Remote work has become a norm. That means that the traditional aspect of work has changed completely. Remote teams may not gather together as much anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with your team. It just means you have to find a balance between working remotely and being interactive with colleagues. That’s where virtual team-building exercises come in! 

What is Virtual Team Building?

Virtual team building is about creating a human-to-human connection between your remote team members. Having these bonds can promote team unity and harmony, as well as increase productivity. Team bonding in any working environment is important. It’s essential to take some time out to build relationships with the people you work with be it virtually or in person. 

How To Do Team Building Virtually?

Going from working in person to remotely is a big shift for all working people as it impacts workplace interaction. As traditional work allows you to vocalise your thoughts and ideas easily whilst remote makes that a lot harder. The best way to make remote work last is to make sure the teams feel seen and heard literally, through virtual team-building exercises. 

It has been said that mutual respect and connection are important elements of a team’s success. Understanding each other on a personal level promotes more effective communication. Working from home can be really lonely and can sometimes lead to unproductivity. Not spending enough time at work can lead to fewer growth opportunities to form social bonds and trust with colleagues.

So how can we avoid such things from happening? Well, you just need to choose the right team-building exercises first. The technique or style can either be: 

Real-time vs Asynchronous: this identifies if the exercise needs to happen at the same time or can each member participate when they have the time.

Practical vs Just for Fun: does the exercise mean to be unproductive, or does it serve the purpose of developing social bonds and improving productivity in a more tangible way? 

Real-time team-building exercises:

  • Virtual lunches 
  • Icebreakers 
  • Book clubs 
  • Gift swapping

Asynchronous exercises: 

  • Social chat rooms or groups 
  • Team playlists 

Examples of “just for fun” exercises: 

  • Virtual lunches 
  • Group chats 

Practical exercises: 

  • Strengths finders 
  • How are you doing with chats 

These types have to be determined before deciding on team-building exercises for your 

teams. Businesses making use of virtual team building can be a positive thing as it consists of several exercises, games and strategies that are designed to bring colleagues together through virtual work. This designed working strategy will help your team connect with each other and make them feel like a part of a community. 

If this article has grabbed your attention, then sign up for more content on EWOR Platform 

10 Free Virtual Team Building Exercises to Try

Here are fun, quick, and free virtual team-building exercises that your team will love and enjoy. 

Card Games 

Type: Real-time, Just for Fun 

If your team enjoys classical games, then PlayingCards is the ideal platform for them. Playing Cards offers you all your favourite childhood games. All you have to do is create a ‘room’ share it with the rest of the team and choose games like: 

  • Crazy Eights 
  • Match Up
  • Go Fish 

An additional element to this would be to put your videos on while you play, as this would make more and you can see everyone’s reaction and smack talk. 

Kahoot! 

Type: real-time, just for fun, practical 

You can create an interactive question-and-answer presentation in minutes. Kahoot offers quizzes on different topics which include open-ended questions, polls, and word clouds. This online platform is meant for fun, as your questions should be upbeat and relevant to the business. Once the questions have been created, share your Kahoot! code with your team using any video conferencing platform and begin the fun. 

Coffee Breaks and Happy Hours 

Type: real-time, practical, just for fun

Schedule a 10-15 minute meet-up with all your team members to get to know each other, but refrain from work talk. Take these minutes to relax with your colleagues and find common interests. Then at the end of each month, plan a virtual happy hour when employees can feel more connected and engaged.    

Houseparty

Type: real-time, just for fun 

This platform exploded in popularity during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown all around the world. With House party, you can connect with your colleagues and play any game on the platform, such as Heads Up and Chips and Guac. 

Heads Up: This game was created by Ellen DeGeneres. Each player gets a turn to provide clues for a word that one tries to guess 

Chips & Guac: A word association game. You’ll need between three and eight players to play the game. 

Messy-Desk Photo Contest

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

At the office, you are normally compelled to keep your working space neat but at home that is another story. In your work platform, you can create a channel named ‘Messy-desk Fridays’ where each member can share their messy working space. This is a chance for everyone to be entertained. 

GIF Battles 

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

How this works is, you first need to open this link and invite your team members to join. Read the instructions for the game. 

The game has four rounds, each with a theme. You will make use of GIPHY or Google images to find a GIF that suits the theme in that round and attach it to a card. After everyone submits their GIF, those who submitted a GIF will vote for the best submission. The member with the most won rounds will be the winner and be named the Ultimate GIF Battle Champion of All Time. Think of the bragging rights! 

