When you manage a team in a traditional office setting, there are lots of in-person team building activities you can implement. When it comes to ice breakers for virtual teams, though, you need to get more creative. Your activities need to be fun and engaging, without causing your team members to cringe or roll their eyes.
Read on to learn about our favorite virtual team building activities that will properly engage your remote workers in 2021.
Why Virtual Team Building Matters
Focusing on good team building isn't a priority for many team leaders. Team managers sometimes assume that remote workers don’t care about connecting with their co-workers. They may also not realize the benefits of collaborating with people who work from home.
That being said, there's tons of reasons to prioritize team-building among your remote workers. This list highlights all of the main benefits.
Your team members might not all work in the same office. That doesn’t mean they can’t have strong relationships with one another, though.
Your remote workers will have an easier time collaborating on upcoming projects if they feel that they know each other and are comfortable communicating with one another about more than just surface matters.
Remote work can get lonely. If your employees are all working separately and rarely get a chance to communicate with their teammates (or anyone else, for that matter), they may be less engaged at work. They may also experience lower levels of job satisfaction, which can lead to you having to replace people on your team more often than you’d like.
There’s a good chance that remote workers will be productive and get more done on a daily basis when everyone is engaged with their work. They’ll be able to cheer each other on and will feel more motivated to reach their individual and team-related goals.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Virtual Team Building
Good virtual team building should include two things. First, it should feature ways to recreate natural conversations (similar to the ones that take place in traditional workplaces). Second, it should include a certain amount of visualization. When team members can see and/or talk to each other and aren’t just typing back and forth, it’s easier for them to develop connections and feel as though they know one another, even if they’ve never spent time together in person.
The right virtual team management software can help you check both of these boxes. Using these tools helps team members to have conversations, and it allows team leaders to provide recognition and feedback. They also help everyone to stay in touch without having to toggle back and forth between multiple apps or programs on their computers.
This list of the top virtual team management software options is a great resource to check out if you’re unsure of what platform to use for your team.
Top Virtual Team Building Activities in 2021
Now that you have a better understanding of the value of virtual team building, as well as the different tools you can use to monitor your team’s progress, let’s get into the actual activities.
These fun and effective activities will help your team members to work together and start bonding (but don’t worry, they won’t be bonding over their shared irritation with the activity).
- Virtual Escape Room (see our favorites!)
- Virtual Gaming Session (see our favorites!)
- Icebreaker Quizzes
- Virtual Happy Hour or Make Beer
- Visit Paris
- Team Travel Quiz
- Remote Chain Reaction
- Team Building Scavenger Hunt
- Cooking Challenge
- Virtual Drawing Party
- Movie Night
- Personality Tests
Virtual Escape Room
If you have ever done an escape room in person, you know they can be a great problem solving activity for your and your time. So why not do a virtual one?
Virtual escape rooms can be done for groups of up teams of 2-500 people making it a potential company team building activity as well. You'll split into teams and do a series of puzzles that you have to work together to solve, usually over Zoom. Our team recently did The Heist with EscapeHunt in the UK. We even managed to escape (with a few hints).
There are a lot of virtual escape rooms available, here are our favorites!
Top Virtual Escape Rooms
Virtual Clue Murder Mystery from Outback Team Building
Virtual Clue Murder Mystery: Can your remote team gather together to solve the mystery of millionaire CEO, Neil Davidson’s murder? As lead detective’s in this investigation, you’ll need to sort through evidence and collaborate to crack the case. Which team will solve the mystery first?
Outback Team Building is a company located in the US that offers corporate virtual team building events. All activities are available in self-hosted and virtually-hosted formats for teams of 3-1,000+. Prices range from $7 – $48 per person and sessions are 1-3 hours long.
The Zodiac Myth from Yum Tum
The Zodiac Myth: Get creative with your team and solve puzzles to uncover the story of the Zodiac in this intriguing collaborative virtual escape room experience! The Jade Emperor is hosting "The Great Race" to decide which 12 animals will make up the Zodiac. Through a series of challenges, assist the Rat in its attempt to emerge victorious in the Zodiac’s Race!
