15 Jan 10 Fun, Effective Virtual Team Building Activities
Teambuilding is important for any team, and maybe even more so for virtual teams. Working on a virtual team can be isolating. Virtual teams have inherent challenges in creating rapport, trust, clear communication and productive collaboration.
In our experience working with virtual teams, we look at things differently. We feel that the screens that connect you to your virtual team are an opportunity, not a barrier. In Virtual Teams for Dummies, our CEO Tara Powers discusses many opportunities to create connection with virtual teams. That list of creative team building activities continues to grow. We’ve heard so many great ideas for virtual team building – there are way too many to list. But here are a few of my favorite team building activities:
- The ‘10 Things’ list: This was a trend on Facebook several years back, and it’s a good one for onboarding a new team member. They simply share 10 interesting facts about themselves – childhood stories, favorite books or movies, or unique skills or hobbies. It’s a great way to spark conversations, combat first-week jitters and create connection with fellow fans of Harry Potter, for example.
- ‘Just for fun’ channels: If your team is using Slack, or something similar to communicate, be sure to create a channel that is dedicated to random non-work conversations and sharing – pet pics, recipes, funny memes. It really helps teammates get to know each other’s personalities. Think of it as impromptu, ongoing and non-scheduled team-building.
- Giving back: Nothing brings people together more than a cause. Find a charity that you can support as a team, either by raising money or donating time. Many charities offer opportunities to meet in local markets for hands-on giving, or choose an organization with a similar mission to your companies’ vision or values. Any way you do it, your team will feel connected and proud.
- Company quiz bowl – This is a great way to bond a newly formed team or kick-off a major project. It’s basically a pub quiz, with teams set up with a chat window to buzz in with responses. Subjects can include history, science, literature, arts, sports, current events, and pop culture. Also, be sure to include a category on company information. It’s a great way to reinforce company values, products and history.
- 15-minute coffee & learn: These are short presentations team members can opt in to giving on literally anything – something they recently learned, something they want to pass on. It could be a demonstration of how to make perfect pad thai or crème brûlée, or a summary of a recent workshop on social media trends. Another way to close the digital gap between teammates – especially valuable for international colleagues.
- House tours: It’s highly likely you will never step foot in your remote teammates’ homes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to know their space. Have team members create MTV Cribs-inspired videos that show off their home and their personalities.
- Chat-roulette: This is a great one, driven by a Slack extension called Donut. It automatically pairs everyone on your team – or your entire company if you choose – for a non-work-related 1-on-1 call/video chat. These are fun calls that connect remote employees with people they normally wouldn’t work with or meet. It’s another great connection tool driven by technology.
- DISC Training: Work better as a team by discovering your teammates’ strengths, challenges and motivations. DiSC™ Assessment Training is experiential and immersive, and it has benefits FAR beyond team building. It’s fun and highly informative.
- Who Said That?: com has an online team building game where you answer ice breaker questions and then once a week guess who-said-what. It’s a really fun, simple and quick way to get to know each other within a remote team.
- Get together IRL! Team meet-ups are costly, but with all the operational costs you’re saving, hopefully there’s money in the budget! Plus, the team cohesion, boost in trust and productivity, makes it a very smart investment that will make your team stronger than ever.
Highly productive, engaged virtual teams don’t happen by accident. They happen when teams and team leaders take the time to create a culture of connection. If you need support bringing your virtual team together with team building activities or anything else, we’d love to help.