The transition to remote work has given employers and hiring managers wider access to a geographical pool of talent. In the same breath, employees now have better autonomy and work-life balance in the virtual office. Yet, despite the clear benefits, many executives and hiring managers have been plagued with issues relating to employee engagement and building a strong company culture in the digital workspace.
The advent of remote work has seen online conference and communication platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts grow in tremendous popularity in recent years. These platforms enable remote teams to share and communicate effectively, build engagement, and interact with one another in both formal and informal ways.
Zoom, one of the bigger and more frequently used platforms, has in recent years become a place where remote working individuals can meet to connect, understand differences, and help establish a strong company culture. And if executives are still worried that their teams aren’t engaging enough, a Harvard Business Review study found that there were 60% more remote meetings per employee in 2022 compared to 2020.
Advantages of Zoom Team Building Activities
Working or running a remote team does come with its own sets of challenges, yet for the majority of employees, research finds that team building activities can improve work ethic and innovation up to 10 times in some cases.
The importance of remote team building activities and in this case Zoom team building activities ensures that employees can engage, build trust and understanding, share ideas, and improve their skills. The better employees are engaged in the workplace, the more likely it is to result in high productivity and project investment.
Here’s a rundown of some simple advantages Zoom team building activities can have on remote working teams.
Convenient For-Remote Teams
Perhaps the most significant advantage is that Zoom team building activities can bring dispersed employees together in the same place at the same time. Often remote teams and workers can feel isolated from their colleagues and companies, this not only has the possibility of resulting in lower levels of interest but can also impact employee performance.
Regardless of geographical locale, employees can connect in an informal environment where they can share thoughts and ideas. Better yet, this helps them to get to know each other better, which is often the foundational ground for a healthy, yet positive company culture.
From these engagements, employees will foster better relationships with their colleagues, improve collaboration efforts, and help to establish a more prominent co-working culture among themselves and within the company.
Working online helps both employers and employees save money and reduce costs in the workplace. Nearly 6 in 10 employers have said that reducing costs is one of the major benefits of telecommuting and working remotely.
Apart from the standard cost reductions such as rent, utilities, food, taxes, and cleaning services that are all needed for the office – employers can also reduce employee-related team building expenses when hosting events and activities online.
Instead of having to rent a space where employees can get together, pay for catering, or even pay for employees traveling costs, Zoom and other virtual telecommunication platforms allow employees to get together without the need to pay for additional arrangements.
It does however mean that the cost burden can be placed on the employee. Depending on the type of activity, whether it’s regular team building, or perhaps something more advanced such as virtual cooking classes that require additional materials, most of the time employees will be responsible for overseeing individual financial contributions.
There is, however, in some cases where employers can sponsor or make financial contributions to help alleviate the financial concerns. Even in these cases, employers are still able to save more money, while producing highly effective and productive teams.
Wide Range Of Activities Available
As the world of remote and online work evolved and grew, so has the selection of virtual team building activities. Though perhaps not the same as what in-person team building events can offer teams, there have been a few innovative adaptations and remakes of traditional team building activities that help fit the virtual need.
On the back of these innovative adaptations, executives and managers often rely on activities that can help team members grow their skills, and improve their collaboration efforts. There has also been a growing need for activities that can help spark ingenuity, innovation, and creativity, a critical element in the virtual office.
Helping employees develop new skills, or learn new abilities is just as important as keeping them engaged or fostering a strong company culture. Though there are a plethora of different activities that employers and managers can choose from, it’s important to rather consider employee needs as a deciding factor.
Building teams that are not only highly effective in the workplace, but also experience career development and growth can help avoid high levels of absenteeism and increase employee retention. These benefits build strong teams that can perform effectively under pressure, and have better coworking capabilities.
Popular Zoom Team Building Activities
According to a FlexJobs study, nearly 75% of remote and work-from-home employees reported experiencing higher levels of stress and burnout from work. In some cases, around 37% of remote employees have also reported working longer hours than they did when working in the office.
These and other factors that not only impact an employee’s physical health but more importantly their mental health can have long-term effects on their personal well-being. In the same breath, this impacts employees’ ability to concentrate, and function at work, and can drive down their performance.
