14 Work from Home Activities for Employees

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July 08, 2020

Here is our list of unique work from home activities for employees.

Work from home activities are virtual activities, games, and challenges you can do when working remotely. These activities are a great way to stay engaged and connected with your co-workers anywhere in the world. Working from home has its benefits, but there’s always the risk of developing “stay in bed,” syndrome. To combat this challenge, here are some suggestions to stay active, alert, and connected!

This list includes:

  • work from home team activities
  • work from home engagement activities
  • employee engagement activities during work from home
  • work from home team building activities

And other fun activities to do with coworkers 🙂

So, here is the list!

List of work from home activities

Connect with your remote colleagues by sharing your favorite books. Develop your brain by finally taking that master class. Set goals for developing a healthier lifestyle. Check out these work from home activities!

1. Hometown Tour

Hometown Tour is an activity where you share your hometown nostalgia with your remote co-workers. Whether you are from a big city or a small town, everyone has a favorite place to go that makes each person feel at home.

Coworkers having a fun conversation.

Here is how this activity works:

  1. Have everyone on your team pick a hometown place that feels special. You can pick anything. The local barber, a coffee shop, a 24 hour diner, or the Wendy’s parking lot you used to go to when you would cut class in high school… or is that just me?
  2. At the start of each meeting, choose one or two people from your team. Then, each person shares with the group about a favorite local haunt.
  3. Each share out can be two or three minutes long, and people can talk about:
    • What it means to them
    • The story behind the chosen local place
    • What makes it unique to their hometown
    • Or anything else that makes it personal!

You can choose whether you want to talk about the place where you grew up or where you currently live. Either way, this sharing exercise is one of our favorite work from home team activities. Hometown Tour a great way to learn something more about your co-workers. Your teammates are not just an email and a video-conferencing square; each person lives in an actual place, too!

2. Exercise Challenge

Exercise Challenge is a way to stay fit and committed to a healthy lifestyle with your remote co-workers. Here is how this activity works:

  1. Set a goal as a team for the amount of time you all want to exercise per day.
  2. Keep each other posted on your progress.
  3. When you’ve all met a certain minimum, reward yourself with a big ice cream- you deserve it 🙂

Exercise has associated benefits for health, wellness and productivity; so this challenge can be very win-win.

3. Tea and Coffee Club

Tea and Coffee Club is one of those work from home activities that mixes up your daily beverage routine. Are you tired of the same old coffee and tea day in and day out? Try changing up your routine with a personalized coffee and tea club. You can do this activity alone or with a team.

Colleagues having tea and coffee together.

Here are some tips:

  1. Give yourself a budget of how much you are willing to spend, and then branch out to see what options are out there!
  2. Set aside some time to research some alternative beverage choices, and not just the cheap stuff.
  3. Go online and find some new varieties of tea and coffee to order and switch it up once a month or so. You can still keep your favorites around, but also add some other choices to the mix.

Here is a fun variation of this idea to focus on work from home team building activities. Set up a system where your co-workers can order a surprise new coffee or tea for you, and vice versa. When the beverages arrive, then you can do a virtual taste testing. Talk about the new flavors, what you like, and what you don’t like.

This activity is a simple way to add some variation and spice to your daily routine, and bond with your teammates over mutual love of caffeine! But also, make sure you check if there are any caffeine abstainers in your crew, you don’t want those people to feel left out.

4. Essential Oils

Essential oils are infusions of different herbs, plants, and minerals that have been designed to smell great. Different scents can have all sorts of effects on our moods, which is especially important when working from home. Have each team order a set of essential oils and experiment with these oils during different parts of the day. Lemon and mint are great for staying awake, while rosemary and lavender can help you calm down.

Here is a list of the best essential oils by Well & Good.

5. Meditation Group

Meditation group is a way to develop a greater awareness of the world around you. Studies show that even just ten minutes of meditation a day can have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. What do you do when you are taking a 15-minute break? Instead of scrolling through social media, try ten minutes of meditation. Set up a commitment with your teammates that you’ll do it for at least ten minutes each day, five times per week, for three weeks. Just enough to build a habit. You can meet once a week and discuss your progress, and even keep a journal to keep track of how it’s going.

There are plenty of apps out there that offer guided meditations. One of our favorite sources is Mingyur Rinpoche. Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who has spent plenty of time in retreat in the Himalayas. He also spends a lot of time talking with professors and scientists about the benefits of meditation. As a teacher, Rinpoche is funny, relatable, and authentic, and has plenty of free videos online. You can check out the intro to meditation video.

