7 Virtual Team Building Exercises Your Remote Team Will Enjoy

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Team building exercise may sound traditional to most, but it is an incredibly important part of developing a team and helping you skyrocket your company culture and employee engagement. This is true for both in-office teams and remote teams. While traditional team buildings are falling by the wayside, there are now a lot of designed strategies, games, and activities that are meant to bring more human interaction to virtual work. 

Are you looking for some effective virtual team building activities for your company? We’ve compiled a list of fun and engaging online team-building exercises tailored for remote teams.

What is Virtual Team Building?

The goal of virtual team building is to bring together remote teams. Regular team building helps teams develop stronger bonds by fostering collaboration and a collective sense of purpose. Fortunately, this can be achieved even outside a traditional office setting.

Why It’s Important

Team building is absolutely vital for managing teams and making them thrive. This is a fact for both in-person and remote teams. Unfortunately, this is an often neglected and even missing component in a company’s culture. The reasons are usually along these lines: we have limited time, or it will mean more work.

It’s worth the effort! If you develop a strategy that is tailor-fit for your team, there are high chances of success. You can do this by looking at each individual’s needs and helping them reach their goals. Doing this guides people to resolve issues that come with remote work. They can even help create their own strategies to boost productivity and keep morale high.

At the start of remote work, employees can feel excited about the change in pace, especially not having to brave congested roads or the draining commute. When the initial high wears off, your employees might feel a little isolated. This demoralizes employees and they may feel uncomfortable working with their co-workers.

It’s for this reason that it’s essential to create a great team environment that employees can depend on, even remotely.

Virtual team building consists of well-thought-out games or activities meant to bridge the physical distance and create a genuine connection among peers. These activities will guarantee to help your team feel a connection with one another and make them feel truly part of the company. This also means employees will want to stay with the company through good times or bad.

7 Virtual Team Building Games & Activities

7 Virtual Team Building Games & Activities

Photo by Freepik 

For some companies, one of the challenges of creating chemistry among remote teammates is having different time zones.

In order to address this, several of the games and activities listed below can be pre-recorded on video before uploading them to a workspace channel that everyone can view.

If that’s not an issue for your company or team and you can have a group video call, then that’s an advantage. 

Here are 7 team building games and activities you can use to bring your team closer than ever:

 

1. Welcome to My Home

Team members virtually open their homes to one another à la MTV Cribs. This is a potentially fun way to get to know your teammates and their unique personalities.

  • Time: About 10-15 minutes each person
  • Best for: any number of people
  • Here’s how to play:
    1. Each person tours around their home, highlighting their favorite room or object. This lets people in on a very personal basis and if everyone agrees to do it, it can develop into stronger relationships.
    2. This can also be done via pre-recorded video if people are not too comfortable or have a poor internet connection. This might be ideal for smaller teams, but you can do this by batches to make sure everybody gets a turn. You can opt to do this as a weekly thing, especially if time is limited.

2. Castaway

This will be very familiar to most of us since we may have played a version of this in school.

  • Time: 30 min
  • Best for: Teams of 3-5
  • Here’s how to play:
    1. For this virtual team building game, people are grouped and are given a scenario: they’re stranded on a deserted island with seven objects. However, they can only choose three of the objects to use to survive.
    2. Think of objects that are as unexpected and challenging as possible to force teams to use planning and critical thinking.
    3. Some of the more typical items are a pocket knife, a bag of fruit and vegetable seeds, a 100-foot rope, or a liter of kerosene. You can also think of unexpected items like a laptop, a birthday cake, a complete furniture set, or a Nokia 3210 with an unlimited charge.
    4. Split the team into smaller groups and encourage them to discuss which items they’ll choose. After a set time, you can all come back to the main room and discuss their decisions.

This kind of activity promotes healthy competition and creates excitement among teams. This can also teach individuals to work together, even remotely. It can also show them how a team can achieve better outcomes through strong collaboration.

3. I Know You

“I Know You” is a guessing game of personal facts and it’s an interesting way to get to know what your coworkers’ are like outside of the company.

  • Time: About 20 minutes
  • Best for 7 or more people
  • Here’s how to play:
    1. Before the team building activity starts, the facilitator asks each person to share some personal facts about themselves.
    2. The facilitator then compiles all the facts randomly arranged and unattributed in a document that they’ll share with each person in the team.
    3. Column A contains all the facts, while Column B is empty.
    4. The goal of each person is to match the personal fact to the person they think it belongs to.
    5. The facilitator can create a digital whiteboard that they can screen share and fill in after each answer is guessed.4

4. This is My Picture

This one is great if you’re constrained by time and need a short activity. “This is My Picture” is a great ice breaker in a team meeting. You can get a few laughs and unexpected answers that will help employees feel more connected.

