Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Team Building – Plus 10 Activities

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Whether you’re dealing with remote workers or have employees spread out across different states, it can be difficult to feel like you have a cohesive team during these times. Team building is a great way to help your employees to feel more connected. But, when you can’t do it all under one roof, where do you turn? Enter, virtual team building. Not only is virtual team building easier to coordinate and less expensive, but it can also work just as well as regular team-building activities. If you’re ready to have a cohesive team without all the in-person activities, here’s everything you need to know about team building for remote teams.

Why is Virtual Team Building Important?

When it comes to building a remote team, you need people who work well together and who are productive. If your team is unfamiliar with each other or they’ve hit a stagnant point in productivity, some friendly activities can help. Virtual team building can increase the efficiency of a team, help the group work past any problems or frustrations, and also build friendships and increase understanding between employees. All of which leads to happier, more-connected relationships. Those who feel connected as a group ultimately stay longer in the company, and they tend to be more dedicated to their work.

How Do You Do Team Building Remotely?

Virtual team building can take place over a conference call, video meeting, or even across email. Most virtual activities will include fun get-to-know-you games (for new teams), harder guessing games or goal sharing, and even a peek into the life of each team member. To do remote team building well, you’ll need to do a few things first.

Here’s what you need for virtual team building:

  • Make sure everyone has the tools needed to log on and do the activities
  • Set clear time limits so you don’t overrun
  • Ensure one person is handling the different games, time limits, invites, and more
  • Have the games pre-planned so you’re not wasting time
  • Be sure the activities build team connections rather than pushing them further apart

Is In-person Team Building Better Than Virtual Team Building?

If you have the ability to do team building activities in-person, you may wonder if there’s really any benefit to doing them virtually. While in-person activities can certainly provide for a lot of collaboration and, let’s be honest, a few more options for games, virtual team building is just as good. We’d even argue that virtual can be better! 

Benefits of remote team building

It’s normal for people to feel overwhelmed or embarrassed when tasked with doing games in front of others. However, when done on-screen, these individuals often blossom and have a much easier time getting into the team activities. Another benefit to virtual team building is that it’s much more flexible. Nearly everyone can carve out time to hop on a video call, but not everyone can commit to the same time and date for in-person activities.

Online activities for groups can boost morale, just like it can with in-person activities. With more people participating online, you’ll have a much more cohesive team, and many individuals will be more willing to jump on a video call than carve out a full day of meeting at the office.

10 Fun Virtual Team Building Activities People Will Actually Enjoy

One of the biggest worries with online activities for groups is that they’ll be lame, however, these virtual activities are far from that. If you’re working to build connections with your virtual team, these fun online activities will keep both you and your employees entertained.

1. Favorite things

Since showing your home on a video call can cause some social anxiety, choose a lighter, easier version of this game by showing a few of your favorite things. Have each team member choose three or four of their favorite things in their home. They can talk about each item and explain why it’s important to them. You’ll get to see fun things, like vacation souvenirs, and wholesome things, like family pictures and pets. It’s an enjoyable way to break the ice!

2. Personal guessing game

This game requires a little bit of planning, but it’s another easy activity that will help open up virtual team building. You’ll need each team member to send three facts about themselves to the leader (the person coordinating this all ahead of time). Then, the leader will read off each fact. The rest of the team members have to guess which fact belongs to who! People can make their facts as obscure as possible, for teams who have worked together a while, or easy, for those teams who don’t know each other yet.

3. Escape room

There are plenty of online escape rooms that you can do as a virtual team. These escape rooms require you to work together to solve puzzles and clues so you can “get out” of the virtual trap. Plan to spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes on this depending on which escape room you go with. Not only are these escape rooms fun, but they make the team work together to find a solution.

4. Think outside the box

Ask your team members a series of lateral questions. These types of questions make you think outside the box, and team members will have to openly discuss each situation to try and come to a conclusion. For example, one question is, “There are a dozen eggs in a carton. Twelve people each take a single egg, but there is one egg left in the carton. How?” The team will work together to try and get to a logical conclusion.

5. Tell a story

Want to get a bit creative? This virtual team building activity focuses on creativity. Have the leader start off a story. They can say anything, like, “Eric saw two seashells. After picking up the seashells, he tripped and fell into the ocean. He wanted to get out, but…” and then the next person would have to complete that line and continue the story. Everyone will have to focus and listen to hear the story, but they’ll also use their critical thinking skills and creativity to be able to finish the story.

6. Work bingo

A fun activity you can do while doing other games is work bingo. This occurs simultaneously while doing the other activities. You get to cross off a bingo spot whenever you hear someone say specific things, like, “Sorry, I was muted,” or see someone do specific things, like, “chair yoga.” 

7. Show your emojis

You can tell a lot about a person by checking out their most-used emojis. This is a fun and silly game that takes less than fifteen minutes. What you have to do is get each player to screenshot a photo of their most frequently used emojis. Then, they need to send it to the leader. The leader will show each group of frequently used emojis and everyone will guess who they think that group of emojis belongs to.

8. Online gaming session

Sometimes, a good online gaming session can just make things more fun! Setting aside a regular time where everyone comes to play a game is a great option. You can do this weekly or monthly, and choose games like Among Us, Uno, and more!

9. Take a personality assessment

Another great way to have people get to know each other (and understand each other more) is to take a personality assessment. These do take a bit of time to complete, so you can have each team member take it beforehand to save time. One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs assessment. This will tell you in-depth information about your personality, and everyone can share what type they were assigned. This can help people better understand how to approach each team member, which can lead to better collaboration, fewer arguments, and a more seamless team!

10. Friendly typing competition

To keep things easy, add a little excitement, and get some competitive spirit flowing, you can do a typing speed competition. Have everyone get on the same online typing speed test and take it together! Whoever can type the most words per minute can win a prize.

How To Do Virtual Team Building On Conference Calls

Without video, some of these games become a bit more difficult, however, if you’re working on team building through a conference call, all you need to do is focus on games that can be done over the phone. Play two truths and a lie, do the typing competition, tell a story, etc. While not all of the above ideas can be done on a conference call, many can!

Tips For Successful Remote Team Building

If you want to have the best virtual team building possible, follow these tips for a fun and successful day:

  • Be sure everyone feels included
  • Ask which games people prefer to play ahead of time
  • Encourage each person to test their video and sound before the meeting
  • Allow everyone to give feedback afterward so you can better plan future events

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About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise though public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.