Here is our list of fun virtual team building activities for remote teams.
Virtual team building is the intentional development of strong teams that work remotely. Virtual team building activities are group activities that you conduct online. Examples of activity types include icebreaker questions, virtual campfires, and group fitness classes. The purpose of these activities is to build relationships, improve communication, and boost morale.
This list includes:
- virtual team building activities
- virtual team building games
- virtual team building challenges
- virtual team building exercises
- virtual team building events
And more 🙂
List of virtual team building activities
Virtual team building activities include games, challenges and exercises conducted via online platforms like Zoom, Webex and Google Meet. The purpose of these virtual activities is to build community with remote teams and boost employee morale. These activities are also known as “remote team building activities” and “online team building activities.”
In this section:
- team building activities for conference calls
- virtual team building activities during quarantine
- virtual team bonding activities
- virtual team building activities for students, kids and teachers
- free virtual team building activities
Here is the list.
1. tiny campfire 🔥 (Most Popular)
tiny campfire is one of the most popular virtual team building activities in the world. We created tiny campfire as a way to engage remote teams in a “semi-virtual” experience that includes s’mores and an actual small campfire.
A week or so before your event, we send each of your team members a s’more kit in the mail. The kit includes graham crackers, mini marshmallows, Hershey chocolate, wood matches, and a tiny tealight campfire.
Then, on “camp day” your team members login to a secure video conference room for 90 minutes of camp games, trivia and historic ghost stories. The entire experience is run by one of our senior “camp counselor” facilitators.
Learn more: tiny campfire 🔥.
2. Online Office Games 🎏 (High Energy)
Online Office Games is a form of virtual “Office Olympics” that includes spirited challenges, games and activities. Example activities include fast-paced trivia, Go Get It lightning scavenger hunts, and a communication sharpening game called “Can You Hear Me Now?”.
Online Office Games is energetic, collaborative, competitive, and everything you need to build some serious team engagement while working from home. It is also one of the best virtual team building activities in the world 🙂
Learn more: Online Office Games.
3. Tea vs Coffee 🍵 × ☕ (Relaxing)
Tea vs Coffee is a semi-virtual activity that includes a tasting experience. We send your colleagues a kit in the mail, which includes two unusual teas and two coffees. For example, your mix might include turmeric tea and a mushroom coffee with immunity boosting properties.
Our instructor will weave your team through guided meditation, games and imaginative stories about the origins of tea and coffee. While you sip and enjoy the beverages, the instructor will also share facts about the flavor compounds and associated health benefits.
The event is engaging, calming, and a centering experience that guests describe as “helping you forget about everything that is going on in the world right now.”
Learn more: Tea vs Coffee.
4. Murder in Ancient Egypt (Puzzles)
Murder in Ancient Egypt is one of two murder mystery activities we run. The game uses mechanics of escape rooms, puzzles and problem solving to bring your people together in a race against the clock.
Murder in Ancient Egypt is an exciting and challenging event, and culminates in the big reveal: this was an actual murder mystery from history. Your team will hear the story from an expert storyteller, and learn about how it all went down.
Learn more: Murder in Ancient Egypt.
5. War of the Wizards (Live RPG Game)
War of the Wizards is a role playing and storytelling game built specifically for virtual team building. The background is that a group of wizards have been at war since ages past, and at this point nobody quite remembers why. Your team members become the wizards’ minions, and work to develop stories, cast spells and overcome challenges together.
War of the Wizards is a 90 minute activity that we usually conduct over Zoom. Your event includes an expert storyteller host to guide the game through to a successful conclusion. This activity is perfect for anyone that loves role playing games, storytelling, or is otherwise down to get a little nerdy.
Learn more: War of the Wizards.
6. Cocktail Shake-Up (Fully Hosted)
Cocktail Shake-Up is a fully hosted virtual happy hour for remote teams. Our bartending event host will teach your team how to make two prohibition-era style drinks, plus facilitates fun games and activities. For example, your event may include party trivia and a historically accurate cheers-off.
Cocktail Shake-Up is a 90 minute live-facilitated event. Our hosts are trained to keep engagement and energy high, so that you and your team can relax and enjoy the time together.
Learn more: Cocktail Shake-Up.
7. Virtual Team Trivia (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Virtual Team Trivia is a facilitated trivia session built specifically for team building online. We’ve run these trivia events for companies like Google, Dropbox and TaskRabbit.
Virtual Team Trivia sessions are 60 minutes over video, and are excellent closing activities for virtual meetings. You can choose from themes like Rock-and-Roll and Interstellar; it’s fun. If you prefer, you can host your own virtual trivia sessions too.
Learn more: Virtual Team Trivia.
8. Virtual Team Building Bingo (Free Template)
Virtual Team Building Bingo, sometimes called Online Team Building Bingo or Remote Work Bingo, is a great team building activity for conference calls.
Here is a template for your first game:
- Distribute cards to your team members.
- If you have more than 10 people then use breakout rooms to encourage small group dynamics.
- Award prizes to whoever finishes a row or “x” first.
Here are rules and additional templates for Online Team Building Bingo.
9. Mister Rogers Calls (Team Favorite 🏆)
Mister Rogers Calls may be the single best virtual team building activity for remote teams. The name comes from the goal: to get to know your remote work neighbours.
We have been doing Mister Rogers Calls for years, and follow a simple format. First, we use the Donut app to randomly assign conversation partners every two weeks.
