What are Workplace Virtual Team Building Activities?
More people are working remotely than ever before, and this working arrangement is unlikely to stop anytime soon. Companies are recognizing they need to embrace this new dynamic and make the most of it.
Virtual team-building activities bring remote teams together. They develop deeper bonds between team members by establishing a cooperative work environment that mimics an office setting.
Why Virtual Team Building Activities are Important?
Remote employees are physically distanced from their colleagues. Employers need to ensure that working from home doesn’t mean they feel emotionally distanced from their co-workers. Remote workers may feel that their contributions are not as valued as employees who work in the office. As a result, they may be less likely to bring their ideas to team meetings.
All employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions at work. Workers who don’t feel included become disengaged in their work, and the company suffers.
It’s crucial to create a comfortable environment where all employees feel included and their contribution appreciated.
Therefore, virtual corporate team-building activities are an essential strategy for remote workers. These virtual activities and online games make team members interact informally. They can connect and feel as though they are part of the community.
Incorporating team-building activities for remote employees makes them feel included. These workers are more likely to feel engaged in their work. When employees feel engaged in their work, they are more likely to stay with the employer, increasing retention rates.
Higher retention rates mean the company can focus more of its time and money on business tasks instead of filling open positions and training new employees. Here’s a list of 31 different virtual team building activities to try:
1. Two Truths and a Lie Game
Two Truths and a Lie is an easy icebreaker activity to help team members get to know each other. Each person makes three statements, two of them are true, and one of them is a lie.
The other team members take turns guessing which statement is the lie. After everyone has had a turn, the player reveals the false statement.
Record the number of correct answers during the game. The person with the most right answers wins!
2. Sharing Photos
Sharing photos is an example of a free virtual team-building activity. Ask team members to share one personal photo. The images can contain family members, pets, gadgets, hobbies, vacation spots, etc.
Next, ask each person to explain the photo and why they chose to share it with their fellow team members. The answers will provide insight into each person and their life outside of work. The answers will indicate what kinds of things are essential to each team member and shed light on their interests.
3. Building a Story
Here’s a simple virtual team-building activity that everyone can enjoy. It doesn’t require special skills, everyone can have fun with it.
Start by having one person in the group begin the story. They start by saying one complete sentence and then one incomplete one. Here’s an example: “Adam was on his way for an interview for his dream job, and he was driving in his car, and he saw….”
The following person completes the incomplete sentence and adds another incomplete sentence.
Go through the group until each person has had a turn. The story can be funny, silly, or profound, and the account will be unique every time.
This fun virtual team-building activity makes the participants listen and cooperate. It also provides the foundation for effective communication within the team!
→ Explore more: 22 Internal Communication Examples and Ideas
4. Virtual Escape Room
Virtual escape rooms are an excellent way to get your team to work together to solve a problem. For example, “Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist” forces teams to collaborate, brainstorm, and use their creative problem-solving skills to find the answer. The game has hidden clues to help them find the answer and gives the players some challenges for good-natured fun along the way.
Teams have to solve the problems presented by the game within about 20 minutes to win.
5. War of the Wizards Game
War of the Wizards is an online, real-time team-building game. Its premise works like this: A group of wizards has been at war for ages; none of them can remember how the conflict started. The team members are the wizards’ underlings, and their duties include solving puzzles, telling stories, and completing challenges.
Completing these tasks earns the team members “sparkle points.” The participants also get to cast spells and do other things to resolve the conflict peacefully. The game is a fun and different way for remote teams to interact.
6. Virtual Book Club
A virtual book club is a way for your remote team members to connect while reading the same material and sharing their impressions of it.
Start the club off by reading a short novel or an essay. The goal here is to have everyone read something that they can finish in one or two sessions. By keeping the reading material short, you are not asking people to commit to something very time-consuming at the beginning. The members can try the club to see if they will enjoy reading something longer.
7. Pancakes vs. Waffles
Pancakes vs. waffles is an easy game that requires your team to make decisions together. As the name implies, the participants need to make “either-or” choices.
The team must decide whether the world should keep pancakes or waffles in the first round. The participants can only keep one choice. The team can present reasons why their preference should prevail; the majority of votes determines which one gets to remain.
When one of the choices gets voted “out,” a new one is added to the mix. In the second round, the choice could be pancakes vs. pumpkin spice, and in Round 3, it could be pancakes vs. action movies. Keep playing this fun virtual team-building activity until the time you have set aside for it is up. You will learn a lot about your co-workers’ interests and values in the process.
8. Arm’s Reach Show and Tell
Virtual show and tell is a children’s activity that can be used for teambuilding in the workplace. In the workplace version, set a one-minute timer. Ask each participant to find an item within reach “that means something to you.”
Once everyone has found something to share, each team member has one minute to talk about their object. They can describe the item, then share where they got it and why they keep it.
9. “Big Talk” Virtual Icebreaker
This suggestion is an example of a quick virtual team-building activity. Use it to start your virtual meetings by giving team members the chance to discuss global news events.
