7 Ideas for a Virtual Teambuilding
Finding ways for employees to bond or interact socially with their coworkers can be difficult when they are not in the same space. Luckily, there are lots of ways to build their team spirit virtually!
In this article, we share 7 ideas for teambuilding activities you and your colleagues can do while working remotely.
Idea #1. Trivia Games
In trivia games, you create your own questions and share them with your team so they can answer (in groups or individually).
Virtual trivia is great for team building because it allows people to have fun together, even if they are not physically present. It also allows them to learn more about each other by asking questions that require more than 'yes' or 'no' answers.
The benefits of virtual trivia include:
The ability to customize games according to your needs and preferences.
Increased team spirit as everyone takes part in creating a shared experience.
A customizable game that can be used repeatedly with minimal preparation—no need to have multiple people create new content each time!
It is low cost and can be done anywhere with internet access.
One drawback to keep in mind is that if everyone on your team has already answered all of the questions before (and therefore knows them), they will become bored.
If you're interested in creating a virtual trivia game for your next team building event, here's how it works:
Decide on the theme of your game. What kind of questions will your players be answering? Do they have to answer questions about their coworkers? About their favorite movie stars? About other teams they work with?
Choose the number of rounds you want to include in the game. Do you want each round to last for three minutes? Five minutes? Ten minutes? And how many rounds should there be?
Create a list of trivia questions that will go along with the theme and round length you've chosen. Don't worry too much about making them perfect—you can always tweak them later!
Select your technology. There's no need to develop an app yourself. Plenty of websites and platforms allow you to create a custom game without having to learn how to code or design anything yourself. It can be as simple as using Google Forms, Kahoot or Quizlet.
Idea #2. Scanger Hunt
Virtual scavenger hunts are a fun and easy way to get people working together. This game can be played with any group of people. Here's how it works:
Set up the game. Create clues that lead from one location to another. The locations can be a virtual space or the physical space team members occupy at the time. Each clue should be something that will help guide players through their journey. They should also be specific enough to figure out what direction they need to go next without getting lost along the way! For example, participants need to collect items from a list you provide. The items should be found around the house. The first member to return to the webcam and show the collected item scores some points. Or the first person to collect all the items wins the game!
Decide the players. You'll want to decide on how many people you'd like in your scavenger hunt teams and how long you'd like them to work on it (15 to 45 minutes is usually sufficient). If you're working with a smaller group, you can also have each person play for themselves.
Run the game: Give the instructions (either verbally or via email) and let everyone run off. Make sure you're available at all times - you need to keep track of the score and answer any questions the teams might have. When the time's up, you also could run a small ceremony to award the winners and give out some (virtual) rewards for participation. If the scavenger hunt is themed (perhaps as part of a larger training initiative or a department strategy meeting), do a debrief session to:
find parallels to the topic (ask, "how is this similar/different to how we normally work?") or
draw some conclusions (like people's takeaways, next action steps, accountabilities, etc.)
The best part about virtual scavenger hunts is there are no limitations; anyone around the world can play! If someone wants an excuse for a coffee break during work hours, then this would do just fine 😉
Idea #3. Problem-Solving Workshops
Familiar with the 'The Desert Island Scenario'? Let's make it virtual too!
In this activity, you can give your team a scenario where they are stranded on a deserted island and a list of items they need to choose from to survive. Players must work together to select the items they believe will be most appropriate.
You can substitute the deserted island for a post-apocalyptic world or a pandemic lockdown.
This activity drives participants to work together, collaborate and use critical thinking skills. And the best part - most of these games don't have a correct answer. They rely on team members' participation, communication, and problem-solving abilities.
Idea #4. Campfire
Missed the outdoor teambuilding experience? How about running a virtual campfire. This is a great way to get your team together, even if it's not feasible for everyone on the team to meet in person. You can do this in a virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) environment. Or you can use video conferencing software to share your screen with others. The more senses are involved, the better!
Activities vary from scary storytelling to icebreakers and other camp activities. Either way, the goal is to create an environment where people are encouraged to share stories and ideas—and this can happen whether you're all in one physical space or across the globe. For extra flavor, send your team tiny campfire kits before the event with a small tealight candle (for the feel of a campfire), marshmallows and crackers, and bags of your favorite tea.
Idea #5. Escape Rooms
A virtual escape room is an interactive game in which players are 'locked' in a room with a series of puzzles and clues. The goal is to solve all the puzzles and find the way out within the set time (30 to 60 minutes is best for a virtual setting). To set up a virtual escape room, you need three things:
A theme for the room - You can use any real or fake location as long as it's clear what kind of space you're trying to represent. You can choose any theme imaginable for this part: anything from ancient Egypt to outer space; pirates vs. ninjas; dinosaurs vs. robots—anything goes! Other ideas include escaping from jail, uncovering treasure in the jungle, finding your way out of a creepy carnival, or running from a zombie apocalypse. You can use some great (and free) platforms to set up your room. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and KumoSpace come to mind. Share your appropriately decorated screen or use a virtual background for your camera to transport your participants to the location.
Puzzles and clues - devise some fun and challenging (but not too difficult) puzzles your team needs to solve. Relate the clues to what is happening in this room. For example, if the theme is "hacker's den", ask participants to find an error in a code or a connection between two devices.
Check out Hogwart's Digital Escape Room by Sydney Krawiec or the Midnight Express by Escape the Crate if you want to see a great example of a virtual escape room. Both of these are free and super fun!
Idea #6. Talent Show
A talent show is a fun way to get your team members to interact with each other and bond.
There are many ways to make your talent show more interactive and engaging:
Ask everyone what they're good at doing in their spare time. This will give you some good ideas about what types of talents are represented on your team. Not everyone is a singer or a dancer. Some people like cooking or playing video games. You might find that certain people don't usually share their skills because they haven't been asked before. If given the opportunity to share, people will feel more connected with those around them on a more personal level!
Give everyone five minutes between rounds so they can practice beforehand. If possible, ask people to use props (like stationery, cutlery, or costumes).
Keep the performances short, but make sure they are memorable.
Ask performers to share their cameras so everyone can see them.
For extra flavor, you can have a jury to select the winner. Or prepare some categories and ask everyone to vote on their favorite performances.
A word of caution: although this method of teambuilding is very entertaining, it can be hard on people who are not very good at performing. In this case, carefully group people in teams with a mixture of different personalities. This way, everyone will get involved, and more bashful people won't feel left out.
Idea #7. Improv Session
Improv is a fantastic way to get your team members working together and thinking on their feet. The idea of improv, which is short for "improvise", is that you don't know what's going to happen next, and you have to make up the conversation as it goes along.
Improv is a great way to get your team to think on their feet. It's also an excellent way to get them comfortable with each other. The benefits of improv are numerous - it can help the team learn how to
trust one another,
be more open and honest, and
Improvising can be challenging for some people who aren't used to being thrown into situations where they have no idea what's going on or how things are supposed to go. So keep that in mind when running improv sessions.
Here's a simple improv activity you can try. Give the group a start of a story (usually just 1 sentence). Then everyone has to take turns adding their own sentences to the narrative. For extra flavor, make the story relatable to the team's reality (i.e., a difficult customer they had to deal with or software that always acts up). But you can also let them run with it completely amock. Though it is essential to instruct the group that the story must have a start, middle, and end. And that they need to introduce the hero(s), the obstacle to overcome, and the resolution. For more storytelling tips, check out our Storytelling for Training article.
This fun and interactive activity will keep participants' energy high.
And that's it! We hope our list of virtual teambuilding ideas will inspire you to create your next event! Share your success stories with us in the comments below or tag us on social media.