Keep your remote teams engaged with these 30 virtual team building activities.
Many firms now find themselves with a near 100% remote workforce scattered around the globe. A conference room is no longer a big room with a long, fancy wooden table and reclining chairs. It's a web browser, a webcam, and video engagement software.
If your company is in a similar scenario, you might be asking yourself what fun virtual team-building activities will bond your remote workforce together?
Let's explore the answers.
At its most basic, virtual team building is no different than in-person team building. Consider the following benefits that virtual team building provides your remote workforce:
Team building events organized and conducted through video engagement platforms connect individuals and teams that may otherwise feel isolated or cut off by their remote working environment.
Virtual team building maintains those connections and lets remote employees know they are not toiling away in a vacuum alone. Whether it's one employee or one hundred, keeping your teams engaged will keep your company moving forward.
They may not wholly replace being in the room with peers, but virtual team-building activities offer a unique way for a remote workforce to keep in touch with one another and have a little fun in the process.
And the best news is there are many ways for your teams to connect, collaborate and share.
Below, we list 30 of the most fun virtual team-building activities.
The communication platform Slack utilizes channels to organize a company's various segments - departments, offices, projects, teams - to improve engagement and collaboration. You can also use them to give team members a bit of fun. Establish non-work Slack channels for your remote teams to trade pet stories and pictures each week.
A best-picture competition is an easy challenge you can use to open up regular small group virtual calls. Have everyone submit an image they took and vote on who captured the top image that week. Spice it up with fun or random weekly subjects - the best picture of food or the coolest image of nature.
Within your virtual conference room, a designated speaker describes a random image (random generators exist for such things) for other team members to draw. The catch is the speaker can only describe the picture using geometric shapes. Communication and listening skills are essential.
Generate some creativity from your remote team by prompting them to create something using materials from their home. You can adjust the crafts depending on the time of year. For example, by having the team carve pumpkins near Halloween.
The Slack extension Donut lets team members who don't work together make old-school connections in new-school ways. The tool automatically pairs up individuals to socialize and get to know their teammates better. Essentially a chat over virtual coffee or around the digital watercooler. It’s a fantastic tool for building bonds amongst employees who otherwise wouldn't interact.
Arguably, "Do you know your team" is one of the most popular and widely used virtual meeting ice breakers. Before your next virtual conference call, have attendees provide you answers to three "about me" inquiries - favorite food, one thing they’d bring to a desert island, their favorite movie, or television show. Then ask attendees on the call to identify who answered what.
Need an activity for big groups? A five-finger showdown is perfect for the large team virtual conference call setting. To play, everyone holds up five fingers. Then a designated host or each team member says a unique or interesting life event - "has traveled abroad in the past 12 months" or "has taken dance lessons" or "ate pineapple in the last 24 hours." For each event a person has done, a finger goes down. The first to put all five fingers down wins.
Cake Wars, Parking Wars, Storage Wars. A lot of reality television shows play up the battle angle in their premise. Conduct your own "war" with your team members using the ever-popular GIF. Trello offers rules and a template to play the game. You can choose sides based on how your employees pronounce GIF.
Emojis are fun, and guessing which co-workers use which emojis the most offers an incredibly engaging experience. A quick game to play, each virtual conference call attendee snaps a screenshot of their most-used emojis and sends it to the host or moderator. The host then shares each one with the team, and the first to guess who it belongs earns a point. Repeat the process for each emoji board, and the person with the most points wins.
If you're of a certain age, minesweeper once served as the height of time waste computing. Now you can utilize it as a team-building exercise to test your group's patience and powers of deduction. To play it free online, type "Minesweeper" into Google search.
A play on the old high-school and college game where questionable topics often ruled the discussion, the work-appropriate version tackles more mundane fare that helps co-workers get to know each other without the embarrassment. You can use the five-finger method in reverse to keep score.
