Are you looking for fun, easy virtual team building ideas?
Let’s face it: working from home can be a lonely, disconnected experience. In Buffer’s recent State of Remote Work 2020 report, loneliness was the biggest struggle for 20% of remote employees.
No fear! We’ve compiled this list of awesome remote team builders for WFH teams, to help create strong virtual teams. (Full transparency: we’ve designed amazing virtual team builders that I’ll talk about below. They include the Virtual Vacation, Drag Queen Diversity Training, and the Graffiti Workshop!)
Take heed: remote team building brings its own challenges, and it requires special work to engage everyone. After all, you don’t want half the team tuning out, and need to ensure everyone feels like they’re a part of it.
That’s why virtual team building is so unique. But if you spend time creating a thoughtfully designed program, remote team building activities can still be super successful! Our ideas below don’t require a ton of time or money, but can still serve the purpose of bringing teams together, with staff bonding and fun, plus useful tools for working remotely.
We at Wild SF are passionate about great virtual team events, and have compiled 20 of our favorite creative virtual team building activities for remote teams. They’re easy to run, easy on the wallet, and can make for a happier, more productive team!
P.S. We’re always updating this list with new virtual team building games and ideas. Press Command + D to bookmark it!
Virtual team building can be, well, anything that brings remote teams together, just like if you were working together in an office! When done well, fun virtual team building can help build trust and meaningful connection through team bonding, and can help ensure your whole team feels valued and seen.
Virtual team building ideas include several strategies, games and activities designed to bring more human interaction to virtual workers.
We’ve outlined all sorts of ideas, including simple ice-breaker questions, games and video activities. We promise these will help create closer-knit teams and better collaboration!
Remote team building is especially important for workers not used to working virtually (like those affected by COVID-19). It can be hard to self-motivate, and workers often feel disconnected and unsupported.
Instead of equating this with your quarterly team builder, think of virtual team building as a replacement for the ‘watercooler.’ It’s an intentional space where remote co-workers get to catch up, socialize, and connect in a way they might not otherwise.
Done well, virtual team building can help stand in for the connections and collaboration you’d experience with in-person working. It ensures employees feel cared for, connected, and inspired to be productive!
Intentional team building can even facilitate new skills, like a collaboration mindset, communication building, and teamwork.
When online meetings begin, it’s easy to jump straight into business. But consider adding in a few minutes for casual check-ins and small talk. This is extra important for remote employee bonding, as virtual team members don’t have a chance to chat with their neighbors throughout the workday.
All the games below are templates that you can easily switch up and change to fit your team. Have fun, don’t take it seriously, and see what happens!
Ironically, 65% of remote employees say they’ve had no type of virtual team building sessions. These are the employees who need them the most!
If you’re overwhelmed by the task of building rapport and trust through remote teambuilding, hire an expert to make it happen! Check out Wild SF Tours for qualified leaders who can turn a conference video call into a meaningful session. Feel free to call us at 415-745-5457 or email booking (at) wildsftours.com to chat more!
Here we go! These are some of our favorite virtual team building ideas (that aren’t boring!). But use your imagination too—just like with improv games, there are endless possibilities to invent and switch up these team building games and activities.
What sounds better than kicking back on a tropical beach, sipping a piña colada?
Hawaiian shirts are encouraged on the Virtual Vacation, transporting you to an imaginary island. But there’s a catch: your team must now work together to navigate across waters back home.
Led by Kabloom/Wild SF, energetic, quirky guides will serenade you with ukulele songs, and get everyone laughing, connecting and working together through fun challenges.
Like using quick-thinking problem solving when your ship gets hijacked by pirate sea lions, or solving riddles to hilariously defeat a troll blocking our path (it makes sense in context, we swear!).
This dynamic experience is quickly becoming a favorite: it’s a graffiti history class (with lots of vibrant photos), a Mission District tour, and a hands-on graffiti masterclass with a renowned street artist!
First, you’ll learn the history of graffiti’s hip hop roots in New York, and how crews brought the art form out to San Francisco.
Then head down back alleys of the Mission District to visit the ‘outdoor galleries’ of mural- and graffiti-filled alleys, finding hidden art from local legends and international artists.
You’ll learn about spray can vs brush art, and understand how politics and legality comes into play with piecing, bombing, tagging and creating stunning murals.
Next, you’ll meet renowned graffiti artist EON 75, who will share his backstory in the ‘graf’ scene, and lead a workshop showing everyone how to create their own tags.
Your team will leave inspired, having learned about art and showcasing their own creativity as a team.
DEI, or diversity training, doesn’t need to be stale and awkward!
Diversity training is the practice of embracing the things that make us unique, reducing prejudice and discrimination, and improving teamwork and communication. It has become increasingly popular among companies, especially larger corporations.
Join beloved San Francisco drag queen Mary Vice for the most entertaining diversity seminar you’ve ever seen. She’s one of the most successful drag performers on Twitch today.
In this exhilarating look at queer history and culture, you’ll get a crash course on LGBT rights and Pride via a ‘virtual tour’ of San Francisco’s most important queer landmarks. Then, you’ll enjoy a live drag performance by Mary, with the chance to ask her questions about life as a drag queen.
If you’ve got a large team (50+ people), then why not organize an event where you have a number of activities running simultaneously?! That way, your coworkers can choose their own adventure, kind of like a music festival.