6. Photography Club

Photography Club is a fun way to share some of your favorite artistic personal photographs with your remote co-workers.

Here is how Photography Club works:

  1. Pick a weekly or monthly theme. The theme can be simple like, “pets,” or “nature,” and create a dedicated channel for your most artistic photographs.
  2. If you want to add a dash of competition, then hold an anonymous vote at the end of the period to choose the best snaps.

While social media is fun, it feels special to be taking photos for a select group of people.

7. Book (or Movie) Club

A Book or Movie Club is a classic way to feed your mind and get exposed to some great media and great conversation and is part of our list of other fun activities do with coworkers. When is the last time you read a book… yes, a real, actual book? Computers help us do everything faster, but staring at the screen all day can tire out our eyes. Studies have shown that reading something on the printed page actually helps us to absorb content better than if it were on a screen. This effect is why book devices like the Kindle are so useful. If you are looking for employee engagement activities during work from home periods, then try starting a book club!

Start by asking your co-workers what kind of book they would like to read. Maybe you would like to read something that helps with skill building for work. Maybe you would like to do a deep dive with the latest non-fiction or popular science story. Or, you could tickle your imagination with the latest crime novel. How about a collection of fantasy short stories? For teams looking for a quicker, unconventional read, you could even try out graphic novels or comic book anthologies!

Here are some tips for starting your own remote book club:

  1. Find out the kind of books you and your co-workers want to read. Then, let people vote on a choice that everyone is excited about. Pick a book and format that people will be interested in! You want people to be enthusiastic, not look at the activity as another assignment or chore. Send out an online survey that lets people vote on suggestions for genres and titles. If you want to make the choice in several steps, then you can get suggestions from the whole group, or propose a list yourself.
  2. Decide on a schedule that works for everyone. We recommend two weeks on, one week off. Everyone has a busy life, so make sure you pick a pace that is going to fit into peoples’ responsibilities. Instead of powering through the book club as quickly as possible, try taking your time to enjoy it. Discuss two to three chapters at a time each time you meet, depending on the length of the book. Also, keep the meetings relatively short; usually about an hour is best. You want people to leave wanting more, not checking their watches!
  3. Rotate who is holding the meetings each week. That person can lead the discussion, keep time, and provide prompts for conversation.
  4. Celebrate! When you’ve made it through the entire book, do an online celebration! Play music, make food, or, if you are extra nerdy, dress up as one of the characters. Take screenshots of your meeting and post them on your community work channel to feel a sense of accomplishment. It is a big deal to read a book!
    If you prefer to not read books, then you can do this activity with movies and TV shows, but at least choose a literary adaptation. And yes, comic books can count as literature 🙂

8. Home Garden

Home garden is a work from home activity that combines clean air, remote-community support, and a green thumb.

Here is how it works:

  1. Find a group of co-workers to commit to starting up a simple home garden. Pick the kind of plants you want to grow.
  2. Then, track your weekly progress by sharing pictures of those adorable baby sprouts.
  3. Keep in mind that you might be in different climates! You might want to go for plants that are easy to grow indoors and that improve air quality.

Once your seeds have grown to full on plants, you can start a new fun game that my coworker Michael likes to call, “Keep them alive.”

9. Computer Desktop Hygiene

Computer desktop hygiene is an often overlooked part of self-organization, and seldom found in lists of work from home activities. Everyone knows you feel better when you wash the dishes and make the bed, but what about cleaning up your desktop? We get it: sometimes things can get a little out of control. But when you are working from home, it is often hard to find the motivation to do the deep clean you know your computer needs.

Here is our suggestion: do this cleanup in small sized chunks. No need to go on a cleaning spree and do it all at once!

Specifically:

  1. Dedicate ten or so minutes every day to organizing your computer files so you can get that desktop sparkling clean.
  2. If you work with a remote team, then set up a channel where you let each other know when you complete the task.
  3. When everyone on the team has finished, give yourself a reward like a nice bar of chocolate or even an Amazon gift card.

Your brain and your computer speed will thank you!

10. Recipe Share

Recipe Share is a way to share your most delicious specialties with your remote colleagues. Not everyone is a gourmet chef, but everyone has a specialty! Mine is grilled cheese and instant ramen. Start up a recipe share between you and your co-workers. You can even give the experience themes like “baked goods,” “Under 30 minutes,” “Eat like a child,” or even “Unhealthy.” Take a picture of your finished creations and share them out with your co-workers!