- Before the manager starts the meeting, send each participant a current news story. Ask them to read it.
- At the start of the meeting, give each person a minute to share their thoughts on the story. The other team members listen without comment or interruption.
- Set aside five minutes after each person has had time to speak for an open group discussion about the news story.
10. Virtual Happy Hour
Virtual happy hours are best conducted with teams of two-ten participants and take a minimum of 30 minutes to complete.
- Send all participants a box of happy hour snacks beforehand (or have them provide their own.)
- Use a reliable video conferencing service.
- Start with a pet show-and-tell to help your team members feel comfortable to break the ice.
- This happy hour isn’t just about sitting around with a beverage; invite the team to visit Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub to answer some happy hour trivia questions.
11. The Deserted Island Game
This free activity gives the participants a break from remote work and challenges them to think outside the box. It works best for teams of up to ten people and takes between 30-45 minutes to complete.
Scenario: The bad news is that the team is on a deserted island. The good news is that everyone gets to choose three items from a list of survival tools:
- 100-proof rum
- An out-of-battery cell phone
- Athletic shoes
- Candy bars
- Canvas tarp
- Lighter fluid
- Plastic tarp
Give everyone 10 minutes to choose their three items. Have each person share which three things they chose and explain their choices. Each person can also ask questions about their choices.
Next, give each person five minutes to decide if they want to change their items based on what they heard from their teammates.
Ask anyone who changed their items why they made their decision. By the end of this game, everyone will be open to hearing new ideas from others. They will also appreciate new perspectives.
12. Offline Employee Fitness/Wellness Goals
Have everyone on the team vow to complete a fitness or wellness challenge. It could be as simple as deciding to park at the far end of the parking lot to increase their daily step count, meditating regularly, or preparing to run a marathon.
Each person can check in weekly or bi-weekly to report on their progress and get encouragement from their fellow team members. Make the check-in a positive place for encouraging messages. If someone misses a workout, give them suggestions for getting back on track.
13. Who’s that Baby?
Who’s that Baby? is a straightforward team-building activity for a virtual meeting. Before the meeting starts, ask your team members to upload baby pictures of themselves.
- Place the pictures on the slideshow and number each one.
- Ask your team members to guess which baby picture corresponds to each team member.
- The team member who gets the most answers right wins a small prize (a gift card, gift certificate, a couple of hours off work, etc.)
14. Icebreaker Questions
If you are looking for short virtual team-building activities, consider the tried-and-tested icebreaker questions game. It is an excellent way to start a team meeting or any virtual event. No matter how well you think you know your fellow teammates, there is always something new to learn about each other. Here are some examples:
- What was the last movie you watched?
- What are your parents’ best qualities?
- Which teacher made the most significant impression on you? Why?
- What was your favorite/least favorite subject in school?
15. Schedule an online lunch date
Take a real-time lunch break with the team over video conferencing. Give your team members some options by allowing them to expense up to $25 for:
- Placing an order for delivery;
- Joining the lunch date from a favorite lunch spot; or
- Cooking something special from home.
Encourage the participants to talk about what they are eating, what they like to do outside of work, the weather where they are, their hobbies – the kinds of things people usually talk about at lunch.
16. Run a messy-desk contest
Remote work means there isn’t the same expectation for team members to keep their desks tidy to the same extent as when they work in an office. When people work from home, they tend to be more relaxed about looking after their desks.
Instead of creating a messy desk as something to be ashamed of, celebrate them by having your team members upload photos of their messy desks. It also gives your team members who keep their desks clean and tidy to share photos demonstrating this fact.
17. Create “My User Manual”
When you are just putting a team together or when a new person joins the team, it takes time to “gel” into a cohesive unit. It’s helpful for the team members to share their work styles. Some questions that your fellow teammates would find beneficial to have answered would include:
- Would you prefer to be contacted by e-mail or chat?
- Can I contact you with unscheduled video calls?
- Is there a particular time of day when you prefer not to be disturbed?
- Are you someone who likes to hear about the big picture first, then the finer points, or are you more detail-oriented?
18. Find out your superpowers
This game helps all participants discover more about themselves and each other. Each person prepares for the session by taking an internet strength finder assessment like Clifton Strengths or the Big Five Personality Test.
After taking the test, each participant shares their top three and lowest-ranked strengths. They also reveal something in the personality test that surprised them. The group then discusses how each person’s strengths contribute to the team and how they can make even better use of them.
19. Play a lightning round of mini-games
There is always a bit of lag time at the start of Zoom meetings waiting for people to come into the virtual meeting room. Rather than spending that time in silence, why not use it for playing games?
Zoom game apps like the Kahoot! trivia app are a great way to pass the time and break the ice for the first few minutes of the meeting.
20. “How you doin’?”
This is a five-minute ritual to include at the beginning of each team video conference. Make a space on the board the team uses to track agenda items so that each person can indicate how they are feeling that week.
