Did you know that two-thirds of the current US workforce are disengaged in their jobs? That’s a lot of unhappy people, and it costs companies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity.
It’s no secret that one way to combat this is by implementing team building activities into the workplace. But what if your team is dispersed all over the country (or even the world)? How can you build team spirit when your team is physically apart?
Fear not, intrepid leader, for there are plenty of virtual team building activities that will keep your staff engaged and motivated. We’ll explore five of them below.
The case for team building activities
When you think of ‘icebreaker’ games, you probably picture a very awkward circle of people all trying to come up with something interesting to say about themselves.
But team building activities don’t have to be like that. In fact, they can be a great way for your team to get to know each other better, learn more about their strengths and weaknesses, and develop trust and cooperation.
Why should you care about employee engagement in the first place? Think of it this way: even if you didn’t care at all about the happiness of your staff, it would still be in your best interests to engage them.
Why? Because engaged employees are more productive, and they’re also less likely to leave their jobs. In fact, companies with highly engaged employees have turnover rates that are much lower than those of companies with low engagement.
Employee engagement also leads to:
- Higher profits. Engaged employees are productive employees — and that means more profitable, too.
- Increased creativity and innovation. When employees feel motivated and immersed in their work environment, that’s when the creative juices really start to flow.
- Improved customer service. Tired of getting complaints about lackluster customer service? If you keep your employees engaged, they’ll be less inclined to treat customers like a trivial part of their job.
- Reduced expenses. Disengaged employees are inclined to procrastinate, which causes your company to lose money through wasted time. Engaged employees, on the other hand, can save you money by doing more work in less time.
So, as you can see, team building activities are not just a waste of time — they’re actually good for your business. Let’s take a look at five virtual team building activities that you can use to improve the engagement and productivity of your staff.
Activity 1: The virtual scavenger hunt
Ditch the icebreakers and jump straight into this fun virtual scavenger hunt. This activity is perfect for teams that are dispersed all over the world, as it doesn’t require any face-to-face interaction.
To set up the scavenger hunt, create a list of items or tasks that each team member must complete. You can either make it a race against the clock, or set a specific time limit for each task.
Some ideas for scavenger hunt tasks include:
- Find a picture of someone from your team on the internet
- Find a song by your team’s favorite band
- Find the contact details for someone in your team’s city
- Find a funny meme about your team
The possibilities are endless, so get creative and have some fun!
Activity 2: Team Kahoot!
Kahoot! is a popular online quiz platform — have you heard of it? If not, it’s time to check it out. Kahoot! is a great way for teams to test their knowledge of each other and the company’s policies and procedures.
To play Kahoot!, create a quiz with questions about the team, the company, or anything else that you think will be interesting. You can then divide your team into smaller groups and have them compete against each other.
Kahoot! is a great team building activity because it’s fun, competitive, and it encourages collaboration. And the best part? It can be played from anywhere in the world — all you need is a computer and an internet connection.
Activity 3: Virtual escape rooms
If you’re looking for an activity that’s a little more challenging, why not try a virtual escape room? This is a great way to test the problem-solving skills of your team, and it can be played from anywhere in the world.
You may be wondering — how on earth do you escape a virtual room? Online escape rooms are a little simpler than the ones you may have played in real life. They usually involve a series of puzzles that need to be solved in order to ‘escape’ the room, but there’s not an actual physical space that you need to escape.
To play, divide your team into smaller groups and give them each a set of clues. They’ll need to work together in order to solve the puzzles and ‘escape’ the room.
If you don’t want to make the puzzles yourself, there are plenty of online providers who sell pre-made escape room puzzles. It’s as easy as selecting the type of escape room you want, choosing a difficulty level, and paying for your puzzles.
Activity 4: Get-to-know-me (using PowerPoint)
While icebreakers are tedious, there’s no denying that learning about your team members is valuable. The problem with typical icebreakers is that they usually put people on the spot and force them to share information that they may not want to share.
A great alternative to traditional icebreakers is the ‘get-to-know-me’ PowerPoint presentation. This activity is perfect for team building, as it encourages staff to learn more about each other in a relaxed and informal setting.
Simply give everyone 5–10 minutes to create a PowerPoint presentation about themselves. Ask them to include five specific things:
- Their name and job title
- Two interesting facts about themselves
- One hobby or interest
- A picture of something they love
When everyone has finished their presentations, gather your team together and watch them all in order. This is a great way to get to know each other better, and it’s also a fun way to kill some time.
Activity 5: Jackbox.TV games
If you’re looking for a team building activity that’s both fun and challenging, Jackbox.TV games are the perfect choice. These games are designed for groups of people, and they can be played from anywhere in the world.
There are a range of different Jackbox games to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that appeals to your team. Some popular games include:
- Fibbage — players are asked trivia questions and must create fake answers in order to fool their opponents
- Quiplash — players compete against each other to come up with the funniest responses to prompts
- Drawful — players draw pictures in response to prompts
To play, all you need is an internet connection and a computer or mobile device. The game works by connecting all of the players together in a virtual room. Then, it randomly selects a question from one of its many games and displays it on everyone’s screen.
The questions are designed for groups of two to six players, so it’s perfect for teams of all sizes. The aim of the game is to answer the questions as quickly as possible (with the funniest answers possible!) and score points.
What if you’re in different time zones?
These five activities are great for remote teams — but what if you’re spread across the globe? It’s hard to coordinate a time when everyone is available if you’re in different time zones.
There are a few ways to work around this:
- Choose an activity that doesn’t require everyone to be present at the same time. This can be a virtual scavenger hunt, for example, where teams compete to find objects or information from different parts of the world.
- Group people together in time zones that are close to each other. That way, you can at least have some overlap in hours when people are all online and able to work together.
- Use a tool like Slack to create social chat threads where team members can share memes, jokes, and other fun content throughout the day. This can help to build camaraderie among team members, even when they’re not working together.
- Pair everyone up with a peer-to-peer mentor so that they can learn from one another’s experiences. This is a great way to get people more engaged with their work, and it can also help to build relationships within the team.
If you’re struggling to find a way to make your remote team work, these activities can help get everyone on the same page. Think outside the box and get creative — your team will be more engaged and productive as a result.
We’ve all gone through rough patches in business where our workforce just isn’t as engaged as we’d like. Maybe you’ve tried offering incentives or changing the work schedule, but nothing seems to be working.
If this is the case, it might be time to try some virtual team building activities. By getting everyone involved in a fun activity, you can help them to build relationships with one another and feel more connected to their work.
The five activities listed above are a great place to start, but feel free to get creative and come up with your own ideas. The most important thing is that everyone has a good time and feels engaged in the process.