21 Fun Virtual Team Building Activities (Tried & Tested)

21 Fun Virtual Team Building Activities (Tried & Tested)

Heather Harper

We've put together the ultimate list of the top 21 virtual team building activities for remote teams in 2021. Includes instructions and bonus resources.

More and more organizations are moving towards building a team with remote workers scattered all over the globe.

Thus, we've created this guide to the best 21 virtual team building activities you can try with your team during a real time virtual happy hour.

Here are some quick links to the different sections of our ultimate guide to virtual team building:

Chapters

1. Why Is Virtual Team Building Important?

2. Top 21 Most FUN Virtual Team Building Activities

3. Virtual Team Building Tools & Software

4. 80+ Bonus Virtual Activity Ideas

5. Frequently Asked Questions


Why is Virtual Team Building important?

Virtual team building is the process of engaging remote teams in an online format in order to deepen bonds within the team.

Before we go on to talk about activities suitable for remote teams, it is important to highlight that there are many benefits of remote work practices.

  • From 2008 to 2014, the number of employees who said they couldn’t concentrate at their desk in an office increased by 16%, and the number of employees who couldn’t access quiet places to do focused work when working in an office went up by 13%.

  • Similarly, research has found that employees who worked from home reported “higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress.”

Hence, a lot of our team activities are focused towards improving communication within your virtual meetings and to help them work together more effectively. Including of course the online quiz game that we buily specifically for this situation: QuizBreaker.com - we'll talk more about that later.

In remote teams, 65% of remote employees surveyed reported that they have never had a team building event or virtual event. That means organisations are missing opportunities to develop trust, build cooperative relationships & improve company culture.

The good news is that virtual team building exercises aren’t that difficult to organize and don't require a team meeting, providing that you have the right tools on hand. And they can help take the place of that water cooler or coffee convo that usually happens between co workers in a traditional office.

Now that you know the importance of successful team building activities in virtual teams, here are some of the best remote team building activities out there that will help your team bond.


Top 21 Most FUN Virtual Team Building Activities

Here are our favorite virtual team building activities. Ranging from online games to online classes to icebreaker activities you can do over Zoom. Enjoy!

1. QuizBreaker

quizbreaker gameplay

  • Participants: 3 - 1000+

  • Duration: 2 to 10 minutes per round

Instructions

Forgive us for putting our own game as the #1 activity on this list. But, with thousands of teams all over the world playing QuizBreaker every day, we think it's a good suggestion!

One of the best ways for a remote team to bond, even if they’re located thousands of miles away from each other, is to ask them fun ice breaker questions and have everyone guess each other's answers in a quiz.

QuizBreaker makes this easy & automated with lots of gamification along the way.

quizbreaker question

There's also a weekly leaderboard for those folks who love a bit of friendly competition.


Thousands of remote teams use QuizBreaker to boost engagement and morale including teams at companies like Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola.

Click here to try QuizBreaker with your team


2. Private Beer Making Experience

Let your team become brewers for the day in the comfort of their own home w/ Master the Brew’s Private Beer Making Experience. “Zoom” through 90 minutes of team building fun with no prior knowledge and live guided instruction from an expert brewer.

The experience comes with the equipment and ingredients to brew a full case of beer, shipped right to your participants door.

They can even work with you to create a custom label and a team beer recipe!

Check it out: City Brew Virtual Tours

3. WorkStyle

  • Objective: Understand the unique working styles of the people on your team

  • Participants: Unlimited

  • Duration: Takes about 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easily self facilitated

WorkStyle has created a unique team builing activity that helps teams understand how to best work with one another. Each person get's a profile where they can take up to 6 different personality tests to add to their report. They can also fill in sections about their optimal working preferences and display how they work best.

Click here to check out WorkStyle

4. Virtual Escape Room

Online virtual escape rooms blew up in 2020 as it became impossible to visit the ones in the real world because of the pandemic.

One that we've tried and love ourselves is The Escape Game

Bonus: 18 Best Online Escape Rooms

5. Water Cooler Trivia

If your team loves trivia then they will love Water Cooler Trivia.

How it works

Every week a new round of trivia questions is sent out to your team. It also comes with a handy Slack & Microsoft Teams integration.

6. Virtual City Tour

A really fun activity that we tried recently was having a Paris local show us around their city via Zoom. They wore a GoPro and live streamed riding around the beautiful streets on a bike.

We stopped in at all the top sites and even got to watch a chocalitier make a fresh batch. Highly recommend!

You can find this kind of activity on Airbnb Experiences all over the world.

7. Virtual scavenger hunt

This is a really fun activity that you organise quite quickly.

When everyone is on your Zoom call, issue the challenge of collecting a list of different items from around the house.

The first person to make it back to the webcam and prove that they've collected all the items wins!

8. Virtual murder mystery

Murder mysteries are a really fun activity that can be played over video or even over whatsapp, here are some of our favorites:

Top 12 Online Murder Mystery Party Games

9. Virtual Game Show Trivia Extravaganza

  • Objective: Competitive Team Fun Event

  • Participants: 10 - 1000+

  • Duration: 90 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy if you get a pro to facilitate it!

Instructions

For this activity, you'll want to bring in an external facilitator like the folks at Virtual Team Builders Co who specialize in running virtual activities like this for big teams online.

Aside from trivia, they also offer murder mystery and puzzle breaker facilitated team building events.

Each event runs for 60 - 90 minutes and is hosted by a comedian over Zoom. We're big fans!

Check out the Virtual Team Builders Co website for pricing and to make a booking.

10. Pictionary

Pictionary

  • Objective: Give Team Bonding & Communication Skills

  • Participants: 5 - 10

  • Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Access to an online virtual room

Authors have noted before that creativity in remote teams is a key component of success. Due to this, we cannot recommend highly enough using team building activities that promote creativity to get the best out of your own remote team.

Instructions

The instructions for this activity are really very simple. Use something like Skribbl to create your own virtual room for doodling. Just get the team online and you can immediately start playing.

11. Whose Office Is It Anyway?

whose office is it anyway

  • Objective: Getting everyone to know each other

  • Participants: However many you want!

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Electronic devices and a file-sharing tool

We love this activity because it is simple, but also a lot of fun.

It’s often hard to get to know each other in remote teams, so this allows people to find out a bit more about what each person is like.

Instructions

  • Ask each team member to take a picture of his or her ‘office’ and get them to upload it to a shareable file.

  • When taking the picture, encourage participants to leave their desk and working space as it is. This gives a true representation of them.

  • Then, get everyone else to try and guess who’s desk is who’s.

12. Bookclub

Movie/book club

  • Participants: 5 - 10

  • Duration: 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Books… and a lot of them!

Who says you need to be a suburban housewife in order to enjoy a book club? Depending on your team’s interests it could just as easily be a movie club, a podcast club, or heck even a fight club!…or maybe not a fight club, because, y’know that first rule and all…

Our point is that there’s something about regularly meeting up with a group of people to discuss something that all of you enjoy. It’s a very ordinary activity but it allows everybody a chance to get together and talk about something other than work and, in turn, learn more about each other as individuals and grow closer as a result.

We also love this book club idea because it promotes regular communication within teams, which has been found to be the key to building trust and communication within remote teams.

Instructions

  • The instructions are really quite simple - ask people if they want to meet every month on lunch breaks to discuss the books they’ve been reading.

  • To organize your own book club, make sure that participation is voluntary and that everyone agrees on what book to read.

  • Nothing kills a fledgling club more than mandatory participation.

13. Online Catchphrase or Charades

Online Catchphrases or Charades

  • Objective: To improve team bonding

  • Participants: 10 or less

  • Duration: 30 to 40 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Virtual charades cards or a similar resource

‘Catchphrase’, also known as charades, is a family favorite. We love it because it’s fun and light-hearted, whilst still being professional. It’s a great way to get everyone up, get everyone involved, and to push them out of their comfort zone.

Instructions

  • Split your team in half to form two separate teams that will be competing against each other.

  • Decide on a theme (e.g., animals, films, etc).

  • Get everyone to join a video call.

  • Each team member gets a chance to act out a certain object, scene, or movement from them.

  • The first person to get it correct wins a point for their team.

  • Carry this on for a long as you want, and then count the points up at the end.

14. Virtual Bingo

Virtual Bingo

  • Objective: To promote team bonding

  • Participants: 10 or less

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Bingo cards (emailed to each player), questions and an electronic device

We can all admit, we love a game of bingo… even if it is for grannies! Sometimes in remote teams, it’s hard to feel like you know who you’re talking to on the other side of lengthy email discussions.

Virtual bingo is a fun and easy way to get everyone involved and realizing what they have in common.