The call itself should be 30 minutes, over video, and avoid work topics. Encourage your coworkers to talk about hobbies and interests outside of the job. For example, you can talk about pets or how long you can keep a houseplant alive.
10. Lightning Scavenger Hunt ⚡
Online scavenger hunts that follow the standard “real world” format struggle with engagement
Instead, try a Lightning Scavenger Hunt which is designed to be fun and fast-paced. To play, get your team on a virtual conference call and start firing off clues like “cuddle your pet”, “show a dictionary” or “get your favorite mug.”
The first person to complete each clue gets a point. You can score by groups too.
Check out our full instructions for virtual scavenger hunts.
11. Sweatpants Dilemma (Fun & Free)
Anyone that works from home has faced the challenge of deciding between comfy pants and hard pants. Now, you can use this dilemma as a fun way to bring your team together for virtual team building.
- Create a list of players.
- Play for at least one week and no more than one month.
- At any time, a team member can shout “pants” and everyone participating has to stand up.
- If everyone is wearing sweatpants then everyone gets 1 point. If one person is wearing hard pants then that person gets 3 points and no-one else gets any points. If more than one person is wearing hard pants then those players get zero points and everyone else gets 3 points.
- Tallying scores and awarding prizes is a cool way to jazz up the activity and keep your team engaged.
Sweatpants Dilemma is somewhat modeled after a decision analysis framework called Prisoner’s Dilemma. The game mechanics are fun and easy to understand, which means you can get started quickly.
12. Tree or Bob Ross (Fun for Video Calls)
The Tree or Bob Ross game mechanics are similar to 20 Questions or Eye Spy and other virtual team builders where players aim to identify the object of another player’s attention. Tree or Bob Ross is one of our go-to video conference games.
To start, one player chooses an identity, which can be anything from an object to a concept. On a road trip to Canada, one friend chose to be a small rubber ball. Explore your imagination and feel free to choose really difficult identities.
The player with the identity is known as The Post, and all other players can bombard The Post with unlimited questions to figure out what the identity is.
The opening question is traditionally, “is it more like a tree, or more like Bob Ross?”, to which The Post must answer only by naming one or the other. For example, if the secret identity was a sunflower then the answer is probably “more like a tree.” If the identity is Pinocchio then you have a choice to make, and must commit one way or the other.
The following questions incorporate a new word. For example, “is it more like a tree, or more like a pile of leaves?”, which can provide clues to deduct the final answer. Continue until you get the answer.
13. Virtual Team Building Show & Tell
Show & Tell is one of those simple virtual team building ideas that promotes public speaking skills and storytelling. Having each of your team members share something personal about their lives is also an excellent way to build meaningful connections.
To do Virtual Show & Tell, you can ask your coworkers to prepare a quick story in advance, or do a more spontaneous “grab something within arms reach” approach. We recommend the latter option, as it encourages quick and creative thinking.
14. “Who da baby?” (Fun 🙂)
“Who da baby?” is a quick game you can play on conference calls or over a platform like email or Slack.
- All participants send you a baby photo. Photos from around 2 – 3 years old are best because you will see more distinct features and not just a 6 month bundle of joy.
- Post the images in a shared Google Doc.
- Each player makes a list guessing who da baby might be.
- Collect the answers, grade the scores, and announce the winners.
By the way, the toddler in the photo is me at age three working on this article.
15. Nerd Talks (Perfect for Nerds 🤓)
A few years ago, Ted Talks swept the world as a fun, engaging way to learn about a variety of topics. With Nerd Talks, you can bring the magic of Ted in house, with interactive, niche discussions led by your team members.
For example, Carly on our team fosters and adopts the cutest damn puppies you have ever seen. Carly could lead a 30 minute talk about the realities of being a foster dog mom, and weave in interactive elements like trivia and icebreaker questions. The presentation should include a slide show that is low in word count and high in pictures.
We also run Nerd Talks as a service. Ethan leads one called Beer & Sharks, which blends his expertise in fermented grains with years of program development at zoos, aquariums and other institutions. Ethan’s penguin knowledge will floor you.
16. Beatbox Harmony (Skill Builder)
Beatboxing is when you manipulate your mouth and vocal chords to produce sounds and beats that are more like a drum kit then voice. With Beatbox Harmony you can harness the power of your entire virtual team to build a song together.
To start, one person on a video conference call makes a noise either with their mouth or via a makeshift instrument. The next person adds a noise, followed by the next person and so on. Before long, everyone on your team is participating in the Beatbox Harmony.
Here is a two minute YouTube video on how to Beatbox to help you get started.
17. Virtual Debate Club
In high school I joined the Debate Club and attended weekly meetings. For the entire year, we joined exactly one debate with another school. I don’t remember the topic, but I remember the guy that won spoke with the fiery passion of 1000 burning suns.
To run a successful Debate Club for virtual teams, you can:
- Schedule a 45 minute session via video conference call.
- Share best practices for debating effectively, including clear communication strategies and identifying logical fallacies.
- Do mini debates on inconsequential topics. For example, a debate themes could be whether cookies with raisins should exist or not.
As your Debate Club grows in notoriety and sophistication, invite more team members to join. The experience will help develop important communication skills, and also foster relationships.
18. Virtual Book Club
Some organizations use book clubs to teach skills like sales development, marketing, or organizational structure. If your goal is virtual team bonding then we recommend choosing classic novels instead.
- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
- The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- Peter Pan – James Matthew Barrie
Here is a short list of 10 books you could read:
For more inspiration, Goodreads has a list of office book club books.
