20 Remote Team Building Activities [2021 Edition]

Written by:
Collin Waldoch
Posted:
January 11, 2021

Have you been searching high and low for the best remote team building activities?

Look no further! At Water Cooler Trivia, we’ve taken the time to pull together a list of our favorite virtual team games. A virtual team building game shouldn’t take hours to prepare or play. The best online games for virtual teams take just a few minutes to set up and last no longer than 15 minutes.

Even in the face of looming deadlines, short and snappy games can easily be weaved into your team’s calendar. At this point, the potential benefits of virtual games for work are undeniable. It’s never been more important to bring your workforce together.

Virtual team building games have the potential to improve cross-team communication by developing colleague relationships. We get it: sometimes playing games could feel like a waste of valuable time, but the potential benefits are too good to ignore.

We broke down our 20 remote team building activities into four sub-categories:

  1. Remote Team Building Activities
  2. Quick Online Icebreakers
  3. Zoom Activities For Team Building
  4. Virtual Recognition Activities

Remote Team Building Activities

1. Water Cooler Trivia - Who doesn’t love a quick trivia quiz? With this app, you can build team culture, one trivia quiz at a time. This app can be easily integrated into Slack or Microsoft Teams, making it ideal for virtual teams. If you’re looking for an activity to spark more conversations between team members, this takes one minute to set up and is likely to quickly become one of your team’s favorite weekly rituals.

2. Type Master - Who can get the best score on a speed typing test? Remote workers live on their keyboards all day but rarely put their fingers to the speedy test. Asking all team members to complete a typing test with Live Chat is the ideal opportunity to find out more about the skills of others. You can then encourage everyone to post their scores in Slack or Microsoft Teams. If you’re curious, I just scored 109 WPM and I’m quite proud of myself.

Honestly, you'll want a better keyboard than this to set a record.

3. Scavenger Hunts - This isn’t just an activity for co-working teams. There are plenty of ways to set up virtual scavenger hunts with remote working teams. After creating a list of household items, you can start a countdown timer, asking each person to go and find the items. To spice things up, you can randomly pair coworkers together, and have them alternate items.

4. Guess The Country? - What are your team’s geography skills like? The leader can simply go through the alphabet, asking team members to name as many countries beginning with each letter as possible. If you’re short on time, this is a great activity to quickly set up. This one would work well on a Monday morning to help get the brains of team members in gear.

We recommend a wooden map like this.

5. Fantasy Football - Do you have any football fanatics on your team? Capitalizing on common interests is a smart way of engaging your team. If there are multiple people on your team who enjoy football, you should consider starting a fantasy football league. This could strengthen relationships and give team members the chance to talk about something other than work.

Quick Online Icebreakers

6. “Do You REALLY Know Your Team?” Virtual Icebreaker - Ahead of your next team meeting, ask everyone to answer three personal questions in the Virtual Team Builders Platform by Let’s Roam. At the end of the meeting, share the best answers with your team. They now have to pair each answer with the right person.

7. Open Mic Virtual Icebreaker - Do your team members have any hidden talents? Why not let them take to the virtual stage and showcase their talents? You could ask the team members to either find or write an icebreaker joke to read out to the rest of the team.

Why have one open mic when you can have three?

8. “Big Talk” Virtual Icebreaker - Do you sense a keen interest in current affairs among team members? You can capitalize on this with focused discussions on global events. Before the virtual meeting begins, send a new article to the team to read. During the meeting, ask each team member to take it in turns to share their thoughts on the topic. Just kidding, this one sounds like a controversial and polarizing recipe for disaster >.<

9. Critical Thinking Virtual Icebreaker - Team building activities can also be an opportunity for specific skills to be developed in the workforce, such as critical thinking. There are plenty of lateral thinking questions online for team members to sink their teeth into. This is a perfect mid-week activity to exercise people’s brains and spark thought-provoking conversations. We recommend a collaborative crossword puzzle or anagram solver.

10. Snapshot Virtual Icebreaker - Ask everyone on the team to take a photo of an object that has sentimental value to them. Use these photos to produce a collage and present it to the team either on Slack or Zoom. You can give everyone the opportunity to ask questions about the pictures and encourage them to guess who the objects belong to.

I believe she's taking an object of... actually, I'm not sure.

Zoom Activities For Team Building

11. Zoom Trivia - Yes, we’re back to trivia again! You can use Water Cooler Trivia via Zoom to create an interactive trivia experience for your team. Once everyone has finished, you can go through the answers as a group to see who was right on the money. Or right off the money.

So many brains at work.

12. No Laughing Or Smiling - Each team member must take turns trying to make the rest of the team laugh or smile on a Zoom call. If you laugh or smile, you are eliminated from the round. It’s a lighthearted game that’s bound to lift everyone’s spirits at the end of a long week.

13. Zoom “Conference Call” Bingo - Everybody knows how to play bingo. Why not set up a quick game via Zoom on a Monday morning. You could also throw some prizes into the equation. A few gift cards would be the way to go. There’s nothing like kickstarting the week with a fun activity like bingo to boost team morale.

Yes, we do know the difference between crossword puzzles and bingo, we promise.

14. Read My Lips - Do you have any lip-reading masters on your team? A lip-reading game is the best way to find out. On Zoom, you can put a certain team member’s microphone on mute, leaving the rest of the team with no choice but to lip read. If you’re looking to create those laugh-out-loud moments, a quick lip-reading game offers a dose of feel-good fun.

15. War Of The Wizards - A 90-minute interactive storytelling game for Zoom. Combining elements of role-playing games and escape rooms, War Of The Wizards promotes creativity and collaboration - bringing your team closer together, from a virtual distance. If you have an afternoon to spare, why not treat your team to a truly unique experience they’ll never forget?

Virtual Recognition Activities

16. MTV Cribs Tour Guide - Do you have any fans of MTV Cribs working on your team? Why not encourage team members to go on virtual house tours? This creates a window of opportunity for the team to see a different side to certain employees. Some people will be less keen to take part in this than others. It comes down to the personalities on your team. The tours can either be pre-recorded and posted in Slack or presented live on Zoom.

I guess this works if you have a crib in your crib?

17. Employee Of The Month - Who deserves to be recognized for going above and beyond? Team members could be given the opportunity to privately vote for the employee of the month - and be asked to give a reason why their nominee deserves the recognition. A final decision on the winner would ultimately be made by the team leader, taking the nominations into account. One of our favorite methods? Using super user-friendly software like Bonusly.

18. Round Robin Recognition - This activity provides every team member with a little bit of praise and recognition for the work they have done. When everybody on your team feels valued, this can inspire increased levels of motivation, ultimately resulting in improved performance. During a virtual meeting, you can ask everyone to shout-out another team member. Again, Bonusly is a great option here if you want software that does this out-of-the-box.

19. Snap Cup - Encourage teammates to write something positive about their colleagues and send these to you via email. On your next team call, you can pull a few of these anonymous positive notes out of a virtual cup and read them out. You should try your best to ensure nobody can see who submitted each original note.

Pet the trophy, yes blue brain, that's the idea.

20. 1:1 Sessions - Whether it’s on Slack or Zoom, there are plenty of opportunities to set up 1:1 conversations between team members. This can help to strengthen relationships and improve cross-team communication. It can often be challenging to communicate 1:1 with others in a workforce. Creating these situations could have a tremendous impact on team culture.

Final Thoughts

We hope this list of online games for virtual teams will inspire you to launch remote team building activities in your organization. We are well aware -- through personal experience -- that nobody wants to be spending loads of time preparing these activities. Fortunately, if time isn’t on your side, there are dozens of fast online games for virtual teams to play.