Virtual Team Building Activities & How to Make Them Work

Share this post | 4 min read


virtual team building

Virtual team building encompasses strengthening remote teams to feel as closely connected as in-office teams. This is essential when leveraging goals, initiative, and positivism around virtual team-building activities and games. Virtual team-building games include everything from icebreaker questions to virtual whodunit mysteries.    


What is a Virtual Team?


Virtual teams – sometimes referred to as allocated, distributed, or assigned teams – are clusters of individuals working together remotely. These teleworkers are from various geographical locations, cultures, and time zones. They depend solely on virtual communication apps for work engagement.  


Why Virtual Team Building Is Important


The physical separation of telecommuters can quickly develop into emotional distancing. 


Without good team morale, company productivity suffers, resulting in high employee turnover. This can lead to burnout and stress for remaining team members as they try to cover the additional workload. 


Purposely engineered virtual team-building activities nurture communication while bolstering a genuinely shared team persona. The concept is not cliquish. It's designed around a company's need to maintain a robust and productive online team. 


Virtual team-building activities can also ease the collaborative challenges inherently factored into the paradigm of teleworking. Virtual team-building enhances team performance, releases stress, and humanizes technology for workers.  


Selecting the Right Virtual Team


Before the games begin, selecting the right "virtual team players" is a crucial starting point. Individual workers who will be well-matched for virtual teamwork must be willing to adapt comfortably to a remote team workforce. This is invaluable. 


Studies show that successful virtual team players and leaders have several homogeneous characteristics:


Good Temperament: A successful virtual team includes skilled communicators. They are people of action who can work independently and embrace cross-cultural awareness and affinity.


Leadership Qualities: While it's true that everyone is not cut out to be a leadereach virtual player should have leadership qualities. Trust, aptitude, and respect are leadership qualities essential to being part of a productive virtual team.    


Sociability: Regardless of virtual team members' deference in a remote setting, the real test is when team members network in a physical space. What social qualities stand-out in each team member? Real-time meetings are the litmus test of character and likability. 


Meetings can be inspired by the start of a project, introducing a new team member, or a celebration of team achievements. Utilize user-friendly videoconferencing software for absent members.  


Assign team-building leadership roles to a local project or team manager. The role will require a communication and motivational team expert.   


Hear Shola Richards discuss how the lack of connectedness & culture can lead to a toxic workplace and how to correct it.  





5 Virtual Team Building Activities To Make Team Building Work For Your Company


Use any or all of the activities below to break ground in a virtual workplace.    


1. Open Mic Team Builder 

This virtual team-building game takes roughly 10 minutes. Start the meeting by giving every team member a minute or so to prepare. Green-light a short one-minute performance for each person, whether it's playing the ukulele, repeating a verse from their favorite rap song, or a pantomime of a love-struck peacock. This activity breaks the ice and lightens the mood.   


2. Getting To Know You Team Builder

This familiarity activity takes from 10 to 15 minutes. Before a scheduled online meeting, have virtual team members answer three questions about themselves. For example: If you were stuck on a deserted island, smartphone in hand, and one choice for an app, which app would it be? What color combination motivates you the most? What's your favorite pizza topping? And so on.  


Share the answers with the other teammates. Try to match the answer with the right person. Afterward, disclose who gave which answer. Have members explain the reasons for their answers. This activity acts as a bonding session between members. 


3. Real-Time Remote Office

At the start of the workday, whoever shows up first initiates a video chat. Each team member participates as they log in to their work session, creating an in-office setting but remotely, much like workers arriving at a physical office and carrying out their assigned tasks. This team-building activity imparts a feeling of camaraderie.     


4. Time To Talk

This fun virtual exercise is one that takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Post a story about a current event to each team member during the outset of the workday. Have an impromptu conversation about the topic. Give each person 60 seconds to share their opinion without any response from the other team members. Afterward, have a 5-minute group discussion about the topic. This activity helps team members to comprehend the dynamics of cooperation and teamwork better. 


5. Cocktail Happy Hour

Officially known as Cocktail Shake-Up, this fully hosted remote team-building activity takes 90 minutes and is very popular among virtual teams and managers. The fun involves mixing prohibition-era concoctions with shenanigans and mischief as part of the action. 


For instance, trivia quizzes and/or cheerleading slogans like "hands on your hips, a smile on your lips, a spirit in your heart, we're ready to start!" motivates participants. This event requires a trained host to keep energy and participation high. 


It Pays to Play


Virtual team building takes commitment and effort. The objective is to maintain an efficient team that can play and excel. For companies that put in the effort to get it right, the benefits are tremendous.

Is your virtual team struggling to connect?


DH offers virtual & on-site solutions to help your team build connectedness, which will lead to happier employees. Happier employees will lead to happier customers, higher profits, and more meaningful lives.  People Strategy Sessions

About the Author

Carlo Borja

Carlo Borja is the head of content marketing for Time Doctor, a time tracking software for remote teams. He is a full-time telecommuter, a digital nomad, and a coffee junkie.


Subscribe to our blog