For virtual teams that often feel isolated and disengaged from their colleagues, remote team building activities and events can help them connect in a less formal environment outside of the virtual workplace.
These activities not only help them connect and build better bonds, but they can result in stronger relationships, and more frequent meet-ups among team members – think of it as the virtual water cooler where employees can share stories and office politics.
Virtual Trivia Games
Trivia games have been a long-standing staple of game nights with friends and family and can be enjoyed in the workplace too. For virtual teams, this is a fun and engaging activity that allows everyone to join, regardless of where they may be situated.
Trivia games usually see a host or leader compile a list of questions, typically related to a topic, and competitors are then required to answer these questions either verbally or by filling out a form with a list of possible answers.
When it comes to remote teams, it’s possible to have a similar experience, and employees can answer the questions via Zoom, or fill out an online form.
Once all the questions have been asked, and answers compiled, the host or team leader will then compile the answers, and the person with the most correct answers will then win the round.
The great thing with virtual trivia is that topic questions can be about anything, and hosts can make it even more exciting by setting up a trivia game relating to the company or office. Instead of having mundane questions, employees can now get to know their team members better, by answering questions relating to their colleagues’ backgrounds and professional experiences.
Additionally, these games can help with the onboarding and introduction of new employees, boost morale, and improve team bonding. More so, it’s possible to divide employees into teams, depending on the number of participants, giving them the chance to work in pairs and groups outside of an office environment.
Virtual Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are interactive and require communication efforts among employees. This is a way for team members to bond, use their critical thinking skills, and help improve logical reasoning.
Traditional escape rooms required individuals to be present in person to solve different puzzles and riddles, and now it’s possible to have the same type of experience, only this time it can be completed online or in a virtual setting.
There is a wide selection of online escape rooms, specifically designed to cater to the needs of companies. Some virtual escape rooms can host small groups or even dozens of employees all at once. The best part is that these virtual escape room challenges are constantly changing or evolving, meaning that teams will never be stuck doing the same mundane challenges over again.
To have a successful escape room experience, it’s imperative to ensure that teams are divided into different groups and that they can work together to solve the puzzles. This puts their communication skills to the test, and it also helps employers and managers identify leaders in their companies.
Aside from the general team building initiatives that come with virtual escape rooms, today dozens of platforms can plan and orchestrate everything for the company. This would mean that companies can hire virtual escape room event planners for a small fee, and leave all of the hard work to them.
From a business point of view, this is both a logical and financial investment to boost team morale and communication among remote employees.
Virtual Cooking Classes
Getting down and dirty in the kitchen isn’t perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when planning a virtual team building event. However, due to the increasing demand for online courses and virtual classes, there is now a range of cooking classes that have been specifically curated for remote teams.
Cooking classes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a possible employee get-together or team bonding event, even more so when the company is fully remote.
There has however been a range of virtual cooking classes that have been designed to incorporate remote working teams to help boost their engagement, and communication and put their cooking skills to the test.
As with virtual escape rooms, some businesses primarily focus on hosting virtual cooking classes, meaning that all the planning and arrangements can be left to someone else instead of having a manager or host figure these things out.
It does however mean that employees will need to purchase ingredients and supplies needed for the event themselves, but in some instances, companies that host these classes can send out parcels containing all the necessary ingredients – of course, this is dependent on the geographical location of employees.
Zoom and other telecommunications platforms already have built-in features and tools that make virtual cooking classes more engaging, and there is almost no limit to the number of participants. These classes are fun and interactive, and it’s a way for teams to work on their skills, while also building team morale and communication among each other.
Virtual Team Building Challenges
Team building challenges can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and with remote teams, it’s often possible to choose from several dozen team building challenges that can put employees’ skills to the test.
A lot of these challenges have been designed to keep employees engaged and improve communication. Apart from this, there is also a level of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative solution-finding that forms part of virtual team building challenges.
These virtual team building challenges can be used to help bring teams closer, and also during the induction process of new members. Moreover, it can be used to let employees become more comfortable with their colleagues, and help establish the groundwork that can later transpire into out-of-office team bonding.