Instructions

  • Prior to the activity, create bingo cards or use this People-Bingo printable template.

  • Create a list of statements. For example, “has brown hair” or “works for the HR team”.

  • Call out the statements and team players then have to put a cross in the box if they share that quality with someone else.

  • The first player to get three in a row, and then the first to a full house, wins.

15. Pin The Map

Pin the map

  • Objective: Team Bonding & Get To Know One Another

  • Participants: 5 - 10

  • Duration: 10 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Paper, pens & internet.

Surprisingly, there is an abundance of research to suggest that cultural diversity in teams can sometimes act as a barrier.

So, based on this we feel that it is really important to get everyone acquainted so that individual culture doesn’t inhibit team performance.

Instructions

  • Help everyone gain a better understanding of where everyone is located by creating an interactive map of the world.

  • Start it off by asking everybody to demonstrate where they’re born and then ask them where they’re currently located by pinning a picture of themselves onto the map.

  • As time goes by, you can color in even more of the map by asking your team ice breaker questions like what their ideal holiday spot would be, the best place they’ve traveled to, or where their parents are from.

  • This simple team building activity is a great way to break the ice and to help employees learn a lot about each other.

16. Quirky Photo Challenges

Quirky photo challenges

  • Objective: Team Bonding & Get To Know One Another

  • Participants: 5 - 10

  • Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, if that’s the case then we can learn way more about our colleagues with one good picture than we could with dozens of email exchanges. And that is why we love the photo challenge…

These types of team building activities are great because they’re simple and you can learn so much about another person through the photos they take. They also mean that quite literally anyone with a phone can join it.

Instructions

  • Again, the instructions are super simple. At the start of every week, create a new challenge. For example, one week the challenge could be ‘the best photo of a pet’ or the ‘nicest looking plant in their garden’.

  • To keep it relaxed and fun, set up a Slack channel just for this and start every week with a new photo challenge with anyone being able to post a photo anytime they want.

  • Add a little bit more motivation to the mix (if cute animal photos aren’t enough) by picking out the best photo at the end of the month and sending the winner a framed print of their picture. I did this last week and my photo of the beautiful harbour in my hometown of Sydney won :)

17. Remote icebreaker questions

We looooove ice breaker questions, our own game, QuizBreaker, is full of them! But, we've also got awesome blog posts listed below with hundreds of suggested questions you can use in your meetings.

100 Best Ice Breaker Questions In Ranking Order

100 Best 'Get To Know You' Questions

100 Best 'Would You Rather' Questions

18. Online remote team retreat

Teams that work remotely still need to have some face to face quality time in order to build their bond and become a stronger team. Here are some options for team retreats;

Top 10 Remote Team Retreat Ideas in 2021

19. Zoom team building game

If you're like us, you probably spent a lot of hours of Zoom these days. Here are some fun games you can play over Zoom with your team.

"Themed Work Weeks"

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Costumes

A theme week is a great stress reliever and a great opportunity to laugh with your team. The theme doesn’t have to be extravagant and can be as simple as wearing your favorite sports team jersey.

Instructions

  • Share the chosen theme for the week with your team, you can even create a poll to help decide on which theme you all want to do for your next conference call

  • Award the “best dressed” and have the winner choose the next theme!

11 Best Zoom Team Building Activities To Try

20. What Would You Do?

  • Objective: Critical Thinking

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 20 to 30 Minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

A classic question many people use as an icebreaker. It is a great activity to see how your team would act in difficult situations and practices critical thinking.

Instructions

  • Pose the question “What you would do?”... For example: “What would you do if zombies roamed around the world?” The topic can be funny or work-related. It is. completely up to your team.

  • Share your answers during your meeting and it sparks fun and creative discussion.

21. Baby Photos

  • Objective: To get everyone to know each other

  • Participants: 5+

  • Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Baby photos of each team member (emailed to you prior)

We love this remote team ice breaker because it's an old tradition - remember in your yearbooks when you’d have baby photos posted? Or, on your 18th when your mum would make you an embarrassing collage of all your childhood photos?

We also love it because it’s super simple and super fun!

Note: this only works when team members know what each other looks like, thus, we suggest using it with slightly better-formed teams!

Instructions

  • Get every team member to send you a baby photo of themselves.

  • Create a word document with these photos in it.

  • Send it round on slack (or whatever channel you use) and get participants to guess who is who within a certain time limit (we suggest about 10 minutes).

  • Collect their answers and mark them. Give the winner a prize (e.g., some amazon vouchers or a food voucher).


Virtual Team Building Tools & Software

Here we've curated a list of the tools & apps that will help you do all of your virtual team building. Most of them come with free versions.

Video Conferecing Platforms

Collaboration Tools

Slack Apps

Video Conferencing Platforms

Zoom

Companies alike use Zoom for their daily meetings, and they offer free services. They also allow only audio calls for those who have slower internet connection or are still getting ready for the workday.

Additional features include screen sharing and call recordings. The only downsides to Zoom are that the free version only allows 40-minute calls at a time. They have experienced security issues, so we suggest using a video app with more security features if you are discussing highly private information.

Check-out Zoom here.

Jitsi Meet

Another great video calling app that allows full customization if needed. A great thing about Jitisi Meet it does not encourage users to download any desktop or mobile app. It is only accessed through your preferred web browser.

Jitsi Meet emphasizes on secure connections, and they do not run into security issues as often. They also have similar features to their competitors like screen sharing, video call recording, but they also allow you to stream Youtube videos straight from the app. Best of all, Jitsi is an entirely free platform, including all the features they provide.

Skype

Good ole Skype and want many like to call the OG video conferencing platform.

It is reliable and has been around for a long time. Their mobile version is excellent and is great for larger groups. Skype features include status updates, emojis, screen sharing, and video call recording. It is also a free platform for those needing to connect no matter where they are in the world.

Check-out Skype here.

Webex

Another major player in the video conferencing apps is Webex. It is easy to use, very secure, and great for calls, chats, and everything work-related.

Fantastic for any larger video conferences and great for enterprise companies. The downside is that the bigger the group using Webex, the more it costs. They have a free version but have a call time limit and the number of people who can join. Webex also has all the main features that will bring success to any virtual meeting, such as screen sharing, meeting recording and transcription, AI-powered meeting assistance, and much more.

Check-out Webex here.

Slack Apps

HeyTaco!

HeyTaco! is a fun and easy employee recognition platform. Its goal is to build stronger and happier teams through appreciation and positive commentary. The Hey Taco! team added gamification to maximize the fun, from leaderboard scores to achievement levels.

Everyone can get 5 tacos a day where you can add messages to show praise and appreciation to your fellow colleagues. It’s a great way to celebrate your colleagues and their accomplishments!

Check-out Hey Taco here.

Trivia

Trivia’s collection of intereactive games brings your team’s fun and social break right to your company’s Slack channel.

Choose from trivia, word puzzles, custom quizzes, and so much more! The games are quickly launched, and Leaderboards are available to track top scorers. All the games are real-time, so they are perfect for a quick break from everyone’s busy workdays.

Check-out Trivia here.

Donut

Donut helps remote teams connect with virtual coffee dates, e-learning workshops, and so much more. Donut’s goal is to help create introductions to team members who don’t know each other well or connect daily. You send out a direct Donut message that will prompt your colleagues to fun Slack conversations and virtual watercooler topics.

It is a great tool to help onboard new employees and encourages colleagues to get to know one another on a deeper level.

Check-out Donut here.

Evergreen

Another excellent platform that emphasizes peer recognition while bringing a positive impact to our planet.

Every time you an appreciation message through Evergreen on your organization’s Slack channel, a real tree is planted. “Each tree planted sequesters an average of 84 kg carbon annually.” This is perfect to create team engagement while helping the environment!

Check-out Everygreen here.

Collaboration Tools

Notion

Our favorite collaboration tool and what our team uses is Notion. Notion is an “all-in-one workspace” best for calendars, note-taking, and project management, which would help you maximize your team’s planning. Create your boards, layout and completely customize them to your organization’s preferences.

You can easily tag, comment, and share tasks all through Notion. It is excellent for personal use to huge enterprises. It has a little for everyone to maximize your workforce and makes collaborating with others easier.

Check-out Notion here

Miro

Miro isn’t just a free online whiteboard; it is a great tool to host online brainstorming, teaching classes, agile workflows, video chat, and so much more. Miro has a plethora of different layouts that will fit any team’s needs and preferences.

It is the perfect collaboration tool to use in real-time and accomplish your company’s goals.

Check-out Miro here.

Toggl Plan

Looking for a project management solution? Toggl Plan has got you covered and improves managers and team members time management by giving easy access to everyone’s workload and avaibilty.