If you aren’t sure which book to go with then try Peter Pan; it is one of those classic stories that most people know and also haven’t read. Plus, the book is a delight to read.
19. Icebreaker Questions (Quick)
A simple way to start with virtual team building activities is to add a round of icebreaker questions at the beginning of video conference calls. You should plan for about 30 seconds per participant. If you have 20+ people then we have large group icebreakers too.
Here is a list of questions you can use:
One of the challenges of virtual icebreakers is that you don’t have simple visual cues for who goes next. Instead, the host should designate who is going next and who is on deck continuously throughout the icebreaker session.
- What was your first online screen name?
- Which obscure super power would you want?
- What did you eat for breakfast?
- Which web browser do you use and why?
20. Virtual Time Capsule (💯 Long Game)
When I was a younger Michael, my school assembled a time capsule from items we collected together. About twenty years later I emailed the school and asked for an update on that time capsule. “We don’t know what you are talking about, Michael.”
You can help reignite my faith in time capsules by assembling a Virtual Time Capsule with your remote team. Have each person contribute a digital asset, such as a written document or a photo, and seal the files in an archive. Then, have your team vote on how long you will bury the time capsule for. The typical range is 1 to 10 years, and you could extend this to 20+.
Time capsules are exciting because they include two elements for team building. First, the collective action of assembling the capsule. Second, the opening of the time capsule to reveal what each team member contributed. It’s rad.
Cake has a list of time capsule ideas that you can adapt for an online version.
21. Never Ending Story
Never Ending Story is both one of the best movies ever produced, and a fun activity you can do with virtual teams. All you need to get started is a Google Doc or other shared writing platform. No Bastian or Falkor required.
- Decide on a character and a theme. For example, “Timothy Bit, the heir to a donut franchise fortune that gets into a bakers dozen of trouble.”
- Commit to a timeline equal to one day for each person that participates, and designate a day to each person.
- Each person writes at least 300 words of a story. You can develop the character, move the plot along, create an epic denouement or pen a mid-chapter poem.
- At the end of the period, publish the story in a pretty PDF and distribute.
The quality of the story is less important than the act of completing it. Teams are often composed of people that don’t work together often, so this activity is a chance to collaborate on something fun.
22. Mini Museum
Mini Museum is a virtual collection activity about finding shared threads in your team member’s lives. For example, most people have a favorite mug or a specific food they eat over and over again.
For Mini Museum, create a photo archive via Google Photos or Pinterest. Then, have each team member add and caption a photo that matches the theme. As the collection grows, so does your museum.
When you onboard a new colleague, invite them to contribute to the museum, which is a quick and fun way to participate in your remote team culture.
23. Virtual Team Building Hugs
At some workplaces, hugs are cool and accepted, while others prefer handshakes and head nods. Whichever greeting ritual you prefer, you can create an online version to rally your remote team around.
For example, your virtual hug could be a hand signal or a little card you hold up during calls. The power of virtual hugs isn’t in physical touch, but in the symbolism of caring about your colleagues and finding a shared way to express it.
24. Sock Knitting
I am secretly envious of people who can knit well; it seems like such a cool skill to be able to make your own clothing. With Sock Knitting, you can transform my envy into fun engagement activities for your virtual team.
- Send each of your people a knitting kit with yarn and the pokey things you knit with.
- Give participants a specific timeline, like one month, to knit a pair of socks for a colleague.
- Provide postage-paid shipping packs to each of your participants so they can send the socks to a peer.
- Have recipients wear the socks and take a photo to share.
You could replace “sock” knitting with scarves or other simple items.
25. Pen Pal Club ✍️ (Global Minded)
In 2003, I graduated high school and quickly joined a pen pal club; I had high aspirations. The experience led to friendships that have already spanned nearly two decades.
You can emulate my experience building friends around the world by hosting your own Pen Pal Club. For this activity, pair your people up with partners in other offices and departments and encourage them to write handwritten letters and postcards to each other.
Pen Pal Club is effective for team building online because most people do not receive anything good in the mail. Your club may create friendships that last for decades like mine did.
26. Pass Around the World
Pass Around the World is a virtual team activity where you record a video together. The goal is for the first person to move a common object across the screen that then interacts with the next person’s screen. For example, if you had a water bottle then you could pour water off the screen that fills a glass on the receiver’s end. The receiver then does some action that interacts with the next person.
27. Talk Like a Pirate Day
Yarr, matey! The only thing more swash bucklin’ than a bout of virtual team building activities may be the swagger of walkin’ the plank.
Hold themed days like Talk Like a Pirate Day and Walk Like an (Ancient) Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) Day to challenge your people to explore being a little weird. With themed days, you can extend the fun by giving your team members suggestions for vocabulary or actions to include, and prizes for following through.
List of virtual team building games
Virtual team building games are fun games played via Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and other virtual conference platforms. The purpose of these games is to entertain and engage remote teams, and to build community amongst remote workers.
In this section:
- virtual team building games/activities
- fun virtual team games for work
- virtual meeting games
- virtual games for large groups
- virtual team bonding games
Here is the list.
28. Two Truths and One Lie (Classic)
Two Truths and One Lie is a common team building game you can adapt for remote teams. The activity is virtual conference call friendly, since all you need is a reliable WiFi connection and a little cunning deceit.
For the remote work version, give each participant two minutes to prepare two truths and one lie. For example:
- I can read and write in Chinese.
- I have consumed 3.5 KG of pure 100% cocoa during quarantine.
