Virtual team building activities are necessary to help groups of people create bonds with one another.
It helps to build trust, encourages healthy conflict resolution, and sparks corporate creativity. Highly engaged teams also tend to perform better at work, which is ultimately ideal for the company’s bottom line.
More people than ever are working from home, thanks to the convenience of the internet. Wifi has enabled the entire world to be easily connected. Well – wifi and 2020’s global pandemic, which has required everyone to stay six feet apart! Nevertheless, remote work seems to be the way of the future. Going forward, it’s possible entire teams could work together for years without ever interacting in person!
Remote work presents many advantages like better work-life balance, more freedom, and more cost-effectiveness. However, it can also present a big issue: disconnection between employees.
When teams aren’t connected to each other, meaning they don’t feel an interpersonal bond, there can be a serious decrease in productivity. Information may not be translated well and there could be feelings of loneliness and isolation that translate to poor performance. Team members may feel unsupported or unheard by their constituents.
So, what is the solution? How do we connect teams that are working miles and miles away from each other?
Virtual team building.
What is Virtual Team Building?
Virtual team building is very similar to in-person team building except everything is done – you guessed it – virtually! Activities for virtual team building are created to support remote teams by encouraging collaboration and offering opportunities to relate on a level that they’re unable to reach on daily video conference calls.
Virtual team building activities are also a great way to break up the workweek and allow teams to focus on something just for the fun of it. Online team building games are designed to make teams stronger, but they do so in a way that is meant to be fun for everyone. If a virtual team building activity feels like “work” to your team, it might be a good idea to scrap that activity and try a different one.
The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting online team building games is how they allow a team to interact. Some of the most effective virtual team building activities are ones that simulate a real-word situation – one where your team could see themselves together in person.
These types of virtual team building activities are the best because they create a common experience. Instead of feeling isolated and alone in their respective offices, team members are able to paint a picture of what it would be like to be surrounded by their co-workers and colleagues in real life.
Virtual team building can be applied to many different types of teams:
- Remote Workers – There certainly were remote teams pre-COVID, but now there are more than ever before! Finding that team bond may be especially difficult for teams who were used to working together in-person and then had to adapt to remote work. Having your team participate in virtual team building activities is a great way to help give them that sense of togetherness that they might be missing from the office days.
- Partially Remote Teams – Some companies will have a full in-house staff and outsource certain things to people in other cities, states, or countries. Online team building games can help blended teams feel like they are all one unit instead of in-house vs. remote.
- Large Teams – Companies with thousands of employees rarely have a chance to get everyone together at the same time – especially during COVID when conferences and company retreats are unable to happen. There are many online team building games that can support large teams so everyone has a change to co-mingle, perhaps for the first time.
What are the Benefits of Virtual Team Building?
Unsurprisingly, the benefits of virtual team building are quite similar to that of in-person team building. However, there is one huge virtual team building benefit that in-person activities are void of. Teams can bond online from anywhere in the world!
Even a team that works together in, say, a restaurant or a small office, can benefit from virtual team building. Online also makes it convenient for everyone. No one has to worry about transportation, whether or not they can get a babysitter, or be concerned about health issues. Virtual team building activities are also more accessible for people that have limited physical abilities. No one has to “sit this one out!”
Virtual team building activities have benefits that directly relate to work performance, too. Your team will be enjoying themselves and possibly getting better at their jobs at the same time!
Here are some work-related benefits of virtual team building activities:
Online team building games can help motivate your employees. Studies show that winning can actually breed more success. It gives people a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self efficacy. When a team successfully works together to complete a task not directly related to their work, it increases confidence in their team’s abilities. Providing your team with the opportunity to team build outside of the work environment also shows that your company is willing to invest in their happiness and success.
Online team building games are specifically designed to promote collaboration – that’s what teamwork is all about, after all! Even just one virtual team building activity can help your team work together better. Throughout the activity, they will learn about each other’s working styles, strengths, weaknesses, communication styles, and how to trust each other. Virtual team building activities are also designed to create a shared experience. This will give team members something they can relate to which could, in turn, deepen their connections with one another.
Creativity in the workplace helps with decision making, problem solving, and cognitive development. The most creative thinkers are often the individuals who brainstorm ideas others haven’t thought of. Creativity is the backbone of innovation. Virtual team building games designed to exercise your team’s creative muscles will surely help bring that inventive energy to work. There is much argument to whether or not people were born creative, or whether they develop creativity throughout life. Either way, your team will be able to practice creativity if they are given the tools to do so.