Toggl features simple, easy, and color-coded formats to project plan and set timelines. Create comments and share attachments to allow for fast and clear communication all through one tool. Toggl does have a 30-day free trial, and the basic plan is free to use.

Check-out Toggl here.

Conceptboard

Another great online whiteboard platform that focuses on strategy, design, online workshops, brainstorm and much more! Conceptboard understands team’s work globally and needs a tool to allow them to collaborate in real-time.

It brings organization and helps visually manage any project. You can access your customized boards anywhere and across several different devices.

Check-out Conceptboard here.


80+ Bonus Virtual Activity Ideas

We wanted to give you a plethora of activities to choose from, so try out our 80+ Bonus activties that are perfect for any team bonding event.

Quick Virtual Activities

Large Group Virtual Activities

Friendly Competition Virtual Activities

Icebreaker Games

Team Recognition and Mindfulness Activities

Quick Virtual Activities

"No Smiling"

  • Objective: A quick stress reliever

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

When you and your team get caught up with a busy work week and need a quick laugh, this is the perfect activity. You don’t need any materials, and it's bound to be a great addition to your weekly conference calls.

Instructions

Start your meeting by telling everyone not to smile. The first one to smile or laugh loses.

"Slipper Dilemma"

  • Objective: Friendly Team Competition

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Working from home can be challenging when deciding on what to wear. Most people who work from home have the dilemma to either be barefoot or wearing their house slippers. So why not create this as a fun activity and a dilemma your team participates in together.

Instructions

  • Play once a week or bi-weekly before or at the end of your team meeting.

  • Someone in your team needs to shout out “Slippers” randomly, and everyone needs to move the camera to their feet to show if they are barefoot or wearing slippers.

  • If everyone is wearing slippers, then everyone gets 1 point. If only one person is barefoot or wearing socks, that person gets 3 points, and no-one else gets any points. If more than one person is in slippers, those players get zero points, and everyone else gets 3 points.

  • Keep score and award fun prizes to the winners. Slipper Dilemma is a quick activity that will be a great addition to your weekly team agenda.

"Planking"

  • Objective: A good laugh

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Sometimes team building activities are silly and just are meant for a good laugh. The planking challenge went viral a few years ago, and why not do it within your office.

But please be careful with the decision to participate in the challenge is up to each individual.

Instructions

  • Have your team plank in different parts of their homes or cities.

  • Take a picture of them planking and post it to your company chat.

  • Vote who the best planker is for a little competition.

"X or Y"

  • Objective: To get everyone to know each other's preferences and spark discussion

  • Participants: 4 to 400

  • Duration: No more than 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

This sits high up on our list because it gets everyone talking for some time and allows different people to interact weekly.

Great opportunity to create personal interactions with people who don’t usually talk daily.

Instructions

  • Every week, pick different ‘X or Y’ questions. Examples of questions are: Pepsi or coke? Cats or dogs? Working from home or remotely?

  • Post this question in a Slack channel or whichever other forms of communication you use.

  • Allow everyone the opportunity to discuss their answers.

"Quiz About Employees"

  • Objective: To get new employees integrated and feeling involved

  • Participants: 1 to 10

  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Hard

Best when used on new employees as an excellent ice breaker at the start

It makes sure everyone is listening to each other and makes the newcomers feel welcome.

Instructions

  • Get the new employees to create a presentation about themselves that answers questions (e.g., where they are from, how many kids they have, their degree, etc.).

  • Before they join, get them to send you the list of the questions you want them you answer.

  • After the 5-minute presentation, get the other employees to answer the questions without knowing the questions.

  • The winner is the employee who gets the most answers/facts.

"10 Common Things"

  • Objective: To get participants to realize what they have in common

  • Participants: 4 to 30

  • Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

This is good for brainstorming in remote teams as it gets them realizing they are similar.

Instructions

  • Divide your team into small groups and ask them to come up with a list of 10 things they have in common.

  • They can put this on a shared document or an online whiteboard to generate the list quickly.

  • You can either make the topic personal (e.g., kids or hobbies) or business-related (e.g., degrees, departments, or years in the field).

"Category"

  • Objective: Quick Thinking

  • Participants: 20 to 25

  • Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Looking for a quick game to start your team meeting, “Category” is a great one to try. It helps your team practice on the spot situations through a fun topic. The category you choose can be silly, like “Types of Shoes” or work-related topics such as “Company Goals.”

Instructions

  • Pose a fun category to your team at the beginning of your meeting. For example, “Types of fruit.” Each team member has to state fruit, and no one can say the same answer.

If someone can’t think of an answer or repeats one, the game ends, and the loser needs to choose the next team meeting category.

"Shazam"

  • Objective: Listening Comprehension

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 10 to 15 Minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Spotify, Itunes, or Youtube

Music is a great bonding topic and a fun way to get to know each other. This activity will allow your team to practice their listening comprehension skills while listening to some great music. Like the Shazam application, your team will be put to the test, and you get to see who is the most knowledgeable in music.

Instructions

  • Come up with a list of 10-15 songs your team has bonded over.

  • During your next meeting, play one of the songs and see who can guess the artist and title first. The person who guesses the most correct answers is the winner!

"Articulate"

  • Objective: To get a team member to use their brains and laugh with each other

  • Participants: 4 to 15

  • Duration: 10 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: None

Some remote teams play this once a week because they love it so much! We can either suggest playing this once a week, or you can use it now and then. Either way, we guarantee it’ll provide a great laugh.

Instructions

  • Give everyone a different list of 10 words (e.g., laughing, movie, dog, etc.)

  • Set the clock for one minute. The first participants begin by describing as many of their words as possible to everyone else, without saying the actual world

  • After 1 minute, the next participant goes.

  • Cannot say “sounds like” or “starts with.”

  • The winner is the person who had the most of their words correctly guessed.

"Joke of the Week"

  • Objective: To laugh together

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 5 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

As well as saying a picture says a thousand words, they also say that laughter is the best medicine. So, similarly to the team building activity described above, we suggest sharing a joke of the week.

Similar to sharing pictures, we love this activity because it is simple, you can learn a lot about your employee’s sense of humor, and they involve everyone.

Instructions

  • At the start of every week, create a new challenge or theme for the joke. For example, jokes about animals or jokes about doctors. To keep it relaxed and fun, set up a Slack channel just for this and start every week with a new joke challenge.

  • Add a little bit more motivation to the mix by picking out the best joke at the end of the month and sending the winner a prize!

"Two Truths, One Lie"

  • Objective: To get people to connect and understand each other

  • Participants: 4 to 40

  • Duration: 5 to 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

We love two truths and a lie because it is a classic ice breaker game that can be used to get the conversation flowing and have some fun while you’re at it.

It’s also good because it involves video conferencing, which is the next best to face-to-face communication. Can read each other's body language and facial cues, which builds trust and connections between teams.

Instructions

  • The night before a video conference call, get all remote team members to write down two facts and one lie about themselves

  • Make sure these are personal anecdotes, not work-related things.

  • Once they have said them, everyone goes around and says which ones they think are the truths and what is the lie.

  • Give the person who got the most correct ones a prize!

"Meme Chat"

  • Objective: Quick thinking and a good laugh

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Slack or any other chat platform

Memes are great and a fun way to communicate. Sometimes you just need a bit of a laugh to help your team relax and bond with each other. In this activity, you don’t even need to create your own memes and can find the content from your favorite meme site. For example, we love, Meme.com or Know Your Meme.

Instructions

  • Have your team go to one of their favorite meme sites or use the ones we suggested. Tell them to pick one meme that best describes the company. Your group can get creative when interpreting this theme, and there is no right or wrong interpretation.

  • Post the meme to a designated Slack channel and have everyone vote for the best meme. You can do this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by switching the theme up.

"Remote Laughs"

  • Objective: To get everyone caught up and a good laugh

  • Participants: 1 to 10

  • Duration: 10 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

We love this activity because it's super chilled and just gets everyone relaxed and communicating with some great stories.

Instructions

The instructions are very simple; once a month get everyone together via video chat. Encourage everyone to share a funny story and order food from their favorite restaurant. Once everyone has told their funny story and has laughed their butts off, just relax and enjoy each other's company.

"Read My Lips"

  • Objective: Stress reliever with some critical thinking

  • Participants: 5 to 20

  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Zoom or video conferencing platform

“Read my lips” is a super easy and quick game to play with your team to relieve stress. The game will most definitely make you laugh, releasing endorphins putting everyone in a great mood.

Instructions

  • Choose a person; let’s call them player one. Player one will put their video chat microphone on to mute so everyone can only see their face. Be sure that player one does not mute the rest of the people in the video conference so he/she can still hear the others in the meeting.

