Remote working can be quite beneficial in terms of work-life balance, flexibility, reduced costs, energy-saving and more, yet employees could often tend to feel isolated due to the lack of physical interaction with each other. This is where virtual team building activities come into place!
Virtual team building allows remote employees to connect outside of work-related matters. It provides teams a much-needed respite from the daily work routine and increases employee bonding, not to forget the fun and laughter that accompanies the activities! We have listed the best virtual team building activities, games, tools, and ideas for you to try in your next virtual meet-up, so happy reading!
What is Virtual Team Building?
Virtual team building enables remote employees to connect with each other through activities, games, or just a casual get-together. Its purpose is to allow teams to get to know each other outside of work calls and meetings, and simply have fun. It is facilitated via a video conferencing platform wherein all members get on board to interact among themselves. This increases employee engagement, thereby resulting in higher overall productivity and team spirit.
Why is Virtual Team Building important?
Although a lot of companies may have adapted remote working as their regular mode of work now, it also means there can be a disconnect between employees due to a lack of physical social interaction. Naturally, remote workers end up feeling lonely, which may reflect poorly on their performance.
Virtual team building encourages healthy collaboration, builds trust, and sparks creativity among remote and distributed teams. It enables employees to have interpersonal bonding and maintain a good rapport. Highly engaged teams provide higher efficiency and productivity as well. As a bonus, fun virtual team building activities give you good stories and memories for life!
3 Fun Virtual Team Building Activities
3.1 Bingo Party
Online bingo is a fun team building activity that remote employees can play collectively. A host calls out random numbers from 1 to 25 or any number (can be decided beforehand), and participants have to cross out the numbers available on their cards. Whoever finishes 5 rows (either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) first, wins! Teambuilding offers a free game board that you can use. You just need to send your colleagues the link, download the image and you’re good to go!
Read our full article on how to throw a Virtual Team Building Party!
3.2 Online Jeopardy
Online Jeopardy is a quiz game for participants to compete with each other and answer trivia questions based on specific categories like history, pop, sports, literature, geography, and more. They can play the game on any online jeopardy game website, or through an app, or simply download a template and share their screen via virtual conferencing software.
3.3 Murder Mystery
No virtual team building activity can give you the same adrenaline rush as a virtual murder mystery! Everyone has to put their heads together to crack the puzzle with the clues given, so it’s the best way to encourage teamwork, hands down! I liked the sound of the Murder in Ancient Egypt game by TeamBuilding.
The murder mystery games last for about 1.5 hours and can accommodate large groups up to 300 people.
Arrange your next Virtual Murder Mystery Game session: 15 Virtual Murder Mystery Games for Remote Teams
3.4 Trivia hour
You can compile questions based on what you know of your team and create hints for the participants guessing before the hourglass or digital timer runs out. The questions can be anything – from what they like to snack on, what music they listen to or what their favourite travel destination is. Once all the answers are in, check who got most or all of the answers right and announce the winner!
Check out our article on 15 Best Virtual Trivia Games for Remote Teams
3.5 Jungle Jumble
This game is about spotting the differences. It lets you know how observant the team is.
Everyone’s camera should be turned on for this. The rules are simple. Everyone gets thirty seconds to visually take in each other’s room or workstation. Next, switch off your camera and move one item around the room to another location. It can be a book, charger or whiteboard. Make sure that the item you’re moving is within sight of the camera. You can set a time limit of a few minutes to find a new location before turning your camera back on. Whoever is quickest in guessing the item moved and points out where it is won! Bonus points if they can guess most of their coworker’s rearranged items.
3.6 Word of the day
Want to know how to make virtual meetings fun and get people to pay attention to what you’re saying? Announce at the start of a meeting that you’ll be slipping in an unusual word into the conversation. The participants have to guess what that word is, and where you used it. You can opt to give them a hint. If they guess it right, they have to exclaim, ‘word of the day!’ It can be something as silly as ‘Hobbit’ or ‘Ducati’ or anything else.
3.7 Virtual Escape Room
Escape rooms have become popular because it sends everyone into a virtual fantasy. Virtual escape room organizers create a mysterious and dynamic plot for “virtual rooms”. Different teams solve various puzzles or riddles or unearth hidden clues to solve the mystery and escape the room within a stipulated time limit. Individuals can also arrange a virtual escape room with friends for fun and enjoyment. You can select a theme for your team size and turn the hour into a super-sleuthing, ghostbusting or murder mystery!