- I once hacked into my high school computer.
Number two is the obvious lie, it’s been at least 3.6 KG 🙂
Have each participant share three facts, and guess which one is the lie. You don’t really have to keep track of points for this game, because the fun is more in learning about each other.
If you want to up your game, check out PrepScholar’s list of good lies for the games.
29. My Superhero Backstory
For teams with great reserves of imagination and a sense of humor, My Superhero Backstory is a stellar choice to bring people together. First, assign a coworker as a subject to each team member. You can draw names out of a hat or use an online name picker.
Once all participants have a subject, have your team members concoct a superhero backstory for how their subject came to work for your company. The stories don’t need to be true. However, team members should draw on facts they may know about their subject to make the story seem more plausible.
At the end of the time limit, team members vote for the most humorous, inventive backstory. As a huge superhero fan, I love this virtual team building game because it presents an opportunity for colleagues to form inside jokes and poke fun at each other in an innocuous way.
30. Forensic Sketch Artist
Inspired by my mother’s sketching skills and her love of true crime documentaries, Forensic Sketch Artist is an amusing way for your team to compete while working together. Here is how to play:
- Split your coworkers into teams.
- Tell participants there was a series of robberies the night before. Luckily, each team has a witness who saw the robber’s face before narrowly escaping the scene.
- Using a random face generator, conjure up a face.
- Show only one person per team the face of the “robber”. You can refresh the page every time you need a new face for any additional rounds.
- Have the person who viewed the face describe the face’s appearance as detailed as possible. Meanwhile, another team member does their best to sketch the face based on the description.
- After ten minutes, collect the portraits.
The portrait closest to the original face wins!
31. Cheers to the Governor (Drinking Game)
Cheers to the Governor is a college student drinking game that you can adapt for virtual team building with adults of all sorts.
How it works:
- Join a video conference call with your group, and establish a consistent order of turns. You could go youngest to oldest, geographically West to East or similar.
- Count to 21, one digit at a time, with each player taking a turn.
- After the count, everyone says “Cheers to the Governor” and takes a sip of a drink.
- The person that said “21” then creates a rule to modify the count for the next round.
- If a player misses a number or one of the rules then that player takes a drink and starts the round over.
The rules you establish are an opportunity for creativity. For example:
- Instead of saying “10” say “octopus”.
- If you say “5” then clap five times.
- The announcement of “21” should now include a touchdown dance.
Also, you don’t have to drink alcohol with Cheers to the Governor. My preference is tea or soda water, which is also more appropriate for virtual meetings.
32. ABC Hunt
I first played ABC Hunt in an online acting class. To play, the host chooses three random letters of the alphabet. The rest of the team races to bring one item beginning with each letter for the host to verify. The items should come from the team members’ surroundings.
The fastest team member to assemble all three items wins one point. The team member with the most points at the end of the game wins. ABC Hunt is a fun way to get your team members out of their seats and involved with their environment while fostering a healthy sense of competition.
33. Work Limericks
Limericks are not only easy to create, but are also one of the most playful forms of poetry. Prior to starting this game, your team should be familiar with these guidelines on how to write a limerick. If limericks seem a bit out of your depth then feel free to substitute limericks for haikus.
Afterwards, give your team a few hours to submit limericks based on their work duties. Collect the limericks and ask your team to vote on which limerick they like the most. Team members are barred from voting for their own submission. The most popular poem wins! This virtual team building idea is notable because it activates your team’s creative writing skills.
Geography Now fans, this game is for you! Ambassadors is a virtual game for teams where each person acts as a country’s ambassador. You can assign countries to team members using a random country generator.
During each round, a team member must describe their country without saying the country’s name. The other team members guess which country the person is describing to earn points. At the end of the game, the player with the most correct guesses wins!
35. Guess the Film Buff
Have each team member take a picture of their DVD or film collection and send the photo to you. If a team member does not have a physical film collection, then an alternative is to have your team members send a screenshot of their “My List” on Netflix.
Once all participants submit an image, display the pictures one at a time and ask your team to guess who submitted each one. The team member who correctly guesses the most film collection owners wins! This virtual team building games is fun because team members can not only learn more about each others’ film tastes, but they will also get new recommendations on what to watch in their downtime.
36. My Next Meal
When working from home, one of the last things you want to think about is meal prep. However, what if you had your team’s help?
- Each week, have a different member of your team submit a picture of the inside of their refrigerator.
- After showing your team the photo, ask the other team members to create recipes for a dish that can be made from the ingredients in the refrigerator.
- Then, have your team vote on which recipe sounds the tastiest. If the original team member makes that recipe then they get double points.
The recipe with the most votes wins! Through this virtual game, you will quickly compile a collection of new, delectable recipes to try.
37. Alphabet Chain
For Alphabet Chain, name a topic, such as animals or fruit, for the round. Then, suggest a word that starts with the letter “a” that also belongs to the named topic, and nominate a team member.
The nominated team member needs to propose a new word that fits with the topic and also begins with the last letter of the word you suggested, and tag another team member. Any team member who can’t think of a word and breaks the chain must withdraw from the group for the remainder of the round. The last team member still playing wins.
List of virtual team building challenges
Virtual team building challenges are spirited competitions or games that are meant to boost comradery, friendships and team bonding with remote workers. For example, these challenges might include doing exercise for 30 days or reaching inbox zero.