  • Everyone has 1 to 1.5 minutes to guess what player one is saying. To make it a bit easier, you can choose a topic or a theme. Once the phrase is guessed or the time is up for player one, go ahead and switch player one.

"Rank It"

  • Objective: To get everyone thinking outside the box and connecting them on a deeper level

  • Participants: 4 to 15

  • Duration: 10 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None, except your imagination!

We love this team building activity because it is a quick and easy way to provide real insight into your employees and how their mind works. It is also great for promoting trust and friendship, and this can translate into cohesive working relationships.

Instructions

  • Pick five random objects (make sure these are rare and unusual items, not things such as a pen and pencil).

  • Create various scenarios from a zombie apocalypse to a sinking ship and get every team member to rate the items’ usefulness in a particular scenario.

Large Group Virtual Activities

"Cake Wars"

  • Objective: To get everyone to get creative and share their creations

  • Participants: 30 to 50

  • Duration: 2 to 4 hours

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Materials: Ingredients to bake a cake (provided by your employees)

This is one of our favorite team-building activities for remote teams because it allows your team members to get creative and share their creations!

It's fun and gets everyone involved, even if they can’t actually eat what each other has made! It also allows them to have an afternoon off work to focus on something fun, which will increase team morale.

Instructions

  • Ask everyone to bake their favorite cake or cookie and decorate it very well.

  • Get them to take a picture of their bakes or display them on a live video call.

  • Award baking related prizes for best overall cake, most creative, and even the ugliest!

"Language Class"

  • Objective: Building Skills

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Whiteboard

This is a great activity for global teams that are speaking several different languages across the company. It is a great way to learn something new while embracing other team member’s cultures.

Instructions

  • One of your team members will pick a word or phrase in their mother tongue. They will share it on the whiteboard and present 3 clues to help the team guess the translation.

  • The team will guess what the phrase means with the help of the 3 clues and whoever guesses first wins. You can have this exercise continue weekly, having mini-language lessons each week.

"Weekly Jukebox"

  • Objective: Team Bonding

  • Participants: 5 to 500

  • Duration: Days, months, or years

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Spotify (or other music apps)

We love this activity because you can learn a lot about someone by their music taste and it’s perfect. Do they like indie rock, pop classics, or some funky tunes. Either way, music bonds and unites us.

Also, listening to music can increase our spirits.

Instructions

  • Each week, create a new Spotify playlist with a theme (e.g., bands we’ve seen live, songs we could listen to on repeat forever, tunes to work to).

  • Get everyone to add their song to that list at some point during the week.

  • For the last hour on Friday, encourage everyone to listen to a few songs and find out who’s posted them.

"Dog, Rice and Chicken"

  • Objective: Encourages creative thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Participants: No Limit

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

Critical thinking games are a great way to see how your team members work together during difficult situations. It also helps practice lateral thinking and teamwork skills.

Instructions

  • One person plays the role of the farmer, and the other team members are the villagers.

  • The farmer has bought a dog, some rice, and a chicken, and he needs to get them across a river to get home. His dilemma is that he is only able to carry one item at a time on the boat. He cannot leave the dog alone with the chicken because the dog will most likely eat the chicken, and he cannot leave the chicken alone with the rice because the chicken will eat the rice.

  • The other team members will be the villagers. The villagers must help him come up with a solution. If you need to create multiple villager teams, the winner is the team who comes up with the fastest and least boat trips across the river.

"GIF Battles"

  • Objective: Just for a good laugh

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Slack or any other office chat platform and GIFs

Who doesn’t like a good GIF? They are funny, clever, and sometimes just is the best way to get the message across.

Not all team building activities need to be serious or skill-oriented; sometimes, you just need a good laugh to release the stress.

Instructions

  • Create a specific Slack channel to hold the competition and think of a theme or topic to start the competition.

  • Post the topic on the channel, and the voted best GIF is the winner.

  • You can change the topic every week, so it’s an on-going game, and create multiple rounds for several different winners.

"Virtual Holiday Parties"

  • Objective: Team bonding

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Food, drinks and themed holiday costumes, different games

As the holidays are coming up, it is a great opportunity to hold an online celebration via any video conferencing platform. These parties can include specific themes like wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. These types of events give the team time to relax and get to know each other.

Instructions

  • Choose any holiday to create a fun celebration to gather virtually.

  • Create a fun list of games to play; try using one of the activities on this list.

  • Don't forget to relax and have fun, it's a party after all!

"Where Do You See Your Company In A Year?"

  • Objective: Create a roadmap for your team’s quarterly or yearly goals

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Online Whiteboard, such as [Witeboard] (https://witeboard.com/4c2f68c0-23aa-11eb-8379-b110c842b958)

Employees like to feel that they are part of the company's plan and transparency is important for company goals and roadmaps. This exercise allows everyone to collaborate and create a future roadmap. There is no limit to ideas, and this is a great brainstorming activity. It also is a fantastic activity to start the New Year off right!

Instructions

  • Schedule a time for everyone to meet virtually and ask your team to write 3 things the company achieves or working on in a year.

  • Have everyone post their ideas on the collaborative whiteboard.

  • Group all the ideas into topics, such as goals, achievements, office needs, etc.

  • Pin this to your company Slack channel for everyone to see, and this can help build your quarterly goals for the next year.

"Fun Slack #Channel"

Objective: Release of stress

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Slack or Chat platform

When you have a virtual team, you do not get those small coffee break chats in the office, so why not create a Slack channel specifically for that. It can be a channel where people post funny videos or random facts, really anything not work-related. A fun Slack channel allows your team to take a quick break and release some stress through laughter.

Instructions

  • Create a #Fun Slack channel and add your team to it.

  • Let them know it's for any random thoughts and fun finds they would like to share with the team. It can be an on-going activity that everyone can easily participate in.

"I Spy"

  • Objective: Communication skills

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: An image or use the background of your video conferencing call

“I spy” is an interactive game that is easy to play with your team. You don’t need a lot of materials and can just use the background of each team member's video call or share an image found on the internet.

Instructions

  • Choose a team member to start the game; player 1 will begin the game by looking at the picture chosen or the video chat background.

  • Play 1 will say, for example, “I spy something blue” and will continue with this until the team guesses what the object player 1 is seeing.

"Celebrating International Holidays"

  • Objective: To get co-workers better acquainted and to understand each other’s culture

  • Participants: 1 to 10

  • Duration: Every Year

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: None

Typically, team members can be based in different countries or have other religions and cultures.

This means that (hopefully) you’ll have lots of different holidays to celebrate within your team! It helps people to feel valued and understood.

Instructions

  • Get everyone to input their special holidays into a calendar that everyone has access too

  • Everyone should get reminded a few days before and encourage them to do something special that day (e.g., have a drink or food relevant to that holiday)

  • After the holiday, create a video call with everyone to get them to discuss what they did for the holiday and what they learned about each other's culture

"Hosted Pub Quiz (Comedy Edition)"

  • Objective: Getting to know each other

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Virtual conferencing application and some beer or whatever preferred alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage

This is similar to normal trivia, but it has a bit of a twist with a 5 PM happy hour vibe and comedy theme. When you work remotely, it is hard to have weekly pub trivia nights where your team grabs a pint and participates at your local bar’s weekly trivia. So why don’t you bring the concept to your next virtual team building event?

Instructions

  • Designate one person in your team to be the host, then divide everyone into different groups.

  • Have the host create a list of trivia questions, or have it be a collaborative effort.

  • Get started using your video conferencing program and get started with pub night trivia!

"Active Listener"

  • Objective: Focus Exercise

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: A written speech

Learning to give 100% focus to a task or a person talking is getting more and more difficult these days. Why not create an exercise around it that will give a bit of critical thinking and test your team and see if they actually listen to you.

Instructions

  • As the “host” of the meeting, write a small speech or instructions to tell your team. Make sure it's short and nothing over two minutes. Create points that you want your team to mention to make sure they were listening.

  • Ask your team to recite or summarize what you said; the person who has the most correct “points” is a winner and gets a gift card. Don’t forget to tell them it’s just an exercise, so no one gets too stressed out.

Friendly Competition Virtual Activities

"Let The Games Begin"

  • Objective: To get everyone playing online games

  • Participants: 2 to 20

  • Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Access to online team games

This activity is designed to release everyone's competitive spirit and incorporate a bit of friendly competition into your team.

These team building activities are short, simple, and require no preparation from you.

Instructions

  • To play this properly, pick some online games that allow multiple players.

  • Set aside 20 minutes each week (we suggest on Wednesday mornings to get over that midweek lull) and get everyone to play against each other.