Your team will have to use their intellect and creativity to solve the puzzles. You'll also get a chance to guess your colleagues Zodiac sign and figure out their key traits. Were you born on a lucky day when the stars aligned and you were able to lead your team to victory?
The Heist from Escape Hunt
The Heist: You and your teammates are mission control guiding the most skilled thieves in the world as they take on the world’s most audacious heist. The coveted Qianlong Vase, a historical Chinese masterpiece has just been found and sold. Worth 43 million pounds, this antique is about to begin its journey to its new owner… unless you can get to it first.
Together your team will work through puzzles, riddles, challenges and mini missions in order to complete the mission in its entirety.
- 6 per team, unlimited group
- £120 per team
- 90 minutes
Escape Hunt is the world's fastest-growing, most exciting themed entertainment phenomenon. In under two years, players have clocked up more than 25 million minutes of Escape Hunting worldwide, from Sydney to Paris, Dubai to Houston. And now they are offering more virtual escape rooms.
Remote Adventures from The Escape Game
The Escape Game's remote adventures are so immersive you'll enjoy playing virtually just as much as you would in person.
Choose from themes like solving an art heist, breaking out of prison, or finding the gold, and get ready for a challenging adventure for teams of all kinds whether in the office, at home, or a mix of both! Players get the same puzzles and tasks to overcome as they would in a physical room all while working towards a shared goal – escaping!
Prison Break: The year is 1955. You and your team have been wrongfully accused of a crime, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Your new “home” is a cell that once belonged to an inmate who disappeared without a trace…or did he? No one actually knows… can you escape before you suffer the same fate?
The Heist: Your world-class espionage outfit has landed you inside a prestigious art museum. A recently stolen masterpiece is presumed hidden within the office of the museum’s egotistical curator, Vincent Hahn. With the help of your intelligence agent on the outside, you have one hour to find your way into Hahn’s office, recover the painting, and slip away before Hahn returns.
Ruins: Forbidden Treasure You and your team are on a relaxing aerial tour of a remote jungle when everything suddenly falls apart. You're stranded at the foot of ancient and mysterious temple ruins – home of a massive fabled treasure. Adventure has come knocking and the treasure could be yours for the taking! Fortune favors the bold. Will it favor you?
Played via Zoom, The Escape Game's Remote Adventures hold up to 8 players and are guided by a host in the room with a live camera feed. Teams will direct their guide while picking up clues in their digital dashboard to solve puzzles and complete their mission in 60 minutes!
Up to 8 per game, unlimited group
$30 per player
Virtual Gaming Session
Virtual games are another great way to bond with your team remotely.
Companies like Outback Team Building, Teamazing and Let's Roam will help you set up and organize it from start to finish. Using a company specializing in corporate team events will allow you to sit back and enjoy the game yourself.
If your team enjoys traditional board-games, there are some virtual options too. Tabletopia lets you play VR versions of your favorite board-games. You can create a private room and simply send a link to your team.
Here are our favorite gaming sessions you can try with your team!
Top Gaming Sessions for Virtual Teams
Virtual Game Show Extravaganza from Outback Team Building: Remote workgroups can go head-to-head in this virtual game show activity. Together, teams will need to tackle trivia challenges covering everything from pop culture to politics as they compete to be named the winners.
Virtual Team Pursuit from Outback Team Building: Get your remote team together to compete in a series of online mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges. One of our most popular team building activities is now available in a virtual format for remote workgroups.
Virtual Team Builders from Let’s Roam: This game was designed with the express purpose of bonding remote teams. Combining innovative embedded video technology with awesome online games, it’s a good time guaranteed. Their virtual team builders last about one hour and are made up of 5 rounds that pack a fun punch. Each round is a different game that brings employees together and keeps them laughing (i.e. trivia, impersonations, “how well do you know your coworker?”).
Online Team Challenge from Teamazing: This virtual gaming sessions offers 8 different mini-games. As a team, you will face challenging and fun tasks, like building a tower in front of your laptop, listening to music backwards, and more. The combination of different team skills, building trust and a huge amount of fun makes this online program absolutely unique.
