One of the most important things for teams of any size is to build connections. But if your team is all over the world, like ours, how do you get them to create strong working relationships? The answer is virtual team building activities.
Team building for remote teams can be done over video calls, messaging apps, or email. There are options that don’t take too much time, and games that can last an entire month. And for many of the ideas available, you can customize them to fit your team’s size, interests, and availability.
Here’s our favorite list of team building and ice-breaking activities that you can do virtually.
Read more on how we collaborate remotely using Google Docs.
Easy Remote Team Building Activities
If your team is new to remote-working, or you have quite a new team, these simple and easy ice-breaker activities are sure to get the ball rolling with fun and communication.
Duration: ±5 mins per team member
What’s Needed: Every team member on a video call
Great For: Staying on the same page with your team
A meeting at the beginning of the week can really help start things off on a productive note, and ensure the entire team is aligned and knows what’s going on and where to prioritize. We have a meeting every Monday, where we keep everyone on track with what has to get done, what our goals are, and any important announcements.
To help get the team involved, you can introduce a quick minute (or five) for each person to share one thing that went well in the last week & one goal for the new week. It’s nice for remote teams to stay in the loop with what each other is doing, and where each person’s priorities for the week are.
Alternatively, you can choose one question from a list of icebreaker questions for everyone to answer each week/once a month.
Duration: 10 – 60 mins
What’s Needed: A stretching/yoga video
Great For: Teams who need a bit of activity in their days
If you’re a remote team, chances are that everyone is spending a lot of time sitting. This can be bad for your health, so why not get the whole team moving a bit? You can find quick lunchtime stretches on YouTube – or make a once a week yoga session.
This would be great to get everyone involved, and you can do sessions on Zoom or Google Meet and help everyone feel less alone in their exercising. If some members feel uncomfortable, let them keep their videos off – but encourage them to take part and reap the health benefits.
Typing Speed Race
Duration: 1 – 3 minutes each
What’s Needed: A typing test program – like typingtest.com
Great For: Teams who need to be fast-fingered and enjoy a competition
This game is great to exercise those fingers and add a little bit of a competitive streak. Get the whole team to do a typing test (make sure everyone is doing the same one) and then everyone shares their scores and the fastest person is the winner. It’s most fun if you set aside ± 10 minutes on a specific day for everyone to take part.
You can keep a leader board and perhaps even have a prize, like sending a virtual coffee or giving the winner a half-day to rest those fingers. Once everyone has had a little practice, you can also create online typing relays, where you divide the team into smaller, equal teams and everyone adds up their scores. The team with the best score wins.
Tip: This activity also allows you to see who can type the fastest, so if you need something done with speed, you’ll know who to go to.
Duration: 10 – 30 mins
What’s Needed: You can pick your test
Great For: Getting to know your team better
Personality quizzes are intuitive and fun – and you’d be surprised at how accurate they can be. You can send the entire team the same link and everyone does the quiz. Then you can all share your results. It’s interesting to see what type of personality each person has – and who is the same/complete opposite.
Some of these quizzes also give insights into a person’s working personality, ideal career, and perfect positions in a job. They can be fun to share, but also great to read in order to discover strengths and weaknesses.
Some great options include:
Zoom Teambuilding Activity and Games
These are all fun activities and games that you can play as a team online. Zoom has become a popular option, but we often use Google Meet, and there are others that may work better for you. As long as everyone can hear and see each other, you’ll be able to try these games out on any online call.
Duration: 30 – 60 mins
What’s Needed: A list of scavenger hunt items (can be written or search online)
Great For: Teams who know each other, and just want to have some fun
This game can be done in a few ways, so it can be tailored to your team and their abilities. You could all join a call, split into groups, share a list of items, and then set a time limit for the team to find as many of the items as possible. The teams should take a couple of minutes to split the list.
Or you could send the list out in advance and give the teams ±20 minutes to find the items before jumping on a call and seeing who managed to find everything. These can be themed, and you can assign new partners each time to give everyone a chance at working with new people.
MTV Cribs: Remote Team Edition
Duration: 15 – 30 mins
What’s Needed: Video capabilities
Great For: Teams who are happy to share their personal spaces.
If your team grew up watching this show, it’ll be a fun touch of nostalgia added to their workdays. A remote-working version can include a live video call with the entire team or a recorded video shared in a messaging app.
Assign one team member a week, or month if it’s easier, and let them show you around their houses. Give them notice so that they can tidy up though! They can then take the entire team on a home tour, showing their working space, lunchroom (kitchen), and even backyard. This is also a great opportunity for everyone to meet each other’s pets!
Duration: You can select a time limit
What’s Needed: Google Sheets
Great For: Technically-minded teams
We use Google Sheets a lot, as most of our clients will know, and that has led to some of the team building impressive skills. This virtual hackathon can be a fun way to explore skills and create something really neat.
All you need is Google Sheets and a theme. You’ll give the team a theme or a challenge and they’ll have to create the ‘solution’ using only Sheets. This can also be done in smaller groups of ±3 people, which will help everyone learn and cooperate. This is completely free, and again you can arrange for a prize of some sort for the winners.
