Truly effective teamwork is arguably the last competitive advantage that relatively few companies have been able to master in today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment.
As a rule, teams that work together effectively can accomplish far more than the sum of their individual contributions. This is because when people work together, they are able to combine their skills and strengths and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. As the saying goes, “in teamwork, 1+1=3.”
However, the traditional way of building and maintaining teams has changed with the advent of remote work. Today, more and more organizations have switched to home offices or are adopting hybrid models. While this provides several advantages, it also presents unique challenges for teamwork.
The distance between remote team members can make building a cohesive and effective team challenging, just like the lack of physical interaction and differences in time zones. To address these challenges, remote team-building games and activities have become increasingly popular. They’re designed to build and maintain strong relationships in virtual teams, promote collaboration and enhance communication.
Virtual team-building activities can take many forms, from virtual games and puzzles to online group exercises and challenges. In this article, we will explore ten interesting ideas for creative remote team-building activities that can help boost teamwork effectiveness and promote a positive team culture.
How do you build a team virtually?
Building a virtual team can be more challenging than doing the same in the office. Making a remote team feel connected is nevertheless crucial for building a strong and cohesive team. Otherwise, employees may feel unengaged and unmotivated. Here are some key steps to take to build a successful virtual team.
- Clearly define the team’s goals, expectations, and roles to ensure everyone understands what they need to do and the team’s objectives.
- Recruit self-motivated and experienced individuals with the necessary skills to perform their duties without constantly needing assistance.
- Equip your team with the necessary tools, software, and communication channels to perform their job duties effectively over the internet.
- Establish clear performance metrics and encourage collaboration among team members.
- Finally, foster team bonding effectively.
How do I make my remote team feel connected?
Establish clear communication channels. Encourage open and transparent communication. This will help build trust among team members and promote teamwork. Use video conferencing, chat platforms, and email to keep everyone connected.
Next, create opportunities for social interaction and team-building. Schedule virtual team-building activities such as online games, happy hours, or coffee breaks. These activities provide opportunities to interact and build relationships outside of work-related tasks. More on that shortly.
Finally, schedule regular virtual meetings to keep the team updated and provide an opportunity for the remote teams to share their ideas and feedback. This will help remote workers stay connected and engaged in the team’s work.
How do you make a virtual team meeting fun?
One way to make a virtual meeting more enjoyable is to start with an icebreaker activity, especially if it’s your first video call. This can be a quick game or a simple question to relax and engage everyone. It can help employees feel more comfortable and connected before the meeting starts.
Another way to make virtual team meetings more fun is to incorporate visual aids. Multimedia presentations, videos, and images can help break up the monotony of talking heads and text-heavy slides, making the meeting more interesting and engaging.
Finally, team-building activities can also make virtual meetings more enjoyable. These activities can include fun virtual games, group exercises, or other interactive activities that encourage teamwork and build relationships.
Incorporating these elements into virtual team meetings can help create a more enjoyable and productive experience for everyone involved. A fun and engaging meeting environment can also help improve team morale and lead to better collaboration and productivity.
Top ten remote team building activities
There are many fun and engaging virtual team-building ideas, from virtual company events to online game tournaments. Let’s have a look at ten specific virtual team-building tools and ideas to help managers create a more productive, cohesive, and engaged team.
Virtual company events
Virtual company events are a great way to bring your remote team together and create a sense of community. These events can include anything: holiday parties, a virtual dance party, office tours, and other activities that help team members connect. They can be either events specifically hosted for remote workers or office events transmitted over the internet through a video call or metaverse. How could that work practically? Read on to find out!
A number of activities can be included, like trivia games, team-building exercises, and presentations or talks from guest speakers. These activities can help team members learn more about each other, develop essential teamwork skills, and gain new knowledge and insights.
Team dinner or virtual coffee break
A team dinner is another great way to build relationships and strengthen team bonds. Although you can’t physically share a meal together, you can still organize a virtual dinner where everyone eats together over video chat.
