example, I have met a former president, I have gone skydiving, and I’m allergic to egg whites.
Check out more question games to play in groups.
18. Murder Mystery
During a Murder Mystery, participants must work together to find the identity of the murderer based on clues and riddles during the event. The purpose of a murder mystery is to develop relationships and practice essential skills, like communication and critical thinking. There are also many fun scenarios, like art heists or prison breaks. You can host murder mysteries online or do socially distanced versions in person. Be sure to use a large room, or consider hosting the event outside.
Here is a list of online murder mystery games.
19. Praise Train
It is no secret that praise is beneficial to the receiver by encouraging and uplifting them. However, many folks struggle to accept praise. Praise Train is an activity that encourages teammates to both give and receive praise. To start a praise train by complimenting a coworker. Then, urge the receiver to compliment another team member. You can encourage team members to base their compliments on work performance. As the praise train gets going, engagement will increase. This activity is a fantastic way to team build safely and socially distanced. You can either gather your team in a large room or create a praise wall where team members can write down praises for their coworkers. Then, leave the board displayed.
Check out more office bulletin board ideas.
20. Spelling Bee
To build up your team, consider hosting a Spelling Bee. During a meeting, divide your team into small groups. Then, use an online generator to find long words. You can take the game up a notch by only giving challenging words. For example, Floccinaucinihilipilification is the estimation of something without value. Team members should work together to come up with the closest spelling.
You can play Ambassadors virtually or in person. This game is one of the best socially distanced team building activities for students. To play Ambassadors, assign each participant a different country. Then, ambassadors interact with each other. The game’s goal is for teammates to guess the identity of the other countries. But, the ambassador cannot mention their country by name. Participants can ask questions about the country, like “What type of food is your country famous for?” The ambassador can also volunteer information about their country. Team members then try to guess which country each ambassador represents. The employee who correctly guesses the most countries wins.
22. Team Playlist
Music is one of the best ways to encourage creativity and lift the mood. Using Spotify or other music streaming services, create a playlist based on input from the whole team. Teammates can listen to the playlist throughout the day and see a little more of each other’s personalities. You can even turn the activity into a game by challenging teammates to guess which coworker contributed to each song. Creating a group playlist encourages collaboration and creative thinking.
For inspiration, here is a list of team building songs.
23. 50 States Challenge
This 50 States Challenge tests team members’ geography knowledge. To play this game, give each participant a blank map of America with state outlines. Then, set a time limit for 20 to 30 minutes and see which teams or players can fill in the map first or which players have the most correct answers when the time is up.
You can also play the game with items like countries, capital cities, rivers, or famous landmarks.
Socially distant team building activities are essential to creating a positive work environment. Team members can safely participate in activities that promote bonding and collaboration. Whether your workforce is remote, hybrid, or in-office, these games can encourage communication, team building, fun for participants.