20 of the best virtual team-building activities
Remote and hybrid work have forever changed the way teams communicate and work together. Because colleagues aren’t always together in the office, it’s important to find creative ways to stay connected. One of the easiest ways to do this is with regular virtual or hybrid team-building activities.
What is virtual team building, and why is it important?
Virtual team building brings teams together by leveraging digital communication channels, like group video calls or messaging platforms, rather than in-person activities. Team-building experiences have always helped boost morale, but in the new hybrid landscape, they are critical to staving off feelings of loneliness and isolation. They also help co-workers get to know one another and build trust, which contributes to business success. Plus, workplace trust leads to a host of other benefits, like less stress and more energy at work, as well as less overall burnout.
Virtual or hybrid team building can also lead to increased creativity, as many such activities stretch participants’ imagination or have them look at problems from new angles. And although remote or hybrid employees might be spending a lot of time already on video calls, a fun game or experience on that same screen provides a welcome respite from regular meetings.
Virtual or hybrid team-building ideas
1. Start with icebreakers
Icebreakers are classic for a reason: they help loosen people up and are a quick way for co-workers to learn a little bit about one another. And they don’t have to be tacky or forced. Check out this list for more inspiration.
2. Set up a happy hour
Colleagues can still catch up even if they aren’t physically meeting at a bar. Enjoy some casual conversation or laughs while you virtually toast your colleagues on a job well done.
3. Play some trivia
Trivia brings out the good-natured competitive spirit in everyone. And companies like Bar None Games will host a virtual trivia event for you, so all you have to do is send the invite and get your game face on.
4. Host a virtual cooking or mixology class
Nothing brings people together more than food and drink. In this day and age, it’s easy to find unique culinary experiences online. From handmade pasta classes to cocktail workshops, the options are endless.
5. Plan a team dinner
Virtually host a gathering around food to celebrate the end of a quarter or to boost morale after a tough season. Reflect on your successes and goals as you share a meal, and look forward to future times ahead.
6. Coordinate virtual coffee or lunch dates
What better way to encourage new work friends than with a round of lunch or coffee dates? Team members can use this time to cultivate relationships and open lines of communication company-wide.
7. Plan a virtual escape room
Virtual escape rooms can be just as challenging (if not more so) as their physical counterparts. Having teams work together to solve problems and reach a goal outside of work is the perfect way to bolster camaraderie. Many event companies offer themed options, too.
8. Organize a video chat background contest
Challenge people to get creative with their video chat backgrounds for the next team meeting. Have participants vote on their favorites, and come up with fun prizes for the winner.
9. Coordinate a virtual book or podcast club
Discussing books or podcasts is another way to encourage relationships from afar. You could rotate the individuals who host and choose the media. Or try voting on favorites, setting deadlines, then bonding over the latest bestsellers and episodes.
10. Host a virtual gift exchange
You don’t have to wait until the holidays to host a Secret Snowflake exchange. You can choose a giving theme or let individuals add their most-wanted items to a wish list. Then pick a date and do some virtual unboxing.
12. Do virtual karaoke
You don’t have to be in a bar basement to enjoy some karaoke. Ask participants to choose a song and find the instrumental track. While they belt it out, the audience members stay on mute to let the singers shine.
13. Reward hard work
Set up a team chat where people can offer kudos to one another for tackling difficult projects or being the ultimate team player. A little “feel-good” goes a long way.
14. Let co-workers share their personal passions
Everyone has an identity outside of work. Have individuals prepare 5-minute presentations about their favorite thing to do. Then sit back and enjoy learning more about their non-job identities.
15. Play remote games
16. Arrange a lunch-and-learn
Since remote and hybrid work limits the traditional watercooler chat, set up some informal share sessions so colleagues can talk about the projects they’re working on. It’s a great way to encourage collaboration and learn more about your company’s different areas.
17. Host a virtual watch party
Many streaming apps have built-in watch party features, so movie viewers can engage with one another from afar. Use the live chat capability to react in real time—and don’t forget the popcorn.
18. Coordinate a fitness or wellness challenge
Accountability buddies work for a reason, so why can’t they be colleagues? Try hosting a walkathon using digital step-counter apps or challenging participants to do daily meditation. Create a team chat to track progress and cheer one another on.
19. Do a virtual tasting
Whether it’s beer, wine, chocolate, or cheese, a virtual tasting event is a delicious way to bring co-workers together. Choose a theme, help everyone get the supplies, and prepare for a tasty exploration together.
20. Celebrate a milestone
Milestones deserve to be recognized even when people aren’t physically together. From promotions and baby showers to work anniversaries and birthdays, you can get creative with how you celebrate your people. Try custom video chat backgrounds or sending special treats.
By use case