For a team dinner, consider sending care packages or gift cards to team members to cover the cost of their meal. This can add an extra level of appreciation and thoughtfulness to the event. Additionally, encourage team members to share their favorite recipes or cooking tips beforehand to make the dinner even more personalized and engaging.
Or you could go for a virtual coffee break as a less demanding alternative. They’re also a great way to connect with team members and have casual conversations. Because they’re less formal and time-consuming than a team dinner, it’s easier to fit them into busy schedules.
Ultimately, whether you choose a team dinner or virtual coffee break, the most important thing is to make time for team bonding and relationship building. Investing in your team’s relationships can pay off in the form of increased collaboration, communication, and overall team effectiveness.
Take personality tests – and discuss the results
Taking personality tests and discussing the results can also be a fun and insightful activity. This can help new team members get to know each other and understand each other’s working styles and preferences, improving communication and collaboration.
When taking personality tests, make sure to choose a reputable and validated assessment tool. After discussing the results, consider implementing action items that can accommodate different working styles and preferences. For example, if a team member prefers to work independently, assign them individual projects while ensuring they still have opportunities to collaborate with the team when necessary.
Online escape room
Online escape rooms are challenging and exciting activities that require collaboration and critical thinking skills. This can be a great way to improve teamwork and problem-solving skills while having fun.
If possible, try to choose a theme or story that aligns with the team’s interests and values. This can make the activity more engaging and relevant. Additionally, debrief after the activity to discuss what worked well and what could be improved for future team projects.
Team trivia is a fun way for team members to get to know each other better while also competing in a friendly game. This activity can help build camaraderie and encourage healthy rivalry.
There are several ideas for a virtual team trivia event for remote teams that can be engaging and entertaining. One option is to use a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, to host a virtual trivia game. The game can be customized to include questions about the company, industry, or general knowledge. Another idea is to use online trivia platforms, such as Kahoot or Quizlet, which allow teams to compete against each other in real time.
Additionally, teams can create their own trivia game using a shared document or spreadsheet and have team members take turns asking and answering questions. To make the event more fun, teams can offer prizes, such as gift cards or company swag, to the winning team. Overall, a team trivia event can be a great way for remote teams to bond and have fun while working together.
Online game tournament
It’s not improbable that some of your remote employees are fans of League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Fortnite or another multiplayer game. So why not organize an online tournament? It’s an enjoyable way to bring the team together, foster teamwork and encourage communication and collaboration.
When organizing a virtual game tournament, consider rotating team members as captains or team leaders for each game. This can help build leadership skills and provide opportunities for team members to take on different roles and responsibilities.
Virtual happy hour
A virtual happy hour is a relaxed and casual way for team members to connect and socialize. By happy hour we mean spending an hour of work time on a fun and integrative team-building activity through the internet.
It’s a good idea to talk about and do things not necessarily related to work during this time. This will improve team morale and create a sense of community. Additionally, try to choose a time that works for everyone, including team members in different time zones, to ensure maximum participation.
Virtual yoga class
A virtual yoga class is a relaxing and rejuvenating activity that can help reduce stress and promote mindfulness. The class can be organized using various video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom or Google Meet. Participants would be able to join the session from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for a physical meeting space.
A professional yoga instructor or team member who is knowledgeable in yoga could take the lead. The class can be designed to accommodate all skill levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.
To make the session even more engaging, team members can be encouraged to share their experiences and feedback after the class. This can help build a sense of community and support among team members. Overall, a virtual yoga class is an excellent way to promote self-care, reduce stress, and boost the morale of a virtual team.
Virtual team-building workshop
A virtual team-building workshop is an organized and structured way to focus on improving teamwork and communication skills. This activity can help improve collaboration and productivity while also fostering a sense of community among team members.
Organizing a virtual team-building event is an excellent way to improve collaboration, communication, and productivity among remote teams. The workshop can be designed to address specific team challenges, such as communication gaps or lack of trust.
Virtual team-building exercises may include games, role-playing scenarios, and problem-solving activities. The virtual team games and workshop aim to encourage employees to work together, share ideas, and learn from other team members. Check out the VR soft skills training game we developed for MissionOne. It’s a great basis for such a workshop.
