You found our list of virtual team building exercises for remote teams.
Virtual team building exercises are online group activities that sharpen skills and strengthen coworker bonds. Examples of these exercises include Online Storytelling Workshops, Digital Scavenger Hunts, and Typing Tournaments. You can think of team building exercises as a workout for your work.
These exercises are a subset of virtual team building activities.
Specifically, this list includes:
- remote team building exercises
- online team building exercises
- work at home team building exercises
And other virtual team exercises 🙂
Let’s get to it!
List of virtual team building exercises
Read on for educational and entertaining exercises that train teams in valuable work skills.
1. What Would You Do?
Like most humans, I sometimes plan how I might react to fantastic and highly unlikely situations. What if some distant relative appeared and told me I was a princess of a small country, a la “The Princess Diaries?” What if I got stranded on a highway in the middle of the desert? What if I could suddenly understand animals? These wonderings might just seem like silly fun, but the scenarios flex my critical thinking skills.
What Would You Do? is one of several scenario-based team building exercises you can do with virtual teams..
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, but this activity allows remote teams to learn each others’ problem-solving processes in real time.
2. Digital Scavenger Hunt
Digital scavenger hunts are a fun way to inject friendly competition into your next virtual get together. The internet has answers for everything if you know where to look. You can turn your team into super sleuths with a digital scavenger hunt.
Here’s what to do:
- Split your group into small teams.
- Give each team lists of virtual items to find, such as the email address of a company’s CEO, the time mark on a video where a specific mascot appears, or an old logo.
- Allow teams up to one hour to complete the challenge.
- Ask all teams to submit findings.
- Tally up each team’s results and name a winner.
You can feel free to throw in a couple of wild card clues like the name of a founder’s mother or the location of an upcoming office. You can have fun with your clues and indulge in all the weirdness the web has to offer by throwing in instructions like “watch a DIY video for a strange craft and write a guide on how to make it” or “list five athletes who like McDonalds.”
Teaching your employees digital detective skills can pay off big time. Often we have to scour the internet for a phone number or email, or snoop websites and social media pages before a meeting. Helping your team earn black belts in Google-kwon-do will teach your team members to be speedy and resourceful when looking for answers online.
3. The Amazing Online Race
Field day was my favorite event in grade school. Every year, classes competed in challenges like obstacle courses and the egg-on-a-spoon race. All year long, me and my classmates looked forward to going outside and playing games all day. I have a sneaking suspicion that shows like “The Amazing Race” are so popular because all of us miss recess a little.
“The Amazing Race” is a reality show where pairs rush to compete challenges faster than other teams. Lots of companies have incorporated “The Amazing Race” into corporate team building events. This experience may seem like an impossible dream for remote teams, but it can be done.
The Amazing Online Race is one of our favorite virtual team building exercises for work that trades the street for the data highway. 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!
With “The Amazing Online Race,” teams have a blast learning to collaborate while separated.
4. Spreadsheet Wars
I did not always excel at Excel, but games like Spreadsheet Wars helped me polish my chops. You can put your teammates’ skills on the chopping block with this virtual gam. To start, instruct your team to use Google Sheets or a similar collaborative spreadsheet program. You can challenge employees with prompts like “choose your own adventure” or “rock song lyric machine.” Your teammates will spend thirty minutes creating a spreadsheet that solves the prompt. You can judge which team built the coolest and most creative tool and award the winning team a prize such as a free coffee, a “Spreadsheet Master” medal, or an Amazon gift card.
Pro Tip: You can pair spreadsheet gurus with novices to maximize the learning experience.
5. Typing Races
Some people take it for granted that typing is an important workplace skill. I have worked with a handful of coworkers who peck away at the keyboard, and I wondered how these coworkers had time to do other work too!.
You can show off your team’s fast fingers in the Typing Race challenge.
Here is how:
- Instruct your teammates to head to typingtest.com
- Select the one-minute challenge. If you want to play multiple rounds, then you can select the three and five minute challenges in turn.
- Feel free to mix the race up with the “sentences” vs “random words” options.
- Ask each team member to screenshot and share scores for every round.
