Best Virtual Team Building Activities and Games for Remote Teams
More than 25 team building activities to keep your teams engaged through the 'Work From Home' phase.
If you had told us back in 2019 that balcony jamming, remote working, and 20-second hand washing would happen like clockwork in 2020, we would have appreciated your humour.
But thanks to the onset of Covid-19, all the above-stated examples have become true. Like this one:
The global pandemic has reshuffled the entire way we function, work culture included.
With pyjamas and night suits becoming the new formals, and virtual onboarding becoming the norm, team leaders are on the constant lookout for ways to handle the dwindling morale of their team and make their virtual meetings more fun with team building activities.
If you’ve been on the lookout for the same, your search ends here.
We bring to you over 25 fun team building activities to choose from, so you can piece together virtual happy hours for your team on your next Zoom call. Double yay to less monotony and more bonding!
We’ve all been there - blaming our teammates for not guessing the right word in the game of Pictionary, while in reality, our drawing skills are only as good as Ross Geller’s keyboard-playing skills!
To play this popular guessing game, divide the team into groups of three. The team moderator has to personally text one member of each group, the word to be drawn. To draw, either the moderator can start the video call and share the screen with the Whiteboard(on Zoom), or the player who is drawing can share his/her screen and draw on paint.
Each team is given 1 minute to guess the word. Here’s the catch —the drawing cannot include letters, words, or numbers. The group with the highest number of right guesses takes home the trophy.
2. Guess Who - Emoji version
Guess Who format exercises are a popular choice when it comes to icebreakers. Icebreakers as an activity have been around for a very long time. So long, that we wouldn’t be surprised if you told us dinosaurs sat around in circles and exchanged fun facts about themselves!
This is a spin-off on the traditional form of ‘Guess Who’ and involves playing detective by having a look at the frequently used emojis of each person’s keyboard. To play this virtually, each member takes a screenshot of their frequently used emojis and personally texts it to the team moderator. The team moderator then shares it with the team, and the first person to guess who the screenshot belongs to gets 5 points.
This cycle is to be repeated until every member of the group shares his/her screenshot. At the end of the game, the person with the maximum points wins the game.
3. Share your bucket list
If only we had a dollar for every time we heard someone go ‘It’s on my bucket list too!’.
A bucket list is a list of things a person wants to do or experience in his/her lifetime. It could include small victories like learning to fly a kite, or monumental ones like becoming a television host — and then the President of a country.
(Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between original characters and real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental)
In this team building activity, the team members take turns and share the top 5 things from their bucket list, thereby getting to know each other better.
So what’s on your bucket list?
4. The Worst Five
This is a pretty straightforward team building activity and is an effective icebreaker too. To begin, the team moderator picks a category like movies, books, games, etc. Each member of the team then shares their worst five picks in regards to that category and further gives a short synopsis of the same. Because where is the fun in sharing the best five?
If you’d like to make this even more interesting, you can pair people in twos, and ask them to take turns guessing their partner’s worst picks.
5. Tongue Twisters
“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood” - Tying tongues since its inception!
Have other fun tongue twisters you would love for your team to try? Here’s your chance to challenge (embarrass) them, live on screen!
Warning: Make sure you aren’t chewing any gum when you do this. We don’t want any casualties in your team.
the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures.
Origami is one of the best ways to de-stress and get your inner child excited! To enjoy this activity as a team, members can take turns and teach others a chosen origami creation, on a regular basis. After a significant period of time, you would have built your very own origami army!
On that note, here’s a thought-provoking comic on Origami:
7. Bring your family
By now, your team is accustomed to, and pretty much even celebrates the appearance of your pets or your family, while on a call. They are now aware that when it is tea-o-clock in your house, your mom will walk into your room with your favourite polka dot cup! How about you introduce them to each other the right way?
Declare any one hour as Bring your family hour, so your family can get to know your colleagues better, and vice-versa. Your second-cousin Jane, great uncle Tom, and your Poodle Nancy, we want to see them all!
8. Who’s there?
Hold your thought! This is not yet another knock-knock joke, but precisely how this game will work. To play Who’s there?, the team moderator will have to divide the team into groups of three or four. Each team will have to take turns trying to guess the personality that’s knocking on their door, based on the hints given by the moderator.
This personality can be a celebrity or even a person from the team itself! Prior to starting the game, the team moderator can determine the number of clues that each team will get. The team with the maximum points wins this game.
9. Plot me out!
Do your friends come to you for movie suggestions and reviews? Are you the celebrated movie critic in your circle? Do you prefer popcorn over pizza? Are shared interests in movies/series the way to winning your heart?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to win this game hands-down! (Or so we like to believe.)
