32 virtual team building activities to engage your remote team (80-101)
Updated: May 15, 2020
This is the 8th and last part of our series 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok and we have shortlisted 32 of the best team building activities for remote workers.
In case you have missed the previous 7 parts of the blog post, follow the links below:
How to build a high-performing team during Covid-19 curfew.
If working from home has not become commonplace, with the coronavirus pandemic that spread around the globe in the 1st quarter of 2020, the concept of remote office has certainly spiked interest among the business community in Bangkok and around the world.
Working from home has many benefits, including increased productivity, less commuting stress, and a better work life balance. It is estimated that the average worker spends 2.5 hrs. per day in Bangkok traffic jams. Time that can better be spent at home, with family, friends, doing sport and yoga, to relax and to enjoy life.
One of the most prevalent pitfalls of working from home is the loss of social connections. Many employees feel alienated and detached.
To increase connectivity, boost morale, improve teamwork skills and energize your team we have summarized 30 of the virtual team building activities for a remote workplace.
70. Charming farming
This team building activity for remote workers is based upon the trend of urban organic farming. Before the start of the event, team members will receive a parcel in their post box.
The simple fact that all communication has gone online in the past 20 years, your employees will feel excited to receive a physical packet. Excitedly, they open the package to find beautifully wrapped seeds, pots, soil and organic plant nutrients, together with an instruction sheet of what follows. Participants plant their seeds, take a video and 10 days later, the first virtual team building event will take place. There will be a total three events, the first after embryogenesis, the second when the plant is half-way developed, and the third when the plant has produced flowers, fruits or is ready to harvest.
Each virtual team building session will take just about 20 to 30 minutes, ideal before the start of the work, however the sessions are spread out over about 10 weeks.
71. Interview with a stranger
Our hectic business world has many left overscheduled, overworked, stressed, exhausted and burned out. We have become victims of our own lifestyle. We live in high-rise buildings yet don't know our neighbors. We commute to work in overcrowded sky trains and busy subways with thousands of other people yet never get to know any of them in person.
However, the Covid19 virus has put an end to his. As thousands flock to the Thai countryside or work from home, we suddenly realize we have time, more time than we are comfortable with, so we started to re-connect with old friends, who we have lost contact with for years.
An opportunity also to make new friends. Interview with a stranger is choosing a person that you know, lives nearby you or you meet him or her on your way to work, or in the neighborhood. It may be the person at the noodle soup stall struggling to survive in a post-Covid19-economic recession. The hairdresser who has lost her shop due to the curfew.
Like charming farming, the interview with a stranger virtual team building activity starts with a parcel arriving by post in your home-office, with the instructions of the activity and the task. The instruction manual includes tips and tricks of how to make stellar YouTube interview. The challenge is to interview a person you have met before, yet you have never spoken to, a person that sparks your interest, and make a 2-minute YouTube interview.
The video will be shared on Beunite virtual team building platform and accessible for all to see. This virtual team building event comes with a short debriefing, whereby all participants meet on conference call and after watching the videos, team members can ask questions and participants share special insights and methods of production.
Optional: Voting on Mentimeter to award a prize to the person with the best video. Duration: Preparation, taking the video, cutting and uploading it will take some time, but each participant can schedule this on their own. Delegates who put more time into this, will get better results. The actual videoconference is short, about 20 minutes per person, so if you have a team of 10, then the virtual team building is spread out every morning over ten days.
Contact info(at)Beunite.com for more information or connect to WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
Schnitzeljagt means treasure hunt in German. At the beginning of this virtual team building event, team members will receive a virtual map showing the home office location of each player. Before the start of the game, one team member, we call him / her the facilitator, is selected to find a coffee shop.
The coffee shop should be centrally located, at approx. the same distance to each of the home offices. That person then must write some cryptic clues of how to get there. On the day of the event, the clues are sent to each person in your remote team and participants travel to the coffee shop as fast as possible.
The first person who can find the coffee shop is the winner and shall receive a prize.
After the end of the event, participants can work for an hour or two together at the coffee shop, or have lunch together, before returning to home. This provides your staff with a welcome change to the monotony and boredom of working alone in their home office. Schedule half a day to three-quarter of a day for this exciting virtual team building activity.
The role of the facilitator is ideally given to a professional team building company, like Beunite. Schnitzeljagt is a hybrid between real physical team building and virtual team building. It should only be done in an area where Covid19 restrictions have been eased.
It works best for organizations where remote workers live relatively close to each other, i.e. in the same city or suburbs.
73. True or false
True or false is a contemporary team building activity that can be adapted to play with home office staff by using telecommunication software.
Each participant must come up with three stories about themselves, two are false and one is true. The duration of the story is about 30 seconds to one minute long.
