Socially Distanced Team Building

Now that so many teams are remote (intentionally or not), it can be tough to reinforce company culture. After all, there isn’t a lot of bumping into one another. Good team building activities should be inclusive, voluntary, and during work hours. We asked our clients what they’ve been doing to keep the fun and culture alive in their organizations when they can’t all be together in the office. Here’s what they shared with us:

Leaning on Values

Some companies have been leaning hard on their values to spark a sense of community. Wakefield Agency put together a fantastic video of film scenes that exemplify each of their values. It’s a powerful way to attach emotion to the values. With everyone participating in the selection of the film clips, they were also able to have deep discussions about what the values mean to each of them.

Bn3th also turned to its values to strengthen relationships. Different staff have been providing an example of another team member’s behaviour that was in line with one of the values. They then have a contest to see if the activity can be matched to the person that did it.


Fun competitions can be excellent team builders. Fantasy football, hockey pools, NBA picks, even who will be voted off the island on Survivor have been office staples for many years. Now that we have sports again, getting some sort of pool going will appeal to some. Twin Lions likes to bet on everything – even who received the top score in their Advanced Management Training exam.

Several companies we spoke to have started a Friday afternoon Zoom cocktail hour to keep in touch. It’s a lighter side of their company cultures although they’ve gone so far as instituting cocktail recipe challenges. Of course, no one gets to taste, but they can be graded on originality of recipe, how delicious they sound, and how good they look.


How about a game at lunch? Trivia contests, particularly when teams are set so people have to work together, and simple online games of Monopoly, Risk, or Settlers of Catan can all be welcome distractions that break up the workday.

The uptick in the number of adults playing Animal Crossing and even Roblox has been an interesting side-effect of the pandemic. Even a quick round of Words with Friends can help keep people connected. 

Virtual Water Cooler

Posting a “Would You Rather” question on a team channel (e.g. Would you rather never get something stuck in your teeth again or never get a paper cut again?) and sending out polls that allow people to vote is one tactic Lux Insights hit upon.

Selecting a book, TV show, movie, or podcast that everyone can explore and then come together to discuss on Microsoft Teams or Slack is another way to share a common experience. If the team is small enough and the weather mild, a socially distanced picnic might be the perfect setting to discuss the latest best seller.

Learning and Teaching

In March, Anna (on our team) taught us all to make amazing triple ginger cookies. She distributed the recipe a week in advance so we had time to procure the ingredients and then we all cooked together following her lead. Yum!

Teams have also come together to learn skills directly applicable to their jobs in our leadership development programs. Learning the concepts at the same time allows them to discuss the specific applicability in their environments and coach each other to try new techniques or tweak existing habits.

We may not be as close physically as we once were, but when have we ever allowed so many co-workers into our homes? Whether you’re working at the kitchen table or in a park, observing coworkers in their natural environments has been a great way to deepen connections. Anything else? Leave your thoughts in the comments to help others figure out this team thing. We’re all in this together.

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Written By:
Tara Landes

Tara Landes is the Founder and President of Bellrock. She has spent over 20 years consulting and training in small to medium-sized enterprises. A sought-after speaker on a wide range of business topics, Tara has delivered workshops and seminars at conferences and industry associations across Canada. Tara obtained a BA (Honours) in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and earned an MBA from UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business.

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