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51 best virtual team-building activities to try in 2023

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Remote and hybrid organizations far and wide are looking for the best virtual team-building activities to keep their people connected. 

Why? Because connected employees are happier employees – and happier employees want to do great work and help their co-workers do great work.

To help HR pros out, here are 51 of the top virtual team-building activities to try now:

1. Scavenger hunt

Virtual scavenger hunts are a high-energy virtual team-building activity to engage a remote team and get them up and moving.

Break employees into teams to hunt for different items around their home – anything from a houseplant to a carton of eggs – and whichever team has the most items at the end wins. 

Here’s a list of virtual scavenger hunt ideas to get your creative juices flowing, or you can use an app like Scavify. 

2. Karaoke

Love it or hate it, karaoke can bring a lot of laughter and fun, making it a perfect virtual team-building activity. 

Virtual karaoke can be done on Zoom or on a dedicated karaoke platform. Before the event, curate a list of songs for employees to choose from. Encourage employees who aren’t singing to be an active and engaged audience. 

3. Escape room

Believe it or not, escape room activities can be done virtually – and they can be just as engaging as the real thing. 

Virtual escape rooms are usually hosted by a third party. They take about an hour and can accommodate any number of employees. Themes can range from ghost hunting to brain games.

They require employees to think creatively, work together and collaborate, making it a great exercise in group dynamics, teamwork and leadership.

4. Book club

Book clubs can help teams connect with each other and talk about interests outside of work. Books can also focus on a certain theme, such as women’s leadership or true crime.

Employees should choose a moderator for the club, who can help facilitate book choices, gather discussion questions and set up a meeting cadence. 

5. Team trivia

Trivia is another popular choice for virtual team-building because it’s familiar to many and can be easily customizable to do company- or industry-specific trivia.

There are many platforms to host a virtual trivia game on, but it can also be done easily on Zoom. You can even have team members lock in their own answers by using a platform like Kahoot! to make it more interactive.

6. Collaborative playlist

Music can be one of the best ways to get to know someone and can spark all kinds of conversation – making it a perfect virtual team-building activity.

The initial playlist curation can be based on a certain theme or mood or just simply team members’ favorite songs. Some playlist ideas include: 

  • Monday pump-up anthems
  • Midweek pick-me-ups, or 
  • Pre-weekend jams.

To get your team more engaged, you can encourage employees to share what songs they picked and why.

7. Lunch-and-learn

Of course, with everyone at home, typical lunch-and-learns aren’t an option anymore – but they’re still possible. 

Provide employees with a stipend for a yummy lunch and find a virtual speaker. To get even more out of the session, you can hold a debriefing with your team to reflect on what they learned.

8. Online wellness session

Wellness activities can address two critical points: employee wellness and virtual team-building. 

Simply find a wellness topic that fits your employees’ needs. For example, if your team is experiencing an overload of stress or burnout, you may sign up for a mindfulness session.

Wellness activities can also spark important conversations about mental health and well-being.  

9. Painting party

Depending on the creativity level of your team, the results of this virtual team-building activity can either be beautiful or hilarious – and either way, it can help your team form bonds.  

You can either book a live painting instructor and get supplies shipped out to employees or find a pre-recorded tutorial.

When it’s over, team members will have a new piece of art to spruce up their home office.

10. Happy hour

Virtual happy hours can get the conversation flowing and give employees space outside of work to get to know each other. virtual team-building

You can either ask employees to make their own drinks – and for added fun, ask for volunteers to give a short tutorial on how to make their drink of choice – or send out a pre-made happy hour kit for participating employees. 

It’s also a good idea to have a non-alcoholic option to keep the event inclusive for everyone.

11. Talent show

A talent show can be a great virtual team-building exercise because it allows employees to get to know one another.

Simply spread the word to your team and create a sign-up sheet for anyone interested. Add specifications like time limits and off-limits subject matter.

The show can be done via Zoom and hosted by a manager or another employee. You can also have audience members vote on the best act. 

12. Recipe swap

Does somebody on your team have that family-favorite dish or award-winning dessert recipe? Try a recipe swap. 

Invite team members to swap recipes and assign different dishes to different employees. Create an email thread or set aside some time at your next meeting to discuss the recipes. 

