Team building exercises are an important element of the workplace because they help groups find common ground, learn to work together, and establish trust. If your team is currently working from home, you can use virtual team building exercises to take advantage of the benefits of team building without even leaving the house!
Although most people around the world assumed that we would all be back to living life as usual by the beginning of 2021, it’s pretty clear that isn’t the case. An Upwork survey revealed that 25% of working Americans will be working from home through 2021, and more and more people will transition as the years go on.
As the transition happens, we’re also seeing a shift in the way that people communicate. Because remote workers don’t often, if ever, see their team in-person, they use video conferencing software like Zoom.
Zoom is a great tool because it’s completely free and can host up to 100 users at a time. No matter how large or small your group is, you can all see each other on your computer screen, listen, and communicate with one another! This not only makes it perfect for virtual team meetings, but it’s also great for virtual team building exercises.
What Virtual Team Building Can Do for Your Team
Virtual team building can help mitigate some of the detrimental effects that working from home can have on your team.
- If you begin to notice that your team has a few members that are feeling unsupported, lonely, or isolated, virtual team building can help remind them that they have a solid group of people that is there for them.
- Sometimes, remote workers may feel burnt out or like they’ve hit a wall in the work. A virtual teaming building exercise can help bring an element of fun and excitement that your team could be desperately missing.
- Working from home may cause employees to feel as though their work is consuming their life. Virtual team building can help those who are missing autonomy by helping them to gain trust from their other team members.
- Communication is extremely important when you work in a group of people but working miles and miles away from your co-workers can make communication difficult. Virtual team building activities give team members an opportunity to communicate with each other in a low-stakes, stress-free environment that can open the door for better communication when it’s needed: at work.
If you’ve been thinking about hosting a virtual team building event, but you aren’t exactly sure where to start, we are here to help! It’s really very easy to plan and execute a virtual team building event – you can do it even if you have zero event planning experience!
We are bringing you a list of 20 of the most fun virtual team building activities for Zoom. These are all very affordable options (some are even free!) and they can all be done from the comfort of your own home. All you need is one of these great virtual team building ideas for Zoom, a team of people to play with, and a computer with a camera that has Zoom installed!
Before we get into the list of the best virtual team building activities for Zoom, let’s go over how to download and use Zoom.
How to Use Zoom for Virtual Team Building
Downloading and using Zoom is very easy – anyone can do it!
- Go to https://zoom.us/download
- Click the Download button under “Zoom for client meetings”
- Once the download is complete, install the application on your computer
- Make an account – you can either use your work email or utilize the single sign on feature through Google or Facebook
- Host a meeting – click on the button that reads “Start A Meeting”
- Add participants – once the meeting starts, you can invite people to join by clicking “Participant” in the bottom toolbar and then “Invite”
- Share meeting details – Zoom will provide you with a unique link to your meeting which you can share with anyone you would like to join! The details back be sent through email, text, or a messaging app.
- Join a meeting – to join a meeting that is already in progress, open the Zoom app and click “Join.” Enter the meeting ID that was shared with you, type in your display name, and you’re good to go!
You can also schedule a meeting for a specific time in the future. This could be very helping when planning a virtual team building event.
- Open up the Zoom app and click “Schedule”
- Enter the meeting details – date, time, topic, etc.
- Once you’ve entered the meeting details, you will receive your unique meeting information that you can share with everyone who is invited to attend.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about using Zoom for virtual team building! So, without any further ado…
18 Virtual Team Building Ideas for Zoom
Escape room adventures are a fun activity that requires a group to communicate with each other in order to complete the tasks at hand – this makes it a great option for virtual team building! If you aren’t familiar with an escape room adventure, it’s a timed activity in which your team has to complete a series of tasks with an ultimate mission in mind. The mission can only be complete if the group can work as a cohesive team that communicates well
The Escape Game Unlocked is a great option for larger groups, even teams of 1,000! After everyone gets signed into the meeting, participants are broken up into smaller groups, each competing to solve the mystery the fastest. The team that exhibits the best collaboration and communication skills will finish their mission first and beat the other teams!
The Escape Game launched their Unlocked games in 2019. These all online crime-solving adventures can be played on any device and bring the fun of The Escape Game’s in-store adventures home. Unlocked for Teams takes those games and puts them in a large group format AND adds an element of competition.
3. Virtual Murder Mystery
Murder mystery games are classic “who dunnit?” games with a modern twist. In fact, there is actually a company called WHOdunnit and they host murder mystery games over Zoom! They have many different options for your team to choose from, so you can select whichever adventure sounds the most fun to you. Murder mystery games are perfect for virtual team building because they require creativity, communication, critical thinking, and they are a blast!
There are a couple of different ways to play trivia for a virtual team building activity. First, you can come up with your own questions and frame them around your co-workers and employees. For example, you might ask, “How does ____ like their coffee?” or “How long has ____ been working here?”
The other option is to use a virtual team trivia service like Virtual Team Builders. These events will have a host that will ask your group questions, time the rounds, check answers, and keep score. If you want to make things interesting, you could set up a prize for the winner!
Teams that exhibit more creativity are proven to have better problem-solving skills than those without. You can promote creativity within your teams with a team building exercise like Pictionary! Use Skribbl to create an online drawing room, break your team up into pairs, and have one person draw while the other person guesses what they are drawing. Take turns until everyone in the team has gone a few times (you can set the number of rounds you’d like to play) and keep score. The team with the best communication and creativity wins!
