Leaders of virtual teams must be intentional about team building in order to create trust and develop a cohesive team. A cohesive team fosters not only trust and cohesiveness, but enables forgiveness. There are hundreds of ideas for virtual team building activities on the web and some popular ones are described below.
Simply and Easy Activities
• Virtual happy hour: Host regular virtual happy hours in Zoom or other conferencing software to promote social interaction and relationship-building. Give it a theme and consider using games such as Name that Tune, workplace trivia, show and tell, etc.
• Virtual open-house: Allow team members to take a look inside each other’s home to showcase a favorite room or activity. This could be part of a weekly or monthly virtual happy hour.
• Host holiday themed virtual parties: Use holidays as an opportunity to schedule a virtual party to celebrate. Encourage team members to share about their favorite holiday foods, recipes, and stories.
More Complex Activities
• Miniature campfire smores: Schedule a teambuilding activity and a week in advance, mail a smores making kit to team members. The kit should include: mini marshmallows, a chocolate bar, matches, toothpicks, and a tealight candle for the “campfire.” During the scheduled teambuilding event, each member will roast their mini marshmallows and build their smores around their candle “campfire.”
• Mock gameshow. Host a mock gameshow complete with a prize such as gift card: Schedule a video conference and create a PowerPoint with one closed-ended question on each slide. The number of questions will depend on how long you want the game to last. Add fun graphics and music. These can be theme related about the work environment or not. If a small team, members can play individually or if a large team, members can be divided into small teams with as few as two. Share you screen to show the PowerPoint one question at a time and have members “raise their hand” in the software to answer the question. The first person to raise their hand gets the first chance to answer. If playing in smaller teams, each team should pick a person to raise their hand for the team. The individual or team with the most points at the end wins.
• Virtual scavenger hunt: Different images are hidden on the pages of the organization’s intranet This activity could be centered around a holiday theme such as Easter where images of eggs are hidden. Be sure and have a prize for first person who finds all the hidden images.
• Guess who: This works best for smaller teams. The leader asks team members to share their own baby picture which is complied into one document with each picture on a separate page. In a virtual happy hour or other outside of work socialization time share the screen to show each picture and have the team guess who it is.
• Virtual book club: Encourage team members to read by starting a virtual book club. Having a virtual book club offers not only opportunities for socializing for members to become better acquainted, but also builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Have a few suggested books at the first meeting, but allow the club members to make the final selection. Also, in the first meeting establish a few ground rules such as meeting attendance, reading assignments, etc.
Melody Rawlings, EdD, MST