Aside from being easy and simple to curate and execute, there is a wide selection of online and virtual challenges to choose from, and it often requires minimal planning or resources.
Additionally, some of these virtual team building challenges can be modified to fit the needs of remote teams, and it’s also easy to incorporate different elements to make it a bit more interesting for participants.
Then, considering the amount of time required to complete these challenges, there is no limit, and some challenges can be completed in five minutes, ten minutes, or even 30 minutes depending on the type of challenge and participant requirements. This means that instead of losing productivity hours, teams can compete in challenges during a quick morning call or a weekly debriefing.
As a more informal virtual team-building activity, these events are simple, and functional and can bring teams closer to help foster lasting workplace relationships.
Virtual Coffee Breaks
Seeing that remote employees do not have the luxury to socialize with one another in the office break room, or at a nearby café during their lunch hours, virtual coffee breaks can be a viable, yet functional replacement.
Yes, virtual coffee breaks are more informal, and although there is no real challenge or skill-building involved, this is a simple way for employees to catch up with one another, and share some of their high and low points.
What’s great is that virtual coffee breaks can be scheduled before or after a meeting, anywhere in the week. Usually, teams will have a weekly debriefing on a Friday afternoon to discuss all the work they have done this week, and what is lined up for the following week.
Starting a Monday with a virtual coffee break would also mean that teams can quickly discuss some of the priority work they need to complete during the week, or simply share some ideas and solutions.
Perhaps during the week, when team morale is low, and employees feel stressed out and overworked, a quick virtual coffee break can be scheduled to help bring everyone on board again, and provide a bit of off time to employees during the working day.
Virtual coffee breaks require minimal planning and resources and can be scheduled into the working week calendar. Moreover, these team bonding events can become a regular occurrence in the workplace, and give teams something to look forward to.
Finally, think of it as the virtual office break room, where different types of employees can socialize outside of the work setting, get to know each other better, and share some interesting stories about themselves.
Best Virtual Team Building Games
Building stronger teams should be a priority for executives and managers, and while the remote office may impose some challenges, other benefits can help bring them to engage more frequently inside and outside of the virtual workplace.
Not only are these activities and online team building games important for team building, but it’s also crucial for employees to learn or develop new skills. For younger workers, more than 87% of millennials feel that learning new skills in the workplace is an important part of their job and the work they do.
Large and small groups of employees are now looking for employers that can build strong and independent teams, by providing them with available resources and learning materials to sharpen their skills.
While a lot of these activities can improve employee skills, specific activities and games are designed to test and develop critical soft skills that are needed in the workplace.
Here are some online team building games that can help get teams more engaged, and think more logically.
Virtual Team Building Bingo
The first game is virtual team building bingo, and while the traditional way of playing this game can be fun, changing it up a bit can help remote teams get to know their colleagues better.
- Participants are presented with custom bingo cards.
- A list of statements relating to the employees or office is created by the host.
- Each statement is called out, and team members then need to cross off each box or statement present on their card.
- The first player to finish a line or card wins.
This game can help with team bonding, can be completed in 105 to 30 minutes, and the number of participants can range from anything between 5 and more.
See This Printable Bingo Cards You Can Use:
Typing Speed Race
Another game that can promote healthy competition among members is a speed-typing game that can also put employees’ typing skills to the test.
- Participants can use online typing tools for this game.
- Each round will consist of paragraphs participants need to type out within a given time.
- The person that gets the most done without any or a lot of mistakes wins.
This game tests typing skills, a prerequisite for working virtually or online. The number of gamers can be anything between 3 and more, depending on what typing tool is being used. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes for this game.
Online Employee Quiz
Team members that know each other better, often share a bond, which can promote healthy working relationships. This game is quick and easy, and can be completed during a virtual coffee break, or even at a weekly meeting.
- The host will set up a list of questions that participants need to answer.
- In each round, when a question is called out, each team member will go around and answer.
- Every so often, the host can add additional questions that can help to spark a conversation.
For this, there is minimal planning or resources required and is a great game for smaller teams between 3 and 10. The time required to complete this game can range but typically takes up to 15 to 30 minutes depending on the number of questions and the size of the team.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
This requires a bit of planning, but it’s a fun way to get employees moving and see who can get the most items in their house without breaking the time limit.
