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22 Best Virtual Team Building Activities for Remote Employees

15 min read   |  
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virtual-team-building-activities

With remote work and hybrid work becoming the norm, strengthening team cohesion can be challenging when employees are distributed across locations. However, through thoughtful planning, even teams working apart can build camaraderie and tight collaboration. By making virtual team building a priority, organizations can foster trust, improve communication, boost productivity, and increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

Specifically, effective virtual team building in 2024 requires a focus on improving team dynamics, fostering trust between remote employees, and boosting productivity across distributed workforces. Dedicated online exercises like icebreakers, workshops and other activities adapted to the unique requirements of each team are essential to enable collaboration and communication. By prioritizing these kinds of virtual bonding experiences, organizations can empower teams to function as united, engaged units regardless of location.

The 22 virtual teambuilding activities highlighted in this article aim to build trust, improve communication flows, and increases productivity among hybrid and remote teams through interactive, tailored bonding events.

22 Best Virtual Team Building Activities for a Remote Workforce

1. Online Office Games

Time- 30 Minutes to One Hour

Objective- To build better coordination between your distributed teams.

Team building activities are always incomplete without any icebreaker games. Well, conducting such games is much easier when all your employees are around. However, you can still organize such team games online for your distributed teams over a group chat.

How to play

I’ll keep it very simple here; you can combine various games into one competition. Then divide your employees into different teams depending on the size of your workforce. Try to mix up the employees from mutiple departments while making teams. Also, make sure that all the teams have at least 3-4 members.

After making the teams, list out some ice breakers that can be played in online multiplayer mode. Nowadays, many such games are available for both mobile and PC. Decide a structure where winning points are based on the complexity of the game.

Always keep in mind that every team member should actively participate in the game and earn points. Thereby encouraging healthy competition and build a strong relationship among the team members.

2. Team Health Challenges

Time- 20 to 30 Minutes

Objective- To encourage a healthy lifestyle amongst your remote team members

Employee wellbeing has become a norm across the business world.

Every organization now desires to thrive with a healthy workforce. And for, this many are now implementing corporate wellness programs in their workplaces. However, it becomes quite different in the case of your remote team members.

Here, one of the most effective ways to ensure the same is to associate health challenges as a part of your virtual team-building exercise.

How to play

I have already mentioned above how to create and maintain your teams. So the next step here is to assign different health challenges to your teams.

Here, you can consider throwing tasks to your employees like

  • Completing “X” number of pushups, squats, lunges.
  • Run for “X” Kms in a week.
  • Complete “X” number of steps daily.
  • Joint meditation sessions through video chatting to boost mental health.

Another great way to host such virtual employee health challenges is through a corporate wellness platform.

Platforms like this allow you to

  • Create flexible employee health contests.
  • Track your employees’ progress in the health campaign.
  • Gather vital insights about your employees' health status.
  • Encourages healthy competition within the workforce.
  • Incentivize your top performers for motivating them.

Thus, allowing you to gamify your workplace health initiatives and nurture a healthy workforce.

Learn more: 5 Things to Look into while selecting a corporate wellness platform

3. Virtual Coffee Breaks

Virtual-team-building-activities-Coffee-breaks

Image source: Unsplash

Time- 15 to 30 Minutes

Objective- Bridging the communication gap between your remote employees.

Who doesn’t like to grab a cup of coffee and engage in an interesting conversation with their colleagues?

I guess no one will say “No” to that!

But for your remote teams, this is no less than a luxury. Coffee breaks are a great way to enhance the professional relationship between your employees. Such breaks also allow your employees to de-stress themselves and bounce back with great productivity.

Hence, you can include virtual coffee breaks as a part of your remote team-building activities. You can treat these breaks as informal team meetings over a conference call. And allow your employees to engage in some random talks with their colleagues. Further, to jinx up these breaks, you can include other fun elements to it as well.

Download our Free Ebook on Work from Home: A Definitive Guide for Managers

4. Spread the Knowledge

Time- 30 to 45 Minutes

Objective- Rejuvenate the thought process of your employees

I must say that it’s one of the best virtual team activities that you can host for your employees, whether they are near you or not.