"Virtual Diversity Bingo"

Virtual Diversity Bingo

  • Objective: To promote team bonding

  • Participants: 10 players or less

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Bingo cards (emailed to each player), questions, and an electronic device

As mentioned early, diversity can inhibit team performance. However, managing diversity in teams has been shown to form a greater team identity; which will reduce the negative impact of individual diversity.

Virtual diversity bingo will help your team to understand each other's differences and create a group identity.

Instructions

  • This game is very similar to what was described above. However, the purpose is different.

  • The statements/questions in this game should be related to different cultures, religions and ways of life. For example: did you work whilst being at school? Or do you pray to a god?

  • We recommend that after conducting a few rounds of diversity bingo, ask people why diversity is important and how it helps with success.

"Heads Up"

  • Objective: Collaboration and team engagement

  • Participants: 5 to 20

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Heads Up App (IOSAndriod

Heads Up is an easy game to play with your team if you are in a pinch. It is a great brain teaser and also helps your team get to know each other a little better without having a difficult set-up process.

Instructions

  • Download the application and designate one person in your team to be the main player who is guessing the answers.

  • Set a timer for two minutes and have the main player hold up a card to their forehead without looking at it. The other players will yell out clues for the main player. The main player will continue to guess who is on their card until correct or until they decide to pass. Repeat until the two minutes are complete.

  • You can play several rounds of this and switch up who the main player is so each person has a turn to be guessing the correct answer. The best part is to keep score to see who the ultimate Heads Up winner is!

"DIY Craft Challenge"

  • Objective: To get everyone working as a team and getting creative

  • Par; itpants: 2 to 20

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Materials: DIY materials

This team-building activity gets everyone involved and feeling competitive. The aim isn’t to create something museum-worthy, it is to spark creativity and get everyone interacting with each other.

Instructions

  • Get everyone into a virtual call at a time that suits you and your team (make sure they are at home and not in a coffee shop).

  • Tell everyone they have 30 minutes to build something from the materials they have around them (e.g., a pillow fort, a pen holder, or some shelves).

  • After 30 minutes, get everyone back onto the call to demonstrate what they have made. We suggest awarding a prize for the best invention!

"Cake Wars"

  • Objective: To get everyone to get creative and share their creations with each other

  • Participants: 30 to 50

  • Duration: 2 to 4 hours

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Materials: Ingredients to bake a cake (provided by your employees)

This is one of our favorite team-building activities for remote teams because it allows your team members to get creative and share their creations with each other!

It's fun and gets everyone involved, even if they can’t actually eat what each other has made! It also allows them to have an afternoon off work to focus on something fun, which will increase team morale.

Instructions

  • Ask everyone to bake their favorite cake or cookie and decorate it very well.

  • Get them to take a picture of their bakes or display them on a live video call.

  • Award baking related prizes for best overall cake, most creative, and even the ugliest!

"Theme Photo Contest"

  • Objective: Creative Thinking

  • Participants: 10 or more (more participants the longer the activity)

  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Slack or chat platform

Another great quick activity that allows your team to practice quick and creative thinking. It also allows for a good laugh, having your team come up with different themes to post weekly images to your dedicated Slack or chat channel.

Instructions

  • Post a weekly theme to your team, for example Christmas, Favorite Lunch or coffee.

  • Have everyone come up with the best image to describe that theme. They can Google it, send a picture or even draw one. You can have this theme go throughout the week and whoever comes up with the most images wins. The winner can come up with the next week’s theme and get to pick the winner.

"Company Eurovision"

  • Objective: Integration of Cultures and Creativity

  • Participants: 4 to 30

  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours

  • Difficulty: Medium

Remote teams are made up of many different cultures and nationalities, and that is why this team building activity works so well.

It is important to note that this activity does work better with globally diverse teams, if everyone is from the same country it’ll get boring pretty quickly.

Instructions

  • Get everyone to submit a traditional song from their country .

  • Add these songs to a spotify playlist and share them with everyone.

  • Get the team to rank their favorite ones and discuss why they chose a certain song. It is an awesome way to also start a virtual dance party.

"Outdoor Scavenger Hunts"

  • Objective: To create a competitive but fun atmosphere

  • Participants: 5 to 15

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Assorted items

Scavenger hunts aren’t just for co-located teams. Online teams can participate in them too and have great fun whilst doing it! Scavenger hunts allow team members to collaborate with one another, while also letting them delegate tasks and utilize each other’s strengths and skills.

The team at Dashword reports having learned how each member reacts to different situations, making it easy to deal with similar issues in the workspace.

Instructions

  • Split your teams into two teams (or more if your remote team is bigger) .

  • Create a list of items that you think most people will have in their homes or office work place (to make it extra fun, we suggest adding in some interesting and uncommon items).

  • Team members should create ways to communicate instantly whilst completing the challenge .

  • Set the clock for 5 minutes and get each team to go and find their items.

  • At the end, create a big video chat and get everyone to show what items they have collected. If you can video chat, get each team to submit photos of what they have collected.

  • Count up the points and the team with the most collected items is the winner!

"Type Master"

  • Objective: Fun and friendly competition

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Typing Speed Test, for example Live Chat

Friendly competition is always a great team building and bonding experience. Typing tests are also a great way to see what your team’s skills are like.

Instructions

-Send out your preferred speed typing test or use the one we recommended, Live Chat.

-Have everyone post their score, the ones with the fattest typing score compete against each other until there is a winner. The winner gets bragging rights and the “Type Master” title.

"Get Fit"

  • Objective: To keep everyone fit and healthy whilst introducing some competitiveness

  • Participants: 5 to 50

  • Duration: However long you like

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: A step or fitness tracking device

We love it because it’s a bit different. I personally work from home and find that exercising as a break helps me feel energised, productive and focused.

Instructions

  • In all honesty, the instructions are fairly simple - either provide apple watches or Fitbit’s for your team or use the ‘health apps’ provided on phones and set challenges. For example, who can do the most steps before they start work? Who can do the most exercise on their day off? Or, who can get their heart rate the highest in the next one minute?

  • You can also set weekly goals that occur every week. For example, who can do the most steps a week or minutes exercised? Who’s walked up the most stairs or ran the most miles?

"Fantasy Football"

  • Objective: Team morale

  • Participants: No Limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: Fantasy NFL

Why not, have a fantasy football league with you teammates? It's a great way to have off the script team building activity.

Instructions

Check out this awesome guide on how to create your company’s fantasy football team, here

"Row Sham Bow Tournament"

  • Objective: Fun Team Competition

  • Participants: 10 to 20 (More people can be added just a little more coordination is necessary)

  • Duration: 1 day or 1 month depends on how long you would like to run the tournament

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Google sheets

Row Sham Bow is a classic game that people have been playing since they were kids, so why not incorporate into your next team building.

It is an easy and fun concept that allows your team to participate in a fun and friendly competition.

Instructions

  • Have everyone in your team partner up, be sure to record this on a shared doc to keep track of who played who and the scores.

  • Once everyone is paired up have them play separately via their own zoom meeting. Keep score on who one and the last two people still in the game compete against each other.

  • Have the final competition with everyone on the team meeting to cheer each player on and see who the Row Sham Bow champion will be.

"Niagara Falls (Water Challenge)"

  • Objective: Healthy Living

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

Getting your everyday water intake is difficult sometimes so why not help your team start a healthier habit of drinking more water.

Instructions

  • Everytime one of your team members drinks a sip of water, have them post the water emoji 🚰.

  • Once your team sees that emoji they have to drink water too, the one who drinks the most cups/bottles wins. Make sure your team is drinking similar sized cups/bottles so no one has an advantage over the team.

"Who Said This? (TV Show Edition)"

  • Objective: A good laugh and TV trivia

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Some of the best ways to get to know one another is through their TV Show taste and it is a great trivia game to play with your team.

Instructions

  • Gather classic tv show lines to share with your team.

  • In the next team meeting present the TV show line either by reading it out loud or play a short audio clip. The first person to guess what the show is and who is speaking wins!

"Office Debates"

  • Objective: Creative discussion, fostering relationships and communication skills

  • Participants: 5 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Debate topics and video conferencing platform

A fun activity that will foster creative discussion and a platform to practice communication skills. It will be a great exercise for team’s having internal communication problems and allows them to practice outside a work environment.

Instructions

  • Decide on a debate topic, then break your team into two groups. Try to break the groups into people that normally do not work together on a daily basis. As the host you can be the moderator as well as the judge.

  • Create guidelines for the debate that will have effective, clear and communicative strategies. The debates do not have to be on serious topics, it’s all up to you. For example, which is better: vanilla or chocolate?

