Workhuman Editorial Team
10 min read
Table of contents
According to a recent report by Ladders, around 25% of the professional workforce in North America work from home. Even physical workplaces are now promoting hybrid and remote work culture by allowing employees to work from home.
As a result, keeping everyone included now takes more planning, especially with reduced interaction and direct communication between team members.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun virtual team building activities that you can implement to build trust, develop skills, and improve social wellbeing among coworkers who don’t get to meet in person.
In today’s article, you’ll find a wide range of online team building activities to implement at your next virtual meeting for enhanced interaction and engagement among team members.
Escape rooms are a staple among team building activities because they encourage the whole team to communicate and work together to solve various problems.
Many studies and reports show that up to 71% of employees who are productive, high-impact players tie it back to having better connections with their team.
Virtual murder mysteries are role-playing games where each participant is assigned a role while one or a group of participants are the murderers.
The team tries to work together to solve various problems and figure out who is the murderer among them.
The interactions between players greatly promote team bonding and chemistry between team members.
Virtual scavenger hunts are similar to outdoor versions, except you play them online through video conferences and other platforms.
In this game, the team is split into several small groups where each team has to solve various puzzles in a race against time to find the hidden treasure.
The competitive nature of these games helps employees get creative while figuring out solutions for these riddles.
Virtual werewolf is a game that combines elements from escape rooms and murder mysteries and can be played online through Zoom calls, making it perfect for remote teams.
In the game, one or more werewolves are hidden among townspeople. The townspeople meet every morning to try and figure out who the werewolves are by investigating the murders that happen at night.
The game relies heavily on spoken words, so it is one of the best activities for fostering communication across teams.
You might also like: 15 Best Team Building Kits You Can Use Today
Jigsaw puzzles are nice activities that challenge the team’s observational skills and ability to concentrate.
To play the game online, the team leader chooses an online puzzle platform, such as JigsawPlanet (which is also free), and shares their screen.
Each team member takes turns controlling the screen and moves a single puzzle piece until the picture is complete!
Having a break room is one of the major advantages of physical workplaces because it encourages team members to interact and communicate over non-work related aspects.
This helps them develop relationships, which improves the overall productivity of the team.
Creating a break room is quite easy, as the host can create a separate channel on Zoom or Microsoft Teams as the virtual coffee or break room and invite teammates to it.
Watching movies together is a zero-effort method to improve bonding between colleagues. Also, discussing the movie afterward encourages the team to communicate and express their opinions and views.
Another laid-back yet enriching activity to try out is going on a virtual tour. For this one, you’ll need to subscribe to a platform like Woyago, which supports tours to many locations including Paris, Italy, Spain, and India!
Participants can engage in various thematic activities from the selected country, which brings out a lot of laughs and interactions between team members.
Skribbl.io is an excellent virtual game to encourage team members to engage, connect, and communicate while having a great time.
The game is basically a virtual form of Pictionary where each player takes a turn to draw a word while other players try to guess the word as quickly as possible. Players gain more points by guessing earlier and the one with the most points wins.
The team member then acts out the word within the time limit while other players try to guess the word.
The game is great for short bursts of quick interaction and communication along with many laughs.
Pancakes vs waffles is a classic game that relies heavily on communication, voting, and making decisions, which is essential for teams and helps in developing trust and understanding between members.
The game starts by voting between pancakes and waffles in a “keep one, cancel one forever” type of debate.
Every member gets to discuss their opinions until the agreed majority reaches a decision. The winning choice remains and is compared to a completely new item, such as “pancakes vs marshmallows” or “waffles vs the Lion King movie."
There are tons of online multiplayer games that your team can participate in as a group.
This one is an ice-breaker, pop-quiz type of game where the leader prepares a series of questions to ask each team member.
The questions could be as simple as “list your best movies of all time" or “what is the greatest piece of advice you've ever been given?”
Each member must answer the question within the allocated time, which helps everyone to participate and familiarize new teams with each other.
This one is a fun way to introduce newly formed teams to one another. The premise of the game is that every team member is given a few minutes to prepare 3 or 4 statements that describe them. However, all these statements are true except for one.
Every member will try to guess the lies of other participants and the one who figures out the most lies wins.
This one is a great way to start a meeting and also helps in getting the team to know one another.
In this activity, the team leader asks members a series of questions and receives their answers privately.
During the game, the host asks other members these questions and the one who gets the most answers close to the correct answers wins.
Never have I ever is another game that you can easily play virtually through video calls. The host prepares a series of fun and family-friendly questions to see how many colleagues have things in common (example: never have I ever met a celebrity in real life).
You can play the game with any number of participants, but the game is more exciting and engaging when there are many participants because it helps those with the fear of being under the spotlight.
Remote work is typically quite dependent on typing. By organizing a typing speed race, each participant can show off their skills at fast and accurate typing while having plenty of laughs in the process.
Hosting this as a tournament can encourage team members to work on their typing speed and accuracy, which can improve overall productivity and work rate.
You can find plenty of keyboard speed testers online where participants can navigate for accurate and fair results, such as LiveChat’s typing speed test.
Personality testing is an easy, quick, and free method to learn more about your teammates.
You can choose from plenty of tests online, such as the Big Five Personality Test. Every participant answers the same test and uploads their results.
Teams can also compare results and discuss their answers, which can trigger some deep conversations and bonding time between coworkers.
If your team has a knack for sports, you can leverage this mutual interest and use it as a way to boost engagement rates between coworkers.
This can also be a great conversation starter on Mondays since most games are played on weekends.
Since remote teams mostly work at home, the lack of activity can take a toll on physical fitness.
For that reason, implementing a team fitness challenge should be a great way to improve the team’s overall health and wellness.
