Teams come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s one thing that’s true for all of them - the more cohesive your team is, the more effective it will be. With teams becoming increasingly remote it’s never been more important to focus on building relationships with your colleagues. Feelings of loneliness and alienation are big issues facing remote workers. The great news is, team building exercises can be done frequently and painlessly.
So, what are some practical and easy ways to engage in team building that suit the modern work environment? In this article, I have listed some of the best ways that can break the ice in your team, improve trust and communication and build a more enjoyable and effective team environment.
If you’re looking for an online-based team building activity you can try Brightful Meeting Games.
Brightful is a cross-platform web app designed to build trust and communication in a fun and easy way.
One way to stop team building from getting stale is to have a wide variety of quick and easy activities to choose from. Below is a list of our personal favourite team-building exercises which can be done virtually over video conference.
Virtual Team Building Activities: Sortable List
Virtual Team Building Activities on Brightful
1 to 100 💯
An activity that tests your team’s collaborative and deduction skills. Everyone draws a ‘card’ with a number between 1 and 100 that only they can know. Everyone then gives clues about the topic chosen; not so obvious clues being ranked as smaller numbers, with more obvious clues being higher numbers. Once all the clues have been given, you and your team try to rank the order of clues from lowest to highest.
A classic team deduction game. Players take turns to act out words as best as they can, without saying anything to give hints as to what the words are. The other players take turns to guess what the word currently being acted out is, scoring points if they are successful.
Draw and Tell 🖍
Another activity for the artistic ones in your team, but without the competitive element of Pictionary/Draw It. Here, full attention is given to the drawing itself. Everyone draws something inspired by a prompt shown to express themselves artistically on their digital ‘canvas’. Once everyone is finished drawing, they are made visible to all players and each ‘artist’ gets to explain their drawing.
Draw It (Pictionary) 🖼️
A family game night favourite that can also serve as a great team-building exercise. Without verbally communicating, players take turns to draw out words as best they can, while others attempt to guess what the word is.
Gin Rummy ♣️
The classic card game and variant of another card game, Rummy. To get a detailed breakdown of how to play, you can read the rules of Gin Rummy here.
Guided Meditation 🌴
The perfect choice if you want an activity to conduct team bonding, with minimal effort. Sometimes all you need to bond as a team is to take a few minutes to relax and recompose yourselves. Select one of our many guided meditation soundtracks as relaxation, happiness, energy, or productivity boost.
Another classic card game that can serve as a fun team bonding activity. To get a full breakdown of the rules, read them here.
How good can you put up an act and not let others know who you truly are? Each person has a role that is prescribed to them at the start, with a ‘secret word ‘thrown in. The catch is, there is a word within your group that is impersonating the ‘secret word’. Depending on what is your assigned role, you have to try to eliminate your opponents without revealing your true identity, or secret word.
Question of the Day ❓
A quick but great activity to get everyone to think deeply. Everyone takes turns to give answers to questions that appear to them, roundtable-style. No limits on what you can or have to say; there are no wrong answers here!
A classic card game, this being the original that would later spawn the variant ‘Gin Rummy’. To get a full breakdown of the rules, read them here.
Spot My Lie 😅
Familiar for those who have played the classic group activity ‘Two Truths and a Lie’. Everyone provides two true answers and a fake answer to a question shown on screen. Once everyone submits their answers,
Nothing makes for a great team activity like a Trivia quiz. Choose from a wide variety of topics, or make your own Trivia questions, to test everyone’s knowledge!
Werewolf (Mafia) 🐺
You might have played this - or a variant of it while at summer camp. Fans of ‘Guess Who’ or ‘Among Us’ will find this group activity very fun to play. Players are assigned various roles, some of whom have special abilities, while a few are chosen to serve as the ‘werewolves’. The ‘werewolves’ must work together to ‘kill’ off all of the other players, while not blowing their cover. At the same time, players that are not a werewolf must try to figure out who the werewolves are before everyone else is killed.
Would You Rather 🤔
It’s not easy to take sides, but sometimes you have to do it. In Would You Rather, you are shown a hypothetical scenario with two pathways/sides. Everyone chooses which side they would rather take. Once everyone is finished voting, their results are shown and everyone takes time to discuss what led to their decision.
