5 Fun Work from Home Challenges for Teams

October 02, 2020

You found our list of fun work from home challenges for teams.

Work from home challenges are competitions amongst remote team members that can span over a week, a month, or as long as you like. These challenges are a great way to cut through the monotony working from home often brings – from bed to work, and from work to bed – by encouraging new hobbies, exercise, and of course, a sense of competition between coworkers.

Many of these challenges do double duty as virtual team building activities.

This list of ideas includes:

  • the best work from home challenges
  • fun work from home challenges
  • work from home team challenges

And more 🙂

So, here is the list!

List of work from home challenges

Whether your team prefers getting out into the sunshine or finally using gifted bake-ware, we have got a work from home challenge for you!

1. Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5

Everyone knows the hardest part about exercise is having the motivation to actually get up and get outside. However, you can find that motivation by combining a good cause with forcing your coworkers to sweat with you. This challenge invites each team member to run 5k, donate $5, and then nominate five more of their coworkers to participate in the challenge!

Athletic man engaging in a running challenge

Pro tip: Have your bosses start the challenge and nominate people on their team to participate, too!

To make this challenge even more fun, encourage your team to snap a sweaty selfie after each run holding up “5” fingers in the spirit of the challenge. You can keep track of all the successful runners and nominees in an email chain, Slack thread, or a good ol’ Google Sheet. For smaller teams, you can change the nomination number to three, two, or even one-at-a-time.

If your team craves even more of a challenge after the 5k, then switch to a different fitness challenge and start again! 30 minutes of yoga, ten push-ups, or doing a single chin-up from your door-frame are all fun physical challenges to try.

Here are some organizations you may consider choosing as your donation recipients:

Feel free to chose a cause your team members are passionate about!

2. I Can Bake That!

This next challenge is for teams with a serious sweet tooth… or simply as a reward after running 5k! Have you ever binge watched your favorite baking show and thought, “I could totally bake that!” Now is the chance to show off your dough-handling skills.

Here’s how the challenge works:

  1. Each week, a new team member will scour the internet to find a photo of an outrageous, colorful, or creative baked treat. Illusion cakes that look like succulents, pancake art, and rainbow cookies are some of my personal favorites.
  2. Share the photo with the rest of your coworkers and challenge each person to recreate your chosen masterpiece.
  3. Remember to document the finished result! You can share the photos in your company chat, or give a live tour of your sugar coated kitchen during a virtual conference call.
  4. Vote on whose creation most closely resembles the original, and keep track of each week’s winners to determine your team’s Ultimate Baker.

You can Google “fancy cakes” for some inspiration to help you get started.

3. Off-The-Grid Day

Sometimes the best way to increase your team’s engagement is to give your group a well-deserved break. But giving your remote employees a day off to binge Netflix or endlessly scroll through TikTok may be counterproductive.

Instead, challenge your team to go off-the-grid for an entire 24 hours. That challenge means no work emails or conference calls, and also no video games or YouTube deep dives. If your group is up for the challenge, then encourage the team to use this time to read that book that’s been sitting on the nightstand for months, journal, enjoy the great outdoors, or finally try cooking a new dinner recipe.

Pro tip: To emphasize the camaraderie:

  1. Begin the 24 hours together on a virtual conference call.
  2. Everyone exits the meeting at the same time after wishing each other the best of luck, and begins the process of shutting down devices.
  3. You can then end the 24 hours the same way you started it: together! Hop back into your team’s Zoom room the next day and congratulate yourselves on a successful day offline, or throw shade at the coworker who admits to breaking the challenge early to check Instagram.

Ask each team member to share one of the activities you each did to pass the time off-the-grid. Then, it’s back to work!

4. Good News Jar

One of the major downsides of working remotely can be missing being in the same place as your coworkers! Without your cubicle neighbor close by, who can you tell about your awesome parking spot or how you finally mastered the perfect scrambled egg? These little victories are just as important for remote workers as they are for office workers, and these small wins belong inside a Good News Jar.

Woman holding jar with pretty flowers.

Challenge your team members to find an old jar – a recycled pasta sauce jar works wonders! – and several scraps of paper. Throughout your everyday lives, write down the small things that bring unadulterated joy, whether it be the shop having a sale on your favorite wine, or seeing a butterfly on your morning walk. This small way of practicing gratitude is scientifically proven to improve physical and mental health, reduce aggression, and improve sleep, which can create an all-around happier team and workspace!

