6 Virtual Team Building Activities That Don’t Suck
By: Joshua Hirsch
Are you looking for some fun, productive virtual team building activities to bring your team together? Team building is nothing new. Most companies will take employees on a “fun day,” have special treats in the office once in a while, or get together for a night out at a local restaurant. But with COVID-19 disrupting businesses all around the world, many teams have been forced to go remote.
Or, maybe you’re part of a team that’s distributed across different time zones, or you work full-time with remote employees. Regardless, building relationships and boosting team spirit is the key to working well together. For virtual teams, that’s not as easy as going to an escape room, karaoke bar, or lunch on a Friday afternoon together.
So, how can you bring your team closer when you’re all working from your pajamas at home? You can run virtual team building activities. Check out these six virtual team building activities and exercises below. These engaging activities will help you build a closely-knit team right in the comfort of your socially distanced home.
- An inside peek into each other’s homes
Who remembers the MTV classic ‘Cribs,’ or HGTV’s ‘House Hunters?” This virtual team-building exercise will allow you to get to know your remote team members and their personalities. This exercise does require team members to open their homes to one another virtually, so be sure everyone is comfortable sharing their spaces. This particular activity is better suited for smaller teams.
How it works:
Each team member should film a short video showing off the inside of their home, what their favorite things are, and also give a shout out to any furry family members. Taking a look inside a co-worker’s home allows team members to know each other on a more personal basis.
Tip: At the beginning of each week’s work meeting, have one employee show off their crib. This way, it won’t take up too much time, and it’s something to look forward to each week.
- Create a custom online quiz with Kahoot
This low-stakes activity is the perfect friendly competition that can be both entertaining and educational. Kahoot.com allows users to create quizzes that your team can take on their smartphones.
How it works:
The sky’s the limit, create a quiz on your company’s protocols, the ultimate ‘Friends’ trivia quiz, or test your teammates on how many random facts they know. Kahoot lets you customize each quiz based on your interests and team members.
Whoever knows the third US President, or what Joey’s stuffed penguin was named, can potentially win a prize. The winners can receive a digital gift card or another prize you choose. Since Kahoot is an online service, co-workers can play from anywhere.
- Virtual Coffee Break on Zoom
Sometimes, we just need a break. Constant video meetings only talking about the workload can feel overwhelming. If we have coffee breaks at the office, why shouldn’t we have them while working from home too? A fun way to break that up is with a video call that’s solely geared toward having an easy-going conversation with your colleagues. Give each team member a heads up so they can brew a fresh cup of coffee before the meeting begins.
How it works:
Set up a 15-30 minute “coffee break” call on Zoom. The rules are simple; there’s no talking about work or what you have to do for the rest of the day. It’s time to chat with other remote employees on how they’re doing, what’s new with them, talk about your families, what Netflix shows they’re currently binging, and current events. Allow this space to be a safe zone where the team can chat about anything they’d like!
- Host a typing speed race with Typing Test
This free virtual team building activity is another fun one to implement a little friendly competition between team members. Who is the fastest typer in your office? It’s time to find out. Typing speed races are a fun little challenge to get everyone playing online. Plus, it helps the team practice their typing skills! The prize is up to you. If you’d like, give the winner an e-gift card or offer to cover the cost of their delivery lunch for the day. The grand prize can also just be the satisfaction of knowing they’re the top typer in the office, but we think a little bonus will boost the competition.
How it works:
Have each employee take the same typing test to see who can type the most correct words in the shortest amount of time. Then, post the results on your company’s message board. You can also up the ante by forming teams to go head to head against each other. Add up the cumulative scores for each team member to see who comes out on top.
Pro tip: You can also give team members advice like keep your fingers closer to the keys or if you miss a word, fix it quickly and then power through the rest.
- Get to know the team with Ice Breaker Questions
This is an easy one to kick off virtual meetings. Asking fun and lighthearted ice breaker questions is a tried and true way of getting to know people, build bonds, and make work friendships.
How it works:
Block in enough time during your daily virtual meeting to do a few rounds of questions. Kick it off with something super easy and then start asking the tough questions to get your team really talking.
