Play to Engage Remote Teams

Play Is a Great Way to Engage Remote Teams. I’m Serious!

Guest post by Alexandra Suchman, Cofounder and CEO of Barometer XP

We’ve reached the point where it’s almost a cliche to talk about how hard it is to make meaningful connections with colleagues through Zoom boxes and Slack channels.

“Ugh, I’m so sick of Zoom” has become the new “I can’t believe this weather” as the small talk statement to foster some quick agreement at the start of a conversation.

Yes, connecting virtually, be it over phone, video, or written message, is way less satisfying than in person.

Yes, we are all sick of spending so much time staring at screens, and have found ways to keep meetings focused and short.

And yes, these remote ways of communicating force a more formal structure that doesn’t leave space (physical or metaphorical) for spontaneous, serendipitous interpersonal conversation.

But there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of simple, fun, and very effective ways to encourage great connection and engagement among remote teams. And you already know many of them.


Games are essentially a problem solving opportunity: the pursuit of a specific goal within a limited time, space, and set of rules. Every time we play a game, we bring our own unique skills, ideas, experience, communication style, approach to problem solving, etc. to the room, and it gives us a chance to examine how we (and others) show up in a situation.

Playing games with your work team not only will give you a chance to relax and have fun together, you’ll also gain valuable insights into how each other feels, thinks, and acts in different situations. Plus you’ll create some great memories, which are essential in building strong team identity.

Here are a few of my favorite games to play with remote teams that are not only fun, they help teams find creative ways to communicate with each other and practice thinking on their feet!

Codenames: This is a communication game with an espionage theme, where the goal is for a team to call all its agents back from the field using covert codenames. Teams compete to provide the most efficient and effective one-word clues without tipping off their opponents or accidentally alerting a hidden assassin!

Fishbowl: Another fun communication-based game, Fishbowl is a faster-paced game that combines Taboo, Password, and Charades as one person tries to help their team guess a secret word. Two teams compete to see who can guess more words before time runs out!

Need help picking the right game for your team? No problem, just email me at and I’ll give you some suggestions.

About the Author

Alex is CEO and Co-founder of Barometer XP, a company that uses games and play to catalyze insights and conversations about how team members can better communicate and work toward shared goals. Alex facilitates sessions that help teams learn about themselves and make meaningful, sustainable culture change.

Prior to Barometer XP, Alex founded AIS Collaborations, a consulting firm that helped small businesses with simple systems, stronger organizing techniques, and better planning. She has an MPP from The George Washington University, a BA in psychology from Colby College, and is certified as both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and DISC coach.