  • Have the two teams meet separately and create an argument that they can debate on. During your next video conference, let the debate begin! The host\judge will decide on the winner and the winning team gets a small prize for the losing team.

"Spelling Bee"

  • Objective: Friendly competition

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Spelling bee list

Not everyone is a speller or likes spelling challenges but it is always a fun competition to do with a group of people. It is an awesome way to involve your whole company and can make this activity a quarterly event.

Instructions

  • Get a list of spelling words together, you can get them from Google or have your team send in some words to create the spelling bee list.

  • Put together a panel of judges and begin your spelling bee.

"Guess That Song"

  • Objective: Great music and team bonding

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Spotify, iTunes, or Youtube

Music is known to be linked with a dopamine release and helps boost people’s energies. It is a topic your team can easily bond with and it doesn’t matter where you are from. It also helps people feel connected and generally can help brighten anyone’s mood. “Guess that song” will bring friendly competition while listening to awesome music.

Instructions

  • Everyone submits their favorite song to the designated team lead.

  • The team lead goes through the songs and plays them during their team meeting.

  • Everyone takes turns guessing whose favorite song is whose. Have everyone participating explain why that particular song is their favorite and you can even discuss who their favorite artist is.

  • Don’t forget to keep score the one with the most guesses wins!

"Shark Tank"

  • Objective: Creative thinking and public speaking exercise

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

Shark Tank is an awesome activity to get your creative juices going and have a bit of competition with your company.

Instructions

  • Split your team up into groups, have them come up with a business pitch that includes the logo and the product.

  • Set up a time for each team to pitch their business idea and don’t forget to set up a panel of judges to vote on the winning pitch!

"Conference Call Trivia"

  • Objective: Getting everyone to know and understand each other

  • Participants: 4 to 16 people

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Trivia questions and an electronic device

While simple, this team building game encourages quick-thinking and is a fun way to learn more about each other's interests.

This activity is good for fairly newly formed teams, when they don’t know each other that well and need to get better acquainted.

Studies have recently suggested that in virtual teams specifically, it is crucial to build trust right at the beginning.

So, we think this activity will be really beneficial for your remote team.

Instructions

  • Divide your team into smaller groups and send them each a sheet of trivia questions.

-For 30 minutes, ask them to play conference-call trivia and learn about each other’s personalities and interests outside of work.

"What’s My Name?"

  • Objective: Icebreaker

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

It is a great activity for newer team members and acts as a good icebreaker. It also shows how team members work together to solve questions and create a solution.

Instructions

  • Have each player think of a famous person to describe and have your team guess who it is. To make it a bit easier you can have your team create a list of people beforehand they can choose from.

  • The first player begins to describe the famous person and they cannot spell out the name. They only can use descriptive phrases and hints.

  • Continue to rotate players until everyone has had a turn. The person with the most correct guesses wins!

"Create Personal User Manuals"

  • Objective: Building Skills

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

When your team is international or coming from varying backgrounds you need the opportunity to learn each other’s professional preferences. That is why creating a “personal user manual” is great, it is effective to create work guidelines with your team. Everyone is free to add what they would like and it’s a great background in learning how each of your colleagues works.

Instructions

  • Send out a basic personal user manual template, you can do whatever you like but we suggest to add the following topics:
  1. Working Hours
  2. Preferred Communication (slack, email, or calling) Pet Peeves
  3. “Quiet Hours”- times they do not want to be disturbed
  • Once everyone creates their own user manual, be sure to share it with your team and have it accessible for everyone to look over. It is also a great icebreaker in getting to know another on a professional level.

"Did You Know?"

  • Objective: Team bonding and a great icebreaker

  • Participants: 10 to 20

  • Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

In a work environment, you do not always get the opportunity to get to know one another. “Did you know” is a great way to see how well your team knows each other in a personal and work setting.

Instructions

  • Each person needs to write 2 statements about themselves. One of the statements is about a professional goal or something they want to work on and the second is a fun fact about themselves.

  • Tell everyone to put it on a shared doc, be sure to make everyone invisible so no one can see who wrote what.

  • Everyone guesses who said which statement and in the end discuss the answers with the group. For the professional goals if there are a few in common you can schedule a workshop to help your team build that skill.

"Question Master"

  • Objective: Icebreaker

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Have you always wanted to ask questions to your team but never had the opportunity to do so? Well, this activity is perfect and is a great opportunity to get to know one another. Make sure all the questions are work appropriate.

Instructions

  • Choose a weekly “question master” and have them come up with two creative questions to ask each of your team members.

  • Anyone who can’t think of an answer has to share an interesting fact about themselves.

  • Every week change who the “question master” is and be sure every week the questions are different.

"10 Common Things"

  • Objective: Brainstorming

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Online whiteboard

This is a great opportunity to start a brainstorming session and have people interact in a dynamic and electric environment. It creates a creative discussion that will allow the team to automatically find a common bond while breaking the ice.

Instructions

  • Have your team divide into smaller groups and ask them for 10 minutes to come up with a list of 10 things they have in common. The topics can be more work-related or themed; it really is up to you. The list can consist of simple topics like “we all like the color blue” or “we all went to school in California”.

  • Once the teams have created their “10 things in common” list, let each group share what they have come up with. We suggest putting it on a group Google doc or a whiteboard to allow everyone to also visually see the list.

"The Birth Map Game"

  • Objective: To get everyone to understand each other’s culture and where they are from

  • Participants: 5 to 100

  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

We love this game because everyone will be from different places and have a different heritage, this game unites everyone and gets them connected and working better together

Instructions

  • Get everyone to send a fun fact or a weird legend about the place they were born

  • Send them around to everyone and get them to vote on who sent the most interesting story about their birthplace

  • Offer the winner a prize, such as an Amazon voucher

"PowerPoint Karaoke"

  • Participants: 1 to 10

  • Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: A PowerPoint slide

Well suited for remote teams, does not require any particular skill, and isn’t competitive. Wouldn’t use it with new teams where people aren't yet comfortable with each other. You need to do some more ice-breaking stuff first, but it does really help everyone jell together and creates a good laugh!

Instructions

  • Create a random deck of random PowerPoint slides.

  • Everyone receives a random deck and does a 5-minutes presentation on them, without having seen the slides before.

  • Do this over Zoom or Skype.

"Tour Guide"

  • Objective: Building empathy and stronger team bonds

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

When your team is working remotely and is located in different areas this activity is a great way to. This activity is similar to the show MTV Cribs, just a G-rated work edition. The team will be able to get a peak into their colleagues' lives as well as get to know their backgrounds.

Instructions

  • Every week choose one colleague to present their office space and their house/apartment. Those who are uncomfortable showing their full home do not have to but can just show their work space. On top of this depending on if your team lives in different cities they can show video or pictures of their favorite places.

  • Go through the whole group week by week and it gives a great insight into their team’s background especially if you are an international team. After every presentation, you can also add a Q and A section to allow the team to learn more about a city.

"Guess the Artist"

  • Objective: Critical thinking and creative outlet

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Online whiteboard

A picture says a thousand words, so this is a great activity to introduce newer team members to each other and learn something new about them. It does not take a lot of time and allows people to open up about themselves through a fun anecdote or story.

Instructions

  • Ask everyone to either draw out or find an image that expresses themselves before your next meeting.

  • Upload the image on an online whiteboard or google doc in advance. During your meeting, everyone starts to guess whose picture belongs to whom.

  • Once the correct guesses are made the person who submitted the image needs to share or explain to the group the story behind the picture.

"Who’s the Expert"

  • Objective: Building Skills

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: None

This is a great activity for your team to learn from one another. All your team has different skills or hidden hobbies they would love to share so why not create a time for them to share them. They can share a fun recipe or a craft something that will be hands-on.

Instructions

  • Choose a colleague to present a skill or something they would like to teach their team. For example: “I make a killer lasagna” and they would set up a virtual workshop on how to cook the best lasagna.

  • Have your teammates create a presentation using PowerPoint or props and have them present it in your next team meeting.

"Virtual Show and Tell"

  • Objective: Activates team engagement

  • Participants: 5 to 20

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: A conference call application

Show and Tell allows your team to laugh and get a glimpse into each other lives outside of the work environment. It also is another way to learn new things about each other such as hobbies or fun childhood memories.

On top of all that it is a great public speaking activity to help teams practice presenting.

Instructions

  • Let your team know several days before your next team meeting or next virtual team building event to prepare something to “Show and Tell”. It can be something sentimental, a magic trick, a family recipe, it really is anything that they are excited to share with their team.

  • Make sure you tell everyone to prepare a short description and explanation to why they chose that object for "Show and Tell". During your video call each of your team members has a 1 to 1.5 minute time limit to present.

