Here is our list of the best virtual team stress relief ideas.
Virtual team stress relief ideas are online experiences that encourage remote employees to focus on their mental health. Examples include a virtual wine tasting, book club, or coffee break. The purpose of these activities is to promote a healthy mindset among team members and boost productivity.
These activities are the remote equivalent of employee stress management ideas, and are similar to virtual wellness ideas and Mental Health Awareness Month activities. These ideas help create positive working environments.
This list includes:
- virtual stress management group activities for adults
- stress management games for online employees
- stress relieving activities for remote teams
- de-stressing ideas for online employees
Let’s get to it!
List of virtual team stress relief ideas
Virtual team stress relief activities are experiences and ideas you can implement in a remote setting that benefit the entire team. From meditation to yoga to journaling, here is the ultimate list of virtual stress relief ideas for your team.
1. Simple Questions
Sometimes, the most straightforward ideas are the best. For example, encouraging team members to engage with each other over one simple question a day is a great way to interact and relieve stress. This wellness activity helps supervisors gauge how team members feel about work and specific projects. Simple Questions also show employees that management cares.
Some example questions include:
- What are you most dreading today?
- Who can help you today?
- What are you most grateful for?
- Do you feel challenged enough at work?
- What is the most random thought you had at work this week?
- How close do you feel to coworkers?
- What word best describes work lately?
Focusing your questions on issues directly related to work help guide this activity to benefit employees and managers the most. It is easy to set up a Slack channel where a host posts a question daily or weekly, and team members can check in with answers.
Here is a list of check-in questions to use for this activity.
2. M&Ms and Chopsticks
If you have a bag of M&Ms and a pair of chopsticks, then you have all you need for one of the best stress management games for online employees. To play this game, send each employee a bag of regular M&Ms and a set of chopsticks, or ask team members to buy these supplies themselves. Then, schedule a team meeting where everyone logs onto a Zoom call. Each team member should pour the bag of candies into one bowl and have a second empty bowl ready. To play the game, set a timer for one minute. Then, ask each participant to move as many candies as possible from one bowl to the other using only the chopsticks. This entertaining game is sure to give team members a few laughs. Plus, the whole group gets a sweet snack at the end!
3. GIF Talk
With remote teams, employees become experts at communicating through digital mediums. Over time, this task can get exhaustive and repetitive. To shake up the conversation, schedule a session where team members must only communicate in GIFs and emojis. First, set up a time when all team members are available and logged into a chat platform, like Slack. Then, have a starter question, like “how are you feeling today?” After a leader poses the question, team members can only answer in GIFs and emojis. This game is an entertaining way to relieve stress and express emotions.
A few minutes a day of stretching has many health benefits. You can incorporate this activity in a variety of ways. One easy idea is to schedule a Zoom meeting where the entire team participates in exercises together. Or, if the group has varying work schedules, then send out reminders once a day. You can also set up a Slack channel dedicated to stretching where team members can share ideas and specific stretches. Encouraging remote employees to stand up and move for a few minutes throughout the day can drastically increase mental and physical health.
5. Team Praise
It should be standard for supervisors to praise and encourage team members. Asking team members to compliment each other is a fantastic way to increase mental health and decrease stress. Even teams that are not in person can find ways to implement this daily. One option is to set up a Slack channel for team members to congratulate or praise each other. Or, once a week, pair up employees. Each team member should look for ways to encourage their assigned partner during that week. This method also has the added benefit of helping the entire team get to know each other.
Check out more virtual employee appreciation ideas.
6. Wine Tasting
Hosting an online wine tasting is one of the best virtual stress management group activities for adults. If your team is local, then you can arrange a pickup point where team members can collect wine samples. Or, if your team is geographically diverse, then you can send out a wine list for your team to purchase individually. Be sure to consider the price and number of bottles of wine you include in the tasting if you go the second route. Including cheese or chocolate in your tasting would also be a nice touch. For the wine tasting event, ask team members to log onto a Zoom meeting with their wine samples and have a list of questions to ask about each wine. A wine tasting is a great way to relieve stress and encourage team members to interact casually.
Here is a list of online wine tasting experiences.
7. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
One of the easiest virtual team stress relief activities is hosting a scavenger hunt. This game is easy to host in a remote team because participants will simply be finding items from their own homes. Before the game, come up with a list of household objects to find.
Some examples are:
- Favorite coffee mug
- Scented candle
- Healthy snack
- Blue pillow
- Potted plant
- Left shoe
During the activity, have a host list an item. The first team member to get back with the requested item earns a point. The participant with the most points at the end wins the game. Another great benefit of this game is that team members can share some backstory to items they show, and the group can get to know each other better.
Here are more virtual scavenger hunt ideas.
8. The Art of Storytelling
Storytelling might seem like an activity for children, but it is also incredibly beneficial to adults. Participating in The Art of Storytelling workshop teaches you to express yourself meaningfully. This skill is essential when it comes to emotional wellness. Sharing a story about yourself or your work environment is a great way to unburden yourself and relate to teammates. The Art of Storytelling is two hours long and guided by a trained host to ensure your team gets the most out of the time. Throughout the session, team members will learn a framework to express themselves clearly and build compelling narratives.