Read our exciting article on 17 Best Virtual Escape Rooms for Remote Teams
3.8 Karaoke Party
One way to make interaction something virtual workers can look forward to is to host a virtual team karaoke hour! A virtual karaoke is an online session conducted on virtual conferencing platforms with recording capabilities and enhanced audio and video clarity. Send a meeting invite to your employees, select the songs, line the participants up, and you’re good to go!
Plan your next karaoke party: Virtual Karaoke Party for Remote Teams
3.9 Remote Scavenger Hunt
Virtual scavenger hunts are online games where players are given a list of items to find, or to complete challenges before time runs out. It’s a fun way to bring out everyone’s competitive side. It encourages the team to think fast and race towards goals. The time limit is designed to create that sense of urgency to collect as many objects as you can find. For example, A time travel-themed treasure hunt that requires you to find a hidden treasure using a map.
Read our full article for some exciting Virtual Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Remote Teams
3.10 Virtual Wine Tasting
A virtual wine tasting party is pretty similar to a regular wine tasting; only in this, the winery comes to you, instead of you going to the winery. Some wineries offer a virtual tour of their vineyards and cellars. Once a winery and a package are selected, a ‘wine tasting kit’ is sent to the participants’ house. The party is usually headed by an expert appointed by the winery which takes you through the wines and the tasting process along with a few add-on experiences like images, videos, games, etc.
Get your team together and plan your next Virtual Wine Tasting Party!
3.11 Social potluck
You can recreate the lunch hour vibe online through a potluck special. Have everyone prepare a dish. Or if someone you know is the type to burn down the kitchen while making an aioli, let them order in!
The important thing is that people catch up informally. Encourage coworkers to swap recipes for the next potluck and have someone else from the same team try making it!
Read more on How to Host a Virtual Lunch and Learn for Your Team
Want to start small before going big? You can’t go wrong with a Pictionary game (or will you?). Play it the same way you would in-office. Pair people off, use an IPad slate, large book or whiteboard and put your artistic skills to good use!
The moderator gives out ideas on private chats and the team has to draw it out for the other team to guess. Whichever team gets the maximum number of guesses right wins!
3.13 Giphster Hipster
Who rules the memes department at work? Here’s their chance to win with the funniest, most relatable remote work memes! As an inside joke, everyone on the team can change their profile picture or status to reflect this meme until the next meeting!
Challenge your teams! Check out our full article on 18 Laughable Remote Work Memes
Come up with a set of words related to tea, such as chai, latte, leaf, kettle or brew. Challenge everyone to work the chosen word into the conversations online during the hour. Whoever is first to correctly identify the word wins. This virtual retreat game is also a good exercise to determine if everyone’s paying attention.
3.15 The Police Sketch Artist
The police sketch artist is one of the most fun remote team building games that can be played by all, regardless of their artistic abilities. In fact, not being an artist can turn up some pretty interesting sketches! You can appoint someone as the witness, while the others can be the police, sketch artist and detectives. Use a random face generator to describe the features to the team.
Whoever is the sketch artist will need a blank paper, whiteboard or digital editing canvas to work as the description is being given. At the end, the rendition closest to the description wins and the police now know who they’re after!
4 Virtual Team Building Tools
Read our full article on 11 Awesome Virtual Water Cooler Tools For Remote Teams
Slack is an online communications tool that keeps all your channels in one place, making it easier to collaborate among remote teams. This virtual brainstorming tool allows you to communicate in real-time, stay on the same page, and make decisions quickly.
Bonusly is a personal employee recognition and rewards platform that assists with employee engagement at work. It improves productivity, collaboration, and retention in the organization. Time-consuming HR and admin tasks are automated, and it offers unique insights on work culture, professional development, performance management and more.
Klaxoon is a cloud-based platform that allows users to collaborate remotely. It can be used to host meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops, and more. Employees can use a plethora of options for collaboration such as screen sharing, create slide-decks, receive real-time feedback, have live polls, etc.
Miro is a cloud-based virtual brainstorming tool used as a visual collaboration among remote teams. It features an online whiteboard tool that can be used for research, ideation, wireframing, to explore design, story maps, strategic planning, and much more!
