10 virtual team bonding activities to commemorate the end of the year

The end of the year is always the best time to reflect on your teams’ achievements and wins. With workflows slowing down for the holiday season, it’s the perfect opportunity to gather with your hybrid and remote teams to share your favorite moments of the year. With a very distributed workforce thanks to the rise in remote work, traditional holiday parties and year-end celebrations are harder to coordinate in person…but this doesn’t mean they’re off the table. We’ve gathered 10 simple and easy ways to celebrate your hybrid team, foster camaraderie, and end the year on a positive note.

1. Donate to a cause you care about

Giving back is always a great way to not only bond with your team but also support communities you care about. Collaboratively picking an organization to donate to will help you learn about the causes your teammates care about and is a way to connect on more than just “work stuff.” Donations could be based on a certain milestone your team achieved, for example: donating $2,000 to represent the 2,000 additional users you obtained from your marketing campaign. The donation could also align to your company and/or team mission or values, similar to Poll Everywhere’s employee matching donation program that supports and encourages PollEvians to contribute to charitable organizations of their choice.

2. Host a week of random acts of kindness

Take care of your virtual team by encouraging them to take care of each other! Reserve the last week of the year to a week of random acts of kindness. You can assign a secret “angel” – each person is assigned another team member to conduct random acts of kindness throughout the entire week. You can also allow your team to help out anyone for the entire week, and keep a secret spreadsheet with all of the acts, and reveal them before the end of the year. This is a fun way for your team to bond and learn more about each other’s workloads, personal goals, and personal lives as they must figure out where and how to conduct their acts of kindness. The acts can range from helping out with a project task to sharing gift ideas with a coworker who is struggling to find the perfect birthday gift. The sky’s the limit.

3. Virtual jeopardy with team achievements

Take your virtual team’s exciting 2021 achievements and turn it into a virtual jeopardy game. This is the perfect way to share the team’s accomplishments more broadly and celebrate the hard work your team contributed. You can categorize by individual, roles and responsibilities, or metrics. For example, “what has grown our sales-qualified lead volume by 30%?” or “what new 2021 product feature delivered the best results and saw the most adoption among our customers?”

4. A trivia competition

Another great way to gamify your virtual end of year celebrations is to host an online trivia competition. Similar to jeopardy, you can use your team’s achievements as questions to see who’s been keeping up with your team throughout the year. Have fun with data and numbers to try and trick your team and keep it interesting. Use Poll Everywhere Competitions to create a quick and fun trivia competition that will track your hybrid and remote team’s participation on a live leaderboard with a score tracker. This one is a crowd favorite!

5. 2021 Office Awards

Nothing beats the feeling of winning an award and getting well-deserved praise. Highlight your rockstar team and empower them to go into the new year strong with awards and kudos. Hosting an office award ceremony is a simple way to share accomplishments, highlight employees who have put in the extra effort, and reward your hybrid and remote team for a year of amazing work. Be creative with your award show by hosting an Oscars themed award show with “Best of” categories and encourage your team to come dressed in their best.

Read more: Poll Everywhere hosted an Academy Awards themed team appreciation event at our company retreat this summer.

6. Murder mystery party

Solve a cold case or murder mystery with your hybrid team to end the year with a bang! Murder mystery parties are a thrilling way to keep your team’s minds off of work, and gives them a chance to relax and put their teamwork and collaboration skills to the test. If your team succeeds in their mission, reward them with fun prizes like gift cards, dinner on the company, or free prizes.

7. Appreciation wall

Kind words and praise are one of the best ways to improve employee job satisfaction and keep employees happy at work. Keep employee morale strong into the new year by putting together an appreciation wall for each of your hybrid and remote team members. Create an individual open-ended activity for your team and share it with other team members and colleagues of your organization to share their praise. Appreciation walls can include fond memories, words of encouragement, or even a simple thank you for a job well done. The great part is that this can be completely virtual and done asynchronously, so employees can share and reflect on the year at any time.

8. Host a custom emoji competition in Slack

What better way to sum up the year than with a custom emoji? If you aren’t familiar with Slack, it is a business communication platform that enables individuals to react to messages with pre-made and custom emojis that employees can create and add themselves. We at Poll Everywhere love adding our own custom emojis, including ones of our own faces and every single cat emoji to ever exist. Host a competition where your hybrid or remote team creates their own emojis that best represent 2021, and have everyone vote on their favorites. Fire up the Poll Everywhere for Slack app to vote and see the results pop up in real time for some good laughs.

9. Stories around a virtual campfire

At Poll Everywhere, we have a segment of our biweekly Town Hall called “Story Time”, where our teams share customer success stories with the entire company. These story times are great morale boosters and help remind our team of our goals and purpose. This type of employee gathering could also work as a company-wide or team-wide campfire storytelling session. Your hybrid and remote teams can gather around a virtual campfire, get cozy, and share their favorite memories of 2021. These can be success stories with customers, favorite work projects, funny moments before team meetings, and so much more. Having a casual sit down conversation with your team is a surefire way to relax and ease into the new year.

10. Throwback to high school: virtual yearbook

Minus the awkward hair cuts and braces, a virtual yearbook is a simple way to capture the memories of 2021. Use tools like Canva to put together a virtual yearbook full of pictures, screenshots, favorite quotes, and goals for the new year. You can keep it modern with updated pictures of your team or do a little throwback by including your hybrid or remote teams’ actual high school pictures. You can also send a survey and ask your team to vote on superlatives for each team member. This kind of activity adds a personal touch for everyone involved and is sure to get folks laughing and engaged.

Gathering with your hybrid and/or remote teams and reflecting on 2021 can be as simple or as lavish as you’d like. Taking the time to recognize your team’s hard work can boost morale as we enter the new year, and instills excitement to conquer new challenges and explore opportunities. What do you think of these 10 virtual team bonding activities? If you try one, share it with us on Twitter (@PollEverywhere) and LinkedIn!