12 Effective Virtual Team Building Activities

Basak Karsu

Basak Karsu

12 min read


12 Effective Virtual Team Building Activities

Team building is one of the most important processes to create a successful business. The low functioning team exists as a result of a lack of trust within the team. Individuals need to connect with each other to perform as a high functioning team. Firstly, a group of people from different locations has to believe in the future of the business. Secondly, they need to come to the point where they can work interdependently and effectively. In this way, your team can reach both business and personal goals. 

The psychological approach should be determined, and every step should be planned during team building. Team building does not mean starting random chats in the team. You should investigate games that increase the bonding of your team. Team building is a serious and sensitive topic. Your attitude should be coherent in every step.

Virtual Team Building Ideas

Some companies set morning meetings to bring the team together every morning. They assume that these meetings will be energizing and engaging. They can be right but all teams are different. They have different engagement levels and dynamics. Setting a morning meeting maybe not making some employees happy. They could find it more like a core of psychological stress then energizing gathering. 

Even though, as a manager you have your own way to manage a team, you should consider that there can be a point you may miss. Everybody is different and the remote team shows different results on the productivity level.

In the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisors 2010 report, the effect of more flexibility in working arrangements was searched. And then solid evidence has found, the companies who let their employees work remotely increased their productivity level.

As mentioned, flexible work may be gain for the employees and the employers, but potentially for society as well.  

On the other hand, one of the cons of the virtual team in isolation. A huge amount of people hang out with their team members after work. They socialize together, share and bond. They go for drinks after work, they have Christmas parties or have Halloween activities together. How will you create the same bonding with the people who just see each other virtually? 

Virtual Team Games

Children are learned how to play games almost from the beginning of their lives. Games increase the level of an individual’s communication, patience, social interaction, and mental and physical confidence. 

As mentioned in the study of the American Academy of Pediatrics, games help children to increase the usage of their creativity while developing their imagination, and cognitive strength. It helps to improve a healthy brain. Healthy brains are what you need for a successful brain. In addition to that, games help people to engage and interact with the world around them.

The differences are not huge when you compare kids and adults. Playing games is generally classified as a childish activity. It helps us to connect and engage with others. As a manager, you need to be sure that the kid inside your employees is not dead. Playing games will bring creativity and strong communication skills to the team. 

If your employees are too far away from each other to play hide and seek, then you can create ways for virtual games. Here are some paths that you can increase the communication and trust within the team. 

Pool via Zoom

The meetings are generally perceived as boring and inefficient. Many employees suffer from a lack of concentration during the meetings. They find themselves thinking about what to eat in dinner instead of following the shared slides. 

To decrease the lack of concentration and to increase the engagement with the team, you can create pools via Zoom. As a manager, you may ask your employees to answer the question anonymously, in that way you can learn how many people did their pre-work or not. An honest way of communicating will impress your employees and increase efficiency.

You do not always have to create a pool on business-related issues. You can ask the team if they are a cat or a dog person which would lead to sincere chats. If you would like to have a more informal platform then Zoom, you can use directly a quiz program. Quizzes, QuizBreaker, Kahoot are apps that can count as icebreakers. Giving people options to answer is always enjoyable and safe. Therefore, it can be considered as a nice starting point to effective team building.

Bonding Pets

Here is the magic. Pets. Cats, dogs, birds. All of them are lovely. They are our little friends. Especially if you are working for a virtual team, the chances of having a pet increases. You can stay at home whenever you want, and you can avoid the remote worker isolation.

Using an app as a Workplace would help your team to communicate comfortably. According to Enders who studied human and animal relationships; people with a dog are perceived as friendlier. In the controversial teams, many employees talk about their pets during the day. Why your virtual team should not? Sharing a cute picture of their pets on an app like Workplace will build a strong team culture. Plus, it will decrease the stress level.  

Coffee for 15

Let’s find out the advantages of coffee. It makes people come closer. Imagine a workday in an office. When do people communicate? Yes, right. In coffee breaks. Whether they drink coffee or not. This is how we call it. Unfortunately, virtual teams do not have a chance to take their mugs and leave the office. But you can create the same atmosphere via Skype. “Coffee for 15” will give an opportunity to share with the team. You can choose the subjects for each week. Maybe a movie which is recently released. Everybody can watch it and have a chit-chat for 15 minutes about it. Why not? It is both enjoyable and improving. 