Read more about our Miro Review – The Collaborative Whiteboard for Remote Teams
Zoom is one of the more popular platforms for virtual meetings. It can serve as an excellent water cooler as well. Coworkers who prefer face-to-face conversations can create meeting links and send them to others. Or they can hold simple calls whenever needed. Moreover, once the call starts, they may create breakout rooms if there are too many people
Read our full article on 20 Best Virtual Brainstorming Tools That Help Generate Winning Ideas!
5 Bonus Virtual Team Building Activities
5.1 Free Virtual Team Building Activities
5.1.1 Team Movie Night
Have a new movie or new series to binge watch? Get your team and host a movie night as a good team building exercise! Select an appropriate movie sharing platform like Netflix or Prime according to your team size and send a meeting invite to your employees. Take suggestions from all employees, create a list and make watch parties a regular thing!
5.1.2 Online Team Lunch
Amp up your team’s vibes by hosting an online team lunch for them. Check with your employees for lunch recipes and dishes, and gather together over a video meeting platform. For those who do not want to cook, can order in. Keep the atmosphere buzzing by including a quiz game or just a casual talk session. These virtual team building games help in employee bonding and everyone has a good time and good food!
5.1.3 Minute to win-it Games
Virtual Minute to Win it games are inspired by NBC’s game show Minute to Win it where contestants have one minute each to complete a maximum number of tasks to win a cash prize. Contestants can complete the task using household or party items available at their homes and move on to the next challenge upon winning the same. Scores are allotted accordingly, and the individual/ team with the highest score in the end wins.
Plan your next game session wit your remote teams: 26 Exciting Minute To Win It Games To Play Online With Virtual Teams
5.1.4 Virtual Book Club
For the bibliophiles in your team, you could start a book club to review various books in your virtual coffee break. It creates awareness about the importance of reading and allows book enthusiasts to have interesting discussions on themes, plot, character developments, and much more. Get the non-readers to join the club and into the reading habit as well! You can send a survey beforehand asking the employees what genres they prefer and which book they’d like to review.
Check out our article on 11 Excellent Virtual Coffee Break Ideas for your remote teams’ catchup session!
5.1.5 Health and Wellness Challenges
Virtual wellness activities are a combination of all the programs, ideas, and initiatives that assist remote teams in staying healthy. They also counter the ill effects of social isolation and loneliness on the body and mind. Besides, they play a great role in team building and enhances collaboration between remote employees. It can be a walking steps challenge, group workouts, clean desk challenge, meditation sessions, and more.
Keep your remote employees wellness in check; read our article on 15 Virtual Wellness Activities for your remote teams
5.2 Team Building Activities for Big Teams
5.2.1 100 Point Puzzle
I discovered the 100 Point Challenge’s online team building game a few months back when I interviewed Dan Paech, the founder. The team and I separated into two teams and played it online on Zoom. We had to work through riddles to answer the final question, and had lots of fun in the process! While neither team got the final answer right, I would highly recommend this online game for large teams because we got pretty competitive, but found that we worked best when we worked together!
Check out our article on 25 Virtual Games for Large Groups in the Office!
5.2.2 Virtual Talent Show
Host a talent night every few months. Ask around and find out who amongst the team has a great singing voice, plays an instrument, models in their spare time or can put together a great Zumba flash mob! Give the team a heads up as to when you’ll be conducting this so that it leaves them with sufficient time for rehearsals. You can delegate the coordination efforts to the team to deliver a performance to remember!
Host a kickass virtual talent show with your remote teams: 12 Virtual Talent Show Ideas for Adults!
5.2.3 Giftbox meets
Who says you can only exchange gifts if the office is playing Secret Santa? You can always organize a gift swap and set aside an unboxing meeting just to have everyone open it up once they all receive their gifts! Set aside a budget, pick chits and get your coworkers to send a thoughtful item to the person they pick. The only difference is, you’re doing this on camera and can virtually show appreciation! You can even record the session and upload it on the group channel or on the company’s YouTube channel to increase viewership and subscribers!
5.2.4 The Screen test
Experience what it’s like sitting on the casting chair by having your teammates “audition” for a role in your next film! You can pull lines from an existing movie or series and send out electronic copies of them to everyone to read out.
Everyone should have their cameras on for this so that the team can get into the mood! Be sure to include context about the character and film project so that the team knows how to emote and make their role come alive! The person with the best enactment aces the screen test!