In this section:
- virtual challenge ideas
- fun virtual team challenges
- remote team challenges
And more 🙂
38. Typing Speed Race (Competitive)
Your competitive coworkers will love engaging in a Typing Speed Race. The race is a way to show off your lightning fingers, and also a great way to develop one of the most important remote work skills: typing quickly and accurately.
Try the 1-Minute challenge on typingtest.com to start.
Your team members can participate in the typing test and post scores to Slack, email or other communication channels. You can also do a Typing Speed Relay, where you add up team totals.
39. Virtual Rube Goldberg Machine (Most Difficult)
A Rube Goldberg machine is a complicated contraption designed to complete a simple task. For example, you could have a series of marbles, dominoes, gears and playing cards that trigger actions to eventually make toast.
A Virtual Rube Goldberg Machine follows the same principles, with one crucial difference: you need to find ways to connect the machine from remote locations. For example, you could have a marble trigger a phone call from one location to another, and the vibration on the receiving end could start the next flow before passing on to another location.
Review these technical tips on Instructables about how to build a successful machine.
40. Healthy Lifestyle Challenge 🥕
Sam on our team heads up the Culture Committee, which is dedicated to internal team building and engagement.
For example, Sam facilitates a monthly Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, which is even more important during quarantine. One month the challenge was to drink a certain amount of water each day, and another month it was an “activity of choice”, which for me was walking outside for at least 10 minutes.
You can track progress on the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge with this free virtual team building tracking tool, which helps add an element of accountability. After 30 days, the person with the most “x” boxes marked on the spreadsheet wins. Really everyone wins, because everyone that participates gets a little healthier.
Here is a free tool you can use to track your team’s progress:
Piedmont Healthcare has a list of weekly health challenges that may be helpful inspiration too.
41. Hydration Challenge
Challenge your work from home team members to drink enough water during the day. Drinking more water is the most effective way to stay hydrated, which can keep you healthy and productive. To add a collaborative element, you can track the total cups of water each person drinks in a month, and compare the total to the volume of water going over Niagara Falls in any given moment.
42. Push-up Challenge
When you work from home, physical exercise can often take second seat to doing more work and watching Netflix. While life on the couch is a strong way to become a couch potato, doing push-up challenges is a strong way to build muscles.
Here is what I recommend:
- Do three minutes of push-ups on a timer, and post your results to a shared channel.
- Challenge your team members to do three-minutes and post their results too
- The first person to get to 100 push-ups in the allotted time wins.
Really, everyone wins because push-ups make you strong, which is good for opening jars.
43. Vegetarian Challenge
Vegetarians and vegans are sometimes the brunt of a lot of jokes, but the reality is that many people eat more meat than they should. Your team doesn’t have to go full vegan or even vegetarian, but they can do a few more veggie only meals.
For the Vegetarian Challenge, encourage your teammates to do three lunch or dinner meals each week that do not include meat. Your remote team members can post pictures of their creations and share recipes in a dedicated Slack channel or similar.
44. Go to Bed Early Challenge
If you both work from home and have flexible work hours in a remote office then it can be easy to stay up late and sleep in. For example, I am writing this article at 3 AM, with no sign of slowing down.
You can challenge your team members to follow a strict bedtime routine that includes shutting down devices a few hours before bed. This challenge is meant to improve sleep quality for your team members, and better rested people lead to stronger teams and more productive work.
45. Must Do vs Should Do Challenge
One of my biggest productivity wins was recognizing the difference between Must Do and Should Do activities. For example, if you think of flossing as a “should do”, then you may not keep it up; while categorizing it as “must do” is an imperative.
You can do virtual team challenges that channel my favorite productivity hack into meaningful team building. Have each of your team members choose a habit they want to work on that they can categorize as a “must do” and then track progress over the next month. At the end of the month, reward your remote team members that kept up with the new habit.
46. Chubby Bunny Challenge
Unlike the habit building virtual team challenges on this list, Chubby Bunny only exists to be fun. You can get your team on a virtual conference call, and have each person put a marshmallow in their mouth and then say the words “chubby bunny.” Each person adds an additional marshmallow until only one person can complete the challenge.
Here is a guide on how to play chubby bunny by Icebreaker Ideas.
Important: Do not choke on the marshmallows, this is a fun work from home challenge not a daredevil act.
47. Inbox Zero Challenge
I recently re-watched the entire Indiana Jones series, which was great until the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. One of the finest moments is when Indy finds the holy grail and that old knight is still guarding it with his limited strength.
The virtual team building challenge equivalent of the holy grail is reaching inbox zero. Give your team a countdown, like 30 minutes, with a goal of reaching an empty inbox. You can use tools like archiving, forwarding, deleting and replying to get the job done. At the end, everyone feels a little better about opening email to a clean slate.
48. Screen Time Challenge
When you work from home, you tend to spend significantly more time looking at screens. You look at screens to work, have virtual meetings, watch shows and more; it is too damn much.
Challenge your team to reduce the time they spend looking at screens by at least 1 hour per day. That one hour can go toward non-screen experiences like exercise, cooking or reading.
49. Book Reading Challenge
Younger Michael thought it would impress people if I read a lot of books and posted on social media about it. “Dozens! I read dozens of books!” I’d shout from atop my mountain of nonfiction.
Today, I am more inclined to slowly read one book. You can learn from my naivety by issuing a book reading challenge to your virtual team.
Here is how it works:
- Have each person on your team choose a book, and purchase it using company money.
- Set a completion date of one month out to finish the book.
- A few times during the month, check in on progress.