You can make brackets and form an official tournament if you desire. The best part of Typing Races is that it can be ongoing and spread out over several weeks.
6. 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.
7. Ransom Note
A few years ago, this 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.
Break your group into teams, and challenge team members to write a letter using only content on websites.
Ask the group to use:
- Instagram handles
- Headline snippets
- Amazon product descriptions
- YouTube comments
Ask the group to write:
- Love letters
- Scary stories
- Ransom notes
You can get together and have each team read the masterpieces aloud. Ransom Note highlights resourcefulness, research, and communication skills.
Sketch-It is part of our group of work at home team building exercises and is designed to boost communication skills. Remote teams and remote managers need strong communication. If you fail to explain a project or assignment well, then you and your team may waste hours of work.
Sketch-It is one of many online team building games 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 mishearings and misunderstandings might make for some pretty funny pictures. The clearer the instructions, the more likely your team will nail a project.
Clue is a familiar game designed to be a fun way to encourage more communication. Remote employees need to be comfortable reaching out to any member of the team. When working remotely, this connection is not as easy as stopping by someone’s desk or cubicle to ask a quick question. You can get employees used to messaging each other directly with a virtual game of Clue.
In the board game, players solve the mystery of who murdered Mr. Body by guessing the suspect, weapon, and room cards not in anyone’s hand. One of our favorite online games, Clue has employees email guesses to coworkers and coworkers will respond in kind. “I suspect it was Mr. Green in the library with the candlestick.” “It wasn’t the candlestick.” The first one to message the manager with the correct accusation of murder wins. This game can be played over the course of a video call or a workweek.
Pro Tip: Customize the clues to fit your workplace. You may want to change the crime from “murder” to something more benign like “took the last donut.”
10. I Spy
When I was little, I used to love reading “I Spy” books. If you have never had the pleasure of checking one of these bad boys out of the library, then the concept is easy enough to grasp. 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.
11. Do It for the ‘Gram
Do It for the ‘Gram is among the virtual team building exercises for work 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.
12. Munch and Learn
My favorite subject in school was English, but lunch was a strong contender, too. I would have been pretty happy if Mr. Garm taught me how to analyze a 13th century poem while I chowed down on French bread pizza.
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.
- Pick a topic. There is no need to keep the topic strictly work related, as long as it is useful and informational.
- 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.
13. Digital Trivia
I think it is uncool and unfair that the word “useless” often precedes the word “trivia.” Trivia is more than an excuse to drink a couple of beers and spout off random facts. The best trivia teams, like the best work teams, unite people with different abilities and areas of expertise.
You can flex your managerial skills by forming balanced trivia teams.
Here is how to host digital trivia:
- Find a group that hosts online trivia, or create your own trivia questions.
- Invite team members to a video call.
- Lead the group through rounds of trivia questions.
- Keep score and reward the winners.
Your employees can show off knowledge and teamwork capability by discussing the best answer. Your team can have a great time and learn a few new facts. Plus, the winning team walks away with bragging rights.
Online Trivia Tournaments are fun remote team building exercises that spark the brain and encourage friendly competition.
14. Guided Meditation
Meditation is more than a bunch of people sitting on the floor chanting “ommmmmm.” 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.
- Tell your team members to wear comfy clothes.
- Consider sending employees a care package with scented oils and candles beforehand.
- Before starting the meditation, discuss what stresses and relaxes each team member.
- Perform mindfulness activities as instructed by the guide.
- Reflect on the experience as a team.
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.
15. Peas in a Pod
Peas in a Pod is a virtual team building exercise to 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 employees into small 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.
FAQ: Virtual team building exercises
Organizations often have questions about team building exercises for virtual teams. Here are answers to the questions we hear most often.
What are virtual team building exercises?
Virtual team building exercises are engaging online activities that give employees a chance to practice skills while bonding with teammates.
What are the best remote team building exercises?
The best remote team building exercises are fun and stimulating. My favorites are I Spy and Clue. Some of the most popular remote team building exercises are Digital Trivia and The Amazing Online Race.
What are the most effective online team building exercises?
The best online team building exercises 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 building exercises in meetings?
A great way to start including virtual team building exercises 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.
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