13. Watercooler chats

Watercooler chats aren’t over just because employees can no longer gather around a physical watercooler. 

App integrations for communication platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams can help facilitate fun, non-work chat between team members and can even provide prompts to get conversation flowing. 

14. Two truths and a lie

This icebreaker game is a creative, fun way to get to know someone in only a few minutes.

Have each team member write down three statements – two that are true and one that is a lie – and have the other team members guess which one is the lie. The activity can help employees get their creative juices flowing while learning more about each other.

15. Murder mystery game

If you’re looking for something out-of-the-box and exciting, consider hosting a murder mystery game to keep your team hooked until the very end. 

Virtual murder mystery games come with everything you need to know and detailed instructions, or you can find a virtual live event.

16. Praise train

Everybody likes to receive a compliment now and then. When it comes from your co-workers, it can make you feel valued and respected, increasing team trust and cohesion. 

One person starts off by simply giving someone else a compliment – anything from work ethic to having a good sense of humor. That person passes along a different compliment to another team member, going on until everyone has given and received a compliment. 

17. Typing test

A typing test can be a quick pre-meeting virtual team-building activity that can bring a little healthy competition to your team. 

Simply have employees use a free typing speed test and ensure all team members are doing the same test with the same time limit. 

Employees can then share their results with one another, and you can calculate the team’s average speed or accuracy percentage.

18. Name that emoji song title

This can be a quick and fun activity to do on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon to engage your team. 

Choose a song to use and recreate the title using emojis. You can either try to translate it word-for-word or get more creative with it. Then, other team members have to guess the song title. 

19. Baby photo game

Who doesn’t love a cute baby photo? This is a quick, lighthearted “who’s who” virtual team-building game to see what team members looked like when they were younger.  

Have each employee send over a baby photo of themselves. You can turn the photos into a collage or slideshow and have employees guess who’s who.

20. Bingo

Bingo is one of the most well-known games to play – and it can be easily adapted to the virtual world.

Create a bingo board with whatever theme you choose, such as remote work or conference call, then share the board with your team and begin. The first person to get “bingo” – all items in a row – wins. 

21. Team superlatives

Superlatives aren’t just for high school yearbooks; they can be easily adapted to become a virtual team-building activity. 

Either break employees up into teams and have them assign superlatives to each other, or provide a pre-made list and have employees vote on who they think fits the superlative. 

22. Pen pal program

If you have employees across the country – or across the globe – from one another, consider implementing a pen pal program to help employees connect with each other. 

Assign participating employees a random pen pal and help coordinate contact information such as addresses. From there, it’s up to the employee to do the rest. 

23. X or Y

This is a simple way for employees to share some of their personal preferences. 

Gather a list of “this or that” questions, like:

  • Cookies or ice cream?
  • Mountains or beach?
  • Dogs or cats?

Although it’s a basic activity, it can help employees find commonalities with each other and get conversations started. 

24. Geoguessr

Geoguessr is a geography guessing game that can be easily turned into a virtual team-building competition. 

The game drops you into an unknown location. It’s up to you to figure out where you are by exploring your surroundings in a street-view panorama and try to locate it on a world map. Simply share a game code from the website to get the whole team involved.  

25. Jeopardy

Jeopardy is a trivia-style game modeled after the TV gameshow, where clues are phrased in the form of answers and answers are phrased in the form of questions. 

Some websites can help you set up a customized Jeopardy game, or you can do it yourself using a premade template. Then, break employees up into teams and get playing.

26. Photo challenges

Photo challenges are a simple virtual team-building activity to help employees get to know one another and bring out their creative side. 

Simply choose a theme for the photo challenge and announce the contest to your team. Challenges can be anything from “something green” to “What’s outside of my window?” 

You can set up a Slack channel or email chain to share pictures.

27. Terrarium workshop

If you’ve got some green thumbs on your team, a terrarium or plant workshop can be the perfect virtual team-building activity. 

You can order a DIY terrarium or plant kit to be shipped to your team. Then, a host or some other form of instruction will help guide your team and create the final product. 

28. Lifestyle challenges

Although weight loss challenges are an office go-to, lifestyle challenges can be anything from getting movement into your day to staying hydrated.

