Over the past year and a half, team building has become primarily a virtual activity. Luckily, much like staff meetings over Zoom and quick convos via Google Chats, intentional group bonding has made a fairly natural transition to the screen.
But as with in-person team activities, online events can run the risk of being awkward. Not every employee feels at ease communicating on a video call, especially if they don’t know other team members very well. Certain activities, like those that require spontaneous conversation, can also make some people feel uncomfortable.
One way to ensure activities are enriching for a group and make participants feel comfortable is to choose creative options that focus on fun and spark spontaneous conversation. Here are seven virtual team-building activities, other than a Zoom happy hour, to try with your colleagues.
Trivia is a versatile group activity because it can be as competitive or collaborative as you’d like. Trivia also has numerous variations, so you can really modify the activity to be personal to your team. We recommend playing a trivia round specifically about the members of your group.
First, designate someone as the game administrator. They’ll be the only person who knows all the answers and will also keep the activity moving along. Next, have each team member share a surprising and little-known fact about themselves with the administrator. (This can be done before the game starts.)
Once all the facts have been submitted, the game administrator emails each team member the crazy facts and a separate list with each person’s name. Make sure the facts are anonymous! Now players try to pair the wild facts to their coworkers. On a group Zoom call, players go around sharing their guesses and learning new things about one another. The person who correctly matches the most facts to their coworkers wins!
Museum scavenger hunt
It may not be possible to gather the entire team for a field trip, but you can still experience something new together. Using Google Arts and Culture, send the team on scavenger hunts at world-famous museums using interactive 3D maps. The Escape Game offers a variety of scavenger hunt checklists.
Yes, bingo. It’s a classic for a reason—and appeals to teams who enjoy games but not necessarily high-stakes competitions. For a team leader, it’s a simple process to virtually organize and play bingo. You can even personalize the game by creating custom workplace-themed cards. These can have squares like “had a paper jam at the printer” or “got stuck in traffic on the way to work”—the options are endless.
Online cooking class
Food connects people—whether they whip up a recipe together in-person or virtually over Zoom. Try an online cooking class with your team to make something delicious. Or, for a budget take on a cooking class, designate one team member to teach a favorite recipe to the rest of the group! Cooking together is also a great time to ask icebreaker questions and feel as if team members are hanging out in one another’s kitchens.
Fishbowl is a hilarious online guessing game. First, teammates submit a few simple nouns and phrases—random things like “bowling ball” or “motorcycle.” Afterward, your group will be randomly split into two teams.
Players then alternate turns, giving clues to help their teammates guess as many of the previously submitted words as possible before time runs out. But there’s a twist. In each round, players have to follow a specific theme—taboo, charades, and password—which can make guessing the words just a bit trickier. The team with the most points after all three rounds wins. You can also customize this game and the rounds to best suit your team.
Virtual petting zoo
How can a petting zoo possibly work on a digital platform? You’d be surprised! With Petting Zoo(m)!, your team can take an online trip to the Caton family’s rustic Virginia farm. Schedule a visit and pick from package options like a quick animal cameo, an interactive farm tour, or an educational animal show. You can also customize which adorable animals you like to see up-close. The farm has a wide range of creatures, from classics like baby cows and goats to some unique ones like camels and kangaroos. There are many other options available at farms around the country.
Virtual escape rooms
Escape rooms are a perfect opportunity to team-build because they involve clear communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. And while they help develop professional skills, escape rooms are also a blast.
Remote Adventures from The Escape Game gives your team the chance to strategize their way out of an actual escape room, over Zoom. With a Game Guide working as the team’s hands and feet inside the room, your team will find clues and crack codes to escape in under 60 minutes— and will leave their adventure feeling like the heroes of the story and closer to their colleagues.
Virtual team building could be an exciting experience for all of your coworkers—one that creates a stronger and happier group.
Anecia Ascalon is a writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a content marketer at The Escape Game, where she enjoys creating digital content that helps teams laugh, learn, and develop strong bonds together.