Yes or No 👍
It might seem like an easy activity at first, but it will require a lot of thinking! One player is given a secret word. Other players can queue up to take turns to ask what the word is, but the catch is: they can only ask questions that can be answered with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
More Resources to Power Up your Virtual Team Building
Virtual Team Meeting Software
While Zoom is the standard go-to team meeting software, there are plenty of other software options for video conferencing and telecommuting, whatever your needs or preferences may be.
Zoom: The no-brainer: works on any tablet, smartphone, or computer w/a webcam. Designed perfectly for team-building through its ‘breakout rooms’ feature.
Microsoft Teams: Most secure option, with tight security settings available to ensure your meeting is fully private.
Google Meet: Easy to set up and launch, especially if your team already uses Google Workspaces.
Skype: It’s still around, in case you forgot about it. Skype is still familiar for many to still use and has greater support for file transfers and downloads. Video calls can also be recorded for archival use.
Webex: Designed for enterprise users in mind.
Jitsi: Open source option and secure.
Jami: Peer-to-peer based, encrypted messaging/screen sharing and video calls.
Lifesize: Great if high-quality video is your main priority.
Talky: Great option for setting up a video chat quick and straight out of the box, no-frills. Creates a unique URL that can be shared with groups of up to 6 people.
Whereby: Host and run video conferences directly from your web browser. Features live brainstorming, emoji reactions, breakout rooms, and personalisation of your remote meeting room.
Tools for Teamwork and Collaboration
If you need ways to allow your entire team to work together seamlessly while working remotely, these have been time and tested to be excellent tools that will assist your remote team to be productive.
Slack: Synchronous messaging, files, calendars, audio calls, and more. Available on both desktops and as a mobile app for tablets/smartphones.
Trello: A great online resource to organise and manage projects on the go. Organize tasks/goals/objectives via categorised columns and ‘cards’.
Google Docs: Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. All saved and available to work on through the cloud. Great for groups who already use the Google app and services suite.
Zoho Docs: The same functionality and benefits of Google Docs, without the need for a Google account.
Ziteboard: For when you need a virtual whiteboard or online collaborative space. Great for live brainstorming, planning etc.
For more tips on how to manage remote teams, meetings and workflow, refer to our articles below.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 . I want to do a team-building activity but can’t set aside a lot of time to do one. Is it still possible to do a fulfilling team building activity?
Yes. Even when you are pressed for time, there are still plenty of virtual team-building exercises or activities you can do that can be set up and done in a few minutes.
2 . Why is virtual team building important?
Fostering social bonds among members of your team, along with offering opportunities for everyone to get to know one another in an environment outside of the working environment is crucial to ensure maximum productivity. Especially for new hires or people who find it difficult to break out of their comfort zone, there is only so much one can learn about everyone else within their group through basic introductions and daily work conversations/messages.
Activities like team-building exercises can facilitate this; offering a way for team members to interact directly with one another and have fun while they get a better understanding of what each person is like outside of their title.
3 . What are the advantages of doing virtual team building activities?
Virtual team building can be more beneficial than you might assume. Some of the benefits of doing these activities with your team, remote or in-person, include:
- Improved team collaboration through practice and application of collaborative skills
- Opportunity to practice good internal communication skills
- Job satisfaction
- Build a sense of team culture
- An increase in measurable retention among employees
- Employees learn more about themselves and their colleagues (through means they normally wouldn’t be able to within the office)
- A rise in general productivity
- Satisfied employees
- Improved relationships between management and employees
This is just a sample of the many positive outcomes of doing virtual team building.
4 . What types of virtual team building activities can I do?
Team building can range from more than just doing ‘trust falls’ at a conventional company retreat.
Nowadays with most team meetings taking place online, there are plenty of activities you can host and conduct with employees remotely. You can even incorporate video games to make things even more fun to play and get more of your team interested in participating.
5. How can I measure whether my virtual team building activity was successful?
One of the best ways to assess whether the activity was successful with your team is by asking them directly. Ask participants for honest feedback and critique to note down what made the activity successful, and areas of improvement to make the next team building activity more enjoyable.
In addition, if it's possible, you may be able to assess the activity’s success through general observations, noting participation and engagement amongst everyone.
Otherwise, assign someone else or a few others to observe and make mental notes as the activity runs. They can report back to you with their notes at a later time.