  • Time: About 10 minutes
  • Best for: any number of people
  • Here’s how to play:
    1. You can schedule this at the beginning of regular meetings. Each team member will share one photo that must be unrelated to the company. This can range from people, places, pets, objects, and so on.
    2. The team member assigned for that day can explain what the photo is about, what it means to them, or why they chose that photo.

Every opportunity to share another side of a coworker fosters a closer bond in the workplace.

5. Bucket List

A bucket list is a checklist of experiences you want to have within your lifetime. As you can imagine, this will reveal a lot about a person.

  • Time: About 20 minutes per person
  • Best for: any number of people
  • Here’s how to play:
    1. Every week, you can assign one person to share their bucket list. You can give parameters like how long the list will be and if they can include things they’ve already checked.
    2. After sharing, other team members who listened can discuss the list. Maybe they have similar dreams or they found something particularly interesting or funny.

6. Round-robin Storytelling

You may have played a game like this when you were younger. A person starts a story and the next person continues it. And it goes on until a certain time or when the story has a satisfying ending.

  • Time: 30-60 minutes, depending on the number of people
  • Best for 5 or more people
  • Here’s how to do it virtually:
    1. Each person will be assigned a number so they will know when it’s their turn to speak.
    2. The first person will begin the story with one complete sentence, followed by a phrase. 
    3. The next person will then continue the last phrase to form a sentence and adds their own incomplete sentence. This can continue for several rounds if there’s time or there are only a few people.
    4. The goal is to create a complete story by the end of the game.

This type of activity will help develop listening skills and cooperation.

7. Two Truths and a Lie

  • Time: About 10 minutes each
  • Best for: any number of people
  • How to play:
    1. For this activity, each person will say three statements about themselves. Two of those statements will be true, while the other one will be false.
    2. For example:
      a. I once got locked out of my own house naked and had to climb back in through a window. (Truth)
      b. I’ve jumped out of a plane. (Truth)
      c. My claim to fame was the time I was interviewed on national TV (Lie)
    3. The other people can guess which one is a lie and the first person can reveal their lie after everyone has finished guessing.

Virtual Team Building Needs

 

A. A Leader

From your pool of project or team managers, choose a leader to facilitate the virtual team building activity.

B. Time Limits

Always set a time limit before each activity. A predetermined schedule will make your activity efficient and effective.

C. Tools

1. Video Conferencing

Due to the pandemic, there has been a lot of focus on developing new and updating established video conferencing software on multiple platforms. Use whatever your company is already using. Maybe it’s Zoom or Skype or Google Meet.

2. Collaboration

Having the right collaboration tools is the key to success with remote teams. Slack and Google Suite are communication and collaborative tools you can explore. Here are some tips on how to improve remote team collaboration

What will you get from a virtual team building?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to go partially or completely remote. And this shift has presented new challenges for companies. While team building activities have always been part of successful company cultures, it’s become even more vital for remote teams.

Virtual team building is an effective way to promote cohesion and empathy, bringing about better communication.

For employees:

Virtual team building develops a support system for remote team members. It can encourage teamwork and helps the onboarding process for new employees because it makes them feel welcome.

The activities and games listed above provide teams an opportunity to work together in a friendly atmosphere. It also builds rapport and fosters stronger relationships. This means happier, more effective employees.

For leaders and managers:

The activities also help managers understand each employee better. They will be able to see where they can help in developing each person to become as productive as they can be.

Conclusion

Remote teams may not experience the same in-person connection that traditional teams get, but with new online communications platforms and the latest technology at our disposal, there’s no reason to feel disconnected from your team. There are many ways in which you can communicate with your team remotely. 

Bonding is so important for any team!

When your virtual team bonds, they become more motivated, more efficient, and more open to collaboration. When employees feel a connection with their coworkers and feel like the company cares for them, you get loyalty in return. They will be more dedicated to their work and to the company itself.

There’s more!

Virtual team building activities allow team managers to improve their leadership skills. They become more effective because they can see employees’ strengths and weaknesses.

Remote team management is definitely challenging for team managers, but with the right approach (and the right games), leaders can bring everyone to the same page and move forward together!

Janardan Duran
WRITTEN BY

Janardan first dabbled in writing when he joined his school publication, the Blue Horn, in 2nd Grade. He has written for different organizations on a range of topics, including health, spirituality, finance, technology, and the climate crisis. Contact him at jduran108(at)gmail.com.

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Let us know how we can help your business at this time. If you would like to discuss the right approach for your company as it relates to developing a remote workforce, send us an email.

Booth and Partners
15th floor, Citibank Center Building
8741 Paseo De Roxas Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 8 529-4491

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