- At the end of the month, see who finished, and let them share in a virtual meeting what they learned.
Reading books is good for your noodle, and your eyes if it gets you looking away from screens for a bit.
50. 50 States Challenge
When I first joined the startup world, I worked with a team of Americans. I, the sole Canadian, challenged my colleagues to a “name the 50 states” competition. I lost, but for 30 minutes my small team was deeply engaged as we struggled to remember Nebraska and Wyoming.
Pop quiz your team on a video conference call with a 50 states challenge or your local equivalent. Canadian provinces and territories are notably fewer, so you could add on provincial capitals to make it more challenging. For example, Iqaluit.
Here is a template you can use to play:
And here is an international version:
You can make your own maps too.
51. Spelling Bee
One challenge that most people on your team won’t enjoy, but a few introverts will LOVE is a Spelling Bee. Appeal to those INTJs by hosting a company-wide spelling competition, complete with difficult words, judges and prizes.
Here is a list of difficult to spell words for you to start with: Robert Heckendorn’s List of Hard to Spell Words. Thanks, Google.
List of virtual team building exercises
Virtual team building exercises are online group activities that sharpen skills and strengthen coworker bonds. You can think of team building exercises as a workout for your teamwork.
In this section:
- fun virtual team building exercises
- remote team building exercises during quarantine
- free online team building exercises
So, here are the ideas!
52. Personality Tests
Personality tests are a common element of job applications and on-boarding. You can use personality tests for virtual team building too.
- Send this simulation of Myers-Briggs to your people.
- Have everyone send you their results.
- Do a team call where you talk about the different personality types and how they fit in with team dynamics.
Personality tests can also be used as virtual leadership activities to develop insight and team building skills.
53. Internal Company Blog
If you ever want to build healthy relationships with random internet strangers then start a blog. If you want to build a community with remote teams then create an internal company blog where people can write and share content.
Like public facing blogs, the internal company version can take many formats. We recommend prioritizing stories, which are both engaging to read and convey a lot of nuance about a person. In addition to stories, you could share recipes, pet photos, work from home tips or similar.
The key to success with blogs is consistency. On a team of 10, each person could contribute one post each month, which would be enough to keep the project and your remote team building dreams alive, even during quarantine.
Blogin has a list of tips to consider for internal company blogs too.
54. The Fake Podcast
One of my first entrepreneurial projects was a podcast where I interviewed successful authors and bloggers. I learned a lot about writing and marketing, and built some great relationships.
- Challenge your coworkers to be a pod-caster for a day.
- Pair up team members to take turns interviewing each other with questions about their job roles.
- Record the sessions, add a simple intro clip, and post the videos internally.
The Fake Podcast goes far beyond simple chit-chat, and puts your people in the role of an investigative journalist seeking to learn about their colleagues.
55. What Would You Do?
What Would You Do? is one of several scenario-based virtual team building exercises you can do.
How to play:
- Split employees into teams or discuss as one big group.
- Pose hypothetical questions like the ones above.
- Let employees talk through a plan of action.
Not only does What Would You Do? foster fun and engagement, but this activity allows remote teams to learn each others’ problem-solving processes in real time.
56. Virtual Dance Party (High Energy)
One of the best ways to quickly build team morale is to throw spontaneous dance parties during video calls. We have a few recommendations.
First, have a dance going at the beginning of your call so that people can participate as they join.
Second, use dance breaks as a way to boost energy throughout the meeting.
Third, dance breaks are good closing activities for virtual meetings too!
Here a few tunes for your playlist:
- Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
- Yeah! – Usher
- Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
- Twist and Shout – The Beatles
- Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
- Macarena – Los del Rio
- Footloose – Kenny Loggins
Here is a longer playlist from The Bash.
57. The Amazing Online Race
The Amazing Online Race is one of the best virtual team building activities for students and kids. Teams race and compete to complete online assignments such as “beat the high score in Pac Man” or “make and upload a lip-sync video to Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Throughout the day, you and your group members will check in via video call to gauge each other’s progress. The team that completes all challenges first wins!
58. Six Degrees of Wikipedia
The party game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is played by starting with a random celebrity and making a jump to Kevin Bacon by naming six or fewer other celebrities. The internet has its own version of this game, called Six Degrees of Wikipedia.
How to play:
- Start on a random Wikipedia page.
- Pick an unrelated topic.
- Ask your teammates to find a way to the new topic page in six clicks or less.
You can split your co-workers into teams and race to see who can get from point A to point B in the least amount of jumps with no dead ends.
Six Degrees of Wikipedia emphasizes critical thinking and exploration while fine-tuning research skills.
59. Ransom Note
A few years ago, a video spelling out the lyrics to “Tainted Love” using Twitter handles went viral. The video reminded me of those ransom notes criminals in movies make by cutting letters out of magazines.
You and your team can have just as much fun composing mosaic messages in the Ransom Note exercise.
Divide your group into teams, and challenge team members to write a ransom note or love letter.
Ask the group to use:
- Instagram handles
- Headline snippets
- Amazon product descriptions
- YouTube comments
You can get together and have each team read the masterpieces aloud. Ransom Note highlights resourcefulness, research, and communication skills.
Sketch-It is one of many virtual team building exercises that forces teams to communicate clearly and effectively. You can imagine it as a reverse Pictionary.
How to play:
- Gather team members on a video call.
- One team member describes a person or object.
- The rest of the team draws based on the description.
- After a few minutes, the team shows the drawings and the speaker judges how closely the artists came to the truth.