Consider creating a Slack channel for participants to help them bond and stay accountable. 

If you’re getting the whole team involved, make sure it’s inclusive to everyone, such as those who have mobility challenges. 

29. At-home crafting session

One of the best ways for employees to bond can be through shared hobbies. If you’ve got some crafty members on your team, try organizing a virtual team-building craft session.

Gather employees with a similar interest – such as knitting or painting – and help them set up a crafting session to relax and get to know each other. 

30. Ping-Pong

Many physical games have been digitized for a remote world – including ping-pong, which can now be played virtually via Slack. 

Playplay.io is a Slack app that lets employees challenge each other to compete in ping-pong games. It can even track things like leaderboards, seasons and match history.

31. Codenames

Codenames is a fun word game that started out as a physical card game, but has been transferred over to an online, multiplayer virtual team-building activity. 

Using a website or Slack integration, divide your people into teams and designate one person as the “spymaster,” who will try to get their team to guess a designated list of words using creative clues. 

Here’s an explainer of the game:

 

32. Virtual museum exhibit

For a cultural experience – or just a bit of fun – consider taking a virtual field trip with your team to a museum, which can be the perfect mixture of entertainment and education.

You can set up a hosted tour or you can go through a virtual exhibit yourself. To make it more engaging, consider adding a scavenger hunt.  

33. Online cooking class

Learning a new skill – or a new dish – can be a fun virtual team-building challenge for your team to take on together. Plus, you get a (hopefully) tasty reward at the end.  

You can either find an asynchronous online tutorial to follow or you can sign your team up for a live class. It’s important to choose something simple enough for all skill levels, but still keep it engaging and fun. Here are some ideas.   

34. Pictionary

Although it started out as a board game, Pictionary can easily be played online – and can be a great virtual team-building activity.  

Divide your people into teams and choose a moderator to text a word to one member of each team. Then, the word must be drawn without using any numbers, letters or symbols. The team to guess the word first wins. 

There are online applications you can use, or you can do it yourself by sharing your screen on Zoom. 

35. Gift exchange

It doesn’t have to be holiday time to do a gift exchange. And for remote teams, it can feel extra meaningful to get a physical gift from a remote co-worker. 

Once you have enough employees who are interested, you can help coordinate names and addresses, then randomly assign employees to one another, ensuring everyone is giving and receiving a gift. 

You may also want to set some ground rules about price range, shipping rates and any gifts that are off-limits. 

36. GIF Wars

If your team needs a quick virtual team-building pick-me-up, consider trying “GIF wars” – where employees send GIFs, or moving images, to each other.

Have one employee start by sharing any GIF they want. Then, employees will take turns sending GIFs in response to one another. 

There doesn’t have to be any specific end result, but if you want to add a competitive element, you can have your team vote on who had the best GIF.

37. Charity opportunity

With employees scattered across the world, hosting an in-person charity event may not be feasible – but there are ways a remote workforce can give back to their community.

The specifics will depend on what type of charity event your team chooses to do. You can have a company-wide competition where employees donate food to local shelters, or do something entirely virtual like online tutoring.

38. QuizBreaker

QuizBreaker is a virtual team-building activity that helps your team get to know each other better through gamified icebreaker questions. 

Teams answer fun icebreaker questions and QuizBreaker then sends out quiz rounds based on answers. Employees get to guess whose answer is whose with added elements like conversation threads and emoji reactions. 

39. Rose, thorn and bud

This can be a quick end-of-week virtual team-building activity for any team to help share their progress and reflect on their week. 

Have employees go around and share about their week using the following format, which can be easily customized:

  • Rose: Something that went well this week
  • Thorn: Something that could have gone better
  • Bud: Something to look forward to or a new idea

40. Charades

Charades is one of those all-time, well-loved classic games. It’s highly customizable and requires little effort. 

Break your people into teams and have one person from each team act out a word for their team to guess. The only caveat is that each team will have to find a way to communicate without the other team hearing, such as a Slack group or group text message. 

41. Lunch roulette

One of the most vital team-building opportunities that remote workers miss out on is having lunch together. 

