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30 Virtual Team Building Activities Shared by Business Owners
“A day without laughter is a day wasted”, Charlie Chaplin once remarked. Paraphrasing him, I’d say, “A job without laughter is a job wasted.” And it’s not just me.
54% of employees link happy emotions and a sense of community within the team to long-term employment, preferring happy workplace culture to higher salary rates (GoGusto).
This means if you’re a manager or business owner, you should once in a while lift your head from all the work and ask the simple question, “Is my team happy?”
Unlike answers to most business questions, this one comes free. Because no matter how small or big a team is, virtual team building activities are some of the simplest and the most fun ways to unleash the smiling employee in all of us. They’re also a reminder that in troubling times we all have each other’s back not just on a business, but on a human level too.
Not sure how to get started?
Scroll down for 30 fun virtual team building ideas — tried and tested by business owners and managers across the world wide web!
1. Guess the office
“Play a little game called Guess the Office. Have each person take a photo of their home office and send it to you. Then, have your team members try to guess whose office is whose. It’s a fun game that will result in some surprises and lots of laughs. You can conduct the game over a Zoom meeting! Your team members will learn a bit about each other from this game; you can tell a lot about a person from their desk, their photos pinned near their desk, and their overall home office setup!”
2. Picture it
Founder, The Ski Girl
“My favorite remote team building activity is having every team member send a picture of their life, town, or country each week. Since we all live in different locations, this has been a fun way to get to know one another as well as learn something about a different culture and connect in a way that’s not directly related to work. This has been a little different with the pandemic, but I would recommend it as a good team-building exercise.”
3. Virtual Show and Tell
Founder and CEO, The Travel Secret
“Virtual Show and Tell is a team-building activity that every team can use for free and works particularly well for teams with new hires is a virtual show and tell where team members have to fill a short period of time with anything they choose from book excerpts, to songs to jokes—anything goes. Having that much freedom to choose while having to share it with the group can help new members build confidence talking to their new team about something they’re very familiar with and teams can build bonds through learning more about each other and finding similar interests.”
4. Enneagram personality test
COO, Instant Teams
“We have found great team building in participating in Enneagram personality assessments! Remote work requires deep, purposeful understanding of each others’ nuances in communication, flow, learning styles, so this has been a great foundation. The most FUN have been themed social sessions on Zoom or trivia nights!”
5. Icebreaker questions
“In addition to Mister Rogers, one of my favorite remote team building activities is icebreaker questions. These questions are a super simple way to get started with team building, as it only takes five minutes or so at the beginning of a meeting. You can see more of my favorite virtual team building activities here.”
6. Bi-weekly happy hour
Co-Founder and COO, Chargebacks911
“One of my favorite team-building activities has been a bi-weekly happy hour on Friday nights. I’ve personally seen a marked improvement in morale, and it’s been a welcome distraction for teammates to gather in a relaxed setting and spend time together outside work.”
7. Virtual awards show
CEO, Sparq Designs
“One of the most fun things we did this year was holding the inaugural Sparqy’s which was our own virtual awards show. Everyone was encouraged to dress up and tune in on video to receive awards such as ‘The Priorities Under Budget’ Award and ‘Record-Breakin Performance’. Everyone won something and the whole evening was filled with laughter.”
8. Virtual deserted island
Cofounder, Broadband Search
“My personal favorite team building activity is the “deserted island scenario”. Basically, you put teams together and propose they are on a deserted island with three objects. They then need to come up with a solution to being stranded by using these objects. It’s a great way to inspire creativity and get people working together, and you can usually relate it to an upcoming project to teach everyone something in the process.”
9. Trivia time
Managing Editor, TheHempire
“Private Virtual Media is one of the best team building for remote workers. This is done by testing the knowledge of everyone about different topics including arts, music, history, and more. This may sound boring but it’s not, this activity is fun and can be very interesting. Each time we conduct this activity, it gives us more knowledge and better understanding, not just what new things we learn during this activity, but also every individual involved in it.”
“Each week we pick one fun activity and play as a team. My favourite was Scribble.io! It’s essentially an online competitive Pictionary and is completely free. It is always funny to see how bad at drawing my colleagues are!”
11. Monthly Book Club
Founder, Prime Plus Mortgages
“We do a ‘University’ book club once a month where we all cover the same book and discuss it as a team. We also cover 3 positives in our personal, professional, and family life to help grow closer as a team. We take turns leading sessions letting people take their own spin on it.”
Co-Founder & CEO, tl;dv
“We love Donut.com [the digital team-building platform for virtual coffee with colleagues] for coffee chats a lot. Apart from that, we are organizing bi-weekly team events with different fun exercises, such as quizzes or sharing fun-facts.”
13. Tiny campfire
Marketing Director, Music Grotto
“Team building activities have obviously changed since we started working remotely, but we’ve still made them a priority. We [are] usually trying to take inspiration from team members’ interests or passions, but my favorite was Tiny Campfire. They send out a little package to each team member’s home, with things like s’more ingredients and a candle, and there are things like icebreakers and ghost stories. It’s just a fun way to spend an evening amongst colleagues!’
14. Typeracer contests
CEO of Solitaired
“We have our team compete on Typeracer to see who is the fastest typer, and we broadcast this via s screen share on zoom. Almost all our team participates, and there is fun and hilarious commentary watching the competition. For top seeds, we give them challenges to start the race a few seconds later. We are thinking of new simple games to mix things up as part of this Friday tradition.”
