10 Innovative Virtual Team Building Activities for Engaging Remote Teams

July 11, 2023
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In our digitally-focused world, a prevalent challenge that founders and managers face is creating and maintaining a strong, cohesive team, particularly when their  workforce is remote. 

An effective solution is conducting virtual team activities. These can create a sense of camaraderie and unity, enhancing productivity and morale among team members. The activities range from light-hearted games to thought-provoking challenges, tailored to accommodate large groups.

We have compiled a list of 10 games perfectly suited for remote teams. Each of these activities addresses the core areas of virtual team building, including communication, trust and collaboration. 

1. Virtual Trivia (3+ players) 

A quiz session that encourages learning and promotes fun competition.

         Steps:

  • Choose a platform for your quiz, such as Kahoot or QuizBreaker.
  • Decide on categories (general knowledge, tech, pop culture etc.)
  • The quizmaster creates the questions and answers.
  • Schedule a meeting and let the games begin!

Tip: Consider using themes related to your company culture or industry for added relevance. 

Sure, here are some theme ideas for a virtual trivia game that could be fun for corporate employees:

1. Company History: Trivia about the company's history, important milestones, products, services and key people. This helps to educate employees about their workplace in a fun manner.

2. Tech Trends: Questions related to the latest technologies, digital innovations and trends. This could be a great theme for tech companies.

3. Pop Culture: This could include questions about movies, music, celebrities, TV shows and famous quotes. It's a light-hearted theme that can be enjoyed by everyone.

4. World Geography: Questions about countries, capitals, famous landmarks and world history can make for an enlightening trivia session.

5. Sports: This could be a mix of questions about various sports, famous sports persons and significant sporting events.

6. Famous Entrepreneurs: Trivia about successful entrepreneurs and their journeys can be both inspiring and informative.

7. Literature and Books: Questions about popular books, authors and characters would be a hit among book lovers.

8. Environment and Sustainability: This theme can include trivia about environmental issues, renewable energy, recycling and sustainability practices.

9. Famous Innovations and Inventors: Questions about well-known inventions and the people behind them can provide an educational trivia experience.

10. Culinary Quest: This theme can include trivia about various cuisines, famous dishes, exotic ingredients, and renowned chefs.

Remember, the aim of these trivia sessions is to foster a fun and inclusive environment. So, it's important to consider the diverse interests of the employees when deciding on the themes.

2. Virtual Campfire (6+ players)

A calming, bonding experience that prompts storytelling and sharing.

         Steps:

  • Decide on a platform, like Zoom or MS Teams.
  • Schedule the virtual campfire for after work hours.
  • Share a virtual background of a campfire for added effect.
  • Encourage everyone to share stories or experiences.

Tip: Choose themes for each session to guide the storytelling:

1. Travel Memories: Participants can share interesting or funny stories from their travels. 

2. Cooking Disasters: Team members can narrate hilarious kitchen mishaps they've experienced.

3. Culture Share: Participants from different backgrounds can share unique aspects of their culture, traditions, or local folklore.

4. Childhood Memories: People can share amusing or heartfelt memories from their childhood.

5. Mystery Night: Each participant narrates a piece of a mystery story and the next person continues it, creating an intriguing collective narrative.

6. Superhero Night: Each team member can share what superpower they would love to have and why.

7. Best and Worst: Participants share their best and worst moments from their professional or personal lives, which can help teams connect on a deeper level.

8. Bucket List Night: Each member can share something from their bucket list, leading to potentially interesting conversations and shared interests.

9. Pet Stories: Team members share funny, heartwarming, or even embarrassing stories about their pets.

10. Fantasy Night: Everyone can discuss what fantasy world (from a book, movie, or game) they would like to live in and why.

Remember, the key is to choose a theme that promotes open conversation, engagement and bonding among team members.

3. Two Truths and a Lie (3+ players)

A game that encourages creativity and interaction.

        Steps:

  • Schedule a video call and explain the rules.
  • Each person comes up with two truths and one lie about themselves.
  • Everyone else guesses which one is the lie.

Tip: Ask team members to be creative with their truths and lies for added fun.

4. Remote Pictionary (4+ players)

A classic drawing game that fosters communication and collaboration.

       Steps:

  • Use an online whiteboard tool, like Miro.
  • Randomly assign words to each participant.
  • The person drawing illustrates the word while the others guess.

Tip: Use industry-specific words to incorporate an educational element.

5. Virtual Team Lunch (2+ players)

Casual get-togethers to discuss non-work topics.

       Steps:

  • Schedule a lunchtime video call.
  • Encourage everyone to bring their lunch.
  • Facilitate conversation with topics unrelated to work.

Tip: Occasionally, you could add a theme to the lunch for a change of pace. 

Themes can be a fun addition to virtual team lunches, helping to spark conversation and foster team camaraderie. Here are a few theme ideas:

1. International Cuisine Day: Everyone can prepare or order a dish from a different country and share the cultural significance of that dish during lunch.

2. Favourite Dish Day: Team members share their favourite dish, talk about why they love it, or even share the recipe.

3. Healthy Eating Day: Encourage team members to bring a healthy dish and share the recipe and health benefits.

4. Book Club Lunch: Everyone discusses a book they've recently read. This is a great way to stimulate intellectual conversation.

5. Hobby Talk: Team members can discuss their hobbies or interests, which can lead to interesting conversations and new connections.

