With no commute, less pressure to wear a full face of makeup and formal office attire, and fewer distractions, working from home definitely has its perks. But working remotely also makes it harder to build personal relationships with your co-workers, which can decrease morale and productivity over time. Whether you and your team work remotely on the regular, or you’ve been mandated to work from home due to social distancing guidelines, we’re sharing 12 virtual team building activities and games to build communication, trust, and employee satisfaction.
Benefits of Virtual Team Building Activities
Organizing activities and games to enjoy with your team may seem silly and even a waste of time, but finding ways to connect with each other on a deeper level is more important than ever when managing a team remotely. Organizing regular virtual team building activities has been shown to:
- make employees feel like they are part of a team
- build trust amongst co-workers
- boost morale
- increase employee satisfaction
- improve retention rates
Working remotely makes it difficult to form personal connections with co-workers and employees, which is why many virtual team building activities are focused on getting people to share personal details about themselves and their lives. This helps add depth to relationships amongst team members, allowing co-workers to feel more connected and as though they are part of a larger, cohesive group.
12 Virtual Team Building Activities and Games
1. TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE
If you’re looking for a short ice breaker to kick off your next team meeting, Two Truths and a Lie is a great one to consider. Ask everyone to write down 2 personal truths and one lie about themselves, and then have everyone take turns sharing the items on their list while the rest of the group determines which item is the lie. This is a quick and easy way to lighten the mood and get your team laughing while learning personal facts about one another.
2. NEVER HAVE I EVER
Did you ever play Never Have I Ever in college? It’s such a fun way to get to know people on a more personal level, and while you probably played an R-rated version with your college buddies, you can create a G-rated version to enjoy with your co-workers. To play this remotely, write out a list of 10 statements (example: never have I ever gotten a tattoo, never have I ever lied about my age, never have I ever sang karaoke) and ask everyone to hold their hands out in front of them, palms facing outwards. As you read off the items on your list, ask everyone to fold a finger down for each item they have experienced.
3. GUESS THE PERSON
If you’re looking for virtual team building activities to help you and your employees get to know one another on a more personal level, ask everyone to send a few obscure (but true) facts about themselves ahead of your next team meeting, mix them up, and compile them into one master document. Next, send out a printable document to everyone with the names of each team member (and photos if you’re feeling creative) along with space for everyone to take notes. During your team call, read out each item and ask everyone to record which fact they think corresponds to each employee. It’s a fun way for everyone to learn interesting facts about one another!
4. WEEKLY RECOGNITION
While it’s fun to engage in virtual team building activities that allow everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level, finding ways to publicly recognize employees for the ways they contribute to the team as a whole can be extremely motivating. Consider designating time each week/month at the beginning of a team call for each member to share something positive about another employee. Remember that this doesn’t need to be related to business targets or metrics – it can also include the different ways others have gone above and beyond their current role to help someone else.
5. PICTURE DAY
Seeing photos and videos of your co-workers outside of a work setting is another great way to get to know them on a more personal level. Ask everyone on your team to email a baby picture of him or herself to you, and then share them during your next call and see how many people are able to accurately match the pictures to the appropriate team member. Or, have everyone share an important photo from their personal life, explaining where it was taken and why it has meaning to them.
6. ORAGAMI CHALLENGE
If you’re looking for virtual team building activities that promote a little creativity, origami is a fun idea to consider. Team members don’t need actual origami paper to participate – they can just cut a regular piece of paper into a square. Origami.me has tons of easy origami instructions available for free, which you can share in real time during a Zoom call. Ask everyone to bring their favorite beverage and enjoy a little chit chat while you fold!
7. STEP CHALLENGE
While there are many perks to working from home, it often causes us to be more sedentary than usual. If you work with a team of able-bodied people who are interested in moving more throughout the day, create a team step challenge! Many people already own activity trackers, but you may consider sending them a Fitbit so they are all working off the same platform. This will allow everyone to monitor and encourage each other with whatever goals have been set for the team.
8. WATER SHOTS
Are there certain words or phrases specific to your industry that you and your co-workers say ad-nauseam during team calls? If so, you can turn this into a healthy drinking game for a little added fun. Many of us fall short in consuming adequate H2O each day, so you can make it a rule whereby everyone has to take a shot of water each time certain words or phrases are said. It’s a fun way to get people laughing and hydrating at the same time!
9. BOOK CLUB
If you’re looking for virtual team building activities you can enjoy outside of regular working hours, consider setting up a team book club. This can be challenging if everyone has different tastes and interests, so you will probably want to make this optional and poll your team members ahead of time to try and find a book that appeals to the majority of your employees. Set a meeting one evening a month for everyone to enjoy a beverage and discuss their favorite parts of the book, and allow the conversation to deviate and flow as everyone gets to know one another on a more personal level.
10. VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR
A list of virtual team building activities wouldn’t be complete without suggesting a virtual happy hour, am I right? While this isn’t quite the same as heading to your local pub for a beer after work, it still provides an opportunity for everyone to relax, unwind, and talk about something besides work after a long day/week.
11. ORGANIZE A REMOTE ‘POTLUCK’
Do you have foodies or amateur chefs on your team? Organize a lunch date where everyone makes their favorite meal to enjoy together, and challenge everyone to showcase their plate and share the recipe with the rest of the team. Not only will your team enjoy the benefit of new meal ideas to add to their weekly rotation, they will also have the opportunity to eat a meal with others. This can be particularly enjoyable to those who live alone and are struggling at a time when social distancing makes in-person meetings more challenging.
12. SHOW AND TELL
The final item on my list of virtual team building activities is to ask everyone to share something that has personal meaning to them, and explain why it is so valuable to them. This could be something sentimental, like a piece of jewelry from a loved one, or a space in their home that brings them joy, like a meditation space or home gym. Sharing items of importance and giving co-workers a glimpse into our homes and personal lives is a great way to get to know one another better and build trust.
I hope this collection of virtual team building activities inspires you to find new and creative ways to form personal connections with your co-workers and employees, allowing you to boost company morale and increase productivity, employee satisfaction, and retention rates!
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