10 (Actually Fun) Virtual Team Building Games for Remote Teams
Teams aren’t self-forming.
A group of people doesn’t make a team. It might just be a crowd.
Think about the difference between a team and a crowd at a sporting event. The crowd is noisy, sometimes at odds, and have different motivations depending on where they’re sitting or how much they care.
The teams, however, are working together.
To reach the goal, team members have to trust each other. They have to be able to communicate with each other. They have to be able to work together and resolve any conflicts that come up. They have to rely on the different skills each team member brings into play because one person can’t do it all. These are the five key requirements for teams.
Being proactive about team building and maintaining is important, especially as more people work remotely. We have some fun virtual team building activities for you to keep your team connected and on the same path. And, we’ll show which of the five key requirements (trust/connection, communication, working together, conflict resolution, and recognizing and relying on others skills) are built with each remote team building activity.
Keep in mind that you can use these simply as a way to get people to connect or talk, or you can spice them up with prizes (online gift cards, food delivery, etc.) to generate excitement.
#1: Parade Of Homes
Some communities use a “parade of homes” (or gardens) to let people see the interiors of homes. We’re a naturally curious lot. We like to see how other people live. It’s why we watch shows like House Hunters on HGTV.
Your home reflects your personality, after all.
If your team is small, you could set aside a day where everyone takes a turn giving a virtual tour of their home.However, you might find it works best if one person did a tour for each weekly meeting. Too much at once could be wearying.
Do not force anyone to participate if they don’t want to. Some people may not feel comfortable revealing their home.
Team skill: Connection and communication.
#2: Show And Tell
This was the highlight of the school week for a lot of people. When it was your turn for show and tell, you had all attention on you and a chance to share something you really cared about, a chance to show off your knowledge or experience.
Your team isn’t all that much different from school kids. Most of us are dying to talk about something we find really interesting. Or, some have hobbies or art or pets that they would love to share.
Virtual team building games like Parade of Homes and Show and Tell probably work best when you have one person featured each week, before an online meeting.
Team skill: Connection and relying on each other’s skills.
#3: Thinking Out Of The Box
Online meetings can start out slow (and painful, frankly) so virtual team building icebreakers can be a real help. For this game, share a riddle, puzzle, or lateral-thinking question with your team, and encourage them to respond within a set amount of time.
Talk about the answers, and how they arrived there. There may be debate among them as to which is the best answer.
Be careful that no one is made to feel foolish because of their answers.
Team Skill: Working together and conflict resolution.
#4: Scavenger Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt that your team can do where they are. It may be something as basic as a document listing the items or actions you want them to find/do, or you may use something like Goosechase.com to set up a more elaborate approach. Prizes or rewards can be used for those who completed the most in the shortest amount of time.
Variations may include creating virtual “teams” who can work together to complete the list. This is especially useful for larger teams, as it is more manageable for you, and serves as an ice breaker for your team.
Team Skill: Working together and connection.
#5: Quiz Meet
Whether you choose to use an app like QuizBreaker or set up something much more simple, you can start your virtual meetings with a fun quiz. This works particularly well for Zoom team building, because it loosens people up and gets them laughing and talking.
You can form small teams out of your larger groups in which the individual scores are added to the team tally with an end date where the winner is announced and prizes are distributed.
Team Skill: Working together, conflict resolution, and connection.
#6: Where In The World?
If your team is spread out geographically, find an image of a landmark or something the region they live in is known for. Zoom in and do a cropped close-up, and post a photo for your team to see. Whoever can guess what it is and where it is from is the winner.
The person who lives where the image was taken from is then given a chance to tell people about about the place and their culture.
This is a great way to help your team learn about where everyone is from, and gives each person a chance to talk a bit about their culture.
Team Skill: Connection and communication.
#7: Team Collage
Have everyone send in a snapshot. It could be a snapshot of where they work, what they see in that moment–anything. Then use the gathered images to make a weekly collage. Each week your team will send in a different photo and each week there will be a different collage.
If you’re using a messaging system such as Slack, have a place dedicated just to the collage and the discussion that comes from people chatting about each other’s photos (or post it to your water virtual water cooler channel if you have one there).
Team Skill: Connection and communication.
While you could play actual charades via video, many people might not want to do that.
A better version might be the pictionary approach, using Skribbl. This is a free online tool that lets your team guess what’s being drawn. You can create your own private room for just your team.
Team Skill: Working together and relying on others skills.
#9: Two Truths And A Lie
It’s the classic party game, and it’s perfect for team building for remote teams. Whether you’re using video or messaging apps, each person can share two truths and one lie. It’s up to the rest of the team to figure out which is the lie.
This is an excellent game for integrating new team members with your current team because it gives them a safe place to share something about who they are.
Team Skill: Connection and working together.
#10: Team Novel
Your team has a story they’re waiting to tell. But, since they’re a team, they’re going to tell it together with this virtual game. The idea is that each takes a turn telling the story, building on what others have said before them.
This could be a quick verbal exercise as everyone is on the video call, or they could do it through chat or in a shared online document.
You may want to set ground rules if you’re concerned that anyone could say something hurtful or at another’s expense.
Team Skill: Communication and working together.
Helpful Virtual Team Building Tools
We’ve mentioned some of the tools you can use to facilitate these virtual team building games, but here’s a list of tools that are multi-purpose in their nature and can be adapted to these activities and even for use in project work.
Messaging & Collaboration
Slack is one of the most popular messaging and collaboration apps. It allows you to create custom channels for projects, among team members, and direct messaging. Slack add ons can be used for both productivity as well as virtual team building games.
There are other similar apps to Slack available as well. When I Work offers team communication, both individual and group messaging.
Zoom has become the go-to video conferencing tool, but don’t rule out Google Meet or Skype. Some tools, such as Zoom or Meet, are better for larger teams, but Skype works well for more one-to-one conferencing, both video and chat.
Apps such as Basecamp, Zendesk, Trello, and Asana are popular project management tools that make collaboration easy. They organize tasks, conversations, and documents in one place. If your team only needs basic document sharing, tools such as Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive will work.
You may encourage individual team members to use time management apps, such as Plan, to help them structure their day as they work remotely on their own.
Many of the tools you’re already using with your remote team can be used to build and connect them outside of straightforward projects and tasks.
Team building games aren’t new, but the rise in remote working has put a new twist on them. No matter where your team is located, you must be purposeful about staying connected and making sure no one feels isolated or no longer part of a team.
Always be building your team, or you’ll end up with just a crowd.