6. Virtual Bingo
Bingo is such a classic game and a real crowd pleaser. You might not have realized but it’s actually incredibly easy to play bingo on Zoom! All you have to do is email a bingo card to everyone along with your unique Zoom meeting link and use a service like QuizBreaker to select random bingo numbers. Before you use QuizBreaker, ask if anyone on your team has a traditional bingo ball spinner and ask if they would like to be the one who announces the numbers.
7. Virtual Team Pursuit
Virtual Team Building helps teams get re-energized by giving them fun, but challenging, exercises to complete together. Once you download the Outback app, you will be able to use it side-by-side with Zoom and tackle a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges as a team! This is so much more than a game – it’s a chance for your team to get to know each other better, discover each other’s hidden talents, and increase collaboration with each other.
8. Baby Photos
Sharing photos can be a great way for people to get to know each other on a deeper level. Ask everyone in your group if they would be comfortable sharing baby photos, prom photos, or just funny childhood photos in general! Give each person the opportunity to share their stories and ask questions about the lives of others’. This might not seem like it promotes teamwork and collaboration, but just communicating with each other and growing more comfortable speaking to one another can be a great team building exercise.
9. Cooking Class
Plan a few virtual team building events and have one team member give a cooking class each time. Or, if it would make everyone more comfortable, invite a professional chef to join the zoom call and have them guide everyone to a finished meal. Once you’re done cooking, everyone can share notes on the dish and have some great conversation over dinner (and maybe a glass of wine!)
10. Cocktail Party
This virtual team building exercise is kind of like a virtual happy hour. Happy hour can be a great opportunity for team members to get to know each other in a casual setting. You can transform happy hour into a team building exercise by giving everyone something to follow along with and do together. For example, since this is a cocktail party, you might have everyone recreate a fancy cocktail video or choose one person to whip up a recipe and teach the rest of the group how to make it.
11. The Pitch
If you are a larger company with many employees, and you are looking for a virtual team building exercise that everyone can participate in, The Pitch is perfect for you! Break everyone up into smaller groups and have each group come up with a “pitch”– they can either come up with the idea themselves or the host will do it for them. The tasks should be generally easy and fun – nothing that has to be taken too seriously. For example, you could ask everyone to write a company jingle or pitch a commercial idea. Whoever pitches the best idea wins! Once they have their pitch all sorted out, they will pitch their idea to a designated “boss” (usually the host).
12. Mock Shark Tank
Mock Shark Tank is similar to The Pitch, but it’s a little more challenging. Each team will come up with a product or idea that they want to pitch to an “investor.” Their creative, persuasion, and presentation skills will be put to the test here! Mock Shark Tank is a great virtual team building exercise for Zoom because your team very well may have to apply the scenarios they’re acting out in real life! Give the teams a set amount of time to design their product and business plan. Whoever pitches the best plan is the winner!
13. Virtual Open Mic
Discover your team’s hidden talents and get to know them better with a virtual open mic night! Encourage each member to bring whatever they want to the (computer) microphone – poetry, singing, dancing, party tricks, magic…whatever they want as long as it’s work appropriate. But that’s up to the host to decide. Make sure you have everyone mute their microphones while someone is performing so everyone can be respectful! And don’t forget to unmute when the finish so they can get a round of applause.
14. Movie Night
Although movie night doesn’t have everyone interact with each other, it does create a shared experience which is still great for team building. Teleparty allows users to connect with each other through Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon Prime Video. Once everyone is connected, you can communicate with each other via chat box on the movie screen! Take note that you might only be able to have a watch party on a laptop – not all streaming devices will let you connect through the app on a television.
This is a quick virtual team building exercise that you can fit into the workday and then discuss with each other at the end of the day! Not only does the 5-Minute Personality Test help team members get to know each other better, but it can help them get to know themselves better, too! Learning more about how people think, work, and feel can help you discover their strengths and weaknesses so you can understand how to work with them better. Once you understand a person’s personality type, you may be able to find a better position for them within their team at work!
16. Virtual Coffee Break
Take some time out of your day for your employees to chat with each other in a casual setting. This is a great virtual team building activity because it gets co-workers interacting with one another, but it’s also a great way to break up the workday. Working from home can be all-consuming and exhausting! Sometimes a 15-minute break to think about something other than work is all a person needs to finish the rest of the workday strong.
17. Mario Kart Tour
Everyone loves a throwback video game! Your team can play Mario Kart right from their smartphone by downloading the free Mario Kart Tour app, so no one has to worry about having a gaming console or purchasing the game. Mario Kart is sure to ignite a little bit of healthy competition and maybe even get some team members talking to each other about things that make them nostalgic for their youth!
18. Daily “Get to Know Your Team” Questions
This is a great virtual team building activity if your team has daily meetings. Send out an email prior to your Zoom meeting with a simple question. Something like “What was your first job?” “Where is your favorite place to travel to, and why?” “What sports did you play when you were a kid?” Keep the questions light and breezy – nothing too deep or personal. You don’t want to make anyone feel like they are obligated to divulge personal information that they aren’t comfortable with sharing.
Go Have Fun!
And that’s all she wrote! These virtual team building ideas for Zoom are sure to get your team working better together while having a bit of much-needed fun. Working from home can be an isolating experience and team members that feel supported by their co-workers are likely to be happier and perform better at work. Hosting regular virtual team building exercises will show your team that you care about their well-being as much as you care about their performance at work. No, go plan out your virtual team building event calendar and check back here for more ideas!