The only requirement here is active participation through video conferencing and your employees' willingness to share their knowledge about various things with others.

How to play

Before beginning this activity, you can ask your employees to submit what they would be sharing with their peers. After that, you can randomly select some of the submissions and ask the employee to share them with others the next day. This way, you encourage your employees to learn new things and instill respect for each other among your employees.

You may also like: Reverse Mentoring- Definition and How to Implement

5. Dig Up a Fact or Scavenger Hunt

Time- 20 Minutes (Per Team)

Objective- Building trust and confidence within your employees.

Dig up a fact is another great way to educate your employees about some lesser-known but exciting facts. These facts can be about anything like a region, a person of importance, corporation, or profession.

For doing this activity, you can ask your teams to decide on an area and then dig up some amazing less known facts about it. You can further spice it up by asking your teams to prepare a short presentation and present it to their colleagues.

It is a perfect virtual team-building activity as it brings everyone together to deliver one common thing. With this, your employees will not only come to know some new facts, but it’ll also promote better camaraderie and enhance their ability to function as a team with everyone having different roles to play.

6. Quiz Up

Time- 20 to 30 Minutes

Objective- Encouraging the spirit of learning amongst the employees.

Enough of learning new things, and now it’s time to test how much your employees know. Since it’s a fast-paced event, it’ll challenge all your teams to give their best and win whatever is up for grabs.

You can prepare questions around various topics related to business, technology, culture, geography, current events, and many more based on your preference. Here, you can also arrange a few helplines like for example -

Allowing a team to get help from any other team a maximum of two times. If the answer is correct, the point will be divided among both groups.Sounds interesting, isn’t it? Therefore, making this game of wit even more interesting for your remote employees.

7. Meetings over Lunch

Virtual-team-building-activities-Meetings-over-lunch

Image source- Unsplash

Time- 45 Minutes to One hour

Objective- Boost your employee relations.

Socializing with colleagues is very important for ensuring healthy workplace relationships. An important thing that your employees miss while working from different locations is going out for lunch with peers, which is one of the best ways to socialize.

However, you can fill this void by organizing meetings over lunch via video conference. It will make your employees feel good when they all meet each other over lunch, even if it’s virtual to discuss any important matter or just get involved in some fun chat. Make it a point to keep holding such meetings frequently so that your remote team members feel connected.

8. Solve It!

Time- 20 to 45 Minutes

Objective- Encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and implementation of ideas.

While planning for any team-building program, you must also keep some room for activities that requires a lot of brainstorming.

Many employees now spend the majority of their time in front of their machines, often doing the same monotonous tasks. Well, you can break this chain by challenging them to solve any code, problem, or puzzle.

Here, you don’t need to worry about creating unique problems for each team, but you can throw one single challenging code and ask them to solve it within a given time frame. And as evident, it is whichever team can solve it first earns the reward.

9. Create a Story

Time- 30 Minutes to One hour

Objective- Creating a culture of teamwork.

We, humans, are really good at creating stories that can amaze anyone be it our friends or our HR managers (What’s the best you have heard so far? Comment below).

The same also qualify to be made into an engaging and fun team building activity. The only thing you need to do here is giving some random words that will be common for everyone. And then, ask them to create a story using those random words or sentences. Doing this will be fun, and your employees will also love it as they unfurl laughter with their stories.

10. Who are you?

Virtual-team-building-activities-who-are-you

Image source: Unsplash

Time- 10 to 15 Minutes

Objective- Perfect for ice-breaking, especially when you onboard new remote team members.

Each one of your employees is unique. And it’s essential to bring out their uniqueness in front of everyone to build a healthy relationship.

Hence, you can host an online event to encourage your employees to share their stories with everyone. This will positively impact your employees by scaling up their self-confidence. At the same time, it will also inspire others to open up about themselves. Thus, building trust amongst your employees and taking your company culture to new heights.

Here’s a list of some of the best icebreaker questions for you to check out.