15. Meet the family
Editor & Content Ambassador at Romantific.com
“The best among [virtual] team building activities we’ve done so far is when we get to meet our colleagues’ family members and get a tour of their house. This activity made us learn more about each other and I believe it made our bond stronger. “
16. Can You Understand Me Right Now?
Dr. Vikram Tarugu
“Can You Understand Me Right Now? is one of the coolest team-building games online. In a simulated conference space, you play this game and appoint one person to be the host, and the rest are musicians. The speaker uses a random picture generator to create an appropriate picture, and the aim is to explain the image in such a way that the artists will draw it.”
17. 1-minute overview
Rex Freiberger, CEO
“We’ve found that a weekly call is a great way to brainstorm new ideas and be more engaged as a team. Our favorite remote team-building activity is to all give a one-minute overview of something interesting that has happened in our lives or that we’ve read that week. It’s fun and lets us learn more about each other.”
18. Show me!
Founder, Her Norm
“Our favorite [virtual] team-building activity is a “Show Me” activity that we do via a video call, where each member of the team shows any item that they want to show and say something about it. So far, we’ve shown a lot of items to each other already, but I am confident that this we’ll never run out of things to show.”
19. Monday morning mood setters
President, WikiLawn Lawn Care
“One of our favorite remote team-building activities is to all send a funny GIF, image, or quote on Monday morning as a way to lighten everyone’s mood. It has become a weekly tradition we all look forward to.”
20. Game night
Operations Manager, Hayden Girls
“We’ve been organizing the occasional game night over Zoom and it’s been really fun. We play Charades, Mad Libs, and anything that can easily be done at a distance and we have a blast. The best part is that after enjoying the office happy hour, you don’t have to go home, because you’re already there.”
21. Weekly check-up
“One of my favorite [virtual team building activities] is when we take time at least once a week to check up on each other and talk about how everyone is doing. This encourages strong camaraderie between team members and helps everyone to be more open and to work as a team.”
22. Informal newsroom
Founder and Director, Successful Release
“We have a very geographically distributed team and have had a lot of success getting to know each other’s culture and events better with a weekly news roundup. We have each team member share some of the big news that happened in their area this week as well as some context behind it. Team members get to ask questions and even if the speaker doesn’t know the specific answer they will get back to them the next week. It’s a great way to get everyone talking, learn about each other, and keep up with global news.”
23. Sharing time
Co-Founder, Jolly Creative Agency
“Our team-building and culture is not established by a single event but grown daily by dedicating one channel of communication (via Slack) to anything personal. We encourage our employees to share their accomplishments, children, pets, milestones, or hobbies with the whole team. This creates a personal feel to our virtual office, where we can invest personally with one another and partake in the day-to-day water-cooler culture.”
24. Virtual parties
Team Manager, ERA Environmental Management’s Digital Communication team
“One thing we’ve increased this year is being part of digital conferences. We used to fly the team out to a few conferences each year which was also a good way to connect in person, but this year we’re attending those conferences digitally. [Another] thing we have done is celebrate events together like birthdays and baby showers on video chat – we book a hour to just celebrate the event, play a few games, and send each other virtual cards.”
25. End of week Happy Hour
Co-Founder, The Quality Edit
“Our favorite remote team-building activity is an end of week Happy Hour. At least once a day, I make sure to ask my team how they’re doing, unrelated to any business objectives. It’s important to understand that everyone has very unique working from home situations and not all things are equal right now. As managers and leaders, we have to understand our team’s emotional needs too, being especially flexible, sensitive, and meeting them where they’re at.
26. Guess that Tune!
“I have been trying my best to manage my team wherever they may be, and that we can provide them the best possible set up amidst these tough times. Our favourite fun activity via Zoom will be the ‘Guess that Tune’ game because everyone loves music and they are all excitedly and attentively participating throughout.”
27. Mapping the Mates
“We usually plan a [virtual] team-building activity towards the end of the week. Where team members come up with different ideas each week. The most favorite of all the activities is mapping the mates, where all the teammates try and learn about other teammates by mapping and guessing other team members’ culture, cuisines, their native place, etc. this way all our teammates get to know each other and enjoy the time together.”
28. Anything Goes Meetings
Founder and CEO, Crowdspring
“Monthly virtual Anything Goes meetings on Zoom which are purely for checking in socially and getting to know each other. We can talk about anything – except work. This replaces one of our regular weekly team meetings to ensure that we can always fit it on everyone’s schedule. Topics range from time travel, to food, to music, to the pandemic, and more. There’s no set structure so each conversation is unique and fun.”
29. Virtual Margarita Fridays
Executive Director of People and Development, Media Minefield
“We encourage Miners (aka Media Minefield employees!) to reach out to someone they haven’t talked to in a while, say ‘hello’ and catch up with one another. We also facilitate team building with all-company Margarita Fridays via Zoom every other week. During this time, we usually ask a culture question and then go around the ‘room’ giving each person an opportunity to answer it. These all-company lunches are a welcome break from the workweek and also allow us to laugh together and learn more about one another.”
30. Friday Fun newsletter
People Director UK, AnywhereWorks
“Our Friday newsletter is my favourite. We choose a new theme each week, often focused on one of the various cultures that make up our team! We ask for contributions to competitions so everyone can participate, and every newsletter comes with a quiz around a particular theme. It’s great for showing the more human side of the team.”
Have you picked your favorite virtual team-building activity yet?
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