How to Organize Effective Virtual Team Building Activities

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 6, 2024
Organizing virtual team activities boosts collaboration and morale. And Prioritizing inclusivity and tech use, fosters remote team connection within your company.
Three colleagues sharing a light moment while looking at a laptop, representing a successful virtual team-building activity

Organizing virtual team building activities that truly bring your remote team closer can seem challenging, but with the right approach, it’s entirely achievable. Here is a straightforward guide to making your virtual team feel more connected:

Virtual team construction involves planning fun and engaging online activities tailored to enhance communication, morale, and collaboration among remote team members. It’s essential to choose activities that suit the team’s size, interests, and capabilities, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all members across different time zones and schedules.

A detailed schedule should be created, technology readiness checked, and clear participation guidelines sent out beforehand. During the activities, assign facilitators, maintain dynamic session structures, and encourage active participation to keep everyone engaged. Finally, gather feedback post-activity to continually refine and improve plans in the future. 

Remember, the key to successful virtual team building is making everyone feel included and ensuring activities are enjoyable yet meaningful.

What is Virtual Team Building Activities?

Virtual team building is all about creating fun and engaging exercises and activities online to help team members who work from different places feel more connected. Since they don’t see each other every day, these activities are a great way to make friends, improve how well everyone works together, and build trust, even if they’re miles apart.

The main goals are to:

  • Help remote coworkers become closer friends
  • Make talking and working together easier
  • Help everyone understand each other better
  • Build trust and a good team vibe
  • Make people happier with their jobs and more excited to work
  • Create a strong team culture, even online

These goals are met by doing regular fun stuff together online, away from the usual work tasks.

Challenges of Virtual Team Building Activities

Building a strong remote team faces hurdles such as limited face-to-face interaction, time zone discrepancies, trust-building difficulties, feeling disconnected from company goals, and loneliness. However, consistent engagement in virtual team building activities fosters connectivity, addressing these challenges and enhancing team cohesion despite physical distance.

To overcome these obstacles, consider implementing a variety of virtual team building exercises tailored to your team’s preferences and needs. These activities can range from icebreaker games and collaborative challenges to wellness sessions and skill-building workshops. By offering a diverse array of options, you can ensure inclusivity and engagement among team members, regardless of their location or schedule.

Furthermore, prioritize communication and transparency to mitigate feelings of isolation and disconnect. Regularly scheduled video meetings, informal check-ins, and transparent goal-setting can help keep everyone aligned and motivated toward shared objectives. Encourage open dialogue and feedback to cultivate a culture of trust and collaboration within your remote team.

Step 1: Identify Your Goals in Virtual Team Building Activities

Three women at a table with one looking at a laptop, another holding a coffee cup, and the third checking a smartphone

Before you start planning virtual team building activities, it’s important to know what you want to achieve. Here are some common goals you might consider:

Improve Communication

When your team is spread out, it’s easy for messages to get lost or misunderstood. Activities that encourage everyone to chat can help team members connect better.

Boost Morale

Feeling alone can make work less enjoyable. Having fun together online can remind your team they’re part of a group, which can make everyone feel better.

Enhance Collaboration

It’s harder to work together when you’re not in the same room. Doing things together, like solving puzzles, can help everyone feel more in sync.

Increase Productivity

When people get along and communicate well, they can get things done faster and better.

Strengthen Company Culture

Feeling connected to the team and company makes people more likely to stay and be happy at work. Activities that involve everyone can help create this feeling.

To pick your goals, think about what your team needs. You can ask them directly or talk to managers. Try not to pick too many goals – one to three is a good range.

Make sure to tell your team why you’re doing these activities. For example, if you’re organizing a trivia game, let them know it’s to help everyone get to know each other better. This can make more people want to join in.

Choosing clear goals helps make sure your virtual team building is fun and effective. Check in on your goals now and then, and change up the activities if you need to, to keep everyone interested.

Step 2: Choose the Right Activities

Picking the right activities for your remote team to do together is super important to make sure everyone feels part of the team. Here are some ideas:

Games and Challenges

Games, challenges, creative endeavors, and wellness activities offer diverse avenues for remote teams to bond and collaborate effectively. From trivia games like Trivia Crack and virtual scavenger hunts planned with Actionbound to crafting classes and group meditation sessions, there are numerous options to cater to varied interests and preferences.

Additionally, activities like jigsaw puzzles, talent shows, and walking challenges promote problem-solving, skill-sharing, and physical well-being. It’s essential to consider the team’s size, interests, and feasibility when selecting activities, ensuring a balance between fun and productivity.

Importantly, participation should always be voluntary, you need to create a sense of enjoyment and camaraderie rather than obligation. Monitoring engagement levels and adapting activities accordingly helps maintain enthusiasm and engagement over time.

