You found our list of the best virtual team challenges for remote teams.
Virtual team challenges are online competitions and goal-setting exercises where teammates try to achieve a goal within a set amount of time. For example, drink five glasses of water throughout the workday or take 5,000 steps a day. The purpose of these activities is to promote team bonding while also encouraging remote team members to adopt healthy and productive habits.
This list includes:
- funny virtual team challenges
- free virtual team challenges
- virtual team challenge ideas
- virtual team building challenges
- virtual team fitness challenges
Let’s get to it!
List of virtual team challenges
Here is a list of challenge ideas to motivate virtual teams and add a sense of fun to online offices.
1. Water Drinking Challenge
This challenge helps team members stay hydrated. To begin the challenge, first pick a day to compete. Next, post a message in a companywide Slack channel calling for employees to drink at least 5 glasses of water throughout the day. Respond to the message with 5 water droplet emojis or the emojis for the numbers 1 to 5, and then tell participants to click the corresponding emoji upon finishing a glass of water. The employees who drink all five glasses win the challenge, and you can randomly pick one of these names to receive a prize.
Doing this challenge regularly encourages employees to keep drinking fluids even when their pride is not on the line.
GIF-Offs are funny virtual team challenges for online teams. In this contest, teammates face off to find the best moving picture to illustrate an idea. For example, “me before a deadline,” “trying to get a new client,” or “my first day vs now.” To do this challenge, first install the Giphy Slack extension. Then, post the prompt in a Slack channel, and encourage teammates to reply within the thread. Team members can respond to entries with emojis, and at the end of the day the post with the best reactions wins.
Check out this list of more Slack apps.
3. Daily Step Challenge
Daily step challenges are one of the easiest virtual team fitness challenges. Simply make it a company wide goal for every employee to reach at least 5,000 steps every day. Participants can monitor progress using a pedometer, fitness device, or an app on their phone. To track team progress, make a spreadsheet where team members can log daily steps. At the end of one month, you can tally how many steps team members completed both individually and as a group, and for extra fun can convert those steps to miles and see how much distance the group covered.
4. Inbox Zero Challenge
Inbox Zero Challenge is an organization challenge. The point of the exercise is for every employee to end each week with a clutter free inbox. Employees do not need to necessarily reply to each message, but must at least sort or label the emails so that come Monday, the junk is gone and workers have a calm mind and a clear sense of direction.
Teammates can signal that they have completed the weekly challenge by dropping an emoji in a Slack thread or checking a box on a shared spreadsheet.
5. Pomodoro Sessions
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method where practitioners work in 25 minute increments followed by a four minute break. Usually, after four cycles, workers take a longer 15 minute break. You and your team can complete Pomodoro sessions in solidarity. First, create a Slack channel or thread for the activity. Then have a group leader announce each break or workblock via a post, and ask participants to signal success by replying with an emoji.
Focus can be a challenge when working from home, and this activity creates accountability and helps to keep telecommuters on task.
Here is a list of free online Pomodoro timers to help with this activity.
6. Language Challenge
Language challenges are learning challenges that help teammates build foregin language conversation skills. To do this activity, first have teammates download a language learning app like Duolingo. Next, ask each participant to choose a language, and to practice fifteen minutes every day.
Teammates do not have to choose the same language, however if they do, you can end the activity by having a meeting to practice speaking.
As a bonus, employees may choose to keep the daily streak going and keep learning even after the challenge ends.
7. Typing Races
Typing races are one of the best free virtual team challenges. To play this game, have teammates go to typingtest.com and complete the one minute test, then screenshot their scores and share the results in a Slack thread. If you do this challenge regularly, then you can watch employees’ typing skills improve.
8. Clean Desk Challenge
Clean desk challenges encourage employees to keep working spaces tidy. For the duration of the challenge, participants must keep their desks and surrounding areas clean for every Zoom meeting. Each meeting will begin with cameras pointing towards the desks to prove the area is all clear. Participants should also temporarily take down their virtual backgrounds to prove that the clutter is not just offscreen.
This exercise encourages employees to regularly straighten up their spaces and keep work areas orderly so that they can work more efficiently.
9. Healthy Eating Challenge
During healthy eating challenges, teammates come together to eat better. At the beginning of the challenge, each participant chooses a goal, for instance, eating at least three servings of vegetables a day, meal prepping twice a week, or trying veganism. Teammates will input their individual goals onto a team tracker spreadsheet, and will check off or shade a box for each day they complete their goal.
