Here in San Francisco it’s been nearly three months since we first received orders to shelter in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 - and I’m guessing that wherever you are, your situation is similar. I think we can all agree that it’s taken quite a bit of adjustment to get used to this “new normal”.
While it hasn’t been all fun and games, Yeti has been lucky enough to mostly continue with business as usual - with one big exception - our once close knit office community is now fully remote, working from homes far and wide.
An important part of Yeti’s culture has always been making the time to have fun and bond with one another, and it was certainly something that we didn’t want to fall to the wayside during this pandemic.
Though it’s taken some finessing, we’ve managed to build a repertoire of fun team activities for the Yeti team to enjoy once a week via zoom.
We know that the world is currently experiencing a difficult, stressful and sad time, so we wanted to share some of our “virtual fun” activities with you. We hope that they provide you and your team with some much needed stress relief and bonding time!
Playing Drawful has always been a mainstay of Yeti Happy Hours. If you haven’t played, it’s a game that challenges players to draw ridiculous prompts on their smartphones and tablets - it’s hilarious and fun. Jackbox party games are similarly silly and entertaining.
Figuring out how to play the Jackbox Party Games via zoom took some brainstorming, here’s a guide to the setup that worked for us!
Buy and install the Jackbox Party Games or Drawful. This can easily be done via Steam on your computer. These games can also be played on Playstation and Xbox but it’s not really possible to screen share them with the rest of your team.
- Create a zoom meeting, invite your team, and screen share your computer’s screen.
- Start the Jackbox Party Game you’d like to play.
- People will be using their phones as “controllers” to play and will see the instructions on the game that is being screenshared about how to join in.
Remote Craft Night
Everyone loves crafting, but most of us don’t have much of an opportunity to do it! The Yeti team recently made polymer clay beads during our virtual craft night and everyone had an amazing time!
Pretty much any basic craft can be done over zoom. We’re lucky enough to have a ceramics expert on the team, and she provided us with a live tutorial - but if you don’t have an expert available there are thousands of great how-to videos available on youtube.
To plan your craft night:
- Decide on a craft. Poll the team to see if anyone has anything they would like to teach or learn. If you don’t have someone on your team to teach the craft, search youtube for instructional videos.
- If you’d like to try making the polymer clay beads we made during our craft night, here’s a youtube tutorial!
- Ship everyone on the team supplies. There are lots of craft kits available on Amazon or Michaels. You can find the polymer clay kits we used here.
- Let everyone know what to expect - if they should wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty, how much space they’ll need etc.
- Set up a zoom call and get crafting!
At Home Scavenger Hunt
At the end of every quarter, Yeti plans a team day that includes a fun team building activity. In the past we’ve done pottery, welding, hiking, cooking and more.
This year our team day was 100% remote and our amazing office manager, Madeline, created an at home scavenger hunt for us!
The planning and execution of this is a bit more time consuming than the other activities on this list, so you may want to save it for a bigger occasion than just a team happy hour.
- Download Notion on your desktop and on your phone. Ask everyone on the team to do the same.
- Create a range of challenges for everyone to complete - keep in mind that everyone will have to take a photo or video of themselves completing each challenge. Some that we included were:
- Recreate a famous piece of art
- Draw a self portrait with your eyes closed
- Fashion Show: Create a ridiculous outfit
- Find 7 Items that begin with the letter “P"
- Once you’ve decided on your challenges you can easily create pages for each where players can upload their photos and videos.
- Set a timer (we did an hour) and announce a prize to motivate everyone to finish.
- When the hour is up, everyone should re-convene in Zoom and share their entries. You can set up polls in slack for everyone to vote on their favorite entries.
- Tally up the scores at the end and announce the winners!
This isn’t an activity per-say, but it is a great way to keep office camaraderie alive while apart. We recently discovered “Donut”, a Slack add on that randomly pairs you with another team member for a virtual coffee.
You can choose the amount of time between “Donut’s” - for example, we’ve scheduled donut to create new pairs every other week. The pairs then schedule a 30 minute zoom call at a convenient time, and chat!
Your virtual coffee can be as long or short as you’d like, and if you’d rather, you can even do it over Slack.
Use Factile to create your own custom Jeopardy board! Our Jeopardy questions were based on company culture, facts about team members, and random trivia questions.
Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity is so much fun...and we found a free online version! If the game is a bit R-Rated for your team, don’t worry - they have a family friendly version!
Making the time to relax and have fun is such an important part of strengthening your team - especially during these difficult times, when our natural everyday interactions have all but disappeared, and stress levels are high.
We hope that this list of “Remote Fun” activities provides your team with a few evenings of team building and laughter!