11. Don’t Miss Out on Happy Hour!

Time- 1 hour

Objective- Give your employees an opportunity to bond outside work

Happy hour is a great bonding time outside of work. It's a time to relax and get to know your coworkers better on a personal level.

For your remote employees it is not possible to gather in your local pub for some after office drinks. However that does not mean you have to entirely disregard this idea.

How to organize

Set up a video conference with your coworkers while engaging in a pub crawl. This will enable your colleagues to share in each other's experiences while getting to know each other outside of work.

Instead of a virtual pub crawl, you can send a special happy hour package to your employees. They can enjoy a fun evening with this hamper.

12. Solve a Murder

Time- 1 hour or more

Who does not enjoy a good murder mystery? Reading a book and being taken on an interesting journey by the author is enjoyable. But being involved in solving the case is even more exciting.

Get a few teams together to solve some virtual cases. This will enhance the teamwork among colleagues and give them a fun activity to bond over.

How to Set it Up!

  • Choose a Theme: Select a theme or storyline for the mystery.
  • Create Characters: Assign roles and characters to participants.
  • Script and Clues: Develop a script with clues and details for each character.
  • Platform: Choose an online platform for hosting, like video conferencing.
  • Invitations: Invite participants and provide character backgrounds.
  • Run the Game: Facilitate the mystery, allowing participants to interact and solve the puzzle.
  • Debrief: Conclude with a discussion and reveal the solution for everyone to enjoy.

13. Escape Together

Time- Customizable

Nothing brings a team together like putting your heads together to solve a problem. Virtual escape rooms are immersive and interactive online activities that have gained popularity as engaging team-building experiences for remote teams.

Here's how to organize one:

  • Select a Virtual Escape Room Provider: Choose a reputable virtual escape room platform that offers a variety of themed rooms and puzzles suitable for remote play.
  • Team Formation: Divide your remote team into smaller groups, ensuring each team has a mix of skills and roles for problem-solving.
  • Schedule and Logistics: Set a date and time for the virtual escape room session and share the access link or details with participants.
  • Thematic Briefing: Provide participants with a thematic background story or scenario for the escape room, creating an immersive experience.
  • Gameplay Rules: Explain the rules, time limit, and any hints or clues available during the game.
  • Facilitator: Assign a facilitator or game master to guide the teams, offer clues when needed, and keep track of progress.
  • Collaboration: Encourage teams to collaborate, communicate, and use their problem-solving skills to solve puzzles and challenges.
  • Virtual Debrief: After the game, hold a virtual debriefing session where teams can discuss their experiences, strategies, and celebrate their successes.

14. Get Crafty!

Time- 30 - 45 minutes

Team-building activities that embrace a "Do-It-Yourself" (DIY) approach in a virtual environment can be both engaging and rewarding.

Here's how to organize such activities:

  • Choose a DIY Theme: Select a DIY project theme that aligns with your team's interests and skills. It could be art and crafts, cooking, home improvement, or any other hands-on activity.
  • Materials List: Share a list of required materials and supplies with your team well in advance so they can prepare.
  • Schedule the Session: Set a date and time for the virtual DIY session, ensuring it accommodates everyone's availability.
  • Virtual Meeting Platform: Choose a suitable video conferencing platform for the session, where everyone can see and interact with each other.
  • Facilitator or Instructor: If needed, you can have a facilitator or instructor guide the DIY activity, providing instructions and assistance throughout the session.
  • Team Collaboration: Encourage participants to collaborate and share their progress, ideas, and creativity during the DIY project.
  • Show and Tell: After completing the DIY project, have each team member showcase their work and share their experiences during a "show and tell" session.
  • Discussion and Reflection: Conclude with a discussion about what participants learned, enjoyed, and how the DIY activity relates to teamwork and collaboration.

DIY team-building activities in a virtual setting not only foster teamwork and creativity but also allow team members to bond over shared interests and achievements, even when working remotely.

15. Learn Together

Learning activities can be highly engaging and educational for remote teams, promoting personal and professional growth.