- All participants should be present on the same Zoom call.
- The host will set up a list of items participants will need to find in and around their houses.
- The items can be anything from a water bottle, a book, or something more specific such as a blue shirt or something relating to their job.
- The participant that makes it back in time with the correct amount of items before the time runs out wins.
- After each participant is finished, they can go around and show the items they have collected.
Think of fun things to add to the list, and consider how employees can participate so that everyone is involved. Usually, this is a fun game for teams between 4 and 10 and can be another fun end to the week that takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Another in-person game that can be enjoyed in the virtual workspace is online charades, and this is a great game for small teams and allows workers to get more comfortable around their colleagues.
- Teams are divided into two separate groups, competing against one another.
- The host can decide on a theme for each round.
- Each team member is then allocated a specific item that they need to act out.
- For each round, participants will need to act out a certain item or object.
- The first person to guess the correct answer will win a point for their team.
- Once every item or object has been completed, the game ends and the team with the most points wins.
This is another way to promote a bit of healthy competition among employees. Start by setting a time limit per participant, this will help you determine how much time needs to be allocated for the game.
Virtual Office Debate
Test to see how well employees can work under pressure, and use their critical thinking skills to win over their opponents. The virtual office debate allows employees to discuss certain topics or ideas and gives everyone a chance to present their argument in a safe, yet comfortable environment.
- Set up a Zoom call with all employees present, next present them with the topic.
- The topic can be something light-hearted, and less serious such as, what’s better pancakes or waffles for breakfast?
- Communicate the rules of the game, and what teams will be judged on during their debate.
- Make sure that every member gets a chance to deliver their argument.
- Next, divide the team into two groups.
- The groups can then discuss their arguments on a separate Zoom call, and present them where everyone is present.
- The host will act as the mediator or judge, and will then decide on the winning team based on their arguments.
Make it fun, and see how well employees can argue or debate over strange topics. This requires an equal amount of participants, so it’s perfect for groups of 4, 8, 10, or even 12. The time required for the game can range between 30 minutes and even an hour so make sure to plan appropriately.
Never Have I Ever
A popular game among groups of teens at summer camp, “Never Have I Ever” is a popular icebreaker, and can be used to help onboard new employees and welcome them to the team.
- All employees should be present on the same Zoom call.
- The host will ask a series of questions that he or she has decided on beforehand.
- One question is asked per round, and every participant will then need to answer yes or no.
- After each question, take a few minutes to discuss participants’ responses, especially if it is something that has an interesting back story to it.
There are no winners or losers in this game, it’s simply a way for employees to bond and get to know their colleagues a bit better. This game can take about 15 to 20 minutes, and there is no minimum or maximum number of participants required.
Pub Quiz Trivia
Bring the infamous pub quiz trivia to the virtual office and test employees’ general knowledge on a wide range of topics. This is a great game for a Friday afternoon and can be enjoyed by multiple members of the team.
- The host will set up a list of questions relating to specific topics.
- Participants are divided into teams, either of two or more depending on the total number of employees.
- Each team will then need to answer the questions to the best ability, testing their communication and general knowledge skills.
- For every round, there should be a time limit for participants to answer questions.
- At the end of the game, the host will tally the answers, and the team with the most points wins.
This is an informal game that allows employees to unwind after a stressful week. Ensure that teams are divided equally, and allocate around 30 minutes to 45 minutes for this game.
Two Truths And A Lie
There’s a high chance you’ve played this game before, and it’s a simple, yet quick way to break the ice, and get employees to talk about similar interests they might share, or have them bond over different experiences.
- All participants should be present on the same Zoom call.
- Each participant then gets a few minutes to tell two truths and one lie.
- The other employees can then decide what is right and wrong.
- This can help to spark conversation among employees who rarely interact with each other, or have never shared a lot of their experiences.
There is no time limit, and hosts can go on for as long as they feel fit. Additionally, the number of participants also doesn’t matter, which means this is a fun game for small and large teams.
Check Out This Example in Let’s Play Two Truths and A Lie:
Virtual Secret Santa
When it comes to the festive holiday party, why not make it a bit more interesting and host a virtual secret Santa?