6. Movie or TV Show Day: Employees can discuss their favourite movies or TV shows, or even dress up as a character.

7. Childhood Memories Lunch: Members can share a memorable childhood story, or their favourite food from childhood.

8. Pet Show-and-Tell: Employees introduce their pets to the team, or if they don’t have pets, they could share their favourite animal and why.

9. Around the World: Each person shares something interesting about a country they’d like to visit or have visited.

10. Fancy Dress Day: A fun idea where team members can wear fancy or fun attire to the virtual lunch.

Remember, the key to a successful virtual team lunch is to make everyone feel included and comfortable. It’s less about the food and more about bonding, sharing experiences and having a fun break from work.

6. Online Escape Room (2+ players)

A problem-solving activity promoting teamwork and collaboration.

       Steps:

  • Choose an online escape room platform.
  • Schedule a session and share the link.
  • Teams work together to solve the puzzles and escape!

Tip: Consider debriefing after the game to discuss the team's problem-solving process.

7. Virtual Scavenger Hunt (4+ players)

An exciting activity to get people moving and problem-solving.

      Steps:

  • Create a list of items to find within their house.
  • Participants search their homes for the items.
  • The first one to find all items wins!

Tip: Make sure your list is diverse and exciting.

8. Finance Team Building Games (6+ players) 

Games designed to enhance financial skills and knowledge. 

        Steps:

  • Choose a finance-related game (e.g., online stock market simulations).
  • Split into teams and explain the rules.
  • The team with the highest profits at the end wins!

Here are some finance-related virtual games that can be both fun and educational for your team:

1. Financial Trivia: Organise a trivia quiz with questions related to finance concepts, terminologies, history, famous economists and significant economic events. It's not only fun but also educational.

2. Stock Market Simulator: There are several online platforms where participants can use virtual money to buy and sell stocks based on real-world stock data. This can help your team understand the stock market dynamics without any real-world risk.

3. Monopoly: The classic board game is also available online and can teach players about real estate investing, taxes, and cash management.

4. Finance Pictionary: Use finance-related words for a virtual game of Pictionary. It's a great way to review financial terminologies in an engaging way.

5. Budgeting Challenge: Give team members a hypothetical income and expenses scenario. The challenge is to budget it effectively while meeting specific financial goals. It's a great way to understand the importance of budgeting.

6. Cryptocurrency Hunt: Create a game where employees have to research and find interesting facts or news about different cryptocurrencies. It can be an effective way to learn about the world of cryptocurrency.

7. Investment Strategy Challenge: Divide team members into small groups and give them a hypothetical amount to invest in different assets (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.). After a set period, the team with the best return on investment wins.

8. Financial Crosswords or Word Search: You can create crosswords or word searches with finance-related terms.

9. The Price is Right: Show various products or services and have players guess the price. This can lead to discussions about value, price and cost of living.

10. Finance Debates: Pick a financial topic, divide your team into two and let them debate. Topics could range from investment strategies to discussing the merits and demerits of different types of loans.

These games can be an entertaining way to boost financial literacy, encourage strategic thinking and build team camaraderie.

Tip: Follow up with a debriefing session to discuss strategies and decisions.

9. Virtual Movie Night (2+ players)

A relaxing activity that promotes shared experiences.

         Steps:

  • Pick a film or series to watch.
  • Use a synchronised streaming platform like Teleparty.
  • Discuss the film after watching.

Tip: Allow team members to vote on the movie for inclusivity.

Choosing the right movie for a virtual team night can be a tricky task because of diverse tastes. The aim should be to choose movies that are universally appealing, not too heavy and suitable for a work setting. Here are five recommendations that could work:

1. The Intern (2015): This is a heartwarming comedy-drama that tells the story of a 70-year-old widower who becomes an intern at an online fashion retailer. It's a gentle and positive film that can generate interesting conversations about work, age and friendship.

2. The Social Network (2010): It is a biographical drama film about the founding of Facebook. This movie is perfect for tech teams as it's not only engaging but also relates to the digital and technology space.

3. Hidden Figures (2016): This is an inspiring true story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history. It's an excellent choice to promote discussions about diversity and perseverance.

4. Moneyball (2011): This movie is based on the true story of a baseball team's manager using statistics to build a winning team. It's a smart and engaging film that could appeal to those interested in data analysis and innovative thinking.

5. Chef (2014): It is a light-hearted comedy-drama about a chef who quits his job at a popular restaurant to launch a food truck. The film is fun, uplifting, and can generate discussions about passion, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Remember to ensure that the movie you choose is appropriate for all members of your team. You could also consider creating a poll and letting the team vote on the movie they'd like to watch to make it a more inclusive decision.

10. Weekly Challenges (2+ players)

A week-long task-based game promoting creativity.

        Steps:

  • Set a challenge (e.g., a photo challenge or fitness challenge).
  • Participants complete the task during the week.
  • Discuss results during a team meeting.

Tip: Ensure challenges are accessible and inclusive for all team members.

To Sum Up

Research by Deloitte (2019) found that 77% of workers cite employee engagement as a crucial factor in business success. The range of virtual team activities listed above should help boost engagement, cultivate positive relationships and enhance productivity within your remote teams.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to team-building. So, test out these activities, see what works best for your team and remember, the ultimate goal is to make your remote team feel connected and engaged, just as if they were in an office setting.

"We are stronger when we listen and smarter when we share." – Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan.

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