Virtual team building activities get your team together to talk about something other than work. Team members may feel that communication is a bit rigid or stifled if they are only able to discuss projects via email, instant messaging, or video. Online team building games give teams the chance to talk in a relaxed environment about the activity at hand, and whatever else they want!
Asking your team ice breaker questions is a great way to get everyone talking to each other. Your team can learn a little bit about each other’s personal lives and possibly find out that they have more in common with each other than they ever realized. Once people find that they have something in common with another person, they generally feel more comfortable talking to them. Not only will this improve your team’s communication, but it will make them more productive and efficient. Lack of communication between team members could result in resentment, mistakes, and missed opportunities.
There are many different kinds of virtual team building activities, and some are better suited for certain teams than others. Let’s take a look at a few different online team building games so you can decide which is the best for your team!
Which Virtual Team Building Activity is Best for My Team?
Check out this list of virtual team building activities and bring a couple up at the next team meeting! Start with whichever one sounds most interesting to your team, then keep going down the list!
- Team Trivia
This is a DIY version of Trivial Pursuit. Instead of facts about history and movies, your team will have to recall facts about each other! This is a great online team building game to play after a few rounds of ice breaker questions. You can see who really pays attention and remind others of some pretty cool facts about one another!
If you use your virtual ice breaker questions to come up with trivia questions, it would be a good idea to record each team member’s answer during the ice breaker session. That way you have something to refer to when creating the virtual team building activity.
- Virtual Coffee Break
Everyone loves a coffee break! In the office, a coffee break is the perfect time for team members to take a break and catch up with each other. If your team was recently transferred to working from home, this could be the perfect virtual team building activity to give them a piece of that downtime and togetherness that they’ve been missing. Schedule a Zoom Coffee Break and let everyone talk to one another, or give permission to your team to break out into their own Zoom calls.
- The Escape Game Remote Adventures
The Escape Game Remote Adventures are online team building games that require cohesive teamwork in order to complete a mission. Here at The Escape Game, we have carefully crafted our remote adventures to promote creativity, problem-solving skills, collaboration, and FUN! Each 60-minute mission proves teams with a personal guide to help them gather clues, crack codes, and escape in the nick of time!
- The Escape Game’s Unlocked for Teams
The Escape Game’s Unlocked for Teams is perfect for large teams who have members all over the world. We have created an online team building game that can support over 1,000 players! To start, everyone logs into a video conferencing software, like Zoom. The group then participates in an introductory meeting. After, the team breaks into smaller groups in separate rooms to receive mission details. You can give this online team building game a competitive edge by offering a reward for the team that completes their mission first!
- The 5-Minute Personality Test
Personality tests are a fun, online team building option that allow people learn more about themselves and their co-workers. The 5-Minute Personality Test will help your team members better understand one another and give insight into different working styles. This 5-minute personality test divides people up into four categories: Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers, and Beavers. If you have a lion in your midst, you may want to put them in a position of leadership. Spend a few minutes discussing once everyone finishes taking their test. Do you agree with the result? Why or why not?
- Typing Race
Put your team’s typing skills to the test and see who has what it takes to out-type the rest! Although this might seem too practical for a virtual team building game, it can be more fun than you think! One great thing about this activity is that team members can do it at their own leisure, save their results, and then discuss them at the end of the day. Perhaps you could have a rematch next week and see who improves!
- Virtual Painting Class with Paintly
Paintly is just like those popular “Paint and Sip” parties that you’ve probably heard about. This one takes place completely online so your team can participate no matter where in the world they are! This is definitely one of those virtual team building activities that will get the creative juices flowing within your team. You might even find out that you have a real artist in your midst! Paintly makes it easy to participate in this activity. You choose a paint kit, date, and time. They will send out the paint kits to everyone on your team. When it’s time for the party, everyone signs into the video conferencing software of choice and watches the provided instructional video. Then, all you have to do is grab your supplies (and maybe a glass of wine) and paint away!
Kahoot! is a fun, quiz creating, online team building game. You can use this service to create your Team Trivia games, or any other type of question-and-answer game. This is a fun way to quiz your team about your company, their jobs, each other – anything! Make sure to keep the questions light and fun. This is a virtual team building exercise, not a real test! That being said, it’s always fun to add a little element of friendly competition. Consider offering a prize to the one who gets the most questions correct.
Virtual Team Building with The Escape Game
The Escape Game knows a thing or two about what makes a great online team building game because we’ve designed several of them! Check out our Virtual Escape Games for Teams. They are exciting options that allow teams to let off steam, laugh together, solve puzzles, and become a stronger unit. The next time someone asks you, “What is virtual team building?” you can tell them all about the awesome experience you had during a remote adventure with The Escape Game!