For many of us, socializing with coworkers isn’t easy. Being part of a virtual team can make developing connections between team members even more difficult, as physical separation can lead to increased emotional separation, too. Fortunately, there are numerous team-building activities out there for virtual teams! Allow me to offer 7 of the best:
League of Kitchens is a woman-owned and woman-run organization that hosts a variety of cooking classes taught by instructors from different cultures, from Argentina to Japan to Bangladesh and more. They are currently hosting virtual classes via Zoom, offering an Immersive or a “Taste Of” experience. Keep in mind that they only host 13 participants at a time when deciding whether or not this activity is right for one’s team.
The “food and drink” theme continues! Tea vs Coffee is a virtual tea- and coffee-tasting event, where a week in advance all participants receive “four unique drink packs [unusual teas, coffees, and infusions] from eco-friendly farms, plus a fun snack.” During the call, there are icebreakers, guided meditation, and—of course—the official tea vs coffee ceremony. This activity can accommodate any number of participants, so it’s perfect for large and small teams alike!
There’s never a bad time for a campfire! Especially a virtual campfire, hosted indoors where no bugs or bears can get to us. Prior to the event, participants are sent a kit of “a campfire-candle, wood matches, and s’more ingredients.” The virtual campfire itself is run by a “Camp Counselor,” who leads the group in icebreakers, trivia, historic ghost stories, and an authentic s’more-making experience. As with Tea vs Coffee, tiny campfire ? can accommodate groups of all sizes!
“But what if we want a more exciting team-building activity?” you may be wondering. Well, fear not, because War of the Wizards is here! The backstory of the event is that a group of wizards have been at war for so long, none of them can remember why the war began. Thus, participants are enlisted “as the wizards’ minions to help solve the conundrum and bring the war to a peaceful end.” Managed by a provided host, the event involves storytelling, puzzles, and more! And best of all? No previous RPG experience is required.
While the above activities fall solidly into the “entertainment” aspect of virtual team-building, it would be remiss not to include a few “practical” (but still enjoyable!) activities, too:
To put it simply, creating a user manual is creating a PowerPoint about oneself. Information in this PPT might include a person’s interests/hobbies, their culture, facts about their family, what environment(s) they work best in, etc. These PPTs can then be presented in a virtual meeting, where each employee has the opportunity to share essentially a summary of themself. And remember: this user manual should be fun! Encourage team members to incorporate pictures, memes, music—whatever they feel is relevant.
While CliftonStrengths is the assessment linked above, feel free to investigate any other strength assessments that feel appropriate! The value comes not from the brand but the time invested. Once all team members have completed their assessment, invite everyone to share results with the group (perhaps their top strength, their lowest strength, and a strength they didn’t expect). Discussing these results not only allows for team members to get to know each other better, but it also informs them how to better work together, a quality that is invaluable with virtual teams.
Now, some of us out there may be concerned about budgeting or the time commitment required for the above activities. Fear not, for there is one final team-building activity to be discussed:
7. Collaborative Playlists
Using an online platform such as Spotify, encourage team members to together make themed playlists, such as a “productivity playlist” for when they’re working or a “winding down playlist” for when they get off. Another possibility is a “cultural connection playlist,” where team members from around the world can share music they enjoy from their home country with their fellow coworkers. To misquote Shakespeare: “If music be the food of team-building, play on!”
All of us now possess a plentiful arsenal of team-building activities, which means there’s no reason to delay: it’s time to bond!
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. In addition, she provides guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multi-year plan for advancing quality leaders from within the organization.