The goal of the game is to draw the subject as accurately as possible, though misunderstandings might make for some pretty funny pictures. The clearer the instructions, the more likely your team will nail a project.
61. I Spy
When I was little, I used to love reading “I Spy” books. Each page of “I Spy” contains a collage of random objects along with a rhyme instructing the reader to pick out certain items.
How to play:
- Instruct each member of your team to take a picture of a messy desk, cluttered garage, or unruly yard.
- Have your team members hide objects throughout the scene.
- Ask your teammates to share the photos via email or photo sharing software.
- Direct your team to write poems just like in the books. Example: “I spy a business card, a jolt of caffeine, a Halloween surprise, and a cover for a screen.”
Not only does I Spy grant employees a glimpse into coworkers’ home lives, the game also heightens attention to detail.
62. Do It for the ‘Gram
Do It for the ‘Gram is among the virtual team building exercises that can have a tangible impact on your business.
Here’s why: Social media skills are business skills. More and more companies join platforms like Instagram and Twitter every day. This reality means it is important for employees to know how to avoid Facebook Faux Pas. Social media also offers some unique team building opportunities.
Polish your team’s social media prowess and strengthen connection by starting a group account.
Here is how:
- Pick a platform, like Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok.
- Choose a focus such as pets, food, art projects, how to’s, or found objects.
- Encourage your team to contribute on-theme pictures and blurbs.
- Set weekly challenges such as “gain fifty followers” or “get someone to repost.”
This exercise teaches teams to be creative and strategic. Plus, the experience gives your group the satisfaction that comes with creating something together.
63. Munch and Learn
Lunch and Learns are educational sessions that employers host during lunch times. Experts coach employees on a specific subject or skill while employees eat. Munch and Learns involve snacks and can be held anytime over a video call, not just during midday meals.
How to host a munch and learn:
- Provide a stipend for yummy snacks.
- Consider themes like basic car repair, beer brewing, or the art of improv.
- Find a professional to coach your team.
- Send your team invitations to a video call.
- Reflect on the lesson afterwards.
Then, encourage your team to share the new knowledge with other colleagues.
64. Guided Meditation
Ten quiet minutes during an otherwise busy day can be an effective way to bring your people together and build strong remote teams.
Guided meditation is a practice that teaches how to increase attention and reduce stress. Regulating emotion and staying stable are valuable workplace skills. You can teach your employees how to stay cool and composed in stressful situations by leading the team through a guided meditation.
Here is how:
- Find a meditation exercise online or contact an expert to guide the group in real-time.
- Send a video call invitation to the team.
- Consider sending employees a care package with scented oils and candles beforehand.
- Perform mindfulness activities as instructed by the guide.
Here is a 10 minute guided meditation on YouTube.
Meditation increases feelings of well-being and stability, and research suggests that meditation may even boost the immune system. Guided meditation helps remote employees cope with day to day stress and lays a good groundwork for teams performing calmly during a crisis.
65. Peas in a Pod
Peas in a Pod can help your team members find commonalities. Though every member of your team is unique, teammates still likely have a lot in common. Task your team to find related traits with the Peas in a Pod exercise.
How to play:
- Divide participants into pairs.
- Instruct the pairs to find ten similarities and differences.
- Ask group members to present findings to the team.
- Award points or prizes to the most interesting revelations.
Lucy and Ethel both broke their arms in Hong Kong? Interesting. Neither Felix nor Oscar have ever met their twin? Eerie.
When you play Peas in a Pod you can teach employees to recognize patterns and to develop more empathy for colleagues.
List of virtual team building events
Virtual team building events are specific occasions for hosting remote team building activities, games or exercises. For example, popular virtual team events include birthday parties and online fundraisers.
This section includes:
- Virtual happy hours
- Virtual coffee breaks
- Virtual birthday parties
- Virtual holiday parties
- Virtual Halloween parties
- Virtual retirement parties
- Virtual field trips
- Online fundraisers
And that’s it 🙂
66. Virtual Happy Hours
Virtual happy hours are video meetings dedicated to doing fun games and activities together, and may be part of the work day or at the end of it. For example, you might include a round of icebreaker questions and then do virtual team trivia. Because this is a happy hour, most people include drinks as well.
Virtual happy hours are also good for fun Friday virtual activities.
Check out our list of virtual happy hour ideas for more inspiration.
67. Virtual Coffee Breaks
Virtual coffee breaks are usually one-on-one or small group sessions, and are conducted for 15 to 30 minutes during the work day. The purpose of these breaks is to help build relationships among individuals via conversation and simple activities.
See our list of virtual coffee break ideas and topics for more info.
68. Virtual Holiday Parties
Virtual holiday parties are online team celebrations held on or around recognized holidays. The party format can vary, but usually includes virtual team building activities, icebreaker games and drinks.
69. Virtual Halloween Parties
Virtual Halloween parties are online gatherings usually occurring on October 30 or 31. At work, these parties are a form of remote team building, and the parties tend to include spooky games and activities that build community. Most virtual holiday parties include a costume contest.
Check out our list of virtual Halloween party ideas.
70. Virtual Birthday Parties 🎈
The essentials for a successful virtual birthday party are:
- An element of surprise. Get everyone on a virtual call and tell the birthday person that the call starts five minutes later.
- Fun activities. Do icebreakers, lightning scavenger hunts and similar.
- Heaps of praise. Use the opportunity to showcase the team member.
If you have a large team, then planning virtual birthday parties may get redundant. Instead, you can unite the April babies around the shared birthday month, and the same for the other 11 groups too.