  • Encourage engagement by allowing your team to comment or ask questions.

"Guess The Country? (Alphabet Addition)"

  • Objective: Quick thinking and testing geography skills

  • Participants: 10 to 20

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Need a quick activity to play with your team, “Guess the country” is perfect for you. You can test your team’s quick thinking skills while learning if they are good at geography. On top of that it is a great way to add some friendly competition into your team meetings.

Instructions

  • It is a simple game, go through the alphabet and list the countries beginning with that letter.

  • Don’t forget to keep score and whoever shouts out an answer the quickest wins!

Icebreaker Games

"Dinner Party"

  • Objective: Team bonding and getting to know each other

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

The best way to get to know someone is to know who they would have at a fancy dinner party. This activity breaks the ice and is a great opportunity to get to know one another.

Instructions

  • The beginning of your next team meeting, pose the question, “Who are 3 people you would have at a dinner party, dead or alive, and why?"

  • Give everyone 1 to 2 minutes to think of who they would pick and why.

  • One by one, have your team present who they invited and why. It will be interesting to compare who chose who and if anyone picked the same person.

"Bucket List"

  • Objective: Empathy and Team Bonding

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Virtual whiteboard or shared doc

Bucket lists are a great way to learn about people, especially your team. It builds on ideas and goals that your team can reach together personally or professionally.

Instructions

  • Ask your team before your next team building session to share their top 10 bucket list goals.

  • Have everyone share their list on a shared doc, and your colleagues can see a different side of one another. It also is a great icebreaker question.

"Superhero"

  • Objective: Creativity

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 25 to 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Everyone loves superheroes or has thought about which superhero power they would want. So why not get creative with your team and have them create their own superhero or even a superhero that symbolizes your company.

Instructions

  • Ask your team to create their own superhero. Have them describe their appearance, superhero powers, and how they would make the world a better place.

  • Share your superheroes with each other, and this activity also acts as a great icebreaker question.

"What’s In My Fridge?"

  • Objective: Icebreaker

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Fridge and Shared Doc

This is a fun activity to get to know each other a bit better and bond through laughter. You’ll also learn some of their favorite foods and drinks, which can be very helpful if you ever need to get them a gift :).

Instructions

  • Everyone anonymously posts a picture of what’s inside their fridge in a shared doc.

  • Once everyone has posted their picture, have your team guess whose fridge is whose, and this activity is a great conversation starter.

"Never have I ever: Rated E-Edition"

  • Objective: To get everyone bonding and sharing facts about themselves

  • Participants: 4 to 10

  • Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

We’ve all played, never have I ever, in small university halls as we fuel up for a big night out. However, playing this game as a remote team building activity is an excellent way to get members involved, having a laugh and getting to know each other.

Instructions

  • Set up a group chat with everyone who is playing

  • Tell them they have five lives

  • Each player take it in turns to say, “never have I ever…” (keep it PG, for example, “never have I ever been to Africa)

  • Everyone who’s done it places an emoji of their choice

  • The game keeps going until the first person it out

"Random Questions"

  • Objective: To ask participants random questions in the hope they get to know each other better

  • Participants: 4 to 20

  • Duration: 20 to 60 minutes

  • Difficulty: Medium

  • Materials: A list of random questions

Another great team-building activity encourages team members to get to know each other, communicate better, and become better listeners.

Instructions

  • Prepare a list of random questions and get your team members to ask each other.

  • Examples include things such as: what's your favorite food, what country have you visited the most, what is your dream job, or what is your middle name?

  • Get everyone to listen to each other’s answers.

  • At the end, conduct a quiz and ask people at random who answered what to each question.

  • Award a prize to the person who got the most correct answers.

"Least and Favorite Things Working Remotely"

  • Objective: Provide a safe space to vent or have an outlet to discuss issues

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Sometimes the best team building activities allow people to discuss or vent about things that are troubling them in the work environment. This activity is the opportunity to give advice and to learn more about each other.

Instructions

  • Pose the question, “What is the least and favorite part of working remotely?”

  • Everyone needs to give an answer to their least and favorite part about having a virtual office. Let your team know there is no judgment, and it is an open space to discuss anything positive or negative.

  • Discuss everyone’s answer and see if there is anything in common or something that the team is struggling with. It is a great opportunity to learn what works and what does not work when working from home with your team. This feedback can be used on how to improve morale and work culture.

"Holiday Wreaths"

  • Objective: Creative Outlet

  • Participants: 5 to 10

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: B Floral

Everyone likes a good craft project, and you can do them virtually as well, especially during the holidays. Get creative and also always a time for your team to disconnect and work on something festive.

Instructions

  • Contact https://www.bfloral.com/floral-design/holidaywreathkits. They provide:

-- Wire wreath base -- Over-the-door wreath hook -- Wire cutters -- Floral wire -- Varieties of faux greenery -- Ornaments and accents, including sprigs, flowers, or leaves -- They ship directly to your team’s addresses

  • Set a date to work on the craft project and encourage everyone to dress festively and listen to holiday music.

"Once Upon a Time A Holiday"

  • Objective: Creative outlet and team collaboration

  • Participants: 5 to 10 (The more people you add, the longer the story will be)

  • Duration: All-day

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Google Docs

When teams work remotely, the lack of collaboration can sometimes be lost because you do not see each other every day. This gives teams who do not usually work together the chance to collaborate on one project, especially fun during the holidays.

Instructions

  • Create a Google Doc and start the story with “Once upon a time….” and be sure to add the main character while setting a holiday theme. For example: Once upon a time, a young girl named Julia started to adopt every puppy she saw before Christmas….

  • Everyone needs to commit to the character and the storyline. Each person needs to write between 200 to 300 words to help create a character arch and move the plot along. They can create multiple characters, have the story in different decades, or even write song lyrics. It is completely up to your colleagues and how creative they want to get.

  • When finished, do not forget to share the document with the rest of your office and have a good laugh and learn who could have been a novelist.

"Where Do You See Your Company In A Year?"

  • Objective: Create a roadmap for your team’s quarterly or yearly goals

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Online Whiteboard, such as [Witeboard] (https://witeboard.com/4c2f68c0-23aa-11eb-8379-b110c842b958)

Employees like to feel that they are part of the company's plan and transparency is important for company goals and roadmaps. This exercise allows everyone to collaborate and create a future roadmap. There is no limit to ideas, and this is a great brainstorming activity. It also is an excellent activity to start the New Year off right!

Instructions

  • Schedule a time for everyone to meet virtually and ask your team to write 3 things the company achieves or working on in a year.

  • Have everyone post their ideas on the collaborative whiteboard.

  • Group all the ideas into topics, such as goals, achievables, office needs, etc.

  • Pin this to your company Slack channel for everyone to see, and this can help build your quarterly goals for the next year.

"Virtual Office Tour"

  • Objective: To get everyone to show where they work so they feel better connected

  • Participants: 2 to 10

  • Duration: 20 minutes to 2 hours

  • Difficulty: Easy

Another fabulous team building activity because it allows everyone to understand how and where each of their colleagues works.

Instructions

The instructions are fairly simple.

Set up a live video call with all your employees to get everyone to give a quick walkthrough of their office and explain why it is set up like that and what helps them.

Ensure that people are free to ask questions or make constructive comments about the layout or design of each other’s ‘offices.’

"Funny Desert Island Scenario"

  • Objective: A good laugh

  • Participants: 10 or more

  • Duration: Multiple Days

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Google Doc

It is a classic game and question many people use to break the ice and know each other. In this version, it brings a fun twist.

Instructions

  • Before your next team meeting, have everyone break up into teams and present a list of materials, tools, items that they can choose to bring with them to a deserted island together. But be sure the list has the ridiculous things as it allows your team to be creative, and it will fun to see what people come up with.

  • Have the teams discuss before the meeting, let them know they can only bring up to 4 items and nothing more. During your meeting, they will share with the group what they chose and why.

"Personality Tests"

  • Objective: Being able to see if certain personality types work well together

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 15 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Materials: We recommend using these personality test, [16 Personalities] (https://www.123test.com/personality-test/ ) or 123 Test

Personality tests can be a great insight into who you are working with. It is a fun way to see what you have in common and to see what types of personalities tend to work best together.

Instructions

  • Send out your preferred personality test to your team. You can choose your own or use the ones we recommend. Be sure everyone in your group has a moment to take the test and have them post their results via Slack or email to share with your team.

  • Once the results are in, have a group discussion, and compare results.**

Team Recognition and Mindfulness Activities

"Employee Of The Month"

  • Objective: To get employees feeling values and wanted and to boost self-esteem

  • Participants: 5 to 500

  • Duration: Years

  • Difficulty: Easy

We like it because it makes people feel special.