Below are some of our favorite “surface level,” or easy opening ice breaker questions:
- Name one random thing we probably don’t know about you?
- What website or app doesn’t exist, but you really wish it did?
- If you could have dinner with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?
- If you had a free airplane ticket anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What’s one food you could eat every day for the rest of your life?
- If you had to spend $1 million in a year, what would you do with it?
- What is the best event you’ve attended?
- If you had one superpower, what would it be?
- What’s the best or worst prank you’ve played on someone?
- What is your favorite item of clothing, and why?
- Do you prefer dogs or cats, and why?
If you think your team feels a collective sense of trust and comfort, try some of these more in-depth questions. These dig deeper into the core to learn more about what people care about in life and can make for a meaningful bonding experience with your virtual team.
Some more profound ice breaker questions for teams:
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What is the last goal you achieved?
- If you had unlimited time in life, what’s a hobby or passion that you would pursue?
- How do you want people to remember you?
- What was the greatest day of your life?
- What is one of your proudest moments in life?
- Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met?
- What is a pet peeve of yours?
- What is your biggest work accomplishment?
- Has there ever been a time when something so amazing or unexpected happened that it literally left you speechless for a time?
- What are some common misconceptions about you?
- What about becoming an adult caught you completely off guard?
- Take the team on a virtual museum tour
Since social gatherings are currently a hard no-no, why not take your team on a virtual outing at world-famous museums. You can easily make your virtual museum tour into a fun remote team building event by having members take the tours together.
Due to COVID-19, museums around the globe are closed until further notice. Some of the most prestigious institutions in the world put collections online and conducted virtual tours for anyone to view, including:
How it works:
These insanely high-quality virtual tours are the next best thing to being in front of these world-renowned art pieces in person. Online visitors can scroll through these stunning collections from the comfort of their own home. Have your team take the tour at a designated time and afterward host a small video chat to talk about your experience. The cool thing about these virtual museum tours is that you can travel to London, Paris, or LA, without ever having to leave your home, or even put on pants for that matter! Ask your team to tell a little bit about what they liked during the virtual tour, and what art pieces stood out to them the most.
Tip: Virtual museum tours are most likely going to be temporary, so be sure to take a virtual tour with your team while you still can!
**Bonus** The Real #1 Team Building Experiences!
Led by our own Chopped Champion Chef Eliza, these interactive cooking experiences are ideal for teams who have a few foodies (or really love to eat!) and want a chance to engage “side by side” with a competitive twist! After kicking off happy-hour style, we’ll loosen up the group with an interactive ice breaker, then send each team to a virtual “room” to devise their culinary plans. Back in the “kitchen,” our Chopped Champion Chef will lead teams on a culinary journey to cook and complete a beautiful meal.
How it Works
Your group will receive an ingredient/ equipment list 1 week in advance. You have the option to have ingredient kits delivered to you at an additional cost. We send you a Zoom link and at the time of your experience, your group logs on. Over the 2 hour, professionally-led class, We will spice up the game by sprinkling challenges, trivia, tips and kitchen scavenger hunts throughout – every count wins! When the timer buzzes, teams will elect one person to show off their creation and express why their team should win. We’ll end with a communal cheers, enjoy our dishes and leave with a personalized recipe!
During this time of online team building and socializing, our Virtual Cocktail Hour is the perfect way to gather the troops, learn something fun and blow off some steam. Of course, there will be cocktails!!! Your host has vast experience from working in some of the most notable craft cocktail bars in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco and Paris.
How it Works
We send your group a short shopping list of ingredients for the cocktails we’ll be teaching 72 hours ahead of your scheduled experience. We also send a video that shows how to construct a basic bar kit out of items you already have in your house. We provide your group with a private Zoom meeting ID and Password. At the time of your Virtual Cocktail Hour, your group joins the Zoom meeting and is greeted by your Cocktail Expert. Your Cocktail Expert teaches the group how to make the first cocktail of the tour! Now, with drink in hand, we jump into the virtual tour of cocktail history and Los Angeles’ most iconic cocktail bars