Step 3: Ensure Inclusivity and Accessibility

A person typing on a laptop next to another individual writing in a notebook on a round table, indicating a collaborative work environment

When planning virtual team building activities, it’s crucial to prioritize inclusivity and participation for all team members. This involves considering everyone’s circumstances, including different time zones, schedules, and personal commitments. Accommodating different time zones ensures that activities are accessible to all, allowing team members to participate at times that suit them best. 

Offering flexibility in activity duration and participation empowers individuals to engage at their own pace. Keeping activities brief, under 30 minutes, prevents them from becoming burdensome on busy schedules, and just as was suggested before, ensuring that participation is always optional respects individuals’ autonomy. 

Supporting accessibility is essential to ensure that all team members can fully participate in virtual activities. Selecting activities that require only basic internet access, incorporating captions for videos, and ensuring compatibility with screen readers make activities more accessible to individuals with diverse needs. Respecting individual comfort levels by offering a variety of activities and creating a welcoming environment fosters a sense of belonging and encourages participation.

Step 4: Plan and Organize

When organizing virtual activities, meticulous planning is essential for smooth execution. Creating a detailed schedule involves selecting an optimal date and time, determining the activity platform and tools required, outlining activity specifics, and assigning participant roles. Communicating the plan well in advance, accompanied by calendar invites, facilitates participation and ensures everyone is prepared for the event.

Ensuring technology readiness is crucial to prevent disruptions during the event. Conducting thorough internet and equipment tests, exploring alternative communication methods, and providing troubleshooting tips can mitigate potential technical issues. Specifying all of the participation guidelines enhances the experience by outlining access instructions, necessary materials, behavioral expectations, and preparatory tasks, fostering a seamless and enjoyable virtual team bonding experience for all participants.

Step 5: Gather Feedback and Reflect

Gathering feedback post-virtual team building activities is vital for enhancing future engagements. Gather some points of view through anonymous surveys, group discussions, and individual outreach to ensure all perspectives are heard. Inquire about various aspects such as timing, comfort levels, and team cohesion to gain comprehensive insights into participant experiences.

Following feedback collection, convene as a team to review results, celebrate successes, and identify areas for improvement collaboratively. Acknowledge achievements, address shortcomings, and brainstorm solutions to enhance inclusivity and enjoyment. Establish an action plan outlining necessary adjustments for subsequent activities, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collective ownership.

Embrace a cycle of continuous improvement by consistently seeking feedback, monitoring participation rates, and evaluating team connectivity. And then, utilize gathered insights to refine virtual strategies, fostering stronger bonds and optimizing engagement over time. Through iterative refinement, you’ll cultivate an environment where team cohesion and camaraderie thrive, driving shared success and fulfillment.

Best Practices for Virtual Team Building Activities

Three young adults working together on a project outdoors, with two laptops and papers on a small round table.

When it comes to making virtual team building work, there are some key things to remember. Here’s how to make sure your team gets closer, even when they’re far apart:

Maintain a Balance Between Fun and Professional Development

It’s great to have fun with virtual team building, but also think about helping your team grow their work skills. For instance:

  • Look to challenges that make you think can help improve how well everyone works together.
  • Doing something creative lets team members show off skills they might use at work.
  • Games that need good communication can help improve important work skills like understanding others.

Try to mix fun activities with ones that help your team get better at their jobs.

Keep Activities Short and Regular

Don’t make team building into a long, tiring event. People already spend a lot of time in online meetings and might not want another long one. Plus, finding a time that works for everyone in different places can be hard.

Instead, do quick activities that take about five to 15 minutes during your regular meetings. This could be a fun question to start with, a quick game, or a virtual coffee chat. Doing a little bit often is better than doing a lot all at once.

Leverage Technology Thoughtfully

Using the right online tools can make these activities more fun and easier to set up. But remember, not everyone is good with technology.

Make sure to give clear instructions on how to join and take part in activities. Check everything works before you start, and have a backup plan in case of tech problems. Also, try different kinds of activities. Some can use cool tech, but others can be simple and not need any special gadgets. For some activities, you might even send things to people’s homes to make it more special.

By keeping things balanced, doing a little bit often, and being smart about using technology, you can make virtual team building help your team feel more connected.

Conclusion

Organizing effective virtual team building activities requires strategic planning, thoughtful execution, and continuous improvement. By prioritizing inclusivity, selecting engaging activities, and fostering a welcoming environment, teams can strengthen bonds and enhance collaboration, even across physical distances. 

Gathering feedback and reflecting on outcomes are essential steps in refining strategies and ensuring ongoing success. With a balanced approach, leveraging technology thoughtfully, and maintaining regular engagement, virtual team building can produce a sense of connection and empathy, ultimately contributing to team cohesion and productivity. 

Remember, the key lies in creating meaningful experiences that resonate with team members and contribute to a positive work culture, regardless of the virtual setting.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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