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The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Team Building

Learn all about team building, why it's so necessary in today's remote work world, and tips and ideas for integrating regular team building initiatives into your company culture.

The challenges of connecting remote employees

With more and more offices going partially or fully remote, there can be a sense of disconnect between team members. What used to be a stop by someone’s desk for a quick chat or to ask a question has now become a Slack message or a Zoom call.

For all of the benefits of working from home, it’s safe to say that the lack of in-person connection is remote working’s biggest downfall. It’s easy for employees to feel disconnected or isolated, and it’s easy for teams to feel a sense of disengagement. But you know that a cohesive and bonded team is critical to a smooth and productive workplace.

So, what’s the solution? 🤔

Given that now companies don’t have as many “bumped into you in the hallway” moments, we need to find a way to make remote-culture possible — Lee Rubin, CEO & Founder of Confetti

We all remember the virtual team building activities during quarantine, but with 45% of employees working remotely, it’s time to make remote team building the norm. 👍 It may seem difficult to get the same level of bonding between team members when you’re working from home, but luckily there are a whole host of virtual team building activities that have the same effects as the ones that you would do in the office.

Virtual team building activities bring people together, foster communication, breed innovation, and allow your team members to feel like they’re actually a part of a team. 💙 Through virtual team building activities, you’ll see a boost in the team’s morale, and your staff will start to build important relationships with each other.

🚨 All of this is critical when your teams hit a stressful season of business or start working on a large project. You need your teams to be able to communicate, solve problems, and work together as a unit.

Unique Team Building Activities
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Virtual Team Building Games
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Team Building for Conference Calls
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Defining virtual team building

Team building virtual activities are designed to create a sense of belonging and cohesion within your remote teams. 

With the workplace changing more and more every year, and more companies pivoting to a fully or partially remote workplace model, it’s vital for employers to put in the extra effort to bring teams together and help employees create connections in the workplace.

Teams are successful because of the talent that they hold. But the connection between team members is what allows them to…

  • Work together seamlessly 🤝
  • Ask for help when needed 🖐️
  • Handle stressful times in the workplace like champions 💪

When people know that the people surrounding them have their back and are rooting for their success, they are better employees, better people, and have a happier and more productive work life balance. 🙌

In short, virtual team building is a win for everyone. 🏆

You can approach virtual team building differently depending on your company, your values, and your team members. These can be silly and fun activities like hosting trivia or having a virtual happy hour. Or, they can be more education/work-oriented activities like a lunch and learn or virtual education series.

💡 Whichever route you choose to take is up to you. But the benefits of hosting team bonding activities with your employees will remain the same.

Benefits of team building for remote teams

We don’t suggest virtual community building activities for remote teams just because they’re fun. (Though, let’s face it, they’re a lot of fun.)

It doesn’t matter if your team is virtual, hybrid, or in-person. Team building events are an absolute necessity for any team that wants to work like a cohesive unit. 👏

People still want and need experiences that are fun and catered to them – ones that go beyond a simple hangout on Zoom. Structured, focused team-building activities inspire dynamic workplaces, encourage healthier culture, and create happier teams. — Lee Rubin, CEO & Founder of Confetti

Benefits of hosting online team building activities include:

An increased sense of belonging 🫂

Spending your day at a computer and only connecting with your coworkers via your weekly video conference check-in is extremely isolating at times. Especially for those who live alone or those whose partners/roommates work outside of the home. This loneliness can have a negative effect on an employee's mental health.

Additionally, remote work provides the unique benefit of a diversified talent pool. But a diverse team doesn’t automatically equal an inclusive one. 

Hosting regular team building and bonding events, especially those centered on inclusivity, is shown to decrease this sense of loneliness by allowing team members to build bonds with their coworkers and create a stronger sense of belonging in the workplace.

Better employee retention 👍

Team building games increase an employee’s sense of belonging, excitement to work, and productivity in the workplace. When someone feels like they are being cared for by their employer, they are more likely to grow within the company and remain in their role for a longer time. 

Companies that promote collaboration and communication at work have been linked to reducing employee turnover rates by 50%. (Source: Zippia)

When employees feel like a company cares about their well-being, they care more about the company.

