If there’s something 2020 has taught us is that our lives can radically change in a matter of days. Not only did the covid pandemic force governments to rethink their political strategy or put us in lockdown for months, but it has also forced businesses to adapt.
Such adaptation has seen both small businesses and large corporations shift to remote working. Now that we’re almost five months into 2021, the current pandemic is yet to see an end so businesses have been looking for ways to improve their remote working conditions and provide their employees with platforms that help them improve efficiency and productivity.
While teleworking has provided companies with a smooth continuation of their professional activity, it still lacks some of the aspects that on-site office work provides. With office work, it’s easy to harvest a positive work environment and provide a productive atmosphere because managers and executives can almost effortlessly initiate fun icebreaker activities.
When it comes to remote working, providing a positive work environment gets a little bit more complicated. This is where virtual team building activities come into play. Virtual team building activities allow virtual teams to develop constructive and friendly work relationships, thus alleviating the social and emotional isolation that remote workers experience.
What is virtual team building and why is it important
Virtual team building can be any set of fun activities that leverage technology to allow managers to create and strengthen bonds between remote employees in order to foster a positive and synergetic work environment.
Virtual team building provides companies with the ability to bridge the gap with on-site office work. Even if remote working allows employees to work at home where they are more comfortable, it doesn’t provide the physical proximity that office work allows.
As a result, the lack of social interaction involved in teleworking means that remote employees are sooner or later going to feel isolated. Consequently, this may lead to:
- Your remote employees not feeling comfortable with their coworkers, leading to a fractured team. Communication is likely to take a hit and therefore productivity may not be aligned with expectations.
- Isolated employees are likely to overwork themselves instead of asking for help or assistance on tasks they are not proficient with. As such, this may expose your remote employees to high levels of stress and even burnout.
- Collaborative tasks that require cooperation and teamwork are likely to suffer, thus contributing to an overall dip in efficiency and productivity.
For all of the reasons stated above, virtual teams are in need of activities that allow them to form sustainable bonds and foster an environment of trust, friendliness, and cooperation.
Virtual team building activities allow this through an array of diverse activities, such as virtual icebreakers, video games, and other strategies that are specifically designed to promote more human interactions in virtual teams.
What is the purpose of virtual team building?
Virtual team building allows your team to build sustainable work relationships, thus providing your virtual teams with the human interactions that they need in order to thrive in a virtual work environment.
Additionally, when you implement virtual team building activities you enable your employees to work in an environment that is as close as can be to physical office work.
Not only will this allow you to sustain levels of productivity that are similar to on-site office work, but also empower your virtual teams to come up with creative solutions and innovative ideas, thus enabling your business to flourish while keeping your remote employees satisfied.
Best free virtual team building activities
1. Icebreaker questions
When a virtual team is freshly assembled, remote employees experience a lot of awkwardness, especially during video conferencing. Icebreaker questions are the perfect remedy for this. While icebreaker questions are often perceived as stressful, creative icebreaker questions can be a powerful tool that can help lighten the mood of your virtual teams.
Icebreaker questions can be used at many different times during a team-building event, however, they are the most effective when used at the beginning of the event.
At the beginning of virtual team building activities, your remote employees are mostly in the ice phase where a lot of social awkwardness is experienced. This is where icebreaker questions come into play. These questions allow your team members to know more about each other in a way that is perhaps not possible otherwise.
Icebreaker questions can be initiated by the manager or the organizer of the team building event. This can be done by preparing a series of questions.
It’s recommended that the questions be simple and fun. For instance, icebreaker questions can be like:
- How was your day?
- If you had to choose a superpower, which one would it be and why?
- What is your favorite part of remote working?
- What is your favorite remote work environment? Is it at home or somewhere else?
- If you did not take your current career path, what would you have chosen instead?
2. Playing classic games
Among the most engaging free virtual team building activities is playing classic games. Remote working can be quite stressful especially that remote employees are isolated. As such, playing games is an effective way to alleviate stress and help your employees relax.
Besides, playing games is particularly efficient at providing a fun environment for your virtual teams. This is because engaging in these games provides a fun way for your team members to interact and get to know each other.
Some of the fun classic games that are available online for free are: Charades, Pictionary, Monopoly, etc. These games are known for their capacity to stimulate strategic thinking, thus further promoting creativity among your virtual teams.
3. Open Mic virtual icebreaker
Open mic virtual icebreakers are some of the most impactful virtual team building activities. This is often because this activity provides employees with the ability to speak up and express themselves about various non-work-related topics as well as ignite their creativity and spontaneity.
Open mic virtual icebreakers can be organized by asking every team member to write a joke, read a favorite quote of theirs or sing a song (you can get creative with the choice).
4. Organize dance parties
Dance parties can be a great way to relieve stress and allow your virtual teams to relax. They are also an extraordinary opportunity to discover and celebrate your employees’ skills and special talents.