To make this team-building activity even more engaging and interactive, team members can be divided into small groups and assigned specific tasks to complete. The groups can then present their findings to the rest of the team, promoting collaboration and communication.
At the end of the workshop, team members can reflect on their experience and discuss how they can apply what they have learned to their daily work. This can help build a sense of community and support among team members, improving productivity long term.
Online murder mystery party
An online murder mystery party is an interactive and engaging virtual team-building activity that requires teamwork and problem-solving skills. As with other virtual team-building activities for remote teams, this is a great way to improve communication and collaboration in an entertaining way.
The fun idea is to engage employees by asking them to dress up in costumes and take on the roles of different characters in the story, solving clues and trying to identify the murderer. The game can be designed to incorporate various themes, such as a 1920s speakeasy or a Hollywood awards show.
The entire team can be divided into smaller groups and given specific tasks to make the game even more engaging. The game can also include puzzles and riddles that require teams to work together to solve.
Virtual reality – the holy grail of virtual team building activities
All these virtual team-building events and activities are great, but you know what would make each and every one of them even better? Virtual reality. It will take your conference call, online game and other virtual team events to the next level.
VR has emerged as one of the most exciting and promising technologies for remote team-building activities. It creates a completely immersive experience that allows users to feel as if they are physically present in a virtual environment. This means team members can interact naturally, just as if they were in the same space, which facilitates integration even more than regular video conferencing.
Finally, it’s worth noting that VR has the potential to help remote employees in other ways too. Because it can simulate real-world scenarios, it can be used for onboarding, training or product demonstrations. Virtual reality can allow team members to practice and refine their skills effectively from any place in the world.
Immersive team building on a budget
What if you don’t have the funds to develop a VR experience for one of the popular headsets? You can always use a device like Google Cardboard. It’s a low-cost virtual reality device that can transform your smartphone into a VR headset.
With the help of a cardboard frame and a pair of lenses, you can easily create a basic virtual reality experience without breaking the bank. Besides not having to invest in expensive devices, the development cost should be lower. However, you have to keep in mind that the overall quality of the experience will be visibly lower.
Alternatively, you can use augmented reality (AR). In principle, it overlays digital elements onto the real world rather than creating a fully immersive virtual environment. But increasingly, augmented reality apps use the creative idea of an AR portal or door. The video below will be the best explanation of this idea.
Pretty impressive, right? Using AR for virtual team-building activities can be a budget-friendly option, as it does not require any equipment besides a smartphone. Augmented reality apps are usually less expensive in development, although the experience is far less immersive than true virtual reality.
Samsung AR app
Samsung is a company that effectively utilized AR for onboarding and virtual team building, particularly for its Polish branch. With the onset of the pandemic and the need for remote employee onboarding, Samsung created a dedicated app to facilitate the process, with 4Experience being selected for the job. The app even won first place in a contest organized by Puls Biznesu, a prominent Polish business journal.
The Induction@Samsung app delivers crucial information to new joiners through easily understandable pictures and short videos. Moreover, the app includes an interactive AR game called Samsung Lighthouse, where players work together to construct a lighthouse that represents Samsung. This fosters good cooperation between players and is an excellent way to integrate new hires into the whole company culture.
Build awesome remote teams with innovative technology!
Let’s sum up what we discussed. So what makes virtual team building important?
Firstly, it helps to establish a sense of connection and camaraderie among team members who may be geographically dispersed. Secondly, virtual team building can help to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion, particularly for remote workers who may feel isolated or disconnected from their colleagues.
Finally, virtual team building can be a powerful tool for promoting employee engagement and loyalty. By investing in the development and well-being of your remote team members, you can help to create a culture of trust, respect and appreciation that will encourage them to stay with your organization for the long term.
Innovative technology can play a key role in virtual team building by providing tools and platforms that enable remote workers to connect like never before. Drop us a line if you’d like to find out how you can use VR and AR to develop truly unique virtual team-building activities for your company. One of our experts will schedule a free 60-minute consultation to discuss the exciting opportunities!