Stronger, more stable workplace relationships 🤝

Regular bonding activities allow your staff members to get to know their coworkers and their leadership better. This makes people… 

  • More confident in communicating with one another 📣
  • More likely to ask for help when needed ✋
  • More comfortable expressing stress and problems that they’re facing 💬
  • More likely to jump in when they see someone else struggling in the workplace 🏃

These types of activities create a sense of camaraderie among your team members. This means that through the good, the bad, and the stressful, your staff is going to have each other’s backs. 

Besides, who doesn’t love having a work bestie to turn to when they need someone to talk to? In fact, having a friend at work makes your team members twice as likely to be engaged with their job!

Increased productivity 📈

Perhaps one of the most beneficial outcomes of hosting team building activities with your remote employees is increased workplace productivity. 

Virtual exercises encourage employees to… 

  • Think outside the box 🎁
  • Effectively collaborate with one another 🤝
  • Confidently introduce their innovations and ideas to their teams 📣

These team building efforts also give employees the opportunity to “blow off steam,” which makes them come back to their regular work with a renewed sense of energy and efficiency.

More engaged employees 🤸

When team members have the chance to get to know each other, be silly and fun together, and work together to solve problems in a low-pressure situation, they naturally become more engaged with each other and with their place of work. These situations allow them to build bonds that result in them feeling a deeper sense of pride in their workplace and an increased sense of care for the people around them.

What this turns into is a group of employees that…

  • Have each other’s backs 👍
  • Actively work towards the betterment of their team and their company 🙌
  • Feel that they belong in the workplace 👯

And there’s not much better than that!

Higher team morale 🤩

We want our team members to like each other, right? We want them to want to be in their role, in their team, at our company. But burnout, stress, and a poor work-life balance can often lead to a low or reduced sense of morale in individuals and in teams. Team bonding gives employees the chance to like each other, which leads to increased motivation and morale when it comes to working towards shared goals and visions.

Virtual team building activities don’t just make a positive impact in the workplace. In fact, virtual team building activities for teachers, virtual team building activities for elementary students, and virtual team activities for just about anyone who feels disconnected from their workplace or their school show the same benefits as those listed above.

Read our case studies to discover more unique benefits of virtual team building!

case studies banner

How to team bond virtually 

A successful team bonding experience takes a little bit of planning, but once you get started, you’ll see the benefits almost immediately. If you go into a virtual team building event without planning for what’s to come, you run the risk of having a virtual room full of people with their cameras turned off who are secretly scrolling through their phones instead of participating in the activity.

That’s not what you want, right? 

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to prepare for a remote activity that everyone wants to partake in. All you have to do is…

  • Choose and plan the activity 
  • Make sure your team members have the right equipment
  • Ensure that everyone (or as many people as possible) is available
  • Establish your game plan (pun fully intended)
  • Host the activity
  • Gather feedback to make sure the next event is even better

Looking at it that way, it feels like a lot. But we promise that even planning a virtual team building activity can be tons of fun! Let’s break it down into steps:

Select your activity 🎲

The type of remote team building activities that you choose to do with your team is completely up to you! We suggest selecting based on a few key criteria:

  • What your team members like
  • Your company’s values and mission
  • Your time and availability
  • Your overall goal

💡 For example, if your leadership has noticed that you have a team full of music lovers who spend their weekends going to see their favorite bands in concert, then a virtual dance party might be a great match for your team! 

But, if your staff is more of the introverted bookworm types, then you could host a trivia night! Of course, not everyone on your team is going to be interested in the same things, but that’s why you host different team building events every month or quarter.

If your company is big on mental health, work/life balance, and self-care then you could host a “make your own bath bomb” class, or have a lunch and learn about managing stress in the workplace.

If you only have 30 minutes to allot towards your team building activity this month, then plan something quick and easy, like a virtual scavenger hunt 

We’ll get into some great virtual team building options in just a bit. But as you can see, the sky's the limit when it comes to choosing team bonding activities. 🌠

Check the equipment 🎙️

Realistically, the most everyone will need for a virtual team activity is… 

  • A working camera
  • Laptop or computer
  • Microphone

You know, the standard equipment that you would use for a regular Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting!