Here's how to incorporate learning into your remote team activities:

  • Choose a Learning Topic: Select a relevant and interesting learning topic that aligns with the goals and interests of your team. It could be a new skill, industry trends, or personal development.
  • Online Courses and Workshops: Identify online courses, webinars, or workshops that cover the chosen topic. Many platforms offer a wide range of options, from technical skills to soft skills and leadership development.
  • Schedule the Learning Session: Set a date and time for the learning session, ensuring it accommodates the availability of your remote team members.
  • Preparation: Share any necessary materials or resources in advance, such as reading materials, video links, or pre-work assignments.
  • Facilitator or Expert: Depending on the complexity of the topic, consider having a facilitator or subject-matter expert lead the learning session to provide guidance, answer questions, and facilitate discussions.
  • Interactive Activities: Encourage active participation and engagement through quizzes, discussions, breakout sessions, or hands-on exercises related to the learning topic.
  • Knowledge Sharing: After the learning session, allocate time for team members to share their insights, key takeaways, and how they plan to apply their newfound knowledge in their roles.
  • Continuous Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning by regularly incorporating learning activities into your team's routine and encouraging team members to explore additional resources independently.

Learning as a remote team activity not only enhances team members' skills and knowledge but also strengthens their sense of professional development and growth, contributing to overall team cohesion and effectiveness.

16. Jamming Sessions

Time- 1 hour

Music is food for the soul. Why not indulge in an evening of good music with your coworkers. Who knows what hidden gems you might discover in the process.

To set it up

All you need is any video conferencing app to get jamming!

17. Food Wars Holiday Edition

While music is food for the soul, food is what sustains you and often brings people together. "Food Wars Holiday Edition" is a creative and engaging virtual team-building activity, especially during festive seasons.

Here's how to organize it:

  • Team Formation: Divide your remote team into small groups, ensuring a mix of skills and roles in each team.
  • Recipe Selection: Select a festive recipe or dish that all teams will prepare. It could be related to the holiday season or a traditional dish from a different culture.
  • Ingredients List: Share a list of ingredients and cooking instructions with each team in advance, ensuring everyone has access to the necessary supplies.
  • Cooking Challenge: Schedule a virtual cooking challenge session where teams compete to prepare the chosen dish within a specified time frame.
  • Judging Panel: Appoint a judging panel or designate impartial judges who will evaluate the dishes based on taste, presentation, and creativity.
  • Live Cooking Session: Conduct a live virtual cooking session where teams can interact, share their progress, and seek advice from each other.
  • Presentation and Tasting: After the cooking challenge, have each team present their dishes to the judges, explaining their approach and unique touches.
  • Winner Announcement: Announce the winning team and recognize their culinary skills with virtual awards or certificates.
  • Social Gathering: Conclude the event with a virtual meal where team members can enjoy the dishes they prepared together and engage in casual conversation.

"Food Wars Holiday Edition" combines teamwork, creativity, and the joy of preparing and sharing delicious food, making it an excellent choice for virtual team-building, especially during holiday seasons.

18. Spreadsheet Pixel Art

Time- 30 - 45 minutes

Google sheets are a part and parcel of work life. So, why not use it not only for work but also to engage in some fun team building activity?

Spreadsheet Pixel Art is when you add a little code to automatically replace numbers with a color fill for that cell. You can then use these colors to “paint the numbers” and create pictures of nearly anything.

Get started!

Have several templates or instructions to create your own and get creating. Have a judging panel grade your team on their creativity to encourage some healthy competition.

19. Groove To Catchy Tunes

Dancing is always a fun activity. Whether it's skilled dancers impressing us, hobbyists expressing happiness, or clumsy individuals wanting to have fun, dancing is for everyone.

You can have a dance party by itself or as part of a meeting. It can be just for dancing to fun songs or a short break during the meeting.

20. Never Have I Ever Work Edition!

"Never Have I Ever Work Edition!" is a fun and lighthearted virtual team-building activity that encourages team members to bond and share amusing work-related experiences.