- Choose an online technical spin tool or platform such as Drawnames of Elfster to randomly choose names.
- Every employee is then assigned a name.
- You can then deploy a bot to send anonymous messages to participants.
- Each participant will get a set of different tasks or things to do.
- Then on reveal day, you can send virtual cards or a physical gift to employees.
Office secret Santa is a fun way for teams to bond through informal conversations and can bring them closer during the holiday season. Think of interesting tasks or messages to send employees, and make sure to plan this game.
Steps For Organizing A Successful Zoom Team Building Activity
Hosting a successful Zoom team building activity requires planning and organizing. Bringing the right people on board and ensuring that everyone is thoroughly communicated to would help make the event more enjoyable, and could see better engagement among employees.
To ensure each activity meets the right set of objectives, managers or leaders will need to plan accordingly to ensure that they meet all necessary goals and that there is enough time to change any of the planning if needed.
Here is a rundown of the steps you can take to organize a successful Zoom team building activity.
Determine Team Size And Schedule
First thing is to consider how many employees will be participating in the event, and how you can work in the event so that it doesn’t interfere with employees’ working and personal schedules.
It’s best to send out a letter of notification first, to see how many employees are willing to participate. This way it’s possible to plan activities according to the number of attendees, and also how much time will be needed for these activities or games.
Once this has been established, see how well this can fit into all participants’ schedules. Communicate potential days, dates, and a time you would like the activity to take place. Usually, it’s best to communicate this a week or so in advance, as this can help people clear up their schedules.
Choose A Suitable Activity
Next is to choose an activity that is suitable for everyone, and that aligns with company objectives. More so, it’s important to choose an activity that suits the needs of the employees as well. It would be redundant to have skill-building activities when in reality your team requires a bit of downtime and one-on-one socializing to bond and build relationships.
Prepare Necessary Materials And Equipment
Some activities might require you as the leader or host to provide teams with several necessary materials, such as forms, answer cards, or information about the activity. Make sure to have these on hand before the time, and take some time to plan each activity according to what is needed.
Set Clear Rules And Guidelines
Well before each activity takes place, it’s in the best interest of employees to properly communicate the rules, guidelines, and possible objectives of every activity. This way employees will remain well informed throughout the process, but they will also have an understanding of what is expected of them and what the possible outcomes of the activity might be.
If the idea is to let employees bond better, then state this in the communication. If you want employees to sharpen up their skills and knowledge, give them the proper guidance on how this will take place, and what they are expected to learn or experience.
Assign A Facilitator Or Team Leader
As part of the organizing, make sure to assign a facilitator that can oversee these activities. The facilitator should be a natural-born leader that gets along well with the team, and can effectively communicate the rules and guidelines of each activity. Make sure to choose someone that has some leadership skills, and can work with people in a professional, yet informal way that will help them feel more included.
What Are Some Fun Activities For Zoom?
Some simple and fun activities for Zoom include, Never Have I Ever, Virtual Trivia, Guess Who, Charades, Virtual Team Bingo, Escape Rooms, or even Cards Against Humanity.
What Are Examples Of Virtual Team Building Activities?
For the best results, look for activities that can help team members bond and improve their skills. These activities can include virtual escape rooms, employee engagement quizzes, personality tester, virtual cooking classes, or a virtual coffee break.
What Virtual Games Are On Zoom For Team Building?
These games can be a bit more informal and can help team members bond better. Some games include online charades, virtual office trivia, pub quiz trivia, digital bingo, truth or dare, and even a company game show.
Team building activities and games are essential to building a strong employee workforce. More so, it’s important to promote employee engagement through these activities and provide them with a platform through which they can bond and improve their skills.
A plethora of activities and games are now available for remote teams, which provides them with the ability to connect and boost employee morale. Additionally, it’s possible through these activities such as virtual cooking classes or escape rooms to test their abilities to work with others, their critical thinking skills, and how well they can communicate in a team.
With an increasing number of employees now moving into the virtual office, employers and managers must consider the benefits that virtual team building activities can bring to their teams, and how much they can improve business performance and productivity in the long term.