11. Tomato Timer

Tomato Timer is a simple app that might change the way you work. The app is called “Tomato timer” because it is inspired by the Pomodoro technique. Tomato breaks up your working time into 25 minute periods of non-distraction. NO MULTITASKING for 25 minutes. After that time is up, the app times a five minute break. Repeat the process until you reach two hours, and then take a longer break of about 20 minutes.

Seriously, this system transformed the way I work and upped my productivity while working from home. The head of a major Buddhist university in Taiwan recommended this app to me; he is a monk with decades of experience in meditation and mindfulness. How I met that monk is another story, however, I figure if he thinks the best way to work is to only focus for 25 minutes at a time, then I should give it a shot!

You can even set up a schedule with a few co-workers to see how the technique helps boost focus and productivity. But remember: no multitasking, and when the time for your five minute break rolls around, take an actual break!

12. “Who da baby?”

“Who da baby?” is another one of our favorite employee engagement activities during work from home periods that will make you go “awww.”

Toddler sitting at a computer.

For this activity:

  1. Have your coworkers anonymously share out a baby photo from anywhere from age zero to three.
  2. Put the photos in a folder and see if you can guess who is who. The experience is often hilarious to see how little people change!
  3. For an added bonus, add an element of competition to see who guesses the most correctly!

This activity is a fun way to connect with your colleagues over a shared heritage of embarrassing baby photos.

13. Extra Credit

Extra Credit is an activity that can build your knowledge and keep you engaged. You may not be in school anymore, but there is always more to learn! If you are looking for ways to feed your intellectual curiosity and for more work from home engagement activities, then try what we call “extra credit.”

Each month, choose a topic of interest that you and your team can research together. The topic can be something related to your line of work, but in an unexpected way. For example, if you work for an online marketing company, you can research color theory and the ways color can affect mood.

Or, branch out and learn about something you’ve never done before. You can even go completely random. Try “Library of Alexandria” for a historical take. It is never too late to feed your brain and learn something new.

Open up a Slack channel where you can share whatever fun and useful facts you find. Then, at the start of team meetings, go around and do a lightning round of share outs of the most interesting and useful tidbits you discovered.

Or, try a deeper dive with one person. You will be surprised with how often a seemingly unrelated topic can help enrich what you are doing at work!

For a fun variation, you can gamify your Extra Credit research by creating trivia. Then, each person comes up with a question to ask the group at the start of your meetings.

14. Virtual Show and Tell

Virtual Show and Tell is a great way to find out more about what your co-workers have lying around the house. This experience is one of our favorite work from home team activities. During a meeting, have people show off an important object in their home and explain why. You will learn more about your co-workers and Show & Tell is a light and easy way to break up long online meetings when it is difficult to pay attention.

More work from home activities

Are you looking for activities for you and your team to enjoy while working from home? Consider our list of 28 Online Team Building Games for Remote Employees.

There are plenty of ways to keep engaged while you are working from home, so get creative and go with what is engaging and fun. Each team is different, even remote ones. But, the more you feel like you are working with other actual human beings, the happier and more connected you will be!

FAQ: Work from home activities

Here are some questions people usually ask about these activities.

What are work from home activities?

Work from home activities are different ways to mix up the daily experience when you are working from home. These activities can give your eyes and brain a rest, and make sure you and your chair have some healthy time apart.

What are the benefits of work from home activities?

Participating in these activities can help you feel fresh, engaged, and connected when you are working from home with a remote team.

What are some good work from home engagement activities?

Good activities can feed your mind, engage your body, and make you feel more linked to your co-workers. Even if those co-workers are on the other side of the country or the world. The main goal is to create shared, human experiences! Book clubs, health challenges, and knowledge shares are all great work from home team building activities. Try these activities out to feel more engaged when you are working from home.

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Author: TeamBuilding

teambuilding.com is a leading authority on team building and engagement at work. We are a little obsessed with company culture.

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Comments & Reactions ✨
  1. Laurie Melamed
    June 17, 2020 at 1:03 am

    I absolutely love the concept. I think that team building is an extremely important part of creating a positive working environment.

    Reply
  2. Laurie Melamed
    June 17, 2020 at 1:06 am

    I would try zoom truth or dare. This could be interesting but must be clean of course!

    Reply
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