Recipe Swap

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

Deep down, everyone is a foodie! So why not incorporate something that has been known to bring people together, from food to team-building exercises? Start by asking each member of your team to share their favourite recipe to cook anything from breakfast and lunch to dinner, or dessert treats. Once submissions are in, challenge your colleagues to try one each week. The whole group can tackle the same recipe or try something else. Allocate a day like Fridays for everyone to share their experience of recipe swapping. 

Film Nights

Type: real-time, just for fun, asynchronous

Do you have television shows or films you still want to see? Then why not ask your colleagues to watch the same television programmes or film on the same evening and then discuss it the following day in a team meeting. Pick between a television show or film and then schedule a night where everyone is available to take part in Film Nights. Day of the discussion you can go over themes, and characters, and have a debate. This will create social interaction among colleagues. 

Mario Kart Tour 

Type: real-time, just for fun 

If there are members of your team who love Mario Kart Tour, then this virtual game is for them. This game is available for download on iPhones and Androids. With access to the game from your smartphone, you can take a 15-minute mental break with your team. Challenge up to seven colleagues to a friendly round of races. Pick your favourite character and have fun. Make sure the video chat room is open on your computer at the same time to get the full effect of the competition. 

Word Games

Type: real-time, just for fun

Are you good at spelling? Is there someone in your team who did Spelling Bees in school? Then this is a team-building exercise for them. Pick between games like: 

Scrabble Go: a classical game that has turned virtual, challenge your colleagues to this team-building exercise. 

Words with Friends: Challenge co-workers to wordplay as each member takes turns building words in a crossword puzzle style. 

Final Thoughts 

Just because your working structure has changed does not mean you cannot be sociable or grow connections with your fellow teammates. It just means that more needs to be done to ensure that people aren’t lonely and that work is still being met in time. Suggest some if not all the virtual team-building exercises mentioned and see what doing one exercise does to you and your teammates. Team-building exercises bring unity, interaction, connection, and fun for  everyone. 

Don’t Just Sit There! Join in Virtual Team Building Exercises

Remote work has become a norm. That means that the traditional aspect of work has changed completely. Remote teams may not gather together as much any more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with your team. It just means you have to find a balance between working remotely and being interactive with colleagues. That’s where virtual team-building exercises come in! 

What is Virtual Team Building?

Virtual team building is about creating a human-to-human connection between your remote team members. Having these bonds can promote team unity and harmony, as well as increase productivity. Team bonding in any working environment is important. It’s essential to take some time out to build relationships with the people you work with be it virtually or in person. 

How To Do Team Building Virtually?

Going from working in person to remotely is a big shift for all working people as it impacts workplace interaction. As traditional work allows you to vocalise your thoughts and ideas easily whilst remote makes that a lot harder. The best way to make remote work last is to make sure the teams feel seen and heard literally, through virtual team-building exercises. 

It has been said that mutual respect and connection are important elements of a team’s success. Understanding each other on a personal level promotes more effective communication. Working from home can be really lonely and can sometimes lead to unproductivity. Not spending enough time at work can lead to fewer growth opportunities to form social bonds and trust with colleagues.

So how can we avoid such things from happening? Well, you just need to choose the right team-building exercises first. The technique or style can either be: 

Real-time vs Asynchronous: this identifies if the exercise needs to happen at the same time or can each member participate when they have the time.

Practical vs Just for Fun: does the exercise mean to be unproductive, or does it serve the purpose of developing social bonds and improving productivity in a more tangible way? 

Real-time team-building exercises:

  • Virtual lunches 
  • Icebreakers 
  • Book clubs 
  • Gift swapping

Asynchronous exercises: 

  • Social chat rooms or groups 
  • Team playlists 

Examples of “just for fun” exercises: 

  • Virtual lunches 
  • Group chats 

Practical exercises: 

  • Strengths finders 
  • How are you doing with chats 

These types have to be determined before deciding on team-building exercises for your 

teams. Businesses making use of virtual team building can be a positive thing as it consists of several exercises, games and strategies that are designed to bring colleagues together through virtual work. This designed working strategy will help your team connect with each other and make them feel like a part of a community. 

