A 5 minute read written by
In March our team started working remotely, as many other teams did. Suddenly our new norm in communication was slack messages, sub-par video chats, and tagging each other in Trello.
Despite not being able to see each other physically, it was still important for me as a designer that our team was able to communicate well. In creative workshops, I wanted everyone to feel that they could openly share their thoughts. In morning meetings, I strived to create a good atmosphere where everyone felt safe talking to the camera. When prioritizing tasks, I focused on getting everyone to feel that they were being heard. To achieve this, it was beneficial to get to know each other on a personal level, and not just through the tasks we are working on.
So, how do you get to know your team members, despite being spread out across the city, or even across countries? With help from some colleagues, I’ve put together a list of activities that can be carried out in social settings with your team or in other settings to get to know each other better. Of course, to really build trust you should probably dig deeper than these activities, but they are a great way to get started!
⁉️ Host a quiz
Quizzes come in many shapes and sizes. Make a Kahoot quiz with questions about the participants (or choose a premade quiz), host a music quiz from a specific era, or get people in groups and quiz them on a range of categories!
🎮 Play an online game
There are plenty of sites with multi-player games, where Among Us seems to be all the rage right now. Other games include Skribbl (drawing), Placeit (maps), Drawasaurus (drawing), Haxball (soccer) and Geoguesser (geographic discovery game).
👒 Morning dress-up
Choose a theme, such as the 90s, hats, or movie characters, and have everyone dress up! This could be fun to do at stand-ups or morning meetings as a simple, energy-boosting way to start the day.
Traditional charades can easily be played on video. Choose a theme or topic, such as famous actors or Christmas. Each team member acts out a word of their choosing, and the rest of the participants guess what they are acting out either by yelling out or writing in a chat.
🍕 Host a crash course
Teach each other about a topic you’re passionate about! Have one person at a time host a short, online class such as a cooking lesson (pizza dough!), plants 101, how to make cocktails, how to knit, do origami, and so on. If planned ahead of time, the other team members can get what they need to participate, such as ingredients for pizza dough.
🎬 Post a picture of...
To get to know your team members even better, have everyone share various photos from their lives. Make a board in Figma or Miro and write down the titles for as many categories as you want, such as favorite movie, what you had for dinner yesterday, or you as a 5-year-old. Everyone posts photos within the categories. You can do one each day for a month, or do them all in one session.
👨👩👧👧 16 personalities
Each team member takes the “16 personalities” test and reviews their results with each other. Each person could make a short presentation of their results and how they think the results match their personality or have the other team members reflect on their results.
It’s always fun to learn new, random things about each other. Have each person on your team make a 5-minute presentation about.. anything! It can be their cat, a game they like to play, themselves, or their favorite country. They can either make a full-blown keynote or just show something from their flat on video.
🍫 Rate the food item
This activity requires some planning - but is worth it. Choose a food category, such as chocolate or ice cream, and assign each team member to a day. On their specified day, they will present their favorite food item within the category and everyone will taste and rate it. Make an online score-board and rate the item within categories such as taste, smell, feel, and look.
🧘♀️ Stretching session
Find a stretching video on youtube, or have someone on the team guide everyone through a short stretch on video. This is great to do in the middle of the workday, especially if you spend most of the day sitting at a desk.
🎶 Shared playlist
Create a playlist where everyone on the team has to add songs. You can either have a daily category such as “a song from your favorite band” or “a song that reminds you of your teenage years”, or just have everyone add 5 songs they like. This isn’t necessarily an activity that lasts in one session, but is a good way to get to know each other over time.
🏡 Flat crawl
A great way to get to know someone is to see what their home is like. Host a flat crawl, where you take turns showing each other your flats or houses. You can choose one room, or the entire flat, but make sure to put a timer on each person. As a bonus, each person can have a theme in their flat, which can include decorations and a short activity.
🤯 Guess the riddle
Break up team members into groups of 2 or 3, and give them a riddle or two to solve. This can be a quick activity or last for a while depending on the level of the riddles. If a holiday is near, such as Easter or Christmas, you can theme the riddles as well!
👩🎨 Paint n’ Sip
Each team member finds a paper and a pencil (or an easel and paint if feeling fancy) and something to drink. One person is responsible for instructing everyone through a chosen painting step-by-step, although everyone can add their own flair to their painting. If no one wants to be the instructor, you can also rent someone to do this for you.
Bingo can also be played virtually in a variety of ways. If playing traditional bingo, each team member gets a different board with numbers and one person uses a random number generator to pick numbers. The first one with five in a row gets bingo! You can also switch out the numbers with facts, where everyone has to talk to each other to find someone who matches each fact. Or, switch out the numbers with words/names related to your workplace, and write a story about your workplace where everyone has to cross off the word if they hear it in the story.
🤷♀️ Guess who
This activity can be done in many ways - get everyone to send you a fun fact about themselves, a photo from their flat, their favorite food, what they wanted to be when they grew up.. the possibilities are endless! You all guess who is who, before the big reveal, where everyone can share a story about their fact/photo.
🕵️♂️ Scavenger hunt
Have everyone run around their flat looking for an object within a category, where they then have to present it to the others. These categories can be very specific, such as “something to drink” or “a photo of you”, or more abstract such as “something that makes you happy”.