Here's how to organize it:

  • Set the Rules: Explain the rules of the game, where each participant takes turns sharing a work-related statement starting with "Never have I ever..." The statement should be something they have never done at work.
  • Virtual Platform: Choose a video conferencing platform that allows for easy communication and interaction among participants.
  • Taking Turns: Participants take turns sharing their "Never Have I Ever" statements. Those who have done the mentioned action must admit it by taking a sip of their beverage or using a fun virtual prop.
  • Storytelling: Encourage participants to share anecdotes or stories related to their experiences when they've done the mentioned actions, creating a lively and entertaining atmosphere.
  • Create Bonds: The game helps team members get to know each other better, share laughs, and relate to common workplace situations.
  • Variations: Consider incorporating work-related themes or inside jokes to make the game even more personalized and enjoyable.

"Never Have I Ever Work Edition!" is a fantastic way to break the ice, promote team bonding, and bring humor into the virtual workplace, making it a memorable team-building activity.

21. Pet Appreciation Day

Organizing a virtual Pet Appreciation Day is a wonderful way to foster camaraderie and bring a sense of positivity to your remote team.

Here's how to create a memorable online celebration:

  • Announcement: Announce the virtual Pet Appreciation Day in advance, encouraging all team members to participate with their pets.
  • Video Conferencing: Choose a video conferencing platform that allows everyone to see and interact with each other and their furry friends.
  • Pet Show and Tell: Invite team members to introduce their pets one by one, sharing their names, breeds, and any fun or interesting facts about them.
  • Pet Tricks and Talents: Encourage participants to showcase their pets' tricks or talents, whether it's a high-five, a cute dance, or a special trick they've taught them.
  • Pet Stories: Create a fun and relaxed atmosphere where team members can share amusing or heartwarming stories about their pets, creating a sense of connection.
  • Pet Costume Contest: Organize a virtual pet costume contest where team members can dress up their pets in creative outfits and have a friendly competition for the best-dressed pet.
  • Pet Quiz or Trivia: Host a pet-themed quiz or trivia game to test participants' knowledge of animals and pets.
  • Pet Appreciation Awards: Conclude the celebration by giving out virtual awards or certificates to pets in various categories, such as "Most Adorable," "Best Trick," or "Funniest Costume."

A virtual Pet Appreciation Day celebration allows your remote team to bond over their shared love for pets, creating a sense of community and positivity, even when working from different locations.

22. Gif Battle!

"Gif Battle!" is a fun and creative virtual team-building activity that encourages team members to express themselves using animated gifs. It is a fantastic way to inject humor, creativity, and interaction into virtual team-building, allowing team members to express themselves, share laughter, and connect over shared gifs.

Here's how to organize it:

  • Set the Theme: Choose a theme or topic for the gif battle, such as "Describe Your Workday" or "React to a Surprise Deadline."
  • Virtual Platform: Use a video conferencing platform that supports screen sharing and chat features for the game.
  • Rules: Explain the rules, where each participant takes turns sharing a gif that best represents the theme. Gifs can be found online or created using gif generators.
  • Time Limit: Set a time limit for each participant to find and share their gif, keeping the game lively and fast-paced.
  • Voting and Discussion: After each gif is shared, team members can vote on their favorite gifs or engage in discussions about why certain gifs resonate with them.
  • Variety of Themes: Consider incorporating different themes or rounds to keep the game exciting and relevant to various aspects of work or life.

Wrapping up

The biggest issue associated with remote working is that employees feel disconnected if they don’t receive proper attention from their colleagues and managers. And to keep this in check, organizing online team-building activities from time to time becomes very important.

The virtual team-building activities listed above provide you a way to fill the gap and bring your remote employees closer. You can either opt for organizing any one action or combine a few of them to create an engaging virtual team-building program.

Recommended Read: 6 Proven Types of Team-Building Every Company Must Explore

If you’ve got some other virtual team-building ideas, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Working as a SEO Analyst and Content Marketer at Vantage Circle, Angshuman always stays curious and is passionate about learning new things. Got any question? Drop a mail at editor@vantagecircle.com

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