5.2.5 Tour De Paris Virtually
If your plans to visit Paris were canceled due to the Covid outbreak, Woyago is here to the rescue! This virtual Parisian tour by a real Parisian comprises guided bike tours, cheese tastings and French trivia. Immerse yourself in an hour-long Zoom session that can accommodate anywhere between 2 to 300+ people. It costs $29 per guest. The host will also throw in a few challenges or quiz you along the way to make sure everyone is keeping up and able to feel involved while on the tour.
5.2.6 Typing Speed Race
If you want to start a friendly competition, consider giving your distributed team a typing test! The tests on typingtest.com last a minute and have levels based on the difficulty of the text. This is a virtual team building activity your writers and editorial team are sure to win (sorry, folks..that’s life!). But who knows, maybe there’s a ninja typist from another department who’ll challenge them! Only one way to find out.
5.2.7 Virtual Teambuilding Kit
Kraftylabs has come up with a virtual team building kit that will leave your remote employees wanting more. Currently, they provide workshops on soap, candle and terrarium making, mixology, global coffee tasting, Yoga and meditation. There’s a two-step reservation process where you fill out a form and enter in suitable dates and activities you’d like to enroll as a group in. Each person will receive a kit based on what they sign up for. For example, those who opt for soap making will receive microwave-safe utensils, molds and essence oils.
Welcome your new joiners with 10 Best Employee Welcome Kit Ideas!
5.2.8 Virtual Cooking Classes
Hosting virtual cooking classes is one of the most delicious and engaging virtual team building games and activities. Virtual cooking classes are the best way to learn from the finest chefs around the globe. It is a good chance for them to pick up a few tricks and techniques from the professionals. Be sure to let your team know ahead of time what ingredients they need for the virtual class so they are all prepared during the class. At the end of the class, ask everyone to share pictures of their dish.
5.2.9 Coffee Session
As everyone is working remotely, they hardly get a chance to catch up with each other over a cup of coffee. The virtual coffee session gives everyone a chance to reconnect with their colleagues and take a break from their daily work. Send out an invitation for the zoom video meeting, and encourage everyone to participate in the session. As they sip on their favourite beverage, they can catch up on their team member’s personal life. Don’t forget to take a photo with your coffee cups to share on social media later.
5.2.10 Virtual Fundraiser
Team building activities should be heartwarming, positive, and rewarding. Your team can choose any cause they like and raise charity to help the organization. During the virtual fundraiser event, your team can generate a monetary donation to help the charity or provide necessary items to an organization. With this virtual fundraising event, your team can work together and help someone in need.
Check out our article on: 17 Online Fundraising For Teams To Inspire Hope!
5.2.11 Create a Team Song and Music Video
Good music brings people together. It’s a chance for all the music and karaoke lovers in your team to bring out their creative side and fulfil their dream of becoming a Rockstar. Come together and pen down lyrics that represent your company and most importantly your team. Now, take inspiration from other songs to write a team song. Whether it’s Baa Baa Black Sheep or Old McDonald, it’s your call! Ask your team members to record a small part of that song and send it over. Put all the clips together and you’ve got your perfect team song!
5.3 Virtual Icebreaker Games
Read our full article on Virtual Icebreakers for Remote Team Meetings
5.3.1 Two Truths and a Lie
The game is pretty simple to play and a great icebreaker to start an interesting conversation. Each team member will tell three statements, two of them will be truths and one will be a lie. Others have to guess the lie and truths.
5.3.2 Open Mic Virtual Icebreaker
Provide a virtual stage for your team members to showcase their talent. Ask them to tell a joke, sing a song, play an instrument, recite a poem – anything they want! Give them a heads up before the meeting so they can prepare for their turn in advance.
5.3.3 “Name That Emoji Song Title” Virtual Icebreaker
All the team members will be divided into different teams for this game. They’ll have three minutes to guess the song from the emojis only. To make the game more interesting, give them a limited number of attempts to guess the song title.
