9 team celebration ideas for remote teams

Marlo Oster

Do you appreciate your team? Do you think they work hard? Are you proud of them? And most importantly, do they know? There’s no better way to show your employees you appreciate their hard work and dedication than with a team celebration!

Give your team a chance to let their hair down and get to know each other outside the confines of the job by celebrating together, whether it’s for an employee’s birthday or to commemorate an important company milestone. Below, we’ll break down 9 team celebration ideas for remote teams.

Reasons to prioritize team celebration

Celebrating motivates team members

When team successes are shrugged off or brushed aside, the success is diminished, and so is the joy and enthusiasm that comes with it. Doing something right should feel different than doing something wrong, and when a job well done is met with apathy, team members can begin to feel disengaged from the company and from their work. They may feel like nothing they do really matters because no one sees it, so the success only really exists for them.

When your team members do good work, they need to hear about it! Celebrating wins makes team members feel valued and recognized, and it builds momentum to keep doing a good job. Celebrating team wins makes them feel meaningful, and everyone wants to believe that the work they’re doing matters.

Celebrating builds company culture

The cost of employee turnover can kill your business, and considering ‍93% of organizations are concerned about employee retention, it’s a major issue. The more detached and disengaged your employees feel, the less likely they are to stay with you.

But a strong company culture makes employees feel more invested because they identify with your culture and feel at home at work. Celebrating wins together helps build this culture and reminds everyone that they’re all part of a team. You all share the same values and are all working hard to achieve the same goal. Sharing in each other’s joys makes goodwill and belonging contagious.

Prioritizing and investing in team celebrations makes it clear to your team and community that you value your employees. They aren’t just lemmings whose only purpose is to strengthen your bottom line.

Celebrating promotes team building

Recognizing and celebrating each other’s wins and sharing in each other’s accomplishments builds rapport between team members. After all, a team that plays together stays together. 

Give your remote team members plenty of opportunities to socialize with each other beyond the confines of working from home. Celebrating together makes team members feel more connected to each other; it turns coworkers into friends.

A team needs to believe in each other’s abilities and know that their team members believe in them in order to thrive. This kind of trust is vital to any organization. The more connected your employees feel to their coworkers, the more efficient and effective they will be.

9 remote team celebration ideas

1. Cheers and beers/happy hour 🍻

Cheers and beers or happy hour is a simple celebration activity you can run for small celebrations and milestones. To stock the celebration, send your team members the drink of their choosing or provide a small gift card so that they can purchase their own.

Hold a short video conference gathering with the whole team or smaller sub-teams, depending on the size of your company, so remote employees can relax and get to know each other outside of work. You might celebrate the end of a successful month, the end of a project, a workplace milestone, a team member’s birthday, or another calendar holiday.

The key to this celebration, and most celebration ideas, is to ensure employees feel they have the time in their workload to actually celebrate. When team members are spread too thin and overworked, they may begin to feel like any event beyond getting work done is a waste of time that bleeds into their already busy schedule. Check with your team members frequently, ideally during one-on-one meetings, to ensure their workload is manageable.

2. Zoom party/dress-up days 👑

Celebrate by having a Zoom party or dress-up day. Dressing up for a Zoom meeting is a fun way to engage your employees virtually. Naturally, Halloween is a great day for this but think outside the box. Celebrations don’t need to be reserved for your typical holidays. Consider a celebration for Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, the first day of summer, or national pizza day.

Dress-up days could include a pajama day, a birthday party theme for a coworker’s birthday, a color to support a cause (along with a donation from the company), or dressing up as a classic film or television character.

Be sure to check with your staff to gauge their interest in dressing up, and make it clear that if an employee really doesn’t want to, they don’t have to.

3. Cocktail couriers 🍸

What’s a celebration without a fancy cocktail?

We’ve used Cocktail Couriers at Charma for virtual team celebrations, such as when we hit important milestones. Team members can choose their spirit of choice, and Cocktail Couriers sends it directly to their door. Of course, there are also non-alcoholic options, as it’s the making of the cocktail that provides the engagement and conversation.