You can turn your Good News Jars into a small segment for your team-wide meetings! Invite some or all of your group to reach into each individual own jar and share one of life’s simple pleasures. This way, everyone can join in a little slice of joy.

This challenge is even more fun if everyone decorates the jars with paint, glitter, magazine cutouts, or anything else lying around the house. To amplify the competitive spirit, vote on whose jar is the most creative!

5. Book Club

We all know the feeling of curling up with a really good book – especially one with “old book” smell – and that bittersweet nostalgia once you turn the last page. How do you make the experience of reading a book even more enjoyable? Share the journey with your entire team through a Book Club challenge!

Working from home saves you time on your daily commute, assuming the distance between your bed and your desk is shorter than that of your home to the office. Now, you can use that extra time to challenge your team to join a company-wide book club.

Suggest team members ‘nominate’ a book to feature in Book Club, or create an online poll to choose the first piece. If the company can purchase the book for all participants, then great! If not, then consider using an online resource such as Open Library to find a free ebook available for all. You can also sign up for a free trial of Audible if your team prefers listening to their literature.

Once your team has selected and acquired the book, set weekly or bi-weekly Book Club challenges based on reading a certain number of chapters or pages, and then schedule a virtual Book Club meeting to discuss! Create an assortment of discussion questions to boost engagement.

BookRiot provides a list of discussion ideas to get you started, but feel free to create your own!

If you use a virtual conference platform which allows breakout rooms, such as Zoom, then consider splitting your group up into smaller teams to discuss the questions. With this format, everyone has a chance to speak and share.

Reading may be a wholesome hobby, but Book Club is still quite the challenge. No one wants to face the embarrassment of being the only member of Book Club who hasn’t read the latest chapters!

More work from home challenges

For even more challenges, games, and activities for remote teams, check out our list of virtual team building challenges.

FAQ: Work from home challenges

Here are a few common questions and and answers about work from home challenges for remote teams:

What are work from home challenges?

Work from home challenges are mini competitions of various lengths that your team members can participate in as individuals or as teams. These challenges are meant to encourage team bonding and engagement by inviting coworkers to partake in the same ‘challenge’ simultaneously, which breeds the feeling of, “We’re all in this together!”

What are the best work from home team challenges to start with?

The Good News Jar is a simple, straightforward, and easy work from home challenge to start off with. The challenge requires little-to-no setup, added cost, or pressure, yet can bring immense joy to your team! If your group is up for an exercise challenge straight off the bat, then consider beginning with the Run, Donate, Nominate challenge!

How do you make work from home challenges fun?

Documenting the results of your various work from home challenges to share with your team is the ultimate way for your group to bond, support each other, and have extra fun with these challenges. A good incentive always works, too! Offering a prize, bragging rights, or temporary “boss privileges” to your team members will incentivize them to engage fully in the challenge: challenges are always more fun when everyone is involved!

Author: Vic Landa

Vic has facilitated fun, engaging team building experience since 2018. She has also worked in musical theatre, directing and has Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance.

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Comments & Reactions ✨
  1. Teodora
    June 2, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Costume/ Emoji day !

    In the past three months, because of the pandemic, most of the people were working from home. Some of their video classes, conferences or meetings went viral because of the “accidents” that occured. But these “accidents” ( potato emoji on face, or kid running behind his mom in his spiderman costume, while she was teaching her class) made us laugh, made someone else’s day better. So why don’t we take that in our viral offices, while talking with our coworkers, and make it a competition?

    It can be one day in a month that we go to a virtual meeting with our coworkers, dressed in some costume or putting some funny emoji on our faces. At the end of the meeting the coworkers can vote, and the costume or emoji that has the best score will be the one that will have a stress free month! Meaning, he or she can’t be put in the middle of arguments, missunderstandings, and can ask someone else in the team, WHENEVER, to take some part of the job that make him or her stressed.

    Let’s laugh and make one day in a month funny and memorable !

  2. Danielle Diggs
    June 3, 2020 at 12:23 am

    I love the “I Can Bake That!” Challenge. My prior jobs are really big on staff recognition so each week we would have a staff member of the week. I think it would be awesome to choose your own staff member of the week and then try to decorate a cookie with royal icing that looks just like that person. If staff recognition is not a part of your company then you can simply start off with the boss for the first week and the whoever is the winner for that will, your staff has to recreate them on a cookie and so on. A lot of people want to brush up on their cooking or baking skills so I think this is a create opportunity not only to have fun with your staff, but also to help your staff grow within their personal lives.

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