Here are some emoji song titles to get started;
- 🩸💦😢 – Blood Sweat Tears (BTS)
- ☔🔛🙋 – Rain On Me (Lady Gaga)
- 💍💍💍💍💍💍💍 – 7 Rings (Ariana Grande)
- 😢👉🎸 – Teardrops On My Guitar (Taylor Swift)
- 🍨🍦 – Ice Cream (Selena Gomez & BLACKPINK)
5.3.4 Riddle Icebreaker
Make your virtual team icebreaker session all about guessing and giggling with some interesting and fun riddles. For this game also, divide your team members into teams and let one person host the game. Prepare a list of riddles that are tough yet solvable. Put a riddle in front of your employees and see what they can come up with.
5.3.5 Would you rather? Icebreaker
Would You Rather questions are good to know each other and strike a conversation on interesting topics. Prepare a list of scenarios or questions you are planning to ask during the game. Have them think about what they would rather do given two options and see how they decide which option is best.
To help you get started, here are some suggestions of questions;
- Would you rather live in outer space or at the bottom of the ocean?
- Would you rather travel 100 years back in history or 100 years into the future?
- Would you rather live forever or be remembered forever?
- Would you rather be Batman or Spiderman?
- Would you rather win the lottery or live twice as long?
- Would you rather be fluent in all languages or be a master of every musical instrument?
- Would you rather fight a zombie or a vampire?
- Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly through the air?
Read more on our article: 50 Thought-Provoking Would You Rather Questions For A Fun Team-Building Session!
5.4 Virtual Recognition Ideas
Read our full article on Virtual Recognition Ideas for Remote Employees
5.4.1 Online Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations
Celebrating important days like birthdays and work anniversaries are essential to maintain healthy company culture. The workplace has shifted online, and everyone works remotely, but a virtual celebration is still necessary to mark your employee’s special days. To make their special day even more special, send them flowers and a cake and let them know that they are an important part of the company.
Read our full article on 14 Virtual Work Anniversary Celebration Ideas for Remote Teams!
5.4.2 Send a Company SWAG Package
What better way to show your gratitude and appreciate your employees for their loyalty than to send them a SWAG package? The best thing about these packages is that they are customizable. Curate a package with stuff that makes your employees’ lives easier. This is the best way to show your employees that you care about them.
Check out our 20 Brilliant Company Swag Ideas To Earn You The Best Employer In Business Tag!
5.4.3 Social Media Shout Out
Praise in public criticize in private. – Vince Lombardi
Despite the pandemic, your employees are giving their best and accomplishing all the goals while trying to maintain the work-life balance. Now it’s your turn to be a good leader and give them a pat on the back. Your company’s social media platforms are the best place to praise your hard-working employees in public and give them a much-needed boost of motivation.
5.4.4 E-Gift Card to Upgrade Their Home Office
The best way is to use an employee engagement software that gets remote employees to interact and engage on the platform. You can reward them with e-gifts, acknowlege great work and more. Sorry, I was on Mute offers one such integrated platform that can be used to acknowledge and reward excellent work or contributions at an individual or team level across your organization. Make accurate data-driven decisions based on the in-depth reports and analytical information that this software provides to create customized rewards and recognitions. You can then take it one step further and align these with your company mission and value system to create a dynamic performance recognition centre.
Browse through our article on 15 Virtual Team Gratitude Activities for Remote Teams!
5.4.5 Surprise day-off
Everyone thinks that working from home is easy as a breeze but juggling between work and home chores can be mentally and physically exhausting. In such testing time, a surprise day-off can be a blessing in disguise for your employees. Show them you care about their wellbeing and reward them with a day off.
6.1 How do you build teamwork remotely?
Teamwork hinges on rapport. The better team members know each other, the more likely they are to want to work together and hang out. The best way to build teamwork is to hold virtual team building activities regularly. This frees people from inhibitions and enables them to let loose.
6.2 How do remote teams have fun?
The most important thing to virtual team building activities you try out is that everyone genuinely finds it fun. The golden rule is to involve members in deciding the number and type of activities they’d like to play. Be open to suggestions and take a consensus so that everyone feels like contributing more ideas to future events.
6.3 How do you bond with a remote team?
Leverage remote collaboration software and create private and group channels. Add team members to it and make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Set reminders on your calendar or app to check in and moderate the channel. Conversations can happen at any time, but the important thing is that no one’s remarks or comments go unnoticed or are disrespectful.
6.4 How do you make a virtual team call fun?
You can make team calls fun with icebreakers. You can even have everyone wear the same colour when on call, or a party hat or feather boa. The more ridiculous it is the better. It gives everyone something to smile at.