Remote work offers many advantages, including the ability to work from anywhere and set up your own schedule.
However, it also comes with a significant drawback: a lack of social connection. 55% of remote employees report experiencing recurrent feelings of loneliness during their workday.
This is why companies should integrate virtual team building as part of the remote and hybrid teamwork experience. Virtual team-building activities are a fun way to help remote employees build relationships, despite the often thousands of miles that separate them from their coworkers.
As a result, team-building activities create a more engaged and happy remote and hybrid workforce.
This article will explore some of the best virtual team-building activities to help remote and hybrid employees feel more connected.
Quick Summary: Hybrid employees often struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness, which they can often overcome with virtual team-building activities. These activities aim to help hybrid workers get to know each other better, build relationships, and feel more connected.
The benefits of virtual team-building include a stronger company culture, a sense of community, and improved employee morale and company performance.
Virtual team-building activities include online games, remote workshops, employee bonding activities, show-and-tell sessions, picture-sharing sessions, and special company events.
Here are the best virtual team-building activities that hybrid companies can implement:
4. “Who’s the Baby?”
17. Open Mic
30. Virtual Bingo
34. Donut Calls
Let’s jump into the details!
Virtual team games give remote employees a fun break from work. And many of them are completely free!
Note, however, that while virtual games are fun, you don’t want to distract your employees while they’re still in the middle of work. So the ideal time to host these activities with your remote employees is after they’ve finished their work for the day.
Remote workshops help remote employees learn new skills — and even discover new passions — virtually. Examples of a remote workshop include a cooking workshop or a yoga session.
Bonding activities aim to help remote employees get to know each other on a more personal level. They create a more casual environment where employees can talk about whatever they want and meet their fellow coworkers, just as they would in a traditional work environment.
Show-and-tell sessions allow remote employees to show their unique skills, interests, and talents to their team members. They help create a work environment in which employees can be themselves and share aspects of their lives with their coworkers.
You can organize a special company event to announce essential updates in your company, recognize remote team employees, or celebrate special occasions. An example of a special company event could be celebrating an upcoming holiday, such as the Fourth of July, with your team.
This activity requires each employee to share a picture with your team via video conference or the workplace communication tool your company uses. Typically, these pictures are personal to your employees and are a way for them to share little bits of their lives with their coworkers.
Here is a list of 37 virtual team-building activities you can try out to make your remote team feel more connected and help them build better relationships:
This activity aims to get remote employees to know each other better through fun facts.
This is a great bonding activity, as employees can share funny or interesting stories about their personal lives.
Each employee must make three statements about themselves. As the name of the game suggests, two of them have to be true and one of them false.
The rest of the team then has to guess which statement is the false one. Here are a couple of two truths, one lie examples you can use for inspiration:
“I’ve lived in three countries (true), I have one cat (true), and I’ve done bungee jumping before (false).”
“I’ve skydived before (true), I’ve talked to Keanu Reeves (true), and my favorite color is blue (false).”
“I know how to headspin (true), I went on a one-year gap year in India (true), and I speak four languages (false).”
A simple way to engage your remote team is to have them all play a game of virtual Pictionary. Just like playing this game in real life, a remote employee picks out a card with a word and then draws it out for the others to guess.
First, share with your team access to your Pictionary tool of choice. During the virtual activity, the tool will generate random words that the employees will have to draw in front of the others.
The employees will take turns drawing out the random word on a piece of paper and screen-sharing their drawing for everyone else to see. The rest of the team will then have to guess what the drawings represent.
The remote employee with the most correct guesses wins.
Watch the video below that explains further how to play Pictionary.
Music is an excellent way to help your remote team members bond. As its name suggests, the “Name That Song” challenge involves playing a song in the background that the employees will then have to guess the title of.
Prepare a list of songs with the music-guessing tool of your choice. Next, divide your team into different groups.
Then, play a song. Each team will then have 15 seconds to guess the song’s name.
The team with the most correct guesses wins.
This virtual activity is a fun way for remote employees to share childhood memories through baby pictures. It will surely bring out some laughs from your employees and brighten their mood.
Each person on your video call must provide a baby picture. The leader of the activity then shares the photos individually, and the employees match each photo to the correct person.
Virtual lunch sessions allow employees to eat together during their lunch break, just like they would in a traditional work setting. This gives employees an opportunity to relax, eat their food, and get to know their remote coworkers better.