Build your remote team's collective decision-making skills using pancakes or waffles. You start by having your team discuss the merits of pancakes vs. waffles and choosing which to keep and which to get rid of - as in never to be offered or consumed again. Then the discussion adds a new challenger - pancakes vs. donuts or making it more interesting, something unrelated like pancakes vs. superhero movies. As the game evolves, team members will open up, and the discussions prove more impassioned.
You can use personality tests to help remote teams better understand one another and build a cohesive unit based on personality types, strengths, and weaknesses. Send a personality test to every member of your team, and then discuss the results collectively.
Pick a theme - best cookie recipes, unique Thanksgiving side, your favorite meal your mom or dad cooked - and then prepare and trade recipes with other co-workers based on that week's theme. Include the icebreaker of everyone giving a quick commentary on why they picked a particular dish.
Show and learn takes advantage of the individual skills or talents of each of your team members. Each individual takes a turn hosting a session where they teach or hold court on a subject they know exceptionally well. This taps into what makes each team member unique and stimulates everyone's curiosity and drive to learn.
To keep teams motivated and accountable (both can easily fall by the wayside when working remotely), engage members to set personal goals or challenges - working out, developing a new hobby, or learning a new language. Then, track progress and celebrate milestones collectively to keep everyone moving forward on their road to betterment.
One of the most challenging activities on our list, spreadsheet wars pushes a team's creative and critical thinking. Using Google Sheets, recommended thanks to its collaborative capabilities, designated groups design a solution using only the spreadsheet program based on a predetermined theme.
Are you seeking a unique and creative way to improve your team's communication and help them better sell your brand's story? Enroll your group in online storytelling workshops to build their confidence and hone your message.
Allow your remote teams the opportunity to see and experience what peers do by swapping roles between co-workers for a day. Certainly, this takes a little preplanning, but it will give everyone a better appreciation for each other's respective duties and functions within the team.
It's like a wine tasting, but with the work-hours friendly beverages of tea and coffee. Tea vs. Coffee has a wonderful setup where each team member receives a kit with four drink packs and a few extras. Log into your specific team event, and a barista will guide your team through a tasting and other virtual team-building activities.
Returning to Slack, the platform also features a trivia app that hosts several games, including trivia, quizzes, and puzzles. All with leaderboards to promote a little friendly competition amongst team members.
Are you curious if those typing lessons from high school paid off? Has your typing prowess improved or regressed since then? Challenge co-workers to a friendly race across the keyboard with LiveChat's typing skills test.
Best hosted within a Slack channel or on a video conferencing platform, a virtual company book club often focuses on books, essays, news articles, or even white papers related to your company mission or industry.
Find clues, solve challenges and employ a collaborative team-building effort to find a way out of a variety of uniquely curated locales. Online escapes vary in difficulty and scope and range from hosted to self-guided.
More and more board and card games are going virtual to allow play across states, regions, and even countries. Some of your favorite games have virtual versions that you can learn and play in almost any team setting.
Share a moment with your team after work with a virtual happy hour. You could even invite a mixologist to make a signature drink for your team (with or without alcohol) and then teach the team members how to make it!
Multiplayer video games can be an exciting way to encourage your team to work together for low-stakes rewards. Plan sessions after work or during lunch breaks for teammates to game together.
A nice way to build up the team is to have each team member share some praise for recent accomplishments.
Your team collectively visits an interesting website and discusses it for 10 to 15 minutes (roughly the same amount of time to have a drink) before moving on to the next website.
This lighthearted icebreaker has participants identify what cocktail defines their personality best. It is an original way to learn about how your colleagues perceive themselves.
A company with a committed and motivated workforce promotes engagement amongst its employees. Bringing your team together for virtual team-building activities is critical for their success and yours.
Regardless of which activities you choose - the ones above, the countless others that exist online, or those you make up yourself - make it a point to bring your teams together regularly. Ensure they know they are not forgotten, not alone, and very much a vital part of your organization.
Employees may no longer share the same offices, but they share the same goals. And they all have a similar need to connect with their teammates. There's no better way to achieve this than with virtual team building.
Molly Hocutt has been a Content Manager at Livestom since 2019. She has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.
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