38 Morale-Boosting Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
The pandemic has presented both employers and teams with a whole new set of challenges to contend with, making employee engagement activities during COVID-19 a vital tool.
Updated on September 7, 2021
The pandemic seems to be dragging on endlessly and it’s no doubt taking its toll on everyone. That’s why employee engagement activities during COVID-19 remain more important than ever before.
With many teams working remotely, communication and bonds between colleagues being strained, and economic uncertainty creating new stresses for organizations and their employees, taking steps to reinforce employee engagement and morale is a must.
And even as some organizations return to in-person work, there are be challenges to be faced and a readjustment period to be overcome as people try to adapt to being back together.
But there’s some silver lining: as challenging as this all has and continues to be, there are some incredible options available to help drive employee engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 26 Virtual Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
- 1. Virtual Yoga or Workout Classes
- 2. Virtual Happy Hour Trivia
- 3. Online Happy Hour
- 4. Virtual Team Pursuit
- 5. Cook Together Online
- 6. Virtual Clue Murder Mystery
- 7. Games on Houseparty
- 8. Virtual Code Break
- 9. Play Virtual Pictionary
- 10. Virtual Game Show Extravaganza
- 11. Host Virtual Lunch and Learns
- 12. Virtual Trivia Time Machine
- 13. Among Us
- 14. Virtual Beach Staycation
- 15. Jackbox Games
- 16. Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist
- 17. Virtual Book Club
- 18. The Virtual Do-Good Games
- 19. Movie Night on Teleparty
- 20. Virtual Trivia Championship
- 21. Two Truths and a Lie
- 22. Virtual Office Olympics
- 23. Donut on Slack
- 24. Virtual Social Shuffle
- 25. Water Cooler Trivia
- 26. Virtual Icebreaker Games
- 8 In-Person Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
- 1. Emotional Intelligence Training
- 2. Volunteering
- 3. Practical Time Management Training
- 4. Company Potluck
- 5. Clear Communication Training
- 6. Paint Night
- 7. Wild Goose Chase
- 8. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge
- 4 Virtual Holiday-Themed Team Building Activities During the Pandemic
26 Virtual Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
The pandemic has had a serious impact on employee morale. And for many employees, the prospect of going back to the office in person is simply not on the table. Luckily, virtual team building activities and online activities are a great way to keep employees engaged, connected, and social while social distancing.
1. Virtual Yoga or Workout Classes
Getting a little blood pumping goes a lot way in elevating your mood. So, you can take a quick pause from your workday to do a virtual yoga or workout class with your team.
Your team members can take turns running a class, or you can collectively join an online workout class run by a professional.
If you don’t know where to start, check out this article from Goop that explores seven professionally led online workout classes for you and your team.
This is no ordinary happy hour trivia game. In this activity, you and your team will take a trip to Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub. This hilarious Scottish pub owner is the legendary host of a trivia game with more than 20 category options to choose from, including sports, food and drink, and even celebrity real estate. This virtual pub trivia game is guaranteed to produce plenty of laughs and lift team “spirits.” It might even include a few special surprises.
3. Online Happy Hour
Employee engagement doesn’t always have to be centered around work.
On the contrary, sometimes the best employee engagement happens in a casual setting where your team can get to know each other better outside of the parameters of their professional roles.
With that in mind, you can gather as a group using your favorite video conferencing platform, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and enjoy some beverages together. You could even try making fancy cocktails together. This list of 14 fancy cocktail recipes from Brit + Co can serve up some inspiration.
Zoom happy hour games are a great way to have some lighthearted fun with your colleagues.
Help your remote team get re-energized by tackling fun virtual challenges with their colleagues. In groups, your remote employees will tackle a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges, earning points for each one successfully completed. Whichever has the most points when time runs out will be crowned the winners!
5. Cook Together Online
Most people have their favorite go-to recipe. So, consider having your team take turns teaching your colleagues how to cook their favorite meal.
If you want to up the ante, you could even offer each employee a small grocery budget to help them pick up all the items they’ll need to cook with.
But remember to make sure to check in with everyone about dietary restrictions so that nobody gets left out.
With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. This is the perfect virtual game for folks who love problem-solving team building activities.
7. Games on Houseparty
Through Houseparty, you can connect with your colleagues and play any number of available games. Here are some of the most popular ones that you can choose from:
- Heads Up!: This is a video-chat version of the hilarious game from Ellen DeGeneres. Players provide clues for a word that one person tries to guess.
- Virtual Trivia Games: Choose from 18 different decks that cover a range of topics and test your coworkers’ trivia knowledge!
9. Play Virtual Pictionary
Wait, did we really just suggest playing Pictionary online? How in the world would that work?
We’re glad you asked!
Using Skribbl.io, you can play Pictionary with your team by creating a private room for your team and drawing with your house.