With Lunch Roulette, you can set up weekly or monthly “roulettes” where employees get randomly matched together for a lunch or coffee chat to help improve employee relationships. 

42. Spelling bee

Especially for a creative or editorial team, a spelling bee competition can get employees excited and engaged, even through the screen.

Get a list of words for employees to spell. The words can be simple, goofy or more difficult if your team is especially word-savvy. 

You can do a flash round for some pre-meeting fun, or block out an hour or two to turn it into a multi-round competition.

43. Show-and-tell

This is another childhood staple that can help employees get to know each other better. 

Have employees bring a meaningful item to show the team and share its significance. Any item that an employee feels represents them or is significant in some way will work, like a childhood photo, an antique item or even a pet. 

Depending on the size of your team, this activity can take as little as 15 minutes. 

44. Home office tour

How a home office is decorated can tell a lot about a person and create some fun conversation.

Work in time before a meeting or in a pre-recorded video for employees to give a tour of their space. It can be a funny, engaging way for employees to show their personality and get to know one another on a deeper level.

45. Collaborative crossword puzzle

Crossword puzzles can be a fun virtual team-building challenge to get employees thinking and problem-solving together.  

Find a collaborative crossword puzzle application like squares.io or simply have one person share their screen so everyone can work together. 

46. Gratitude wall

Sometimes employees want to give praise or gratitude to a team member, but may not know how to do it in a meaningful way. That’s where a gratitude wall comes in.

Usually, a gratitude wall is a designated physical space where employees can post messages of gratitude to each other. To make it virtual, simply digitize your gratitude wall into a Slack channel or other easily accessible place.  

47. Movie night

Thanks to streaming platforms, arranging a virtual team-building movie night – or afternoon – for your team is even easier than doing it in person.

Simply find a streaming platform that allows watch parties and choose a movie. If you can’t decide, ask for suggestions or do a poll. You can encourage employees to change into comfy pajamas or provide a stipend for a movie snack, such as popcorn or candy. 

48. Common things

This virtual team-building activity can be especially important for teams that are just getting to know each other or for a team that’s multi-generational or global.

Break employees up into random groups, set a timer and have them find a specified number of commonalities between the group – anything from “We’ve all accidentally been on mute during a Zoom call,” to “We’ve all tried chocolate milk.” 

49. Kasem

Got a musically minded group? Use it as a virtual team-building opportunity with the Slack integration Kasem. 

Team members can discreetly submit the link to any song to the Kasem bot. Then, once another team member wants to discover a song, the bot will give them the song link – but it won’t reveal who submitted it. 

You can encourage them to guess who submitted the song and discuss it with the team. Once your team is ready, the bot will reveal who submitted the song. 

50. Virtual card games

Card games are another popular option that has been turned into a virtual experience that makes for a great virtual team-building activity.

Use an online platform such as Playingcards.io and match players up to play games like Checkers, Rummy or Spades and have employees set up an audio or video chat during the game.

51. Group story

This easy virtual team-building exercise can have creative – and often funny – results. Plus, it’s totally free and can be done in under 10 minutes. 

This can be done verbally in a video call, or you can do it online through a Slack channel. 

Simply have one person start a story by saying a single sentence. Then, the next person adds a sentence to the story, and so on until everyone has gone. Then you can put it all together and read the story in its entirety. 

Getting the most out of virtual team-building

Especially in a remote environment, there are some essential considerations to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your virtual team-building session. 

  • Get a pulse check on your people before doing the event to ensure that your team will find it fun instead of a chore
  • Break up virtual team-building sessions between different times if you have a team spread out across different time zones
  • Communicate with event hosts or vendors beforehand to discuss what you want to get out of the virtual team-building event, and
  • Ensure that virtual team-building activities that are usually held in person are optimized for remote work by adding in breakout Zoom groups or facilitating conversation.

How to measure success

You’ve done your virtual team-building activity and you’ve worked hard to make it as successful as possible. But how do you know for sure? 

Here are three steps to measure the success and effectiveness of your virtual team-building activities:

  1. Use a variety of metrics, such as engagement, productivity and task completion times
  2. Find a baseline of your metrics before you begin, and 
  3. Continue to track and measure data to help tweak your strategy going forward.

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