Remote teams are happier and more productive, thereby being beneficial both to the company and its workforce. However, there are some obvious drawbacks, including a lack of team bonding. Since team members rarely – if ever – meet face-to-face, there may not be the same sense of belonging and shared vision that traditional businesses create.
Team building activities create this sense of camaraderie but it can be hard to know how to conduct them online. To help you out, here are 20 of our favorite virtual team building activities. Many of them can be bought from companies online but you could also create your own.
1. Virtual Vacation
Ideally, you’ll fly your whole team out to a destination to enjoy a real trip abroad. When this isn’t possible, though, why not opt for a virtual vacation? You could decide the destination beforehand, such as Paris. Then, everyone can dress up in their finest Parisian-inspired clothes, eat croissants, and set their background to the Eiffel Tower.
2. Office Olympics
Staying healthy as an office worker is essential so why not create a fun online Olympics event? Research exercises that can be done at a desk, then hold competitions. For instance, who can do the most squats in a minute or who can complete the most steps before the end of the meeting?
3. Home Tour
Taking a look around someone’s home is a great way to get to know their personality, which helps you form deeper bonds with them. Each week, a different employee could pick up their phone or laptop and take the team on a tour of their home, MTV Cribs style.
4. Choose Your Own Adventure
Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? They’re easy enough to replicate using a slideshow. Players will choose an option on each slide, which then hyperlinks to another slide. Their goal is to get to the end of the adventure. Each time they die, they have to start again. Soon enough, they’ll start working as a team to complete the journey.
5. Online Workout
In many instances, remote workers will be sitting at a computer all day and not getting enough exercise. Why not use virtual team-building activities to help them stay fit and healthy? You could lead the workout yourself or hire a personal trainer to do it for you.
6. Escape Room
Escape rooms have really grown in popularity lately but they don’t always have to be physical. It’s easy to create ones that also work in a virtual environment. Team members should work together to escape the room faster than the other team. A prize for the winner acts as a motivation to help employees really bond and work together to solve this problem.
This is a classic family game that everyone knows how to play. You can use an app to provide inspiration for which book, film, TV show, or song to act out or simply think of your own. It’s always a lot of fun and something that anyone can get involved in.
8. Personality Tests
Understanding the personalities of your team members can help you utilize their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Why not encourage everyone to take an online personality test and then analyze the results? You could encourage people to guess which personality type matches which worker and then discuss how to use their personality traits to get the most out of them in a business setting.
9. Guided Meditation
All businesses have to confront the concept of stress at some point or another. Your remote team may be close to burnout and that’s no good for their mental health nor for your business. Therefore, one of the best virtual team building activities could be an online guided meditation, which is a tried and tested method for lowering stress and increasing wellbeing.
10. Book Club
An educated workforce makes for a productive remote team. If you want to get more out of your employees, then encourage them to read. One way to do this would be to hold a regular book club meeting, where everyone can read the same book and then discuss the topics within.
11. Debate Competition
Debates, when kept civil and friendly, can be a lot of fun. They’re a chance for team members to express their opinions and think on their feet to win an argument. The debate topics could range from serious political issues to something more trivial like ‘what’s the best kind of cheese?’.
12. Pub Quiz
Everyone loves a quiz but they’re more than just a bit of fun. They can be a great opportunity to strengthen work relationships. This is another option that’s easy to find online, usually for free using YouTube and other websites. However, someone may also want to assume the role of Quizmaster and make their own quiz that’s inspired by the company and its team.
13. Dinner Party
A good brunch is the classic work-bonding experience. However, this can be hard to organize when working remotely. To get around this, everyone could cook their own dinners at home and then enjoy it together on a video call. Your whole team could eat the same meal or everyone could create their own, giving you something to talk about.
14. No More Jockeys
A player names a celebrity and then creates a rule based on that person. For example, they might say “Tom Cruise, no more people under 5” 8.” Then the next player names someone and makes their own rule, being careful not to break any of the rules that came before. After a new celebrity is announced, anyone can challenge, after which they must prove a rule has been broken, thereby knocking the rule-breaker out of the game.
15. Scavenger Hunt
Virtual treasure hunts are another good option. Create your own or look online. Everyone could play individually but creating small teams will encourage your staff members to work together to solve the clues and find all the objects. This helps create a stronger remote team culture.
Riddles make for great virtual team building activities because they help to develop creative thinking in your workforce. Split the team in half and have them work on the riddles together in breakout rooms. The first to complete all of them is the winner and gets a special prize.
17. Murder Mystery
There are plenty of Murder Mystery packages that can be bought online but it’s surprisingly easy to create your own. All you need is a character for each player, a script, and a bunch of clues. Encourage players to dress up and really get into character for the most enjoyment.
A simple but always-enjoyable game, Pictionary can easily be played over a video call. There’s even a new version called Pictionary Air, in which a player draws blindly in the air and the image appears on the smartphone screen of guessers. This classic game is perfect for breaking social barriers and putting the whole team in good spirits.
Based on the British-made TV show, one person assumes the role of the Taskmaster. They set a series of tasks for the contestants, such as ‘make the best picture using toilet paper’ or ‘eat an egg, fastest wins’. The Taskmaster gives out points for each task and then adds them up at the end to find a winner. This is great for testing the lateral and quick thinking of participants while also guaranteeing laughs.
This is another classic game that is easy to organize and everyone knows how to play. Because it’s a purely luck-based game, people won’t feel bad if they lose. Just make sure everyone has picked their numbers beforehand and organize a prize for the winner to add an extra sense of competition.
Hopefully, you now realize that there are plenty of options for hosting your own virtual team building activities. Different teams have different interests so try to pick something that you know your workforce will enjoy. You can conduct these events as regularly as you’d like but aim for at least once a year to help team members get to know each other so they can work together effectively online.
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