Instructions

Again, another one with very simple instructions. Simply choose your ‘employee of the month’ every month (wow, who would’ve thought it was monthly!). Pick them based on things such as what they have contributed to the team, their effectiveness, etc.

"Round Robin Recognition"

  • Objective: To help everyone feel valued and wanted in the team by praising them

  • Participants: 2 to 40

  • Duration: 5 to 20 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

This team-building activity is a simple way to get every team member to see the best in themselves and others… and that’s exactly why we love it.

All too often, we forget the contribution we make to our work and need a gentle reminder from ourselves or others that we are actually good at what we do. This activity is the perfect way to remind everyone!

Instructions

  • The instructions are actually really quite simple. At the beginning of a virtual staff meeting, get every team member to share two shout-outs: one for something they did amazing this week, and one for something another team member did.

  • They shout out’s do not need to be huge. They can be something as simple as they are proud of themselves or someone else for keeping on top of their email correspondence or being nice about a matter outside of work.

"1:1 Sessions"

  • Objective: To communicate with all your employees and ensure that they get someone on one time from you

  • Participants: 2 to 500

  • Duration: 15 minutes per employee

  • Difficulty: Easy

When working in a remote team that frequently communicates on digital channels, it can sometimes be tough to talk with your employees one on one.

Although not an activity that involves working as a team directly, this activity will increase morale and trust, leading to positive team outcomes.

Instructions

  • The instructions are very simple; take some time to arrange one on one meetings with each of your team members.

  • To make these meetings even more useful, set goals of things to talk about or a conclusion to reach after each meeting.

"Snap Cup"

  • Objective: Employee recognition

  • Participants: No Limit

  • Duration: 15 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Google Sheets

Who remembers the “snap cup” from the movie Legally Blonde? It is a great way to recognize and appreciate your colleagues. Positive feedback is always a great way to improve employee engagement. You can easily do this virtually with your team, and we will show you how.

Instructions

  • Not everyone needs to participate, but encourage people to write something about their teammates.

  • Create a “virtual” snap cup using an email or google doc. Make sure it is invisible to others so they cannot see who is submitting the note.

  • At the beginning of the next team meeting, choose 3 notes from the “cup” to announce to your team. After every note, the team will snap, clap and cheer to show appreciation to that person.

"Charity Donations"

Many remote teams face the risk of feeling strictly online teams and have no emotional connection or interaction. Often, remote teams will feel that once their laptop webpage is closed, the team doesn't exist, and it’s easy to forget about everyone else and your responsibility to them.

One way to remind your employees of your remote company’s real-world presence is to donate to a cause that matches your team’s values. Donating to a charity that represents your team’s values will make your team feel proud and like they are making a difference to the world.

Similarly, donating to a charity helps your team feel connected and personal - they are all working together to support the same cause.

Instructions

  • The instructions are really quite simple, pick a charity that aligns with your company values and beliefs.

  • Choose how you would like to donate; do you want to donate only, or do you ask everyone to chip in? Make sure you always keep your team updated on how their donations are helping!

"Virtual Hugs"

  • Objective: Empathy

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: 5 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

Not everyone is a hugger, and some workplaces are more comfortable with a handshake environment. But this exercise allows rallying your team up and show empathy and care.

Instructions

  • Choose a virtual hug, handshake, really whatever symbolic virtual greeting you would like to spread to your team.

  • At the end or beginning, “hug” your team, and it may be a bit silly, but it shows that you all are in this together and a community.

"Global Care Package"

  • Objective: Boosting Team Morale

  • Participants: 10 to 15

  • Duration: No limit

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Shipping Box

A company care package is great to boost your team’s morale, especially when you have offices in different cities. It is a fantastic way to show off your cities local famous foods, drinks and whatever else you might find interesting to send. The care package is also a way to show company-wide appreciation.

Instructions

  • Ask each one of your team members to provide some of their favorite items that they can package up—for example, coffee, candy, beauty products, or book.

  • In the package, don't forget to add a little note explaining all the different things and why you decided to include them in the box.

  • A great way to encourage people to participate in the care package is to include a company stipend or reimbursements.

"How Do You Feel Today? (Emoji Edition)"

  • Objective: Mindfulness

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: 5-10 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Slack or Chat platform

Sometimes you just need a quick release of emotion on long working days. This is a great activity to quickly check-in with your team and makes sure everyone is feeling okay. It is not too time-consuming and really gives your employees a moment of mindfulness.

Instructions

  • Randomly during your workday, pose the question “How is everyone feeling?” and have your team post their emotion using an emoji.

  • Once everyone has answered via emoji, you can then follow-up with each individual, spark an open conversation with your team or have an additional 1 to 1 meeting.

"Pop-up office"

  • Objective: To get participants to meet and put a face to the name

  • Participants: 2 to 10

  • Duration: A full day

  • Difficulty: Hard

  • Materials: A meeting place (e.g., conference room, coffee shop, office block)

It is important to note that this team building activity can only really do with teams that work in the same city or country or have the funds to pay for this sort of activity (hence why it is so low down on our list).

Despite the expenses, we like this activity because it provides everyone in your team with a break from working from home and their normal routine. It creates excitement and a sense of cohesion within your team.

It is also a great opportunity for team members to meet everyone and put a personality and face to the name, which is often very hard to do in remote teams.

Instructions

  • Select a mutual meeting point and get everyone to come down.

  • Spend the day bonding and getting everyone together.

  • Can also work on some projects together and share ideas.

  • Even treat them to dinner etc.

"Mindfulness"

  • Objective: Empathy

  • Participants: No limit

  • Duration: On-going

  • Difficulty: Easy

This exercise focuses on feelings, tasks, and other personal or professional issues. It gives everyone a moment to focus on themselves and be mindful and aware of their thoughts. Often team meetings can be stressful, which is an excellent task to slow down and let everyone catch a breath.

Instructions

  • At the beginning of your meeting, have everyone write down any issues, personal or professional struggles they are working on.

  • Once everyone is done, they do not have to share it to keep it personal and private. It just is a moment to recognize their problems and have an outlet to release the stress.

"Code of Conduct"

  • Objective: An opportunity to create team values and community trust

  • Participants: No limit, but best for smaller teams of 10 to 20

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Materials: Whiteboard or Google doc

A simple but significant activity that sets the tone for an event and builds consensus on shared values. Teams list down what matters to them on a shared whiteboard or Google doc. Perfect for the start of an event, workshop, or a weekly team meeting. It is also a great way to establish team goals and values going forward.

Instructions

  • On a shared whiteboard or Google doc, type down the words"Meaningful" and "Pleasant."

  • Ask everyone to shout out what those words represent in terms of your company’s mission and goals.

  • Record each participant's suggestion in the form of a mind map on the whiteboard.

  • For each suggestion, ensure that all participants have a similar understanding of every idea. If not, modify the idea until it meets a mutual perception from everyone.

  • Go through each suggested item and ask everyone how they would ensure that the idea is carried out throughout.

All ideas mutually agreed on as being "pleasant," and "meaningful" make up the group’s Code of Conduct. The group has the responsibility to uphold this code through their work environment.


Frequently Asked Questions

These are some common questions that come up when people have to manage remote employees for the first time.

Why virtual team building is important?

Virtual team building is important because it brings team closer together and creates a culture of psychological safety, which is essential for a team to be high performing.

How do you boost team morale virtually?

Having fun activities to look forward to is an easy way to keep morale high when times are tough.

How do you make a virtual meeting more fun?

Breaking up the monotony of online meetings with fun quizzes, trivia and icebreakers is an easy way to keep people from falling asleep.

How do I spice up a virtual meeting?

You can do all sorts of things suching as adding in 'themes', background music, challenges, etc.

How do you motivate your team virtually?

Creating incentive programs is always an effective strategy. It's also helpful to align the remote team around one central mission where everyone understands how they impact it.


Conclusion & More Resources

We hope you've liked our list of the best virtual team building activities for remote & distributed teams.

More than anything, we hope this post has made you realize that just because your team are distributed over eight states, 12 countries, two continents, and seven-time zones, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a team and promote the same communication, trust and collaboration as normal teams.

When you set aside some dedicated time for focused virtual team building, and integrate activities like these into your weekly routine, you will find your team growing stronger and better day by day.

Try these out and let me know how you go!

Bonus Resources:

49 Awesome Team Building Activities

Heather Harper

Heather Harper

Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.

© 2020 SaasMates Pte. Ltd. 24 Raffles Place, #10-05 Clifford Centre, Singapore 048621. Terms & Privacy.