What is virtual team building?
Team building as we know it, usually means that we organize an activity, where the team can meet physically and do something fun together, while enjoying each others company and gain shared experiences. However, nowadays it is getting more and more common that part of the team or the whole team works remote from home or from different locations – and this is where virtual team building come into the picture!
With virtual or online team building, many of the important aspects of team building and teamwork, such as eye contact, closeness and nice surroundings are harder to organize or even impossible at times. Therefore it is very important to think about the following 3 things, before you organize virtual team building:
- In order to reach the same effect as a classical team building, you have to think out of the box and be creative.
- Choose virtual activities, that are easy to set up and where participants don’t have to prepare a lot. (We all know how long it can take to setup a simple conference call).
- Ask the participants, what is the best time for such a remote team building event to make sure it’s just not another item on the to-do list.
Why to use virtual team building at all?
The last years the number of teams that work remote or from different locations became more and more common. This tendency was getting even stronger throughout the pandemic.
This shift means that teammembers have less and less direct contact with their colleagues and there aren’t enough relevant tools yet to help managers and employees to tackle this change and keep the team spirit and increase teamwork. Therefore, easy-to-use and effective digital teambuilding tools are more important then ever.
Virtual team building is a broad concept and it can include many different activities. However, if you are using these tools successfully, it has a great positive impact on your team and make remote work smoother and easier for all of your team members.
7 virtual team building exercises for remote teams
Below is seven of our most favorite team building activities, that you can use when working in remote teams. We’ve tried them all and we have chosen the ones that are easy to coordinate, doesn’t take much time or resources and most of them can be done via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or similar.
If you subscribe to our newsletter, you will get a pretty looking PDF with 6 extra virtual team building exercises and a discount code for 10% off on your first Knowie game – no strings attached. 🤞
1. Press conference
Press conference is a very entertaining team building activity, where one of the team members, has to try find out who she or he is, with the help of the questions that the other teammates ask. The first task is to decide who will start the guessing in the game. Afterwards this person leaves the video conference and the others discuss which famous character or person they should choose. It is important that that you choose someone who is well known by everyone. Then you invite back the person who just left and start the press conference. You are all journalists and have to ask questions to the character, that you have chosen earlier. The person, who just have retuned has to answer the questions in a creative way and try to figure out who she or he is. If you would like to make a competition out of it, you can measure the time or vote for the one who have had the most creative answers.
Extra idea: If you would like to make it more work related, you can decide that the character has to be someone that has a connection to the company. For example: a colleague, costumer, boss or maybe the office dog 🐶.
Best for 4-12 participants and one round takes about 5-10 minutes.
Value creation: It is an easy game that encourages creativity and communication. You can get to know each other better and enjoy each others company.
2. MTV Cribs – Show your home.
One of our favorites is the virtual version of the tv show, MTV Cribs, where each team member shows their home to the rest of the team. For some it can be scary and some of you will have to seriously clean up before it’s your turn in the game 😀. However, it is an entertaining activity, which helps you to get to know each other. Our experience is that this activity brings new conversation topics to the table, because you will all spot some interesting things in each others homes that would never ever come up otherwise. Maybe they have a nice carpet, a mysterious relic on the wall or a cute dog that your team will remember.
Extra idea: You can ask the team members to prepare 1-3 things from their home that they would like to show to the others and share an interesting story about. We recommend that you choose one home at a time, so you have enough time and it doesn’t get boring for the audience.
Best for 2-10 people.
Preparation: It is a good idea to give people time to prepare for the “visit” in their home.
Value creation: Your team can get to know each other, which is the basis for trust and good team spirit.
3. Knowie – How well do you know your colleagues?
Knowie, our team building game, is made for companies in a busy environment, where team members often change and it is hard to find time for the team activities.
It is an online game, where you can get to know your colleagues. You will get a challenge each day for 5 working days, which only takes about 5 minutes to complete. Each day is a different game with different type of questions and you can complete it any time during the day. You don’t have to do it the same time or place as your colleagues. At the end of each day, you will get some fun facts about your team and statistics about how the game of the day went. We guarantee you, that playing Knowie will bring a lot of new interesting topics for the lunch breaks.
If you still don’t have a clue of what it is about – check out our product video here.
Extra idea: Create opportunities for your team to talk about the topics that are brought up by the game. If you are working remote, make a communication channel or meeting where you can have a chat about how it went.
Best for 4-12 people. It’s also fun to play in groups and compete against each other
Preparation: Everybody needs to fill out a short questionaire, so we can generate the game based on your answers.
Value creation: Knowie was developed for teams to improve cooperation and trust and to encourage team members to get to know each other better in an entertaining and easy way.
4. Improv presentation
This is an improvisation game, where one has to hold a presentation without knowing what’s on the slideshow. Before the game starts, everybody has to prepare a short slideshow with 5 slides (make them funny). The first player gets a random slideshow, opens it on a shared screen and starts to present it to the team right of the bat. If you feel like it, you can even make a short Q&A after the slideshow to test the presenters argumentation skills. 🙂
Best for 3-10 people and takes 1-1,5 hours
Extra idea: Even though you work from home or remote, you can organize a social event around it. Send out some inspiring invitations to everybody and explain the game. Ask them to prepare some snacks and drinks. Find some funny topics for the slideshows and see how your colleagues manage to present them.
Preparation: Everybody has to make a slideshow with 5 slides.
Value creation: It is a very entertaining game and one can use it as part of a social activity, such as after work arrangement. The team members can get to know each others communication skills, but most importantly they get to laugh alot!
5. Write a story together
In this virtual team building game – as the title suggests – you will write a story together in real-time. Meet on a videoconference and open a Google Docs so everyone can follow what is written. You can play it in different ways that fits best the group’s size and members. You can try to write sentences, each of you write one sentence after another or you can write half sentences and ask someone to finish them. But it is also possible that everyone writes at the same time and see what happens 😱.
Extra idea: You can make it easier by asking everyone to start a sentence, such as “If I won 10 million, I would ….” or “The best holiday I have ever had was …. ” If you write in a way that it is anonym, you can finish the game, by guessing who has written what.
Best for 3-10 people
Value creation: This game encourages creativity and helps people to get to know each other through an entertaining common experience.
6. Virtual lunch
When we work from home over a period of time, it is common that we make our own day rhythm that fits our life situation the best. However it also means that our days might look very different from our colleagues’ days. If you would like a common reference point, you can organize team lunches once or twice a week to catch up with the colleagues.
Extra idea: If you would like that it feels more like a lunch together, you can organize that you eat the same. Maybe the company could invite everybody for the next lunch. You could also make a virtual Friday bar instead and try one of our 3 free quizzes.
Best for 2-10 people
Value: A virtual lunch also gives possibility for small talks and topics that are not work related, so it is easy to build relationships and enjoy each others company.
7. Virtual Bingo
There are many classical games, that can work just as well online as offline with a little bit of creativity. One of our favorites is bingo. It is very easy to set up, because you can send the game tables digitally and the moderator can guide the show on Teams or Zoom. There are many free Bingo tables on the internet.
Extra idea: To make it more interesting, you can use some small twists. You can hide some tasks, puzzles or riddles on some of the numbers. Prepare with some prizes that you can send digitally, for example: gift card for coffee, brunch or similar. It can also be nice if you ask someone, who is not part of your team to organize it, so everyone can be part of it.
Best for 4-20 people
Preparation: Bingo tables, prizes or small surprises
Value creation: It is a fun activity for a social event and a good occasion to enjoy each others company in an unformal way..