As a bonus, you could offer gift cards to your remote employees on platforms such as Uber Eats and Doordash to encourage them to have more virtual lunches.
Find a time that fits each team member’s schedule to have a lunch meeting. Next, schedule the virtual lunch with your fellow team members so you can eat together and chat.
During this challenge, a leader displays a picture of each employee’s home office, and the remote employees guess to whom the office belongs.
Ask each of your remote employees to share a picture of their home office with you. Then, during your next meeting call, display each picture one by one. Everyone on the call must make a guess as to whom the workstation belongs.
In this fun virtual game, employees work together, completing puzzles to escape from a “room” such as a cabin or prison. This type of activity allows employees to collaborate, work on a common challenge, and have fun at the same time.
Run a survey to ask your remote employees which type of virtual escape room game they’re most interested in. You can easily create surveys with a hybrid work management solution such as OfficeRnD Hybrid.
Next, find a time to organize your virtual escape via a web conference.
Before you start the virtual escape room session, split the employees into different teams. Then, following the instructions, each team must beat the escape room challenge as quickly as possible. The team that “escapes” first wins the game.
A virtual movie night is similar to a movie night with friends, except everything is done remotely. It’s a fun way to spend time outside of work and make sure everyone on your team has a good time in front of some entertainment.
Run a poll with your team to determine which type of movie they’d like to see and pick a date for the screening. Next, find a time when you can host the movie screening via a web conference for everyone to watch together.
In a traditional work environment, employees may talk about their favorite TV shows or movies. This activity allows employees to take a break from work and talk about pop culture in a more casual environment.
Before your call, get everyone on your remote team to share pictures of characters from their favorite TV shows or movies.
Create a slideshow displaying all the pictures you received. Then, via a video call, the remote employees can guess from which show or movie each character is from.
The employee with the most correct guesses wins.
For a nice, positive break for your remote employees during their workday, consider creating a “things that make me happy” channel on Slack or whichever communication tool you use.
On this channel, employees can share anything that puts a smile on their faces, such as memes, funny things they notice in their day-to-day lives, or entertaining Youtube videos.
Create a designated channel in which employees can share things that put them in a good mood or warm their hearts. Employees will be able to check the channel out whenever they need some good laughs and positive energy throughout their workday.
In this activity, employees can debate a subject of their choice in a safe environment. This is a perfect virtual activity if you have people on your team who are passionate about certain topics and hold strong opinions.
Run a poll to see which of your remote employees would be interested in participating in a virtual debate club. Next, find a time to schedule your virtual debate that fits the schedules of everyone who agreed to participate.
Make sure to have a moderator during your virtual debate club sessions. Also, try to avoid anything too controversial that could create tension between employees and divide your team instead of helping them bond.
Virtual karaoke is a fun way for your employees to express themselves through music. Remote employees don’t even need a perfect singing voice to enjoy this virtual team-building activity.
Agree on a time with your team to set up the virtual karaoke session. Next, choose the karaoke app you want to use for the virtual activity meeting, along with the playlist you want to choose from.
Personality tests help employees get to know their strengths and weaknesses. They’re a way for your team to get to know each other better and determine how personalities differ across your team.
Ask each employee to complete a personality test with the tool of your choice. Then, at your next meeting, let them each share their test results with their coworkers.
To help your remote team members celebrate the upcoming weekend, you can host a Friday virtual happy hour where the team gets together to relax and enjoy some drinks.
Agree on a time when your team can meet each Friday. Then, schedule weekly Zoom calls during which everyone can get together and chat over some drinks.
A virtual talent show allows employees to express themselves to other team members by showcasing their special skills. For example, they might be able to do some cool dance moves or play an instrument.
First, give your employees time to prepare for the virtual talent show. Make sure that you make the announcement at least one month in advance so the employees can decide on what they want to present.
Ask the remote employees to record a video of themselves showcasing their talent, and set a date and time for the virtual talent show. During your video conference of the event, share the videos your employees submitted one by one.
A nice way to have fun with an energetic, extroverted team is to host a 30-minute party where you put on some music and let everyone dance to it. You can host this event once a month with your company as a special event.
It’s worth noting, though, that this might not be the best virtual team-building activity for more introverted employees. So make sure you don’t force anyone to participate if they don’t want to!