You can celebrate the completion of the challenge by hosting a healthy virtual team lunch.
Note: Diet culture can be damaging for individuals who have struggled with eating disorders. To avoid inadvertently triggering an unhealthy mindset, focus the challenge on adding healthier foods into daily diets rather than redistricting foods.
10. Check-In Challenge
Check-in challenges are one of the best virtual team building challenges. This activity encourages teammates to regularly engage with other employees. The individual nature of remote work can be isolating and can make it harder for coworkers to form bonds. Many teammates do not interact with each other unless working together directly. The check-in challenge gives teammates an opportunity to reach out to every other member of the team.
To do the challenge, first provide each participant with a full list of team members. Throughout the course of a month, participants must connect with every teammate one-on-one at least once. The contact can consist of a simple Slack hello, a ten minute Zoom coffee break, or email forwarding an interesting article or wholesome video.
This exercise gets remote teammates interacting on a regular basis and can help the group grow closer.
For inspiration, here is a list of employee check in questions.
11. Virtual Office Olympics
Virtual Office Olympics is a competition where teams square off in a series of remote challenges to earn digital medals and bragging rights. Participants break off into teams, each representing a different nation, and compete for points in exercises like living room golf, home office bowling, trivia, and scavenger hunt. At the end of the games, the team with the most collective points wins the gold and the glory.
Check out this guide to doing virtual office Olympics.
12. Bucket List Challenge
The bucket list challenge encourages employees to step outside their comfort zones and try new experiences. At the start of the challenge, each participant receives or makes a list of “bucket list” items to complete within 30 days. These tasks should be out-of-the-ordinary yet doable.
Examples might include:
- Ride a mechanical bull
- Try Boba tea
- Catch up with a college buddy
- Take a day trip
- Run two miles
Employees keep track of the tasks accomplished, and at the end of the month the group comes together on a Zoom call to talk about their experiences.
13. Recreate the Photo Challenge
The Recreate the Photo Challenge is one of the most fun virtual team challenge ideas. In this activity, teammates pose for a re-enactment of a famous photo or an older personal photo. Contestants post the before and after side by side in a gallery, such as a Slack thread, Google Drive, or social media photo album. Other teammates can cast votes for which teammate took the funniest or most creative photo, and the winner earns a prize.
14. Virtual Fitness Challenge
Virtual team fitness challenges encourage employees to become more physically active. At the beginning of the challenge, each participant decides on goals. These goals can be static, for example, walk one mile each day, or progressive, such as lifting heavier weights each week. Each team member can personalize their goal according to their time and ability, however all participants benefit from the team support and solidarity. Team members track their progress on a shared spreadsheet by making a mark for each day active. The visibility of the tracker holds participants accountable to exercise, and the daily movement helps offset the sedentary lifestyle of working from home.
15. Cooking Challenge
Cooking challenges inspire participants to try different recipes. Either pick a cookbook to follow, or create a collection of recipes. You can ask employees to submit recipes, and then choose the most popular or most interesting options. Over the course of a month or a quarter, participants must attempt each recipe at least once. Chefs can post pictures of the finished products in a Slack thread or photo album. You can assign recipes to certain days, or allow team members to choose a minimum number of dishes to make from the list throughout the month. The latter option is useful if you have folks with different dietary needs.
You should aim to do at least one recipe a week, however you can up the ante and strive for a dish a day if feeling ambitious. You can even have different tiers of the challenge so that more time-strapped team members can still participate.
At the end of the challenge, you can host a team dinner where attendees re-make and enjoy their favorite dishes of the challenge.
For inspiration, here is a list of online group cooking classes.
16. Kindness Challenge
Kindness challenges inspire teammates to do good deeds for each other and the wider world. At the start of the challenge, give each player a checklist of kind acts.
- Hold the door open
- Give 5 compliments
- Write a thank you note
- Make something for someone
- Support a good idea
- Give a high five
- Spend time with a friend or relative
- Snuggle an animal
- Do an anonymous nice deed
Participants must complete the list within a certain time frame, for example, one week or one month. Be sure to include virtual acts of kindness that coworkers can do for each other, and feel free to tailor the tasks to fit the job.
This challenge encourages participants to be more kind and considerate towards the wider world, and doing good for others can help the team feel good about themselves.