Totem from TotemTeam: This unique team-building game is one where everyone comes out feeling valued. Learn and practice giving positive feedback, highlight each other's strengths and experience a fun and rewarding moment with Totem! €100 for up to 8 players. Use the coupon code "WEEKDONE10" for 10% off.
Drawful from Jackbox: Each player receives a weird and unique prompt that they must try to draw on their mobile device (without the aid of an eraser). After each “artist” presents their work, everyone else anonymously submits a title that could fit this bizarre drawing. Your goal is to somehow find the correct prompt while fooling other players into selecting your decoy answer. Bonus points are awarded to those who submitted decoys that are especially clever or dumb… it’s usually the dumb ones.
Survive: Escape from Atlantis from Tabletopia: It’s early in the 20th century – a time of exploration and adventure. The mysterious island of Atlantis has been discovered in the middle of the ocean, and there are rumors of riches! After reaching Atlantis, the explorers are ready to return home with treasure and artifacts. But Atlantis begins to sink! Who will manage to reach dry land without getting eaten by sharks?
Icebreaker quizzes are a fun and low friction way to do a little bit of team building in your team every week. QuizBreaker is one online icebreaker quiz that automatically sends out a new round each week to your team on your chosen schedule. It’s great for bringing remote teams closer together so they can learn more about each other whilst having fun.
How it works
You and your team answer a variety of fun and safe-for-work ice breaker questions, then you have to guess each other’s answers in multiple choice quizzes. They’ve turned it into a game complete with badges, levels, trophies and weekly leaderboard for a bit of fun competition.
QuizBreaker comes with a 14 day free trial so you can give it a try with your team first to see if they like it. It’s currently used by thousands of remote teams all over the world including remote teams at companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and even the New York Times!
Tip: We recommend setting up your QuizBreaker rounds to go out once a week on a Friday afternoon as a fun way to end the week.
Virtual Happy Hour
Going out for drinks after work is always a good time, but when you can’t meet up in person, going virtual is the next best thing.
Virtual Beer & Cheese Pairing Happy Hour
Spice up your team meetings with City Brew Tours’ Virtual Beer and Cheese Pairing Happy Hour. Their expert guides will entertain and educate your team as they take you through the ins and outs of pairing craft beer with cheese and chocolate. Their Happy Hours can accommodate any size team, all over the globe. Participants can either bring their own favorite treats or select from one of City Brew Tours’ curated pairing boxes, which can be customized with branded swag like pint glasses, cheese boards and koozies! (Only available in the USA)
Tip: We suggest choosing one of City Brew Tours’ seasonal tasting boxes. Themed boxes like Winter Warmer, Oktoberfest, and Holiday Party add a unique twist to the typical happy hour.
Virtual Team Cocktails & Kit
Bond with your teammates over mysterious potions, concoctions and infusions with YumTum's Cocktail Masterclass!
Together with a talented mixologist, get involved in a refreshing cocktail masterclass experience. Mocktail alternatives are available too. You can opt to get ingredients delivered to your door or opt for a pantry-based cocktail experience.
If you are looking for something that’s a bit more hands-on, how about a virtual team beer making event? It’s easier than baking a cake!
“Zoom” through 90 minutes of team building fun with Master the Brew’s Private Beer Making Experience. No prior knowledge or experience necessary – An expert brewer will guide your team through the process step by step. The experience comes with equipment and ingredients to brew a full case of beer, shipped right to your guest’s door.
Tip: They can even work with you to create a custom beer recipe and label for your team! Our favorite beer names were:
- Beer Cooler Amber
- Beer O’clock Pale Ale
Visit Paris (virtually, of course!)
This unique virtual tour from Woyago is aimed at groups of people who are looking for a fun way to build their team skills. The one-hour Zoom tour is led by an experienced Parisian, who whisks the group off to the City of Lights and throws in challenges along the way.
He plays on the typical stereotypes but also tears them up, and throws in local tips for your future itinerary. You can ask your guide anything about Parisian culture, no question is too out there.
If you want to learn more about Parisian culture, visit the city’s beautiful attractions and have a laugh with your coworkers or friends and family then this trip is for you.
It lasts just over 60 minutes, and you book the most convenient time-slot when you sign up. Companies have been using this team building game for onboarding new members of staff when they can’t meet in person. It’s a lighthearted and unique icebreaker!