First, find a time for the virtual dance party that fits your remote team’s schedule. Next, find a live stream DJ on Twitch with music that each participant can play in their home so everyone can dance to the same music.
Virtual open mic sessions help employees to have some fun by allowing them to express themselves in front of their coworkers however they’d like. They can use this activity as an opportunity to do some stand-up comedy, recite poetry, or do anything else they’d like.
Run a poll with your team to identify which of your remote employees would be interested in your virtual open mic sessions. Then, book a time for the session that would fit everyone’s schedule.
You can decide whether you want to adopt a theme for your open mic session (such as poetry or comedy) or let employees present whatever they want.
This virtual team-building activity allows you to test your remote team’s US geography skills in the form of a game.
Before your virtual meeting, prepare photos of different state maps in the US. Next, create a slideshow that you can present to showcase these maps in your next meeting.
Your employees will then have to guess the US state from each map shown on the screen. The person with the most correct guesses wins the game.
Virtual cooking classes can make the remote work experience more fun by allowing employees to learn some new recipes at home.
Run a pool with your remote team to decide on which recipe they’d like to learn. Then, organize a time that fits your team’s schedule for hosting your virtual cooking class together.
Do any of your remote team members have a passion for reading?
If so, consider hosting a virtual book club session. During this session, remote employees can share reviews of books they read recently with their coworkers.
These virtual book club sessions should be 100% voluntary for remote employees. Ask your team to see if anyone would be interested in meeting up once a month to discuss a book they recently read.
Next, host monthly meetings for remote team members who want to participate in this book club.
In this virtual game, remote employees have to work together to solve a murder. This game will test your employees’ analysis and collaboration skills in the face of challenges and is a fun way to spend time outside of work.
Run a poll with your team to see which murder mystery they want to play. Next, open the game during a video conference and solve the mystery together before time runs out.
A rose, thorn, and bud icebreaker session allows remote employees to share their accomplishments with others and any challenges they’re experiencing.
This session is a way of letting your employees be vulnerable around others in a non-judgmental environment. It’ll also help your employees improve their sense of empathy toward others.
Each employee shares a rose (a win), a thorn (any negative news or challenges they’re experiencing), and a bud (something new they’d like to work on). Give each employee around two minutes to talk.
You can also choose the types of challenges you’d like your team members to share. They can be either company-related or personal.
Encourage employees to share little bits of their lives through pictures. They can be pictures of their hobbies, their pets, or the TV shows they’re watching, for example.
This adds a human side to your workplace communication and makes the remote experience feel more personal.
Create a designated Slack channel where employees can share pictures of things going on in their lives. Encourage your team members to drop comments on the pictures to increase engagement.
Sitting down too much and not getting enough physical activity can lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
Online workout sessions can help remote team members stay active throughout their workday. In addition to helping keep them healthy, workout sessions can improve their productivity, as healthy employees are less likely to call in sick from work.
Schedule a time for your workout session with your team. Then, pick an online fitness class with the online workout platform of your choice and host the class via video conference.
Virtual travel tours allow you to explore a new destination with your team from the comfort of your own home.
Run a poll to help your team decide which country, city, or place they’d like to explore. Next, organize a time that works for everyone and host the virtual tour together via a video conference call.
During knowledge-sharing sessions, employees discuss a topic that’s close to them with other team members. This could be any hobby or topic they’re passionate about, such as environmental activism.
Let your team members know about your upcoming knowledge-sharing session one week ahead so they have time to prepare. Then, during a video conference, allow each employee to share their knowledge on their topic of choice.
Virtual charades are a great way to give your employees some good laughs while they work together as a team. During the game, a remote team member acts out a word or phrase that the others must guess.
During your charade game split your remote team into two groups. Next, choose one of the word generator tools to generate a word.
During the video call, delegate someone to act out the charade while the rest of the team guesses what the word or phrase is. Set a timer for 40 seconds per word to give your team members enough time to guess. The team with the most correct guesses wins.
Mental health can be difficult to maintain when you’re at home working all the time. A virtual meditation session can help remote employees destress, ultimately creating a company culture that promotes mental health.
Many companies, such as Twello, offer professional meditation sessions for corporate companies you can host from home.
Run a poll to determine whether any of your remote team members would be interested in a virtual meditation session. Next, find a time that fits your team’s schedule. Lastly, host the meditation session.