The best thing about this challenge is flexibility. Each team can optimize it whether by setting milestones of weekly workout hours or having a short exercise session together on weekends.
This activity allows employees to give back to their community and feel a sense of achievement, outside of the day-to-day work environment.
It also helps employees feel empowered and share their skills, which increases overall productivity among many other advantages.
A great way for remote teams to express their company culture and efforts is to decide their volunteer day tasks together through voting. Everyone is allowed to pitch their ideas or work on separate projects within the same theme.
The team can then combine their successful efforts and celebrate the joint achievement together.
For example, every team member takes a picture of the park before and after they clean it up.
Any number of remote workers can participate in this charitable challenge. However, larger numbers are usually better because it's an opportunity to have a bigger impact on the community.
Establishing a book club is one of the best virtual activities for a relatively small group, especially if many coworkers are into reading.
The club’s participants will have a free space where they can share feedback and impressions about the books they’ve read.
It’s also a great way to find recommendations for good reads and discuss completed books. Of course, there’s no particular limit to the number of participants in this activity, but keeping the group under 8 participants allows everyone to have enough time to share.
Remote workers, especially those who come from different countries or backgrounds, are excellent for this kind of activity.
Different cultures have unique ways of cooking food, so it’s always an enriching experience to try out different cuisines and traditional recipes.
In this activity, each participant will upload a special recipe from their home, whether it’s a family recipe or a national recipe. Coworkers will then swap their recipes with each other and try to prepare them on camera.
You can also adjust the activity to suit your team’s situation. For example, teams from similar backgrounds could do some form of a cookout using each other’s recipes.
Improv is among the best team building exercises out there because it’s easy, enjoyable, and helps in sharing and expressing unique skills.
A session of virtual improv is possible with the help of video chat. The activity can also generate a lot of laughs and funny situations which improves communication and the sense of agreement among employees.
Other studies also show that implementing improv classes in the workplace improves the overall creativity and innovation of the team.
Organizing a dinner party/dish party has always been a popular way to encourage teams to get to know each other better and connect on a personal level.
Luckily, this experience can still be recreated virtually simply by cooking dinner and enjoying it along with coworkers.
Before dinner, every participant could also present what they cooked in a funny commercial-style presentation, which makes it a great bonding activity for small teams!
According to many reports, employees that feel more appreciated at work are more likely to perform better and innovate.
A great way to combine employee appreciation and remote team building activities is by creating weekly virtual recognition walls.
Every week, participants give shoutouts to certain employees or mention the greatest moments of a specific employee.
Like other activities, this one is quite flexible and you can easily adjust it to suit the circumstances of your remote company.
Despite being a one-time activity, looking at the adorable baby photos of every coworker allows the team to foster personal connections.
You can also present it in the form of a game where everyone has to guess who’s the person in the picture.
Daily snaps is a quick and simple team building activity where every employee can upload a picture that they took to a dedicated channel where coworkers can react and comment about it.
These snapshots could be of their daily life, the food they ate, funny/cute moments with their kids or pets, etc.
These shots could be an excellent opportunity for coworkers to communicate and build strong non-work related bonds.
Some factors play an integral role in keeping the virtual team building activity effective. For example, any team building activity has to be fun and enjoyable to encourage team members to engage with the group.
Easy communication is also important for virtual and remote teams. You should implement advanced communication technologies that facilitate interactions between employees, such as video calls and video conference apps.
It's also important to have clearly defined goals, roles, and responsibilities.
Other factors that play a huge role in the success of any workplace are teamwork and collaboration, trust, cross-culture understanding, healthy work culture, and organizational commitment.
Virtual team building activities can dramatically boost employees’ morale and improve productivity by introducing a fun factor to the equation.
As previously established, laughter and improved mood can enhance performance and encourage team members to engage!
Encouraging the team to unwind and destress can also improve communication between employees, help them develop a strong bond, and encourage them to stay engaged and proactive. This also positively contributes to other essential aspects of a successful workplace, such as product innovation, social wellbeing, and skill development.
The biggest problem managers face while building a remote team is poor communication.
Think about it: Since employees don’t have enough chances to interact, sharing experiences and details about work can be quite tricky. This can reduce productivity, slow down development, and hinder opportunities for brainstorming and collaborative efforts.
Luckily, modern technology and communication channels make it a lot easier to keep employees connected and maintain workforce cohesion.
Here are some valuable tips that will help you manage and run a virtual event successfully:
As previously established, building and maintaining communication across teams is essential for a healthy workplace.
However, many studies show that some elements of face-to-face communication are very hard to replicate online.
For that reason, even for remote employees, you should always try to get the team together in person whenever possible.
The frequency of these get-togethers/meetups varies depending on the availability of workers and geographic boundaries.
Teams that live within the same city should meet up once or twice a month. However, multinational teams may organize an annual or bi-annual convention or a company retreat.
The main strategy for building a successful virtual team is to ensure effective communication and use the right tools to ensure that everyone is involved and capable of engaging with the team.
Additionally, you should implement other strategies like leaving time for personal connections, setting specific goals, maintaining a constant channel for feedback, and using remote team building activities.
There are plenty of methods to keep your remote team active and engaging. The golden rule is to keep the whole team connected.
Of course, you must bring the fun factor to team building activities and introduce a decent variety of games and events to help everyone actively engage with the group.
The challenges of remote teams vary depending on the team’s size and geographic spread.
For example, if you’re working with employees from different parts of the world, the lack of cohesiveness and time zone conflicts could be major hurdles while organizing meetings.
Other challenges also include poor communication, social isolation, and unhealthy company culture.
As you can see, remote team building activities can be an excellent way to encourage team members to work together, communicate, and improve overall team morale.
In the end, remember to always keep the activities relevant to the team so that they're beneficial (and fun) for everyone.
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