Virtual Team Building Ideas

December 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped not only our personal but also professional lives, with the WFH mode requiring to alter day-to-day operations. One of the downsides of work from home is a constant feeling of isolation and loneliness. Therefore, connection and meaningful interaction between colleagues is essential for the teams to remain effective. Since the pandemic hit, corporate dinners and in-person team building activities have come to a halt. Instead of throwing a killer holiday office party, companies and businesses now have to find new ways of lifting workforce morale through virtual means. Let us explore some of the ideas for a virtual team building that will enhance workplace teamwork.

Virtual Christmas Santa or postcard exchange

With the holiday season’s onset, it’s about the right time to move your long-awaited corporate gift exchange into a virtual mode. Each team member can be assigned a coworker and then prepare and mail a gift to the gift-recipient indicating the office address on the return label to preserve the mystery. All participants should wait until the unboxing day, which can be organized on a video conferencing platform. Online Secret Santa can be part of a company’s online holiday party, complemented with other virtual holiday games. As an alternative, team members can be instructed to send postcards or e-cards instead of gifts.

Virtual coffee breaks

Regular 15-30-minute video calls, which are just for fun, can keep up team spirits, encourage brainstorming, and relieve work stress. What can be discussed during virtual coffee breaks? Start with showing off your home workspace, introduce your kids or pets on camera, or share your favorite recipe. These activities will help team members connect in a unique way and build new relationships through engaging and friendly culture even from far. 

Online happy hours

Friday 5 pm is a perfect occasion to rest and unwind when you can’t focus on work anymore. Since it might not be possible to hit the bar near your office now, happy hours can be conducted in a virtual setting, with your coworkers turning on their laptop cameras with a glass of favorite wine, craft beer, or exquisite spirit foresightedly stocked in their home bars. Alternatively, employers can share the holiday spirit by sharing the spirits with their remote teams. Keep the group to a small number to avoid chaos and ensure everyone has enough time to express themselves. If the team is quite large, the solution will be to create an agenda for the happy hour or divide the team into smaller groups and organize separate events. The festivity can be accompanied by games to make the atmosphere bonding and encourage teamwork.

Theme party

A remote theme party can be as fun as the conventional one. The Hawaiian style theme with your coworkers wearing colorful shirts and umbrellas in their drinks, Harry Potter theme, or retro party – it’s up to you, the more creative, the better. A festive atmosphere can be lightened by the best costume contest and themed games. Virtual backgrounds available at most of the video conferencing platforms will enhance the theme even more. You can also keep it simple and organize a holiday theme party with everyone sharing pictures from their favorite vacation or their dream destinations as their background. You will not only have great scenery but also get your colleagues to talk about their happy memories. 

Virtual yoga class

The benefits of yoga, among which decreased stress, improved balance, and flexibility, are proven by numerous studies. In the past years, yoga has become a popular team building workout as it not only brings more energy and makes moods brighter; it also fosters team bonding. Online yoga or fitness class will be an effective way of keeping the team members’ minds off of reports and endless emails. Organizing this activity doesn’t require many resources, as even an online class on Youtube will suffice to organize a unique activity for your team. 

VR meetings

Thanks to modern tech, teams can meet in VR, collaborate, brainstorm, plan, and discuss the agenda as they would in any face to face meeting. Based on immersion and play, virtual reality software offers new possibilities for building interactions between team members. Not limited by physical space, virtual meetings allow additional functionality, in particular, the ability to draw, write anywhere in the room, which enhances expressing and communicating ideas with maximum comprehension.

VR escape rooms

The latest hardware and software and VR game design allow running exceptional VR team building events, where engagement is key. VR headsets can be delivered to the team members’ homes eliminating the need to gather everyone in one place. With a variety of game themes and difficulty levels available on the market, it is easy to tailor the VR experience to your team’s needs. VR escape rooms will make team members bond together, test their problem solving and collaborative skills through fun, immersive, and memorable activities in challenging scenarios. 

Virtual games 

Games encourage team members to interact, helping them feel more comfortable with each other while building remote work skills such as communication and critical thinking. Polls where the users answer questions, guess facts, or decide whether the story about a colleague is True or False will make the team-building event fun and engaging. Gamification apps that offer an enjoyable and learning experience such as Kahoot, an educational training platform that helps create games customizable for any group of people and specific interests, can be the right choice not only to build and maintain the teams’ spirit but also ensure the employees are up to date with the company’s news, product updates, or campaigns. Charades and Heads up are also on the must-do list activities of any fun team building.

Virtual movie nights

If you cannot gather your distributed team for a movie night at the office or cinema, opt for a virtual one. With the streaming platforms that allow video sharing and live conference feed chats, it’s possible to host watch parties with as many as 100 participants. 

Special interest club meetings

Starting a virtual book club centered around a particular theme, a group of cardboard games enthusiasts, a running corporate challenge – the key is to find shared interests among your employees. A virtual special interest club meeting can be a recurring event or a one-time session, but it should be aimed at discussing ideas not related to the team projects.

Individual team building activities – Donut

Donut is a Slack extension that regularly pairs up distributed team members for non-work related conversation. In short chat sessions, which last up to 30 minutes, coworkers can bond and get to know each other better, forming productivity-boosting relationships. Coworkers that live in the same area can meet up for lunch or coffee instead of a video call as long as the pandemic restrictions allow.