The most senior person in the group starts by telling all three stories at once, the other people in the group listen and reflect. After the first three stories are told, participants must guess which is the one true story. Participants can discuss in the team before giving an answer. This virtual team building activity can be played without outsourced facilitator, however, should you wish to play this game competitively, with a winning team or an individual winner, it may be better to engage an experienced team building company to facilitate.
Duration 20 minutes to 1 hour.
74. Post Covid19-Society
In this doomsday scenario, Covid19 has gone out of control and killed most of the people on earth. The city / town you live is badly devastated. But amid misery and despair, there is hope. You can choose 10 people and 30 items that you wish to take with you to travel to faraway lands and to build a new community.
A post-Covid19 society with a sustainable economy. What would you change? How would your community look like? How would you do better than current politicians, who f. up so badly, if you had the chance?
This virtual team building game is a thinking and strategic leadership activity that encourages vision, and foresightedness.
External facilitator is recommended, and participants should be middle to upper management. This activity should have two to three weeks for preparation to go well. Depending on the number of participants in your team, this is a two to three-hour virtual team building exercise. It can also be spread over several days or even weeks, with one short session per week.
Contact info(at)Beunite.com for virtual vision, mission and values training, or connect to our WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
75. Name That Tune
Name That Tune is a non-virtual team building game but can easily adapted to play with remote teams. Before the start of the event, one person in your team is chosen to be the MC (facilitator) who will make a playlist of 10 to 20 popular songs.
The game goes like this: The MC plays the first song, and anybody can chime in with the chat at any time. Participants must guess the name of the song as well as the name of the artist. Points are given for correct answer, and point penalties can be given for wrong answers. Scores are recorded on a flip chart paper or scoreboard.
A prize for the winning team will be sent through postal service to the winner's home office. This game can be played multiple times, i.e. ones per week with alternating MC or if played only once each person in the team will be MC for 3 to 5 songs.
This virtual team building game is about 30 minutes per session with some preparation to do for the MC before the start of the videoconference.
76. Picture of the day
Assuming that co-workers have never been invited to each other's house, and even if they did this remote team building activity will probably work out just fine.
Each person in the team takes 5 to 10 pictures from specific corner of their house (apartment), this could be your bedroom with a picture of yourself on the wall when you were 10 years old, or your kitchen, or the inside of your fridge, etc.
The pictures are then submitted to the facilitator, and only the facilitator knows which picture belongs to which person.
This team building activity for remote workers is best played in small teams of 2-3. The facilitator shows the pictures through the video conferencing app and teams first discuss among each other, then reach a consensus and then guess to whom this particular picture belongs to. If they are correct, points are awarded to that particular team. All players from the winning team shall receive a prize sent to their home office.
77. Virtual museum tour and History quiz
We all love museums and if we cannot go there physically, we explore them virtually. The Getty Museum London, Musée d'Orsay Paris and the British Museum London all feature virtual museum tours.
We have checked them all out and the British Museum which is accessible without plug-ins and downloadable apps is the most recommended. Participants can choose topics, such as Art and Design, Living and Dying, Religion and Beliefs and many more and surf around in timescales and across continents.
The facts and stories are presented by pictures, text, and audio files. These virtual museums are worth checking out on your own.
But how to turn them into a team building experience? The facilitator, this could be an external team building expert, or a person assigned from your team, is going to research quiz questions about the virtual tour before the start of the event. Best are multiple choice questions with A, B or C answers. During the event, the facilitator, will call out the first question, and teams must surf around the virtual museum in search of finding the answer. The scores are tracked on a large scoreboard. The winning team can be awarded with a prize.
Contact info(at)Beunite.com for more information about the virtual museum quiz, or connect to our WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
78. Personal Histories Exercise
This remote team building exercise is from Lencioni's repertoire. Remember Lencioni's magnus opus, the Five Dysfunctions of a team? The Leadership fable on the New York Times bestselling list of 2002? It's a long time ago, but the activity is timeless
Teams must think about a childhood experience that was emotionally difficult and challenging. Each participant writes the story down on paper and consequently reveals the it in front of the others.
The exercise is designed to show that we all are human beings with our own unique history. Throughout the process of revealing some of our inner most intimate experiences, we become vulnerable towards our peers which is a prerequisite to enhance empathy and trust.
It is important that the person with the highest position (owner, CEO, general manager, department head) goes first and that he or she shows a true example of being vulnerable, encouraging others to do the same.
This virtual team building exercise is best with experienced team players, and individuals who know each other well and established a sense of trust already and recommended for middle management and above.
For Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions training workshops online, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or connect to our WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
79. Help the helper
This remote team building activity is from the bestselling booking Building a Culture of Extreme teamwork, by Kevin Prichard. In pursuit of developing a H2H team culture in your organization, try to do this activity daily, or at least weakly, before the start of your meetings. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes of your time.
First, think about a task or a good deed of one of your teammates that usually goes unrecognized, but this task should not be one that is already on your daily to-do list.
