December 23, 2020

Ten team games for working remotely

It’s been a long year. Here’s how to help make the next few months a little more fun for your team.

4 min read

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve read about how teams across the world have had to adapt to working from home, the toll it’s taken on people’s well-being, and more. With 2020 coming to a close, rather than re-emphasising how team activities and bonding contribute to organisational well-being, we thought we would share what we at IDR have been doing for the same.

Here are ten team activities and games that have helped us bond, decompress, and get some non-work related face time with our colleagues.

1. Treasure hunt
  • What it is: A virtual scavenger hunt where team members have to solve a clue, find the related household object, take a selfie with it, and share it with the group. The fastest selfie wins.
  • How to play: Download the rules and clues, appoint a host for the game, and you’re ready. (You can see how our version of the game panned out here.)

Related article: Remote working: Are you ready for the new normal?

2. Online Pictionary
  • What it is: Each team member takes turns drawing out simple prompts, while the rest of the team has to guess what they are drawing. The first one to guess correctly, wins points.
  • How to play: Scribbl is a website that lets you host ‘private’ Pictionary sessions so you and your team can play and compete together, virtually.
3. Team quiz
  • What it is: Create interactive quizzes on any number of topics (we created one on protests around the world, on the city of Mumbai, and on inside team jokes) and see who gets the most answers right.
  • How to play: Kahoot is a website that lets you create quizzes for free. It even allows you to add photographs and background music.
4. Interactive riddles
  • What it is: Create a list of 10-15 riddles, the answer to each of which is an object. For example, what is black when clean and white when dirty? (answer: A blackboard.) Each team member has to solve the riddle, draw out the answer, and send a photograph of the same on the group. Fastest text wins!
  • How to play: Download easy riddles to get your team started.

Wellbeing feature image_Raw Pixel

Team activities and games help colleagues bond and get some non-work related face time with each other. | Picture courtesy: Rawpixel

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5. Caption the photograph
  • What it is: Each team member sends a photograph of themselves in (ideally, one in which they have a funny/interesting expression). The host of the game shares one photo at a time with the team, and everyone has to send in captions for the image. The person whose photograph it is chooses the winner for every round.
  • How to play: Check out our teams’ version of the game here.
6. Describe and draw the ideal vacation
  • What it is: Pair everyone in your team up (groups of three work too). Each team member has to privately describe their ideal vacation, while their partner draws it out. Later, when the entire team meets over Zoom, partners share their drawings. The rest of the team has to guess what the drawing says about the person’s ideal vacation, and partners can share what they learned about each other through the process.
  • Pro-tip: Let people know a few days in advance so they have time to chat with each other. Also, you can see our version of this game here.
7. Aliens have landed
  • What it is: Imagine that aliens have landed on Earth. They don’t understand the language your team speaks but are curious about you. The goal is to communicate and describe your colleagues to them—through images alone.
  • How to play: Divide your team into two groups. Turn by turn, each one will choose someone from their group to describe to the ‘aliens’ (the other group). Draw out or find online three pictures that best describe this individual and present it to the aliens. These can be anything—a picture of trees if they like the outdoors, of the college they went to, or of their favourite sport. Here’s where it gets interesting (read: Competitive). The aliens get to pick three words or phrases they think you will use to describe the individual. If any of their words or phrases align with the images you show them, you don’t get points.
8. Take a picture with something that…
  • What it is: Create a list of objects that have universal meaning. For example, something you use every day, something you can’t sleep without, and so on. One object at a time, team members can take a picture with each thing on the list and share it with the rest of the group. The quickest picture wins. Bonus points if an item is different from what everyone else shared. More than winning, this helps team members discover their colleagues’ quirks!
  • How to play: Download a few questions to get you started here.
9. Team-centric Zoom games
  • What it is: These games can take a number of forms, three of our favourites are:

1. Who is most likely to: Create a list of action-based scenarios, get onto a video call and let team members decide who fits the bill for each scenario. (For example, who is most likely to fall asleep during team drinks/dinner?

2. Childhood memories: Ask everyone to share a childhood memory with the host of the game, privately. Then get onto a video call, read aloud one memory at a time, and let team members guess who it belongs to.

3. Old habits die hard: A game that tests how much team members remember about each other’s habits, after being away from each other. For example, can you remember what somebody’s favourite shoes looked like, or what pickle somebody else always brought to lunch? Compile a list of habits, and let the (attempts at) guessing take place.

10. Secret dessert
  • What it is: Like Secret Santa, but dessert-based, and it can happen at any time of the year. Assign each team member a ‘buddy’ and have them send across a dessert for them. You can have a per-head budget for spending (ours was INR 350). Once the desserts arrive, the team can then meet as a whole to guess who sent what, and of course, to eat together.
  • Pro-tip: Have everyone share food allergies, preferences, and addresses (with landmarks) in advance.


11. Design down-time activities for each other
  • What it is: This isn’t a game so much as it is an activity. Pair team members up and ask them to design a ‘down-time’ activity for their partner. This can range from sharing a walking trail you know someone might like, to trying origami designs, to sending them a new recipe to try out.
  • Pro-tip: This works best over a long weekend or a break. And of course, keep it voluntary and relaxing.

Know more

  • Read about how COVID-19 could lead to a permanent shift towards working from home.
  • Explore the challenges that come with remote working and how to navigate them.
  • Look through more games that remote teams can play to bond and spend time with each other.

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India Development Review

India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online media platform for leaders in the development community. Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis, and lessons from real-world practice.