In this game, the plot of a movie or tv series will be revealed, word by word, by the team moderator. Teams of five will take turns guessing the names of these movies or series. The team that does so with the least number of clues wins the game.
Also consider checking out these 50+ Zoom background images for your next team meeting.
10. Minimal Poster Challenge
Minimalism is a buzzword that gets thrown around quite often. In specificity, this concept in the light of the visual medium emerged as an art movement in itself in the post- World War II Western art era, and stands testimony to the phrase ‘less is more’, thereby gaining popularity for all the right reasons.
Well, we had to make sure you become smarter by a fact, at the end of this blog!
Minimal Poster Challenge is a fun trivia, where the players take turns guessing the names of movies or TV series by looking at the respective minimal posters. The team moderator can give them hints if required. It should be no surprise that the person who gets the maximum number of answers wins the game!
We put together certain images for you to get started with this game! Click the image above to get your hands on them.
11. Heads Up with a twist
This game puts a twist on the original Heads Up, a party game introduced by famous TV show host Ellen Degeneres. This is how the official website describes the game— “From naming celebrities to singing, to silly accents—guess the word on the card that's on your head from your friends' clues before the timer runs out!”
To play this virtually, split the team into groups of 2. The Team moderator sends a list of about 10 words to one player from each group. Make sure that the words are unique for every team.
Each duo will then have two minutes to guess as many words as possible. The players will continue to guess until they get all of them right or until they run out of time, whichever happens first. The team with the most correct answers wins the game.
12. Memory Game
Think you are blessed with a mammoth memory? Let’s put the theory to test today!
To play this game, the team moderator divides the team into equal groups. One person from each group participates at a time. The moderator should display several things and the player should try and memorize the same within 60 seconds. Once the timer hits one minute, he/she should recall the names of as many things as possible.
A word of caution: It might not be as simple as it sounds!
13. Let’s face it
According to researchers at Ohio State University, a human face is capable of making 21 different facial expressions. Can you figure out that one expression your teammate is trying to emote? Play this game to find out!
The teams will be split into groups of 4. The Team moderator makes a list of common facial expressions and sends it to one person from each group. This chosen member emotes the given expression, while the other members of the group figure out what that is. Sounds simple? Well here’s the catch - the usage of hands is prohibited while enacting.
Each group gets 30 seconds to figure out the expression. The one with the highest points is declared the winner of this team building activity.
14. Non-Stop Talking
“Tick-tock on the clock
But the talking don't stop, no”
Can you gush out words like a bottle of uncorked champagne? If you can bet on this ability of yours, this is just the right game for you! Non-stop talking requires the team moderator to come up with a set of sentences, while the other members on the team take turns to read the same without stumbling, and within a time limit of 30 seconds. If you err, you lose! The person with the maximum points wins this team building activity.
15. Where Am I?
Where Am I? makes work-from-home a little more fun. Each player takes turns to describe the features of their surroundings, while the others try to guess which part of the house that person is in. Make sure that the video and microphone are turned off from the very beginning of the meeting, and send all clues as a group text.
You might want to generously sprinkle creativity while giving your clues. For instance, if you’re seated in the kitchen, you may consider saying - In a war between the head and the heart, the stomach always wins here!
When James Patterson asked “What are we but our stories?”, he most certainly did not refer to this game. But hey, if it fits, it sits!
To play this game, the team moderator begins the story with a hypothetical phrase such as “If dogs could text” or “If elephants could fly”. He/she then picks the next person who continues the story.
The new sentence has to be more than 3 words long and summarize the plot so far. As the plot develops, it unleashes a new wave of creativity, and is a true test to a person's communication and memory skills!
17. Book Reading Groups
The unbridled joy of getting lost in the pages of a book is truly unparalleled. Enjoyed reading a book lately? Share it with your team and get them to hop on the reading train as well! Establish a book reading group, and chalk out your top picks for the month. After an agreed-upon time period is over, gather together (virtually, of course!) and discuss how you liked the book.
This activity is a fun way to inculcate the habit of reading and make it a way of life.
"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place, you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall." - Roald Dahl
18. Pixel Art, the Google Sheet way
A simple Google search will tell you that the general purposes of spreadsheets are “to create budgets, produce graphs and charts, and for storing and sorting data”. Spreadsheets are for teams like water is for humanity — a prerequisite for survival!
But who says spreadsheets cannot be fun? With a number of pre-colour formatted templates available, you don’t have to be a computer scientist to figure this out.
For this activity, split the team into groups of four, each having their own copy of the template sheet. As a team, they will try to paint a specific agreed-upon picture by following the formatting rules. The first team to do so wins the game.