Someone might be feeling down due to something they are dealing with in their personal life and as a result they have low energy. Another team member may have had a great weekend with their family and is feeling good about the week ahead. The notes on the board let other team members know when someone needs some extra patience and support or when they are feeling great about things.
21. Virtual “Clue” Murder Mystery
Fans of the “Clue” board game will enjoy playing the virtual version with their co-workers. Team members can dress up in costume and get into the characters as part of the game, which attempts to find the murderer of “Neil Davidson.”
This virtual team-building activity challenges your team to consider the clues and find the person responsible for the murder. Schedule the Clue Murder Mystery anytime your team needs a pick-me-up by solving a good mystery!
22. Employee Engagement Quiz
If you want to know how your team feels, ask them to complete a brief employee engagement quiz. It allows your team to anonymously share their feelings (with or without comments).
You can get an idea of whether any problems need addressing before they become major issues that affect productivity and employee retention. PulseMare is a tool that allows you to conduct surveys and collect feedback from team members regularly for a flat rate.
23. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
The best part about a virtual scavenger hunt is that it can come together quickly. When the team is on a Zoom call, ask everyone to collect some items from around the house. Give them a list of five or six things they have to find.
The first person to collect everything on the list and make it back to their webcam with proof they have all the requested items wins the scavenger hunt!
24. Online Charade
This easy game is suitable for groups of 10 or less:
- Divide your team in half to make two teams to start the game.
- Choose a theme, such as films, animals, music, etc., and prepare virtual charades cards.
- Get all the team members to join a video call.
- Each team member gets a chance to act out the clue contained on their card, sent to them in a private message before the game.
- The first person to correctly guess what the team member is acting out wins a point for their team.
- The game continues until each person has had a turn or the allotted time has passed.
The winning team is the one with the most points!
25. Themed Work Days
People spend a lot of time working over Zoom now. Themed work days are maximum-15 min virtual team building activities that everyone can enjoy.
Encourage your team to wear their favorite sports team’s jersey on the last Friday of the month. The following month can be Dress Up day when they take special care to look their best for the Friday Zoom meeting. Consider Crazy Hat Day, Dress Like a Pirate Day, Salute to the 60s day, or Come to Work in your Pajamas day. The goal is to be creative and have fun!
26. The Birth Map Game
The object of this game is to get team members to understand each other’s culture. Everyone comes from different places and has a different heritage. This game helps to connect team members and gets them working together more effectively.
- Ask each person to share either a fun fact or a weird legend about their birthplace.
- Have the team vote on who has the most interesting or strange story about where they were born. In a large workplace, hold the vote monthly or quarterly.
- Give the winner a prize like a gift certificate or an Amazon gift card.
27. “10 Things in Common”
This exercise aims to get the team to use their communication skills to realize that they have several things in common. It should only take 10 or 15 minutes to complete.
- Divide your team into small groups. Ask each group to work together to develop ten things they have in common.
- They can write the items on a shared document or post them on an online whiteboard.
- The list can be personal characteristics (children, pets, hobbies, where they have lived) or work-related ones (departments, education, or years in the field).
28. ”Category” Game
Category is a quick game that your team can start at any meeting. It helps the participants practice thinking about answers to fun topics quickly. The category they think about can be something fun like “Types of Cars” or “Sports Played with a Ball.”
Give your team a category at the beginning of the next team meeting. Each person has to provide an answer, and no one can repeat an answer.
The game ends if someone can’t think of an answer or repeats one. The loser chooses the category for the next team meeting.
29. Name that Tune
Music is something that everyone can enjoy, and it’s a fun way for team members to get to know each other. Name that Tune is an activity that allows people to practice their listening skills while enjoying great music.
- Use YouTube, iTunes, or Spotify to choose a list of 10-15 songs your team especially likes.
- At the next meeting, play one of the songs from the list. See who can correctly guess the name of the song and the artist first.
The person who gets the most answers right wins the game!
Articulate may be one of the best virtual team-building activities of all. It’s very popular since it gives everyone a chance to use their brains and have fun.
- Give each participant a list of 10 words (movie, cat, laughing, singing, birthday, coffee, pizza, etc.).
- Set a timer for one minute. The first participant starts describing as many words as possible without saying them.
- The rest of the group has to guess the words.
- After one minute, the next participant starts describing their words.
- The person describing their words can’t say “starts with” or “sounds like” as clues.
The winner is the person who had the most words on their list guessed correctly.
31. Read My Lips
Read My Lips is a quick and easy game to play with a team to relieve stress. It will help the participants laugh together and establish relationships through humor.
The first player puts their video microphone on mute so only their face is visible. Player one should still hear what everyone else in the meeting is saying.
Player one then says something. It can be on a specific theme to make the game easier. The rest of the players have one minute to figure out what Player one has said only through lip-reading. Another player gets a turn when the time is up, or the team has guessed the phrase correctly.
The LumApps employee engagement platform is a robust platform developed specifically to facilitate employee engagement, encourage creativity, and support your unique company culture. Visit us online to request a demo or learn more today.
LumApps Employee Experience Platform
February 10, 2022