If you think it’s funny to play in person, just wait until you’re watching people try to draw using their mouse or computer trackpad.
Be a part of your own game show with this activity where your team will need to tackle trivia questions spanning pop culture, geography, sports, world history, and more.
11. Host Virtual Lunch and Learns
Another great way to keep your team engaged is by tasking them with hosting a virtual lunch and learn for your team on an ongoing basis.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or any cadence you choose, assign each person a time where they can research something relevant to your industry that they find useful and interesting and have them present it to the team.
This way, they can learn and practice key soft skills all while keeping connected with the rest of the team.
Wondering what your lunch and learn should focus on? Check out our list of 24 lunch and learn topic ideas your team will love.
You’ll be surprised by all the unexpected things you can learn about your colleagues!
Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through pop culture history, in this virtual trivia game for remote teams! Transform your home offices into a virtual game show experience – game show host, scoreboard, buzzer, and all!
13. Among Us
Among Us is a party game of teamwork and betrayal. Crewmates work together to complete tasks before one or more Impostors can kill everyone aboard. As the story goes, players work together to fix their crumbling spaceship while figuring out who the imposters are. If you’re into fun cerebral games, you’ll love this one.
We’re all in desperate need of a vacation. Luckily, Captain Furling has room for you and your colleagues on his virtually chartered yacht. Come aboard and transport to your “inner Cancun” for a tropical online team building adventure.
15. Jackbox Games
Jackbox Games makes a ton of different party games created for meetings, Zoom calls, and more. This includes everything from drawing and writing-based games to virtual trivia games like its classic You Don’t Know Jack which features “snarky,” risqué, and hilarious questions.
17. Virtual Book Club
Nothing helps keep people engaged and on the same page like a virtual book club (pun fully intended). Have one person pick a book for people to read then connect on Zoom each week to discuss it. Then, once that book’s done, have a new person pick the next one!
It’s long since been proven that corporate giving improves company culture. So, you can team up with your colleagues for a Virtual Do-Good Games to do some good in the world and give back to those in need, all while having a blast. This is a morale-boosting virtual team building activity that transforms friendly competition into charitable donations.
19. Movie Night on Teleparty
If you haven’t heard of Teleparty yet, you’ll love this! Think of this platform as Zoom except for watching movies and shows with friends and colleagues remotely. Teleparty is a browser extension that lets you watch Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO in sync with others. So, consider hosting a movie night to help keep your team’s spirits high!
Does your team have what it takes to win the Virtual Trivia Championship? In this virtual trivia team building activity, your colleagues will break into teams and turn the competition level up to ten as you challenge your wits, test your knowledge, and work your way through a list of trivia questions ranging from cities to movies, songs, objects, and even a round of Jeopardy-style challenges.
21. Two Truths and a Lie
Your group can get to know each other in great detail with this hilarious large group team building activity. This classic icebreaker makes for a great Zoom happy hour game. The premise is simple: each person comes up with three “facts” about themselves. Two are true, one is a lie, and everyone else has to decide which is which!
The Tokyo Olympics but you and your team can keep up the spirits and celebrations with your own Virtual Office Olympics. With this virtual spring team building activity, it’s a race to the podium for your workgroup who will put their teamwork to the test as they compete to complete a series of Olympic-style challenges and trivia.
23. Donut on Slack
You can actually automate employee engagement using Slack with an app called Donut which introduces people who don’t know each other well via direct messages, and encourages them to meet in person or virtually for a variety of purposes. This includes:
- Social + watercooler: Facilitate daily conversation prompts in channel, virtual coffee meetups, CEO coffee lotteries, and lunch roulette
- Remote or hybrid employees: Create remote team lunches, daily donut meetings, and cross-department introductions
- Learning: Run peer mentorship programs, code review pals, and sales demo buddies
- DEI + ERGs: Organize discussion groups on diversity, equity, and inclusion and support employee resource groups
- New hires: Connect new hires through onboarding buddies, new hire lunches, or job shadowing
Donut is a great way to build connections with people who might not otherwise have the chance to.
The great thing about video conferencing tools is that they’ve given us virtually endless options for Zoom games to play so you’ll never be short on activities to enjoy with your colleagues.
If you’re trying to find fun and unique ways to keep your team engaged on an ongoing basis, Water Cooler Trivia is a great way to do it. Water Cooler Trivia integrates into your email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams channels and automatically sends trivia quizzes directly to your team members on a weekly basis. You can choose the trivia schedule and categories, and Water Cooler Trivia will write the questions, automate their distribution, and grade the results for you.
Are you looking for more creative ways of engaging your team virtually? Have a look at our list of 20 virtual team building activities to engage remote employees for some more inspiration.
26. Virtual Icebreaker Games
This is a great time to help your team get to know each other even better. Doing so will help forge stronger personal bonds which will ultimately lead to stronger professional outcomes.
