10+ virtual team-building activities that make a difference
Work, work, work. You cannot survive as a remote working professional without some interaction and entertainment, and even some deeper connection. Your virtual team surely could benefit from a variety of online team builders like interesting and interpersonal gestures, activities, quizzes, contests, and challenges. However, you don’t have to organize these activities for one single team; you can also bring together different virtual teams. This way, you’re creating a community treating them as individuals and not as a homogeneous mass of people.
According to teambuilding.com, there has been an increase of 2500% in online searching for virtual team building activities due to COVID-19. More and more companies invest time and money on online team builders to strengthen their teams and improve collaboration and performance.
In a number of companies, the HR department is the one that brings the virtual team bonding strategy to fruition. Hopefully, the following list of virtual team-building activities includes the ones that make sense in your work context regardless if your company has an HR department or not.
10+ virtual team building activities
All teams need a little fun break from their everyday routine. Team building activities help your employees reacquaint themselves and even release underlying tensions. Try some or all of the activities below to reinforce team spirit and bring your team closer than ever!
“Capture the moment” days with small rewards
Pick international days and ask your teammates to upload pictures relevant to the day. There is, of course, a multiplicity of days to get inspired. An example from personal experience is World Food Day. People were asked to upload photos with their favorite dishes, and they would get a 20$ reward to enjoy their favorite food as a treat from the company.
Through the photos, your team will mingle on everybody’s beloved topic: food. If the teammates are open to mingle, people will comment on each other’s posts and discuss their love of food. After all, food does bring people together.
GIF your rewards to your teammates
There is nothing better than acknowledging hard work. However, recognition can reach the highest levels of epicness if you do it in a fun and cool way. Tag your coworkers on the platform you’re using and pair the post with a fun-loving GIF as the cherry on top. This way, your teammates know you are an appreciative manager/colleague, as well as an awesome person to work with.
Create virtual team quizzes about your coworkers
Remote working shouldn’t be indifferent and impersonal. Do you think you know your coworkers’ hobbies, tastes, and interests? If yes, that’s good. If not, take the test and learn more about the people you’re working with.
This could be a virtual team quiz on different members each week. Therefore, you can bond over the same things and even develop friendships through these online team builders. At the same time, the joy of discovering that you have common ground with your coworkers is something that can make working with them much easier.
Profile your teammates
This is an activity that needs a bit more work, but you will find it is really interesting for the whole team. Make a video about a member of your team every month and introduce them properly to the rest of your company.
It could be a video of a special talent, a tribute to their interests, or even a day in their lives. These videos will show that the company cares about the professionals as individuals and work towards creating a warm atmosphere where coworkers know more about each other’s lives. The audiovisual aspect of an online team builder is also really important in the remote working world. After all, virtual meetings and quick calls can take place with the camera on to give the sense of a table meeting.
Organize stimulating contests
Competition can be fun when it’s part of a virtual team-building activity. If you want to bring out the creative personas of your employees, think about a photography, singing, or painting contest so that everyone can show off their skills.
Expressing themselves artistically can bring the ideal balance between their creativity and professionalism, which could lead to increased productivity and enthusiasm. The prize could be money, two tickets to the theatre, or just something work-related. It’s better if you first create a questionnaire to see what kind of contest they would prefer.
Take a coffee break
It’s not easy to recreate an actual coffee meeting for a virtual team. However, a coffee video call with your colleagues could be a great online team builder, an alternative to the real thing. Steal 30’ minutes and grab a coffee with your coworkers. Catch up about work, discussing funny incidents at work, and of course, chitchat about your lives. This is made even easier if you have a team calendar online where you can organize your time collectively. Oh, and remember to turn on your camera because visual contact is essential.
Seize the opportunity for insight sessions
A learning session is definitely a must to unite your team. There, they can express complaints, offer new perspectives, and, at the same time, share their experiences. This may be the most essential activity since discussing everyday issues and suggesting solutions is pivotal to remote working. Being apart has added problems, so dealing with them as soon as possible is mandatory.
Bonding will happen while having fun but also while you share your work-life issues and lessons. Don’t forget that since people are in different time zones, you should find a timeslot that works for everyone. This way, the whole team will feel appreciated since their timetables will be taken into account.
Trivia game time
What’s better than competing against your teammates in films, series, music, and video games trivia? Find online games that work with your phones as buzzers to share the fun regardless of the miles that separate you. To organize successful game sessions, find people’s interests, and pick the right categories for the virtual team quiz. This will definitely make your team fire up about the game.
If your budget allows it, meet up
This is not a typical virtual team-building activity since it’s a bit more challenging and not fitting for the COVID-19 crisis and the changing world around us. However, under normal circumstances, there is nothing better than meeting in person the people you’re sharing a big part of your day. You can share your experiences, celebrate, and of course, gossip a bit. You know everybody does it.
So, if there is enough money in the vault, you could organize a team trip with activities and learning sessions without the distance dividing you. This could happen once a year so that the team can have something to look forward to. A nice touch would be if the HR department also involved the teammates in the decision-making process to make the trip more personal and stimulating.
Virtual murder mystery
Mystery is a notion that intrigues people worldwide. In murder or horror mystery stories, managers can find an excellent opportunity to improve team communication and collaboration. This virtual team building activity is about connecting the dots, solving virtual quizzes, and finding clues to unravel the truth. Thus, teammates will be the protagonists of a whodunnit that have to work together, find weaknesses and strengths in order to reach a suitable resolution. Thankfully, many platforms offer mystery murder games through ZOOM by companies like virtualteamexperience and teambonding.
RPG gaming sessions
If there is an avid storyteller in your company, feel free to take advantage of their gift! If they have experience in role-playing games, like DND, Mage, or Vampire the Masquerade, and if members from different teams are into these games, organize game nights. This is not the typical virtual team building activity since it requires attendance and commitment. However, it comes from a gaming tradition that many people worldwide are part of, so at least a few people will be interested in playing. Set the day and time, fill in your character sheets and explore new fantasy worlds with your virtual coworkers.
Recipe-sharing is caring
This is a virtual team building activity that can bring teammates together to share experiences around food. By doing just that, employees will get to bond over their cooking skills and preferences. This could even evolve into a monthly photo recipe contest. Contesters will upload food creations along with instructions, cooking tips, and their cultural significance. Then, members of different teams can upvote the various dishes, and the winner can be rewarded with fun activities or gift cards to food stores or restaurants.
Virtual house tours
Getting closer to your virtual team is not only a matter of communication but also personal space. Employees can make a video of their private office or even other parts of their houses to their virtual teammates. This way, they establish a deeper connection with others by sharing stories about their favorite furniture, rooms, and specific items. These tours can also spark discussions on decoration and personal house stories. In order to avoid watching too many videos one after the other, the team manager can set a day that each of the employees can give a live virtual tour at the end of a team meeting or during another virtual team building activity.
Virtual team building in virtual reality
Your team might get tired of the typical virtual team hangouts. So, managers with enough budget and willingness to experiment can propose an actual virtual team building activity. Trying out virtual reality is a very fun experience by itself, all the more if you are with your teammates. That is why VR sounds like a whole new level of business entertainment. In VR environments, teams are able to communicate with their company and do all kinds of exciting things depending on the chosen scenario.
Think ahead when putting together a remote working team or building your team-building strategy. Do not forget to use technology as much as possible and adjust it to the different personalities, nationalities, and cultures in your company. Virtual team management cannot be focused only on revenue and results. Therefore, you should adjust the activities that we’ve gathered here to your team, form strong ties amongst your employees and embrace the success coming your way!
Updated on 17/9/2020