According to the 2022 Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce, 72% of employees say that feeling appreciated improves their mood during their work.
Employee recognition meetings show remote employees how grateful you are that they’re on your team. They provide them with encouragement, which motivates them to work even harder on future projects.
Agree on a time that works for everyone to host an employee recognition meeting once a month. Before the meeting, ask your remote employees to find five positive adjectives to describe their team members.
During the web conference, read aloud what each team member had to say about their coworkers.
During a Bingo game, employees must try to match numbers in different arrangements on a card. There are many online tools you can use to host a Bingo game virtually.
Set up the virtual Bingo tool you’ll be using for your conference meeting. Distribute the virtual cards to your team members, and divide your employees into different breakout rooms. The first team that completes a row wins.
Icebreaker questions are random questions that employees answer to get to know each other better. They are a simple and engaging way to better understand your remote employees’ personalities.
Schedule a video conference with your team members. During the meeting, use the icebreaker question tool of your choice to generate questions that team members can answer.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this virtual activity, remote employees take a picture of something that means a lot to them and share a story about it with their coworkers.
Ask each of your remote employees to share a picture of something that’s important to them with you. Then, with your slideshow presentation tool, go through each photo in a video conference and ask each remote employee to share their story about their photo.
In a traditional work environment, you can customize your office with holiday-themed decor to get people in a festive spirit.
While this isn’t possible in a remote work setting, you can still celebrate special holiday events with your team through themed virtual calls. This is a great way of getting everyone in the holiday spirit.
Schedule a video conference meeting for special events throughout the year, such as Halloween and Christmas. Encourage your remote employees to decorate their homes according to whatever holiday they’re celebrating.
Workplace platform Slack has a 100% free feature called the Donut Bot, which allows team members to set up video calls and have non-work-related discussions with each other.
Install Donut as part of Slack. Before the call, it’d be helpful if each participant prepared a list of questions that they could ask the others.
During a virtual scavenger hunt, remote employees must solve a puzzle or find items before time runs out. This activity is a good way to incorporate some fun competition into your remote work environment.
Decide on a virtual scavenger game you want to play with your team. On a video conference call, create split sessions for different teams, and set a timer for the game. The team that collects the most items before time runs out wins.
Getting to work with other people, even if it’s virtual, helps motivate remote employees to stay on top of their tasks. Virtual coworking allows employees to work together remotely and stay productive.
Create a channel on Slack called #coworking with a link to a virtual coworking video session that employees can join at any time.
An excellent virtual team-building activity to make your remote team members feel more connected to your company is to host a weekly or monthly coffee hour with the CEO.
During this time, remote team members that have time to join the call can ask any questions they want about what’s happening within the company. This is also an opportunity for the CEO to meet and welcome remote employees who recently joined the company.
Make sure to touch base with your CEO to find a time in their likely busy schedule when they can host the coffee hour. Once you agree on a time, schedule a weekly meeting with a link that employees can click on to join the call.
Virtual team building comes with a multitude of benefits for remote and hybrid employees — and this extends to your company’s overall growth.
Let’s take a detailed look at some of these advantages.
It’s hard to build relationships with coworkers who live thousands of miles away from you — but it’s essential to a cohesive team.
In a study of 1,000 full-time employees, 96% believe that team bonding improves their relationships with their coworkers, and 68% of remote employees think that social connections are essential during their workday.
Virtual team-building helps recreate the camaraderie found in a traditional work environment, where employees spend every work day in the office.
With virtual team-building activities, remote and hybrid employees (no matter their generation) can improve their collaboration skills and may even become more comfortable expressing themselves.
These activities allow employees to get to know their coworkers better (and outside of a work context) so they’re more than just people on a screen.
As a result, that boosts collaboration and productivity.
Loneliness can negatively impact remote employees’ health and morale. According to the National Institutes of Health, lonely people are more likely to feel pessimistic and less likely to be happy.
And older adult employees are at greater risk: the CDC notes that loneliness increases the risk of heart disease by 29%, the risk of stroke by 35%, and the risk of dementia by 50%.
Virtual team-building activities help remote employees feel less alone during their workdays, reducing stress as a result and ultimately helping to improve the team’s mental and physical health as a whole.
Having a strong company culture is important for companies looking to hire new talent. According to a survey by Indeed, 46% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before deciding whether to apply.