If a person's job description is to serve coffee at meetings, that would not be a good example. Not to be said that we should not recognize somebody serving coffee, but this is not the point of this activity, because the person serving coffee is not the helper.
A helper in this metaphorical team building activity, is a person who does a task uninstructed, out of pure selflessness, to simply to help a team mate out. A better situation is the person serving coffee at meeting has called in sick, and somebody jumps in and serve coffee unsolicited. He or she just helps out. Or salesperson A covers for salesperson B, whose children are sick and who needs to leave office early.
Write down the task and the person who deserves recognition for doing this task. This could be done during the meeting, taking about 2-3 minutes to write down. Then the most senior person in the team starts and one after another will recognize the helper. By recognizing the helper on an ongoing basis, we create a help the helper culture of extreme teamwork.
This is more than an ice-breaker activity because it serves two purposes, first to create the H2H culture, and secondly it acts as an icebreaker before the start of a meeting. It takes just 5 to 10 minutes of your time.
80. 360-Degre Feedback
Every person in the team has a blind spot, in the 360-degree feedback exercise helps you discovering it. A blind spot is when others see yourself differently from the way you see yourself. The 360-degree virtual team building exercise is a personal development activity designed to eliminate blind spots and build trust among the team.
In the 360-degree leader exercise, the highest ranked executive, i.e. CEO starts first to be examined. That person leaves the virtual conference room for 15 to 20 minutes, while the rest of the team brainstorms feed-back. If your executive team consists of 12 people, it is best to form sub-groups of 3 to 4 people working together.
Some rules of giving feed-back are presented prior to the start of the activity. For example, the feed-back must be constructive and not be personally insulting.
During the presentation phase, feed-back is given to the CEO and the feed-back receiver is encouraged to ask question, however, no adversarial debate is permitted.
After the feed-back session, the CEO may reveal which feed-back was most valuable, which area is difficult to improve, and which has not been expected (blind spots). At that point, the trainer introduces the Johari Window as part of this heuristic exercise.
Before moving on down the hierarchy to the next executive, the CEO makes a commitment to take the feed-back at heart and to improve two areas of his personality.
It is of crucial importance that the executive has known each other for a while and that the exercise is supervised by a professional coach, trainer or psychologist.
The 360-degree leader exercise is part of “The five dysfunctions of a team” executive outing and training program.
This activity works best with small teams not exceeding 12 participants. One person will be examined per session, with a duration of about 1 to 2 hours. This is a perfect weekly exercise, spreading over 10 to 12 weeks.
For virtual leadership training, developing trust in your team, or if you like to know more about Yohari Blind spot, please contact info(at)Beunite.com or connect to our WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
81. Passion is a superpower.
This virtual team building activity comes from Steve Kotler's master class. Each participant makes a list of 25 things they are curious about. A single curiosity, however, isn't enough to hold your attention over the long run.
Write one curiosity after another on a large piece of paper, or flipchart, then try to figure out where they overlap.
For example, executive Max is curious about the pyramids and alien technology. How do the two overlap? Perhaps the pyramids were built by alien technology? So, we have a new curiosity, which is stronger than the single one, the pyramid, and alien technology.
Executive Tom is curious what it takes to grow carrots and is fond of statistics too. So how about statistics of how to grow carrots. That would be a good match too. So, from your list of 25 things you are curious about, it would be best to circle 6 to 7 that are related together to form a passion. It is interesting how many of the 25 curiosities are job related, and it's important to have a trainer leading this session to bring it all together in the debriefing.
A recent gallops study points out that 87% of employees are actively disengaged on their job, and only 13% are really living their passion. Therefore, it would be wise to assign your staff at least some time during their working time to focus on their newly acquired passions. As Steven Kotler points out in his Extraordinary performance master class, this hour spent on building your passion is an hour extraordinarily well spent with return on investment of 500% to 1000%.
And it is accepted business wisdom that organizations who allow employees finding and working towards their passion are better and more healthy workplaces. Google, for example, allows their workforce to spend 20% of their time to work on projects on their own.
Duration: 1 to 2 hours.
For developing a culture of extreme teamwork, please contact info(at)Beunite.com or connect to our WhatsApp +66 84 629 05 07.
82. Blindfold puzzle.
Blindfold puzzle is both a great team building activity for participants who are physically in the same location as well as for remote teams. If blindfold puzzle played through a video communication app with virtual teams, then each team member will receive a puzzle together with a blindfold in their post box, before the start of the team building game.
During the activity, the first person puts on their blindfold and must assemble the puzzle without cheating (looking), and the other teams must give instructions over the screen on how to assemble the puzzle. For competitive teams, time can be stopped, and the winner shall receive a prize.
So, let’s say you have 10 people in your team, so this activity could stretch out over ten consecutive days, with each person assembling their puzzle before the start of the working day. The duration of the activity is anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.