Learn more about The Art of Storytelling.
9. Take Your Pet to Work
A remote worker technically always has their pet at their office. But it is well known that pets and animals, in general, can increase morale and make folks happy. To use pets as a virtual team stress relief activity, plan a specific day and time where team members can show off their beloved fur babies. If you have a large team, consider having an employee or two give weekly presentations. You can either assign days or ask for team members to volunteer. This way, participants have a chance to prepare what to say about their pet and perhaps even get an outfit for their big reveal. If your team loves pets and wants to see more, or does not have many, consider watching animal rescue or zoo live streams together.
Here is how to plan a virtual take your pet to work day.
10. Book Club
Reading and discussing books is a fantastic way to relieve stress in your virtual team. You can ask a team member to volunteer to organize the group and choose books. Or, take a poll and choose several books for the entire group to read. You can opt for monthly or quarterly meetups, depending on the size of the book and the schedule of your team. If you have the budget, then consider sending each team member a physical or digital copy of the book. To encourage mental health, include books on this topic, such as self-help or encouragement books.
Meditation is one of the best stress relieving activities for remote teams, and it is incredibly simple to implement. You can guide the team through a meditation exercise on Zoom. Or, provide a template and encourage team members to take a few minutes at the start of the day to meditate. To do a team session, ask for a volunteer in the group to lead the meditation or find a guided version online. Team members can log into a special Zoom meeting where the whole group refocuses their minds by spending a few minutes with their eyes closed listening to the guide.
If you are looking for in-depth de-stressing ideas for online employees, then consider a daily or weekly yoga session. Research proves that yoga is immensely beneficial to both the mind and body. This exercise promotes strength and balance while increasing flexibility. You can schedule a longer weekly session because it is only once a week, perhaps 30 minutes. Or you can opt for daily sessions of five to ten minutes. No matter the duration of the session, yoga is an excellent way for the team to unwind and refocus. You can utilize an online version if you do not have a teacher to offer a yoga class in person.
Here is a guide to team building yoga.
13. Fitness Challenge
When you work out, your body releases endorphins. These hormones are how your body fights off depression. So, if you are looking for virtual team stress relief activities, then consider a team fitness challenge. You can do challenges throughout the year. It is best to start with a short, achievable amount of time, for example, one month. To allow team members to track their progress, use tracking software or a fitness app where participants can see each other’s gains. The team can cheer each other on as the group puts in the work. It is best to set goals throughout the challenge and have a prize at the end for all participants who finish.
Here is a list of online fitness classes and ideas.
14. Virtual Coffee Break
In a remote office environment, it is easy for team members to feel disconnected from their peers. By organizing a regular coffee break where employees log onto a Zoom call to connect and chat, you can recreate a break room. A virtual coffee break is one of the best virtual stress management group activities for adults. This event can be as simple as a group call where participants have their favorite cup of coffee while chatting. You can encourage meaningful yet casual conversation and ask team members to steer clear of work talk. For a fun twist, consider sending all team members matching mugs and a bag of coffee to get started.
Check out this guide to virtual coffee breaks.
15. Balloon Game
This activity with balloons is one of the most affordable stress management games for online employees. Team members only need a few balloons and open space to play this game. To play the challenge, each participant blows up three balloons. Then, each team member attempts to keep all three balloons up for as long as possible. This game might sound easy, but it is a difficult task to keep all three airbound. To add a team building element, divide the members into groups. Then, add up the total times for the members in each group. The group with the longest time wins.
16. Mindful Monday
Team members are sometimes discouraged when Monday rolls around, and the workweek starts. A fantastic way to start the week off on a good foot is to take five minutes or so every Monday morning for the whole team to get focused. It is no secret that Mondays can be crazy, but taking a couple of minutes to meditate, breathe deep, and think positive thoughts can help ease the stress of getting back into work after the weekend. This session does not have to be elaborate. But, if you take the time to organize an official Mindful Monday session and ask team members to log onto a Zoom meeting and participate together, then you are showing the entire team that mental health is important.
17. Care Package
If you have room in your budget, then sending each team member a care package is an excellent stress-relieving activity for virtual teams. Depending on the size of your team and budget, you can send out monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual boxes. You can fill these boxes with candles, teas, water bottles, lotions, coffee mugs, and healthy snacks. A box full of gifts is a fantastic way to show team members you appreciate their hard work and encourage them to care for themselves.
Check out this list of employee care package ideas.
When team members journal, they can freely express their thoughts however they see fit. For example, folks can write out ideas, draw pictures, draft letters, or create poems or prose. As a leader, you can facilitate journaling in a variety of ways. One option is to send each team member a new journal and nice pens. Or, you can also encourage online journaling by creating a template on Google Docs or Google Forms with new mindfulness prompts each week. Journaling consistently gives employees the chance to reflect on their growth over time.
Encouraging team members to focus on their mental health is integral to a successful and productive office. This task becomes more challenging in a remote setting because team members are not in the same building, and often not in the same state. Implementing virtual team stress relief activities is a fantastic way to encourage mental health and deepen relationships simultaneously. When you encourage employees to care for themselves, productivity increases, and burnout decreases.
Next, check out Mental Health Awareness quotes for work and remote work-life balance tips.