17. Trivia Tournament
Trivia tournaments are one of the most fun virtual team building challenges. During these events, team members regularly meet for online quizzes. Players compete in teams, and the leader keeps track of the points earned by each team and awards the winners at the end of each quarter.
Groups can play trivia together live on a Zoom call, can play in an online game website or app, or the leader can post a new trivia question in a Slack channel at the same time every day, and the first correct answer wins a point.
Check out this guide to virtual trivia.
18. Reading Challenge
Reading challenges encourage teammates to finish more books. Since reading can take time, this challenge works best over a longer period of time such as a quarter or a year. At the start of the challenge, teammates make or receive a book list, and pledge to read a certain number of books. Then, teammates update each other on their progress by posting in Slack, on Trello, or on a shared spreadsheet. The team can make a master book list, and can suggest titles for teammates and leave comments on the tracker.
You can also hold virtual book club meetings where teammates can meet up on Zoom to discuss a shared read.
If short on time, then you can amend the activity to articles instead of full books. However, allowing participants to pick their own number of books to read is another way to involve employees with varying levels of free time.
For reading recommendations, check out these lists of books.
19. Remote Minute to Win It
Remote minute to win it games are short physical challenges teammates can do together on Zoom calls. Each round lasts a maximum of sixty seconds. Examples of games include moving a cookie from your face to your forehead without using your hands or trying to toss a paper ball into a mug as many times as possible. You can play in teams, with each team choosing one representative to play each round. At the end of the challenges, the team or individual with the most points wins. Since the games are short, these challenges make great meeting icebreakers or re-energizers for remote teams.
Check out this full list of remote minute to win it games.
20. Closest Without Going Over
Closest Without Going Over is a virtual game similar to The Price is Right. Participants must guess a number, and the answer that is closest but still under is the winner. You can make the prompt a company specific subject, such as “the number of new 5 star reviews this month” or “combined sales for the quarter.” Or, you can pick a more random topic, for example, “square feet for the world record for biggest pizza,” “date that the first commercial Valentine was sold,” or “number of half-drunk cans of seltzer near my desk”
21. Online Finds
Online finds are a type of virtual scavenger hunt where teammates compete to offer the best submission on a chosen topic. To kick off the challenge, post the prompt by naming a shared folder with the category, launching an email thread, starting a new topic on a company forum, or posting on Slack. Examples might include “cringey family portraits,” “this hits me right in the childhood,” or “that’s going to be an awkward conversation to have with grandma.” Participants scour the web to find photos, memes, videos, and Tweets that fit the theme, then post the responses. Once submissions are in, the group votes on the funniest find, or the leader names a winner.
For more tips, check out this list for doing virtual scavenger hunts.
22. Charity Challenge
Charity challenges inspire teammates to do good for the wider community. At the start of the activity, each participant pledges to raise a certain amount of money or volunteer a certain amount of hours for an organization. Team members can raise funds as a group, or individually. Participants can track progress in a spreadsheet or project management tool, and can include photos and reflections as well. At the end of the event, celebrate the results.
For inspiration, check out this list of virtual fundraising ideas.
Online challenges can be a way to inspire friendly competition among coworkers, or can be a way to build a community and a sense of support for reaching goals. Tracking progress publicly holds team members accountable and makes positive behavior change more successful. These exercises put remote teams into a performance mindset and give teammates a topic to talk about and a reason to check in with each other. Not to mention, these challenges can be a way to inject extra fun and purpose into a virtual office.
Next, check out these lists of quick team building activities for conference calls and virtual diversity and inclusion exercises.
We also have a list of the best virtual team energizers for work.
FAQ: Virtual team challenges
Here are answers to common questions about virtual team challenges.
What are virtual team challenges?
Virtual team challenges are informal online contests where teammates try to accomplish a goal over a set amount of time.
What are some good virtual team challenges for online offices?
Some good virtual team challenges for online offices include the water drinking challenge, the check-in challenge, GIF-offs, virtual fitness challenges, Pomodoro sessions, and the recreate the photo challenge.
How do you do a virtual team challenge?
To do a virtual team challenge, first come up with a goal, such as raising a certain amount of money for charity, drinking a minimum number of glasses of water per day, or achieving inbox zero. Next, come up with a timeframe.Then, make a tracker where participants can post updates, such as a Slack channel or a shared spreadsheet. Finally, explain the rules to the group and start the challenge. Be sure to check in regularly, and celebrate everyone’s achievements at the end of the event.
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