Bring a little fun and fanciness into your employees’ lives by making celebratory cocktails together.

4. Virtual scavenger hunt 🔎

A virtual scavenger hunt is just like a regular scavenger hunt. Team members will need to fulfill a challenge or find items before time runs out.

This is a good activity for remote teams, as employees are stuck sitting at their desks in front of their computers for most of the day. A virtual scavenger hunt gets everyone up and moving around, chasing items and following clues around their own workspace. Team members can search for items around their homes, or you can take the adventure outside with a mobile app.

💡Stuck for ideas? Here are some virtual scavenger hunt ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

5. Trivia games 🧩

Put your employees’ knowledge to the test by organizing a trivia game. Include a range of topics to ensure everyone has a chance to win. For some added fun, include a section of company trivia that helps your team get to know the brand and history of the organization they work for.

Celebrating with some trivia has the added bonus of enabling coworkers to learn more about each other, which helps with team building. It gives employees an opportunity to appreciate each other’s knowledge as well as showcase their own. “I didn’t know Chris knew so much about movies!” “I had no idea Leila was a history major. She really knows her stuff!”

To make it more of a celebration, include prizes for the winning team or for other categories, such as fewest points, best team name, or most interesting fact.

6. Art attack 🎨

Get your team’s creative juices flowing with some arts and crafts.

Send your team members the art supplies they need in advance and reassure everyone that the activity is not meant for artists. There’s no right or wrong way to complete the activity; it’s all about having fun together while flexing those creativity muscles.

Engage directly with your team to determine what types of artistic activities they are interested in. Some ideas include adult coloring pages, painting, holiday ornaments, spring bird feeders, painted plant or herb pots (send them seeds to grow their own too), paper planes, holiday decorations, or tie-dye shirts.

7. Lunch and learn 🥪

Celebrate your team by giving them the gift of learning!

Give your employees the opportunity to cultivate their creativity and hone their technical skills with a lunch and learn. A lunch and learn enables employees to continue their professional or personal development during lunchtime. This way, employees can learn something new without sacrificing their work or free time.

Lunch and learns are short sessions that can take many forms, depending on the interests and size of the group participating. What are your team members interested in learning? Which of their skills do they feel could be improved? It’s important to go straight to each of your team members for this information, as a lunch and learn that doesn’t provide employees with direct value is a waste of time.

Topics could be creative writing, cooking, public speaking, drawing, photoshop, excel tips and tricks, design thinking, or how to run effective meetings.

Once you select a topic, pick a day and time that everyone is available and schedule a video conference lunch. To make it more of a celebration, facilitate a delicious lunch for your team by organizing a fun food delivery. 🍱🍕🍩

8. Balance days 🌿

Celebrate your team and reward them for all that they do with a balance day or half-day. Balance days are an extra day off on a specific calendar day or day of their choosing that employees can use to take a break and prioritize their physical and mental health.

Workplace stress is real. 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress, and 25% say that their job is the #1 stressor in their lives. Cut your employees some slack by giving them time to, well, do whatever they want!

While this idea doesn’t provide team building specifically, time is an extremely valuable gift you can give to your team while ensuring they prioritize their own wellbeing and work-life balance.

9. In-person retreat 💗

While this kind of celebration is more costly, it brings a remote team together for in-person, face-to-face time that might not otherwise occur. Depending on your budget and the size of your team, this could be a celebration that’s held once a year, every two years, or to celebrate milestone company anniversaries. Buffer holds in-person retreats every year.

An in-person retreat is a notable perk that provides incredible opportunities for team building. Choosing a unique location each year can provide an opportunity to explore different corners of the country you work from or the globe if you have an international staff.

Charma for remote teams

Learn more about Charma — one-on-one meetings and team meetings, action items, team collaboration, 360 reviews, continuous feedback & recognition, and transparent goal-tracking. With Charma, you can keep your team engaged with continuous feedback and consistent employee recognition.

Reach out to our team at any time if you have questions about our product or try Charma yourself risk free for up to 21 days.

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