Some very cool ideas we stumbled upon:
- Design a choose your own adventure story.
- Create a beat-box harmony using sound scripts.
- Compete to reproduce the best pixel-art Mona Lisa.
- Build a tool that someone would pay at least $5 to use.
- Make a recipe generator.
- Automatically sort lists of virtual coffee break ideas.
Duration: 25-30 minutes
What’s Needed: Paper and pen or a computer drawing program
Great For: A bigger team of creative thinkers (and Shark Tank fans)
This is very similar to the show Shark Tank and will tap into each team member’s creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. The game can be more than just fun because you could use it to find new ideas for the company as well.
Sort the entire team into small groups of 2 – 6 people and give them a task. They should either be coming up with something new and innovative for the company or an imaginative idea for themselves. You can also have them base ideas around certain charities that your company supports.
You’ll need ‘sharks’ to judge each group’s projects and select those that deserve investments (winners).
Weekly Team Building Games
Duration: 30 – 60 mins
What’s Needed: A list of games you’d like to play
Great For: A fun wind-down time
If you’re looking for something simple yet fun, you can carve out some time each week – or once a month – and simply do an online games session. This can be made up of a list of games, and inviting team members to share game ideas is a good way to get everyone involved.
Find the best games that fit your team, encourage everyone to grab snacks, and then commit to 30 mins – an hour of pure fun. The games should, of course, be inclusive and easy to do online. But there are also many adaptations for even the most classic games like charades.
Bucket List Challenge
Duration: 10 – 15 minutes
What’s Needed: Each team member should have a written bucket list of 3 – 5 things
Great For: An ice breaker – as well as a new way to know your colleagues
This is especially amazing if you’re a team of travel-loving workers. For the challenge, everyone should share a few things that are on their bucket list. This can be long-term or short term things – from visiting a new place to running a marathon.
You can also get everyone to pick something they want to achieve/do in the near future and have an accountability system. Or, if you’re wanting to make this more of a creative experience, ask everyone to compile their lists into presentations, adding images as well. This is kind of like making vision boards, and so can have double the effect.
Ongoing Virtual Team Building Exercises
These activities can be done for a week, a month, or a year. They’re flexible and allow you to continue for as long as it works for the team. They’re awesome for quieter periods in the company, or perhaps as end-of-year entertainment to keep up morale.
Duration: Ongoing – but activities take 15-30 minutes
What’s Needed: Slack extension
Great For: Larger teams who may not be able to meet each other
This is an app that works with Slack (our preferred messaging platform). It gets added to a channel and every 1 – 4 weeks it pairs up everyone in that channel. Once the team members are paired up, they’re encouraged to spend some time getting to know each other outside of ‘work.’
This can mean a 15-minute video call, a couple of messages throughout the week, or a coffee date if possible. With teams not being in an office, it can be tricky to get to know each other on a more personal level, especially if people are integrated into the team without physically meeting anyone else.
Donut helps with this – creating a virtual lunchroom/water cooler and the pairing up makes things easier for those who are shy or feel intimidated by older teams.
Words with Friends
What’s Needed: Install the app
Great For: Word nerds
This is quite a cool game, especially for our team, since a lot of us write content all day. Each member needs to have the app installed (it’s available on Android and IOS) and then everyone gets paired up. The game is very much like an online scrabble – you have to make great words with the tiles you’re given.
The game goes on until the moves are done, but if one player doesn’t make any moves in a couple of days, the other player wins by default. You could have weekly or monthly challenges, and then find new partners once those are done. A leader board can be fun as well, and keep everyone interested.
Renegade Garden Collective
Duration: One month recommended
What’s Needed: Fruit & veg seeds, somewhere to plant
Great For: Green-fingered teams and those wanting eco-friendly options
This is an awesome one to do in season, where each team member gets the chance to grow their own food-bearing plant. You could hold a webinar beforehand, offering some tips on which seeds to plant and how to take care of them.
Each team member then plants a seed (or seeds) in a pot and at the end of the month, you can hold a judging ceremony on who’s done the best. Weekly updates can also be fun, and remind those who aren’t yet great plant parents to water their gardens.
Plan Your Next Remote Team Building Activity
Whether you’re looking for 5-minute team building activities or games that can be continued for weeks, there are options for everyone. The above list is extensive, and each activity can still be tailored to your own company.
Now there’s no excuse for teams to miss out on team bonding activities – even if you are all in different cities or countries.
Tammi is excited by new opportunities and forward-thinking ideas. When she’s not working on passion projects, or adding new books to her TBR list, you’ll find her gathering quirky notebooks and pens from Typo and enjoying good coffee at every chance she gets.
- Easy Remote Team Building Activities
- Weekly Meeting
- Typing Speed Race
- Personality-Type Tests
- Zoom Teambuilding Activity and Games
- Scavenger Hunt
- MTV Cribs: Remote Team Edition
- Spreadsheet Wars
- Shark Teams
- Weekly Team Building Games
- Bucket List Challenge
- Ongoing Virtual Team Building Exercises
- Donut Conversation
- Words with Friends
- Renegade Garden Collective
- Plan Your Next Remote Team Building Activity