Dance parties can be initiated by setting up a poll so that your remote employees can vote on the song they want to dance to. Alternatively, every team member can be given the freedom to choose the song they want to dance to.
5. Virtual happy hour
While icebreaker questions, playing classic games and open mic virtual icebreakers are all effective virtual team building activities, virtual happy hour takes virtual team building to a whole new level.
Virtual happy hour events are different from the rest of virtual team building activities because your team members will get to enjoy meaningful interactions while they are buzzed. Such events can be organized by sending a happy hour box (cocktails and beers are recommended) to all of the participants. It’s recommended that you have a set of prepared icebreakers in case things get awkward!
6. Personalized virtual team building
At Kronos Experience we know that each business has different needs and that’s why we adapt every team building activity accordingly. Our team personalizes virtual team buildings and hybrid team buildings to stimulate employee engagement, build relationships within your organization and make workers more active.
You’re probably wondering what a hybrid team building is? When the conditions allow it, and in accordance with social distancing standards, it is sometimes possible to combine the technological aspects of virtual team buildings with physical (but limited) gathering of team members.
In such cases, we allow the creation of small groups of 10 people or less in an outdoor environment that easily allows a 2 meter social distance between team members. That way, it’s possible to hold a team building event with many small teams that can be distributed all over the province, the country… or even the world!
Our virtual team buildings include:
- A web page dedicated to your event
- rental of the virtual studio;
- the services of an animator, a technician and a video editor;
- the ZOOM connection and those of the mobile application;
- a souvenir video including the best moments of your event.
Paid virtual team building activities that are sure to boost workplace morale
1. Game show extravaganza
When it comes to paid virtual team building games, trivia challenges are surely among the best. Game show extravaganza is a virtual competition that is packed with some of the most enjoyable trivia challenges.
From pop culture to sports and world history, a vast array of trivia questions and quizzes are available in game show extravaganza. This is guaranteed to produce enjoyable moments for your virtual teams as well as boost workplace morale.
2. Clue Murder mystery
Getting your team to collaborate virtually in order to crack crimes is what clue murder mystery is all about. Having your remote employees enjoy this game is a sure way to lighten the mood, improve team spirit and enhance the collaborative abilities of your virtual teams.
3. Among us
Among us has become one of the most famous and enjoyable video games to play in the last year, so it’s a great idea to add it to your arsenal of virtual team building activities.
With at least 4 players required and online game sessions lasting between 10 to 15 minutes, among us is one of the most suitable virtual team building activities, especially since it can be played during work pauses.
The goal of the game is to have your team work together to reveal the imposter and expel them from the ship before they murder everyone. Not only does this boost your team’s sense of collaboration, but also improves your virtual team’s communication skills, critical thinking and provides a light and positive atmosphere.
4. Drawful 2
While many virtual team building activities are about creating bonds between your remote employees, Drawful 2 differentiates itself with its creativity-inspiring aspect.
This is a game of 3 to 8 players where your team members need to draw an image according to an unusual prompt. The next step is for the remaining team members to guess the prompt that the drawing was based on.
5. Virtual escape games via zoom
If you’re willing to take your virtual team building activities to the next level, playing a virtual escape room game is exactly what you need. Escape room games are already one of the best team building activities for on-site office work. They can be adapted to virtual team building by hosting them in live video chat sessions using zoom.
Escape games provide both the thrill of adventure and the challenging nature of their puzzles. Some of the best known challenges are finding a treasure, breaking out of prison, and doing a heist. Such challenging games allow your team members to get to know each other better, as well as create lasting relationships.
With customers such as Google, Amazon, IBM, Nike, and ExxonMobil, Scavify is positioning itself as one of the best virtual team building activities. Scavify is a virtual scavenger hunt app that can feature scavenger hunt puzzles for more than 20 team members.
Scavify features all the aspects that make up a perfect team building activity, namely the problem solving, the interaction and communication between remote employees, and the friendly competition.
Additionally, Scavify allows real-time interaction through a leaderboard and a photostream, so that team members can stay connected during the session. This game also features the ability to leave the hunt session open for a week or longer, providing remote employees with the ability to compete whenever they want.
Want to organize a virtual team building?
With today’s reality of remote work, employers and team leaders are often looking for ways to reestablish or strengthen ties between employees and in our experience the best recipe can be summed up in 3 words: collaboration, fun… and SUN!
Since workers spend countless hours in a series of daily virtual online meetings, you surely don’t want your virtual teamwork to be just another ZOOM meeting. If your goal is to create something unique, memorable, and fun for your team, our team has the solution for you.
From active breaks to mystery-solving activities to hybrid team buildings, we can craft the perfect virtual team building or virtual event for your business. Have a project in mind? Feel free to contact us.