We compiled a comprehensive list of The 300 Best Team Building Icebreaker Questions for Work, which include some great questions like:
- If you could instantly become an expert in anything, what would it be?
- What would the title of your autobiography be?
- You’re going to sail around the world. What’s the name of your boat?
8 In-Person Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
Many teams are getting ready to head back to work in-person and are looking for ways to get re-engaged and reconnected. So, depending on local regulations, office policies, and the comfort levels of your team members, here are some in-person activities your group might enjoy.
Believe it or not, doing good deeds for others has actually been proven to make people feel better. So, volunteering is a great way to build employee morale, especially during a time when so many people are facing challenges. You and your team can get together to do some volunteer work of any kind, directly contributing to the wellbeing of others. From organizing a food drive to working in a soup kitchen, the opportunities are endless.
Help your team minimize distractions and make the most of their time while working from home or in the office.
4. Company Potluck
Sometimes, the best way to boost employee morale is just to let people hang out and socialize in an unstructured setting that’s not focused on work. Try hosting a company potluck where everyone brings their favorite dish. Then, simply sit back, let people chat and connect in a social setting, and watch everyone create organic bonds.
Help your team become effective communicators, and develop both verbal and written communication skills.
6. Paint Night
If your team likes to get creative, then having fun and getting their creative juices together is a great way to build employee morale. Paint nights are a great way to do this and there are a few ways to go about it. For one, you can have individual canvases set up for each employee and they can all either try to paint the same thing or bring to life their own unique idea. Alternatively, you can mix things up by getting big, long pieces of paper and having a bunch of teammates paint on it together. Either give them an idea to paint or let them go wild and see what they come up with.
In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity, your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:
- Parkour: Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
- Beautiful Mind: Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
- Puppy Love: Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.
Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability!
4 Virtual Holiday-Themed Team Building Activities During the Pandemic
The holiday season has been seriously disrupted by the pandemic. So, it’s important to help your employees stay positive and in good spirits, even during challenging times. Here are X holiday-themed virtual team building activities you can try out during the most festive time of the year.
If you and your team love a high-energy group activity, then Holiday Hijinks is perfect for you.
Celebrate the holidays with this festive holiday-themed team building activity that’s all about working collaboratively to tackle a variety of holiday-themed physical, cerebral, and skills-based challenges.
In this activity, your group will split into teams. Each team will race against the clock and try to outpace the competition as they earn points for completing challenges, such as:
- Cookie Conundrum – Luke made 42 holiday cookies. He brought half of them to his office. He ate one third of the cookies that were left. Then he gave 8 cookies to his neighbor. He left the rest of the cookies out for Santa. How many cookies did Santa get?
- Elf Yourself – Each team member needs to create the most unique gift you can using only the items available to you. Snap a photo of everyone showcasing their gifts.
- Junk Yard Jingle – Record a 5-second video of a teammate creating the beat to a holiday song using objects found around your house or office. Be sure to practice getting your notes right as the instrumental version has to be in tune!
You’ll need to be mindful, though. Each challenge is worth a different number of points based on its level of difficulty, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on the leaderboard and tackle challenges strategically if your team wants to be crowned Holiday Hijinks Champions!
Looking for a way to ring in the holiday season with your team while exercising communication and collaboration skills, having a lot of laughs, and creating bonds with your colleagues?
Then Yuletide Showdown is the perfect activity for you.
In this fast-paced and high-energy virtual team building activity, you and your colleagues will race the clock, competing to unlock six different challenge categories: Sounds of Christmas, Holiday Trivia, Holiday Characters, Holiday Pictionary, Festive Scavenger Hunt, and Holiday-Style Who-Dun-It.
Then, you’ll need to strategically complete challenges, keeping a close eye on the real-time leaderboard and staying one step ahead of the competition.
As the holidays get underway, sometimes all you and your colleagues want to do is celebrate the season and spend quality time together. And with Elf’s Virtual Merry Mingler, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Set in a venue in Santa’s North Pole village, this virtual holiday team building activity is made up of a series of social mixer activities that are all about sharing a laugh, creating some positive festive energy, and letting teammates enjoy each other’s company—regardless of the geographical distance between them.
The holiday season is all about coming together and celebrating! So, in Frost’s Virtual Holiday Trivia, you and your team will be invited to join the Frosts in the lounge of their brand-new ice hotel.
While you’re there, you’ll compete through three rounds of holiday and winter-themed trivia questions, earning points for each one answered correctly. But the fun doesn’t stop there! You’ll also become better acquainted with your colleagues as you take part in a round of Frost’s Icebreaker Questions.
The COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably causing challenges and stresses for organizations and employees around the world. But by implementing the right employee engagement activities during COVID-19, you can help boost your team’s spirits and increase their productivity.
Learn More About Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
For more information about how your team can stay engaged during the pandemic, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.