Prices start at $19 per person. Learn more.
Team Travel Quiz
This 90 minute virtual "pub" quiz from Teamazing will provide a fun virtual team trip around the globe. Play 20 minute rounds by moving on a virtual map. The game encourages teamwork, and teams will receive points for speed, correct answers, and creativity! After each round you will join the other teams to share your experiences. The team with the most points will be declared the "Team Traveler" winner! Learn more.
Remote Chain Reaction
In this fun cross-location chain reaction, participants find various items around their house to create a domino like reaction in their living room. The goal is to get the reactions to all link with one another. So if one reaction ends with a toilet paper roll, the next one must start with one! Video tape each reaction and create a grand finale of all the reactions working together!
Team Building Scavenger Hunt
Looking for something that your team can do not over zoom. Let's Roam offers customized scavenger hunts that can be done around your employee's homes or their neighborhoods.
These scavenger hunts are created by their teams of writers and are facilitated by a live host. Each hunt consists of 50+ challenges designed to be done in an hour graded by Machine Learning and their team: Learn more about team building scavenger hunts here.
Virtual Cooking Challenge
Gather your colleagues. Put on your aprons. Bring out the pots and ladles. Get ready for an immersive cooking experience with your team with an interactive MasterChef kitchen.
YumTum's virtual cooking challenges takes your team through an unforgettable culinary journey with some of the best local chefs.
Find out who in the team will make the most Instagrammable Dish! Works well for teams of all sizes and takes around 90-120 minutes.
Virtual Drawing Party
Want to spark the creative side of your team? Hold a virtual drawing party! YumTum has two great virtual team building options with professional artists.
Manga Team Portrait
Always wondered what the team would look like as Manga stars?
Find out with YumTum's team Manga sketch experience hosted by renowned manga artists.
Capture your colleague's real nature by learning how to draw your teammates as manga stars, with the grand finale being an incredible memorable virtual Manga team portrait.
Superheros Sketch Party
Ever wondered what your team members think your superpowers are? If your team could be superheroes for a day, who would they be? Find out by running a super fun Superhero Sketch party!
In this super empowering team-building experience, learn how to capture your colleagues’ personality, translate their traits into superpowers and learn the fundamentals of superhero illustration with a professional artist. Get tips and advice on how to capture your colleague's heroic spirit and highlight their strengths.
The best part is you'll receive a "Superhero Portrait" collage of everyone on the team!
Team Movie Night
Host a monthly or quarterly team movie night (or day). Ask everyone to submit a vote for a movie and a time to watch it, then stream it through a conference call for the entire team to see, no matter where they’re located.
Consider opening a chat channel so everyone can share reactions and hot takes during the movie, too. Tools like Teleparty (formally Netflix Party) can be used to easily to sink the play time of videos as well. Our team now does a trashy-reality show night the last Friday of every month.
Completing personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator helps each team member figure out whether they’re introverted or extroverted, thinkers or feelers, judgers or perceivers, and whether they take in information through sensing or intuition.
Getting to know your team members, and giving them a chance to get to know each other, on a deeper level will help everyone bond and learn how to communicate in the most effective way possible.
Another simple personality assessment to have your team members take is the Four Tendencies test.
This test helps people figure out if they are Upholders, Obligers, Rebels, or Questioners. It gives you a chance as a team leader to see how your team best responds to your expectations. It can also help them work with each other in more effective ways and avoid some of the frustrations of group work.
Try These Virtual Team Games Today
There are lots of ways that you can help remote employees get to know one another and build stronger connections.
Whether it’s spending time playing games together or learning about each other’s personality types, these activities will help your team members get more out of their jobs and feel more comfortable contributing to and collaborating on your upcoming projects. They’ll help you get to know your team members and feel more comfortable leading them, too.
If you need help staying in touch with your team members and creating places where they can catch up with each other or carry out some of the activities listed above, check out Weekdone.
Weekdone makes it easy for you to conduct one-on-one and group meetings with your team members. It also provides you with a place to set goals and provide feedback and encouragement. Register today and try it out for free for teams of three or fewer people.