Imagine a variety of activities running at the same time, like:
Wild SF are experts at setting up these kinds of online events for remote teams. We can cover everything from organizing invites, coordinating experienced, high-energy leaders for each activity, and taking care of the logistics of online facilitation.
Since COVID, many companies have turned into remote teams looking for fun online events. Good news: a virtual karaoke party is an awesome (and easy) virtual team building idea to get your team connecting!
This guide explains how to organize a virtual karaoke party on Zoom, how to host a great event for your team working from home, and how to choose a great karaoke song.
Here’s an easy one: kick off with virtual meeting ice breaker questions! This is one of most easy virtual team building ideas out there. Asking a fun and easy icebreaker question is a tried-and-true way of getting people talking and bonding in no time!
We suggest building in enough time to do a few rounds of questions. Kick it off with something super easy and ‘surface-level’ to get your team talking.
Then, if you’re feeling there’s a trust and comfort with your team, try one of these deeper questions. These get more to the core of what people care about in life, and can make for meaningful team bonding for your virtual team.
As someone starts demonstrating vulnerability, this can encourage others to open up about their own goals, dreams and needs too.
Here’s a fun one: have your team submit one (unknown!) fact about themselves to the leader. The zanier and the better—everyone has a few of these experiences that wouldn’t have come up in conversation naturally.
Learning fun facts about one another is especially important for remote teams, which can feel very isolated. Knowing that you and your coworker share a love of an obscure 80’s band, or both studied abroad in Ireland, can make for meaningful connection that wouldn’t exist otherwise. It’s a simple way to spark friendship-forming discussions.
Caution: it’s about to get real cute up in here.
Here’s a Jeopardy-style quiz show game for team building. It’s basically a quiz show, and you can keep points to make it competitive!
Since we’re all spending more time at home, it’s a great time to learn about one another’s hobbies we’ve been making some time to share what we’re up to outside of work.
While working from home, these channels can be a fun way to bond and learn of similar interests, hobbies, and to brag about cute pets, kids and home cooking.
Sometimes the best team building ideas are the easiest to run. Once you set this up, there’s no maintenance needed but infinite bonding possibilities.
Constant video meetings that are all business can feel like, well, all business. Here’s a way to break that up, and show that jumping onto a video call can be fun and conversational.
Conversation often spins into the latest Netflix series, personal lives and current events. For those who work remotely, these can feel like a really valuable time to interact with coworkers in a fun and easy way.
Since we’re all cooking at home, why not make that into its own fun competition?
Team bonding at the local bar is a tried-and-true way to let loose and catch up at the end of a long day. Hosting an online happy hour might sound strange, but it works!
This is a chance for co-workers to interact and learn more about each other, even if they’ve never gotten a chance to meet and work together in person.
It sounds silly, but there’s something psychologically encouraging if you can feel like you’re in an office, even when you’re home. One easy idea is to create a live remote office space in a video chat.
It’s encouraging to see your coworkers, and helps you to stay motivated while working remotely. Just like in a real office, it also allows for easily asking questions, making a bit of small talk, and feeling more connected!
We’re going back to the early 2000’s. Frosted tips are encouraged.
A fun way to start a remote meeting (or maybe a mid-meeting pick-me-up?) is to have your distributed team do their best celebrity impressions and show off their house, selfie-style.
It’s a unique way to bring remote teams together, and to show off any particularly great interior design skills!
Tip: have the ‘celebrity’ join the meeting on their phone (not computer), which will be easier for walking and narrating.
Marco Polo is our favorite video messaging app, where you can record and send short videos privately, or with a group. They call it a ‘video walkie talkie.’ It’s simple, but really fun!
The possibilities are endless—every morning you can think of a new question, or have your remote team take turns coming up with that day’s check in question. This is a great way for distributed teams to have a bit of facetime and connect from afar!
Everybody loves presents (even if you’re not a Christmas person). Plus, getting a care package in the mail sounds extra sweet when you’re working remote! So why not make a new gift-giving holiday?
You can make up a new gifting tradition for July 25, say, and call it ‘Christmas in July.’ This could also work as a quarterly tradition. However often you want to celebrate, presents are always a fun way for remote teams to feel connected and cared for.
For remote employees, lunch could be a great time to facilitate engagement and online team building. Bring in an ‘expert’ to share a presentation or talk while folks are eating at home! It’s like a private TED Talk for your remote team!
This expert could be an outside speaker you hire (someone with insights into communication skills, how to stay motivated when working from home, health and wellness, or non-work topics too that might be interesting!).
Your expert could also be someone on the team, and it could feel like a skillshare where for each Lunch and Learn, one virtual employee shares something they’re knowledgeable and passionate about!
Ahem. Believe it or not, this college standby doesn’t need to turn NSFW to be fun. Play a PG-version with your team and get to learn about one another!
For example, if someone says ‘Never have I ever been roller skating,’ then everyone that has been roller skating would put a finger down. You’ll learn a lot about your remote coworkers quickly, and it’s a game that’s already familiar to most.
If you’ve got a silly team that likes to perform, kick off an otherwise boring video conference with a quick remote dance party!
You could have a scheduled meeting that is literally just a dance party for 30 minutes, with one remote employee playing DJ and providing the jams, while all set up their cameras with cool backdrops and get to dancing…
…but if you don’t have time for that, just kick off your team call with a quick dance party!
Wild SF leads meaningful virtual team builders that get your team out of their shells, laughing, connecting, and learning more about one another.
Ready to bring your remote team closer together? Start here.