Virtual team building activities, also called “online team building activities”, “remote team building activities” and “virtual team bonding activities”, are group games, challenges and exercises via platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. There are a lot of activities you can do such as icebreaker questions, virtual campfires, and group fitness classes.
How do you play a virtual game with your team?
You want all of your employees to be more than just coworkers. You want everyone to be supportive of one another in a positive manner.
But, creating such a bond can be especially tricky when you haven’t actually interacted with some of your employees in person. That’s why team building games for remote workers are so important. Adding a little creativity can be engaging and keep the team spirit, even while spread out.
This will help to build a genuine human connection with remote workers and build trust and inclusion. Plus, it will allow for remote employees to have an impact on company culture – just by being involved, remote workers will feel valued and like equal members of the company. That’s why it is vital that you create time to socialize with all your employees.
What game can we play virtually?
We created a list of virtual games you can play with your coworkers:
Bucket List Challenge
Time: 10-15 minutes
Rules: Host an online/video conference and give all your coworkers five minutes to think about what would make their bucket list – what are some things they would love to do in their lifetime? Then have everyone go around and share their list. If you have coworkers who share the same activities, you can challenge them to work on it together! Like, running a marathon – if you have employees who live in the same city or have marathons at the same time in different cities or states, ask them to hold each other accountable to finish the marathon! They can push one another and can check in on each other’s progress.
Objective: Whenever you need a cool icebreaker, turn to the Bucket List Challenge to play with your coworkers. It can be fun to hear what other people want to achieve, maybe some have ticked off an item and can share their experiences with the rest of the team.
Aliens Have Landed!
Time: 30 minutes to one hour
Rules: Split into groups of three or four. Tell everyone that aliens have landed on Earth and are interested in learning about your company. But, the aliens don’t speak English so you need to explain to them about the company with five symbols or pictures. The groups need to talk among themselves to come up with the five necessary images. One group member should upload the five images that best describe the company. Take a look at the images and see if you notice any common themes as this will show you if all your employees understand the company.
Objective: You need team building games that will encourage communication, build out-of-the-box thinking, and creative thinking. The more your staff talks and creates ideas, the more at ease they will feel about your colleagues so going forward, working together won’t seem so intimidating.
Three Truths and a Lie
Time: 10-15 minutes
Rules: Host a video conference and ask each coworker to tell three truths and one lie about themselves. Keep the lie realistic so it won’t be so easy for everyone to guess. Your other colleagues need to guess which was the lie and whoever guesses right gains points.
Objective: Playing this game helps to get rid of any awkwardness as it is light and fun. Plus, it is a great way to get to know one another, especially things that aren’t common knowledge
Time: 30 minutes
Rules: There are some popular games that are available online or can be adapted to be played virtually, such as:
Time: At your own pace
Rules: You and your team could spend some time showing off your remote work spaces. This game, inspired by the team at Help Scout, is a fun way to get a look into the workspaces of your teammates.
To give it a "challenging" aspect, have team members vote on their favorite workspace at the end, and the winner can enjoy the bragging rights of having the most impressive remote work setup.
Rules: Mafia is known by a couple of different names, and is often played by large groups. Essentially, the game is a mystery-solving challenge. One of the players is a silent "killer," and it's up to everyone else to figure out the culprit.
There's a couple of roles to assign in Mafia to keep organizational structure, like "Doctor," "Townspeople," and "Detective."
Photo Of Your Life
Time: 15-30 minutes
Rules: Each group can share a picture of something of their life, anything that tells a story about the employee: their dog or cat, their favorite mug to drink coffee, their kids, a favorite TV show, or even the view from their apartment or house. Then ask the remote employee to share the story behind the picture they shared.
Objective: These remote team building games can act as an icebreaker when you play this for the first time or a new hire joins the company. It is a fun, surprising way to get to know one another and creates a casual atmosphere.
Rules: Participants can bring any beverage they choose (tea, seltzer, or other non-alcoholic beverages should be encouraged as well), talk about what they've brought, and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.
Objective: It's an opportunity for your colleagues to get together and bond outside of work, remotely.
Time: 10-15 minutes
Rules: Spark a conversation and complete this Revealing Quiz. Do the following exercises:
Match the fact to the colleague (the more unusual or unexpected the better)
Would you rather? (be tasteful though)
Themed trivia (base it on a tradition, celebration, Hollywood, etc.)
Objective: Keep the game clean as the purpose of team building games for remote workers is to build comradery among your staff.
Healthy Lifestyle Challenge
Rules: For one month, the challenge can be to drink a certain amount of water each day, and another month might be “activity of choice.” There are plenty of virtual challenge ideas.
After 30 days, the person with the most “x” boxes marked on the spreadsheet wins. Really everyone wins, because everyone that participates gets a little healthier and has fun with the challenge.
Typing Speed Race (Competitive)
Time: 15-30 mins.
Rules: Do a typing test against coworkers and post scores to Slack, email or other communication channels. You can also do a Typing Speed Relay, where you add up team totals.
Objective: The race is a way to show off your lightning fingers, and also a great way to develop one of the most important remote work skills: typing quickly and accurately.
Time: usually an hour and a half
Rules: Have employees vote on what movie they want to watch and stream the movie through a video conference call. Be sure to keep the instant messaging open so that team members can make remarks while watching the movie.
Objective: Team members can share a joke and bond over the movie while also offering an opportunity to relax and unwind.
Virtual Show & Tell
Time: 1hr +
Rules: Ask your coworkers to prepare a quick story in advance, or do a more spontaneous “grab something within arms reach” approach. We recommend the latter option, as it encourages quick and creative thinking.
Objective: Promotes public speaking skills and storytelling. Having each of your team members share something about their lives also builds meaningful connections.
Time: 10-20 mins.
Rules: Find a meditation exercise online or contact an expert to guide the group. Send a video call invitation to the team. Consider sending employees a care package with scented oils and candles beforehand. Perform mindfulness activities as instructed by the guide.
Objective: Ten quiet minutes during an otherwise busy day can be an effective way to bring your people together and build strong remote teams. You can achieve these results with a guided meditation session.
Time: 30-60 mins.
Rules: Start a praise train where each person compliments each other's work in succession and watch the employee engagement take off. For example, you could praise someone on their work ethic, and that person could praise a colleague on a successful client call, and that person could praise someone for writing a great blog article and so on.
“Who da baby?”
Time: 15-30 mins.
Rules: All participants send you a baby photo. Photos from around 2 – 3 years old are best because you will see more distinct features and not just a 6 month bundle of joy. Post the images in a shared Google Doc. Each player makes a list guessing who the baby might be. Collect the answers, grade the scores, and announce the winners.
Never Have I Ever
Time: 30 mins.+
Rules: A team member says something they've never done before, but if those playing have done it, they lower one of their fingers. The person with the most fingers left wins the game.
If I were to host a version of the game, my first entry might be, "Never have I ever bought noise-canceling headphones."
Time: 15-20 mins.
Rules: Prior to the activity, create bingo cards or use this People-Bingo printable template. Create a list of statements. For example, “has brown hair” or “works for the HR team”. Call out the statements and team players then have to put a cross in the box if they share that quality with someone else. The first player to get three in a row, and then the first to a full house, win.
Objective: To promote team bonding