Donut Calls

If you do not want to create a pool, you need to create a Slack channel and let Donut do the work. After creating a Slack Channel, you can invite your team members. You can set up casual coffee hours or one to one meetings with your employees. Donut will help you to set up a casual atmosphere. The team members who do not know each other well will get to know each other. Donut will spread trust and will give a huge chance to collaborate across distances. 

Roland Garros

Roland Garros is just a great idea for having an enjoyable conversation. You can use the Workplace to start a conversation. Every year there are hundreds of universal sports events happening. Roland Garros is an important and famous tournament. Your team can spread their ideas about the winner. If your team is not interested in sports you can choose a different topic. It can be a new release show or question of who will win the Academy Awards. Stating topic-related conversations will help your employers to express themselves. 

Plank Challenge

Great opportunity to help your employers to stay healthy. There are many apps that help people to work out on their own. Remote team members are having a hard time to stay active. They may be willing to create their own world in their own house. You can take the good out of it. Starting a plank challenge where everybody keeps track of their physical health. It will bring one more goal to the team. Sharing personal goals besides to business goals will make the team more engaged. 

Who owns the photo?

This game is literally a virtual game. Your team will send a photo of a glimpse of their lives. The photo can tell about themselves. It can be their work environment, their family or picture of a view. The game started after everybody sends their photos to admin. Admin posts the photos one by one. And the team members try to guess who owns the photo. The owner of the photo reveals when all guess is made. This game will increase the trust within the team. The high level of productivity comes with an engaged and familiar team.  

Virtual Team Engagement Ideas

Global Giving

Alienation to the business you work for happens a lot by the time. The employers start to feel disconnected due to the lack of motivation. To motivate your employees, you should show them that your business is generous. The employers are being more productive when they see that their business does not avoid spending money for their happiness. Creating an Employee Wallet for your team can change many things. Each individual can choose a charity to donate money. It is time for global giving. 

The donations can be 10 dollars, and each team member can have a chance to experience the beauty of giving. They can post their donations on the Workplace and raise awareness of their important topic. 

Virtual Team Engagement Activities


It may cost a lot but it is worth it. Working across the distances the whole year may cause a lack of team bonds. Off-sites are one of the most loved events for employers. If your team is also willing to travel. You can choose a destination to come together. You can choose a cheap destination. It is not important how luxurious is the trip. It is important to come together. The employers will be happy to be with their team. You can create some games to play in the workshops. This will give an idea of the off-site is not just designed to work more. Off-site is also a great opportunity to share and come closer.  

Smiley Faces

Smiley faces are one of the most enjoyable games of the off-sites. You will print rounded smileys and rounded black cardboards. You need a little rectangular place. Putting cardboards together on the floor will give you the playground. Divide the team into two, and give them a thing to close one person’s eyes from the team. Each team will choose their players and tie their eyes. The other team members will give directions to the player, and he/she will try to finish the path by walking on the circular black cardboards. They should not step on the smiley faces. If they step on, a new player is chosen and start from the beginning. The winning team may have a right to go to dinner which is paid by the company. Here is a childish and strongly bonding game. 

Don’t Drop

Here is another team bonding game. You just need sticks for the game. Your team communicated virtually a whole year. Now, only a highly physical game can break the ices. Divide the team into two teams. Give each of the teams the sticks. Each team member will use their two index finger to hold the stick. The teams will hold the stick totally with twelve fingers. Six players per team are ideal for this game. Their goal is to put the stick on the floor without dropping it. The teams need to be stand up and start the game at the same time. It may sound easy, but it is absolutely not. They need to communicate and agree on the next steps. This game will create harmony within the team. They will understand each other better. And discover the way of their colleague’s work. 


Lego is a highly creative and strategic game. It is going to be your off-site’s most serious game. Give them a limited time and ask them to create a really detailed car with legos. Playing lego is a really interactive game. Teamwork needs to be done carefully. If your team is not able to feel like one team, here is an opportunity to develop that. Each employer will show how they act as a team member. There will be leaders, supporters, and jokers. Your team will have a chance to discover how to work together side by side. Off-site may cost a bit, but these unforgettable moments will make the team feel like a real team. 

Key Takeaways:

There are many ways to create a team culture within the virtual team. All of them need effort. But if you want to have a successful business with engaged employees, you need to search for your team needs. Playing games can help you to discover these. Managing a virtual team is hard, but enjoying the success across the distance is worth it. 

Further Reading:

Basak Karsu
Written by Basak Karsu

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