Here is a list of ideas for virtual birthday parties.
71. Virtual Retirement Parties
Virtual retirement parties or “farewell parties” are online gatherings for the purpose of sending off a teammate. These parties generally occur during work hours, and include video conference games and activities.
Learn more about virtual retirement parties.
72. Virtual Field Trips
Virtual fields trips have similarities to the real world off-sites, and usually include “getting out of the video call.” For example, a remote field trip might include a virtual museum tour or a similar space. Virtual field trips are excellent virtual team building activities for teachers, students and kids.
Check out our list of virtual field trips.
73. Online Fundraiser
One way to build morale with employees is to choose a meaningful cause and raise funds or donations for it. For example, many offices are familiar with doing a food drive or a community sponsorship.
I recommend partnering with a donation platform to help facilitate the transactions and add credibility to the collections. For the cause, anything that resonates with your team can be a good fit. If there are charities and causes that align with your industry, for example “organic farming” for a restaurant, then these can be both charitable and strategic partnerships.
How to do team building virtually
Virtual team building activities can be an effective way to build community online, and a great way to make virtual meetings fun. To create meaningful gains from challenges with your remote team, you need to support your people toward success.
Also, in many cases you will need virtual meeting software.
Here are a few ideas:
- Use a shared spreadsheet document to track progress for each participant. Marking off a daily “x” is a great way to continue a habit, and so is the social pressure of having other team members see where you are at.
- Reward group accountability. Everyone loves prizes, and the easiest way to award prizes is for the top performing participant. Instead, give the entire team a prize if the entire team completes the challenge successfully. For example, if everyone on the team completed a challenge to learn simple Chinese language skills, then you could take the entire team to China. Group accountability works because you definitely don’t want to be the person that loses the trip for everyone 🙂
- Schedule check-ins. Remote team management is challenging because you don’t see your people day to day. Do a check-in at least once per week and ask your people how they are doing with the challenge, and how you can support them in completing it. Be the Game Genie that helps your people win the game.
Those lists have more ideas for bonding with coworkers while working from home.
FAQ: Virtual team building
Here are a few common questions about virtual team building.
What is virtual team building?
Virtual team building is the process of forming bonds and practicing collaboration with remote employees. These efforts can include planning virtual team building activities for conference calls, scheduling virtual events and similar. The goals of virtual team building include improving skills like communication and collaboration, while also boosting engagement and job satisfaction.
What are virtual team building activities?
Virtual team building activities are group activities for employees that are conducted online or remotely. Examples of these virtual team activities include icebreaker questions, virtual campfires, and group fitness classes. Virtual team building activities are the largest sub-category of virtual team building ideas.
What are some virtual team building activities?
There are hundreds of virtual team building activities to choose from. Some of the best activities include icebreaker questions, Never Have I Ever, “Can you hear me now?”, Mister Rogers Calls, and Something in Common.
Why is team building important for remote teams?
Virtual team building is important because it helps build happy, engaged and productive remote teams. People that work from home often struggle to feel connected with coworkers and the organization, and even more so during enforced social distancing and quarantine. By investing in virtual team building you can not only model the engagement of teams that work in offices, but actually exceed it.
How do you bond with a remote team?
The most successful way to bond with a remote team is through shared experiences. Whether you choose pub trivia, ice breaker questions, or an online workshop is secondary to the simple act of spending more quality time together.
How do you make a virtual meeting fun?
An easy way to make a virtual meeting fun is to include activities that are not work. For example, you might include icebreaker questions, or a quick dance party. We recommend The 8% Rule, which states that 8% of the time in any meeting should be dedicated to fun virtual team building exercises.
How do you create a team remotely?
One way to create a team remotely is to invest time and attention in doing virtual team activities. Give your people fun shared experiences and they will give you a successful team.
For the greatest impact, you need to improve both group dynamics as well as one-on-one dynamics. So, you can plan virtual team building events like virtual happy hours and virtual holiday parties, but also paired opportunities like Mister Rogers Calls.
What are virtual activities?
Virtual activities are any activities, games, challenges and exercises that you experience online. Usually, these activities are conduced over platforms like Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or other collaboration software. Virtual activities tend to either be fun or training focused.
What are the most effective remote team building activities?
The best remote team building activities teach work competencies under the guise of a good time. Ideally, a remote employee should learn more about his or her company, role, and coworkers as a result of a good exercise.
How do you include virtual team builders in meetings?
A great way to start including virtual team builders in meetings is to devote a whole meeting to exercises. Having an exercise-centered meeting allows employees to get a feel for the activities and makes the exercises easier to incorporate into meetings on an ongoing basis. If you give employees a heads up that you will be playing a game at a meeting then you can build excitement and get workers into the right headspace.
What games can you play virtually?
Some games are created specifically for playing virtually, while others can be readily adapted. For example, “Can you hear me now?” is a popular virtual team building game built specifically for video conferencing platforms. On the other hand, a game like Werewolf can easily be adapted as a virtual team game since the mechanics are mostly talking and pointing.
Is virtual team building available outside the US?
Yes! Virtual team building is not location dependent, and so is available in other countries. For example, we provide service to organizations in Canada, the UK, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Brazil and other regions.
Two factors you should be aware of for international bookings are timezone and language. We have event facilitators in North America, Europe, Asia, and other locations, which means that we can book on local schedules. Virtual team building is available in English, Spanish, French, and can be localized for other languages too.
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