Virtual team-building improves remote company culture by building a sense of community. It keeps everyone on your team engaged and aligned, even with the often large distances that separate them.
Research from The Manifest shows that 70% of job seekers want to work for a company that makes an effort towards diversity. And if your company is hybrid or remote, it’s likely you’ll have employees who live in countries and time zones other than your own.
Virtual team-building activities provide an opportunity for employees to connect with coworkers across different time zones and perhaps even discover new cultures — ultimately helping create a more diverse corporate environment.
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that your virtual team-building activity is a success:
Before you start organizing a great virtual team-building activity, be sure to have the proper technology setup to host that activity effectively.
For example, you’ll need a joint calendar tool so that you know at which times your employees are available for the virtual team-building activity.
Other important tools include a web conferencing platform to host your virtual event and workplace communication software for better communication with colleagues.
Don’t forget to follow proper calendar invite etiquette when sending invites to all participants.
Next, reach out to your employees to see which activities they’d prefer to do. You can uncover this information by sending them a poll or survey on the types of activities they like doing the best.
Based on the results of your poll or survey, pick a list of activities to host, focusing on the ones that had the most votes. You could also divide your remote employees into different groups based on the activities they prefer.
The last step is to pick a time that fits everyone’s schedule for your virtual team-building activity. Make sure that you’re considerate of different time zones, especially if you have remote employees who live overseas.
It’s common for remote employees to feel lonely. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can work to keep them engaged with virtual team-building activities.
Virtual team-building activities help remote employees build strong relationships with each other. This will help them feel less lonely and more connected — and will likely improve your overall company culture as a result.
To get started with virtual team-building activities, start with simple and free ones, such as donut calls.
If you have a hybrid team, there will be times when your employees will want to bond with their teammates in real life by working in the office. That’s why OfficeRnD Hybrid provides various collaboration-boosting features that can help build a better hybrid workplace and team spirit.
For example, the system will show you who’s present in the office at any given time, along with the space they booked. The hybrid workplace management software also makes it easy for hybrid employees to invite their coworkers to join them in the office.
Challenges with virtual team-building include communication between members living in different time zones, a lack of social connections, and difficulty collaborating.
For many virtual teams, remote work can’t recreate the same feeling they get in a traditional work environment. This is the reason many remote workplaces decide to invest in virtual team-building activities to boost employee morale and engagement.
Virtual team-building activities can be done through various group games, challenges, and exercises via platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. Some examples of virtual team-building activities include icebreaker questions, virtual campfires, and group fitness classes. It is important to help remote teams feel seen and heard, and to directly address the challenges of a dispersed workforce.
The 50 states challenge is a team-building activity that involves testing the knowledge of team members on the 50 states of the United States. The challenge can be done in various ways, such as naming all 50 states, identifying the state capital, or finding the states on a map.
Virtual team building involves hosting different activities to help develop stronger relationships between remote employees.
Virtual team building improves your remote team’s communication and collaboration skills. At the same time, it helps them become friends with each other, even if they live in completely different time zones.
The different types of virtual activities you can host include the following:
It depends on the type of virtual activity that you’re hosting. Typically, if you have more than 20 participants, then it’s best to split the activity into different teams with breakout sessions.
The benefits of virtual team building include a more engaged workforce, less loneliness among remote employees, and better productivity. As a result, you’ll be better able to retain employees in your remote or hybrid company.
Virtual team-building activities also help create a better company culture, attracting new talent to your team.
It depends on the virtual team building you’re planning to host. In general, though, you’ll need a web conferencing platform, workplace communication software, and joint calendars to determine your remote team’s availability.
You’ll also have to download special software to run certain activities, such as virtual games, with your team.
A lot of virtual team-building activities don’t require much money to get started with. Our recommended ideas for free virtual team-building activities you can try include donut water cooler talks, virtual book clubs, Bingo, virtual coworking, and icebreaker questions.
One way is to do a quick quiz about company procedures, some of the meeting’s attendees, or other light-hearted subjects. Another way is to hold a meeting outside, if possible. You can also start a meeting with a virtual icebreaker game, such as Two Truths and a Lie, or by having each team member share their favorite meme or GIF. Finally, you can start a meeting with a quick dance party or stretch break to get everyone energized and ready to focus.
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