If this article has grabbed your attention, then sign up for more content on EWOR Platform 

10 Free Virtual Team Building Exercises to Try

Here are fun, quick, and free virtual team-building exercises that your team will love and enjoy. 

Card Games 

Type: Real-time, Just for Fun 

If your team enjoys classical games, then PlayingCards is the ideal platform for them. Playing Cards offers you all your favourite childhood games. All you have to do is create a ‘room’ share it with the rest of the team and choose games like: 

  • Crazy Eights 
  • Match Up
  • Go Fish 

An additional element to this would be to put your videos on while you play, as this would make more and you can see everyone’s reaction and smack talk. 

Kahoot! 

Type: real-time, just for fun, practical 

You can create an interactive question-and-answer presentation in minutes. Kahoot offers quizzes on different topics which include open-ended questions, polls, and word clouds. This online platform is meant for fun, as your questions should be upbeat and relevant to the business. Once the questions have been created, share your Kahoot! code with your team using any video conferencing platform and begin the fun. 

Coffee Breaks and Happy Hours 

Type: real-time, practical, just for fun

Schedule a 10-15 minute meet-up with all your team members to get to know each other, but refrain from work talk. Take these minutes to relax with your colleagues and find common interests. Then at the end of each month, plan a virtual happy hour when employees can feel more connected and engaged.    

Houseparty

Type: real-time, just for fun 

This platform exploded in popularity during the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown all around the world. With House party, you can connect with your colleagues and play any game on the platform, such as Heads Up and Chips and Guac. 

Heads Up: This game was created by Ellen DeGeneres. Each player gets a turn to provide clues for a word that one tries to guess 

Chips & Guac: A word association game. You’ll need between three and eight players to play the game. 

Messy-Desk Photo Contest

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

At the office, you are normally compelled to keep your working space neat but at home that is another story. In your work platform, you can create a channel named ‘Messy-desk Fridays’ where each member can share their messy working space. This is a chance for everyone to be entertained. 

GIF Battles 

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

How this works is, you first need to open this link and invite your team members to join. Read the instructions for the game. 

The game has four rounds, each with a theme. You will make use of GIPHY or Google images to find a GIF that suits the theme in that round and attach it to a card. After everyone submits their GIF, those who submitted a GIF will vote for the best submission. The member with the most won rounds will be the winner and be named the Ultimate GIF Battle Champion of All Time. Think of the bragging rights! 

Recipe Swap

Type: Asynchronous, just for fun 

Deep down, everyone is a foodie! So why not incorporate something that has been known to bring people together, from food to team-building exercises? Start by asking each member of your team to share their favourite recipe to cook anything from breakfast and lunch to dinner, or dessert treats. Once submissions are in, challenge your colleagues to try one each week. The whole group can tackle the same recipe or try something else. Allocate a day like Fridays for everyone to share their experience of recipe swapping. 

Film Nights

Type: real-time, just for fun, asynchronous

Do you have television shows or films you still want to see? Then why not ask your colleagues to watch the same television programmes or film on the same evening and then discuss it the following day in a team meeting. Pick between a television show or film and then schedule a night where everyone is available to take part in Film Nights. Day of the discussion you can go over themes, and characters, and have a debate. This will create social interaction among colleagues. 

Mario Kart Tour 

Type: real-time, just for fun 

If there are members of your team who love Mario Kart Tour, then this virtual game is for them. This game is available for download on iPhones and Androids. With access to the game from your smartphone, you can take a 15-minute mental break with your team. Challenge up to seven colleagues to a friendly round of races. Pick your favourite character and have fun. Make sure the video chat room is open on your computer at the same time to get the full effect of the competition. 

Word Games

Type: real-time, just for fun

Are you good at spelling? Is there someone in your team who did Spelling Bees in school? Then this is a team-building exercise for them. Pick between games like: 

Scrabble Go: a classical game that has turned virtual, challenge your colleagues to this team-building exercise. 

Words with Friends: Challenge co-workers to wordplay as each member takes turns building words in a crossword puzzle style. 

Final Thoughts 

Just because your working structure has changed does not mean you cannot be sociable or grow connections with your fellow teammates. It just means that more needs to be done to ensure that people aren’t lonely, and that work is still being met in time. Suggest some if not all the virtual team-building exercises mentioned and see what doing one exercise does to you and your teammates. Team-building exercises bring unity, interaction, connection, and fun for everyone.

About the author
EWOR Team

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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