19. Grandmother’s Trunk
This is a twist on the classic children’s game of Grandmother’s trunk. With adults, however, the possibilities are endless (read wild!).
The team moderator begins the activity by saying “I’m going on a trip and I have to pack my grandmother’s trunk”. Each member then says which item they’d pick to pack inside the trunk, and come up with a bizarre explanation for the same. The person with the most creative answer is declared the winner of this team building activity.
20. Misheard lyrics
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the funniest of them all?
Mishearing lyrics happens to the best of us and therefore isn’t something to shy away from. Let the members of your team each share the funniest lyrics they’ve ever misheard. The one that gets the most number of laughs is crowned champion!
Here’s a clip of Ben Langley’s audition on Britain’s Got Talent, where he puts a hilarious spin on the commonly misheard lyrics, ranging from The Lion King to the iconic Celine Dion song ‘All By Myself’.
21. Be an owl!
Fun fact - Did you know that owls have three eyelids, and only one of them is used for blinking?
Welcome to the non-blinking warzone, where people are all eyes. Literally.
This game is fairly simple and requires each player to keep their eyes wide open without blinking, while the clock ticks. The person who sustains for the longest time is declared the winner.
22. Spelling Bee
Can you spell pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?
If the mere sight of this word did not scare you out of your wits, you can take this challenge head-on! As per the Spelling Bee custom that has been around since 1925, a participant is required to spell out the words that are verbally presented to him/her.
The team moderator can increase the level of difficulty as each round progresses. The participant with the maximum number of correct answers at the end of the final round will be declared the winner. Do you have what it takes to be(e) a Spelling Bee?
23. Finding Wally / Waldo
Birthed to life by English illustrator Martin Handford, Waldo aka Wally, is a character in the puzzle book series of ‘Where’s Wally?’. Wally is a world traveller and is characterized by his red-and-white-striped outfit and a hand-knit hat. The key to winning this game is to spot Wally before anyone else on your team does.
But nothing comes that easy, does it?
The challenge here is that Wally is camouflaged and sandwiched in densely painted illustrations, and trying to spot him is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If you wish to spice this game a little, you can further ask the members to spot Wally’s friends Wilma, Welda, and Wizard Whitebeard, to name a few. The first person to find all of them deserves to be hailed as the king!
Click the image above to get your hands on these illustrations!
24. Catch me if you can
Here’s your chance to make your fictional fantasy come true - If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
While joining a Zoom call, every person on the team should change their usernames to that of the chosen character. Ensure that you enter the room with your video and audio turned off. One player can then take the lead and start guessing the actual names, one after the other.
As and when he/she makes the right guess, the other person has to turn on their camera and reveal themselves. This cycle continues until all the members on the team are revealed. Once an entire round is over, everyone can leave the room and rejoin with different names!
25. Minute mysteries
Minute mysteries involve brain-teasers and mystery riddles — precisely from the pages of that one section, most of us avoided in the book store as kids! These questions may seem very trivial, but in reality, they require a high level of understanding and problem-solving skills. Here’s an example:
Q: Marissa and Juliana went out for drinks together. They ordered the same drink. Juliana was really thirsty and finished five in the time it took Marissa to finish one. The drinks were poisoned, but only Marissa died. How?
A: The poison was in the ice. Since Marissa's ice had time to melt, she was poisoned but Juliana wasn't.
The team moderator can determine the difficulty level for these questions, after dividing the team into groups of five. He/ she then throws the floor open to answers, one question after the other. The team that gets the right answer in the minimum time hits the jackpot!
26. Jigsaw Championship
Undisputed Jigsaw champions, ASSEMBLE! You are the warriors who’ve stood the test of time, rain or shine, and strived to fulfil the very purpose of your creation - to capture the throne of the Jigsaw land! If only for those damned missing pieces. Argh.
But fret no more, for this time no missing piece is going to be able to stop you from rightfully claiming your crown. Sit back and do your thing, as you see your counterparts buckle down under the pressure. There are numerous online multiplayer jigsaw puzzles available, like the ones here.
Go pick one and crush them enemies! (Which roughly translates to - Be the first one to finish the puzzle.)
27. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are entertaining in person, and they can be just as impactful for team building in a virtual environment.
There are a lot of Zoom scavenger hunt ideas to try out, from the simple to the extravagant. Most importantly, add an interesting theme to make it even more engaging, and pick one which suits your team’s tastes, whether that might be movies, video games, social media or world geography.
Well, now that you know how to wave goodbye to boredom, (and show everybody else who the real gangster is) are you excited for your next virtual Zoom call? We certainly hope you are. Happy Gaming!
Watch this space for weekly updates on the newest round-up of team building activities!
In addition, you can download some really cool 50+Zoom background images from the link here.