However, there are certain activities that might require a little more planning. 

💡 For example, if you’re hosting a cocktail making class, you might want to ensure that all of your participating employees are sent the ingredients for the cocktail prior to the class. 

If you are hosting a lunch and learn, you need to send out a gift card or send lunch to your staff member’s homes prior to the start of the meeting.

Luckily, there are virtual team building companies, like Confetti, that will plan, host, and prepare for the virtual activity for you. That way, you don’t have to send out the ingredients to the cocktail beforehand. Let someone else (like us) do the heavy lifting! 

Check availability 🗓️

If the goal is to bring the team together for a morale-boosting moment, you don’t want to plan it at a time when only 5 members of your 25-person staff are available. It kind of defeats the purpose. Planning ahead allows you to have as many people available and present as possible.

Additionally, you most likely won’t want to plan a large activity right in the middle of a tight deadline or large project. Plus, you’ll have to keep time zones and employee obligations in mind if you’re planning your activity outside of work hours. 

It can be a lot of work, so make sure to give yourself enough time to schedule everything in a way that’s best for the majority of your teams.

Establish your game plan 🏈

You’ve chosen your activity and scheduled it, so now it’s time to work on the game plan. When you’re approaching a team building activity, it’s important to have an intended outcome.

What do you hope to accomplish with this exercise? 🤔

What do you hope that your team members take away from it? 🧐

If you’re unsure what you hope to accomplish, that’s okay! You can always ask your employees or coworkers ahead of time what they feel that they will accomplish from the activity coming up

You want this activity to be both fun and influential in the way that people interact with their teams and their workplace as a whole. 

Party time! 🥳

Phew! Now that all of the planning is out of the way, it’s time to actually enjoy the activity! This is the easy part, especially if you’re working with a company that’s hosting the event for you. 

All you have to do is sit back, watch your hard work pan out, and get to know your employees that much better. Remember to have fun, too! Just because you planned it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. 

Gather feedback 👂

Collecting feedback following the event is important for understanding the impact that it had on your team members, and whether or not you actually hit the goals that you set for yourself in the “game plan.” 

If you learn that your activity didn’t have the results that you intended, don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s a perfect opportunity to switch gears and try something else during the next team bonding event. 👍

You can gather feedback however you see fit—whether through a quick poll or questions at the end of the event, or by sending out a brief survey the following day. 

💡 Pro-planning tip: We think it’s wise to ask a few quick questions at the end of the event, and then send out a survey about a week after it’s completed. That way, you can gain a better understanding of how your employees enjoyed the event and how it impacted their work after the event.

5 tips and ideas for virtual team building 

Like anything in the workplace and in life, virtual team building events will become easier to plan, easier to execute, and increasingly fun over time. It can be especially complicated to get over the social and technical hurdles that we face with teams working remotely. But, with a little practice, you’ll be a virtual team building activity planning pro in no time!

If you’re still feeling a little apprehensive about getting your teams together and involved even when they’re spread out across the country (or the globe), here are a few tips and ideas that we like to use when thinking about virtual activities:

1. Host team building events regularly 👪

Perhaps the most obvious way to make virtual team building activities feel more normal and fun is to host them regularly! This also gives you the chance to check in with your team on a regular basis and reinforce the relationships and communication skills that are being built.

How often you host these activities will depend heavily on your company and your teams. Some people have the leniency to host events monthly, while some are better off having quarterly events. 

Whatever you choose, make sure to put them on the calendar early so that your teams can plan accordingly and have something to look forward to!

calendar

💡 Pro-Tip: Check out our Confetti holiday calendar to find celebrations that resonate with your team throughout the year!

2. Reward great teamwork 🤝

We mean literally. If your team has a little bit of a competitive drive (looking at you, sales team 👀), then why not add a little bit of friendly fuel to the fire? Incorporating small prizes or rewards into your team building activities will keep everyone excited and engaged. These can be things like:

  • Leaving 30 minutes early on a Friday 🏃
  • A piece of company swag ✌️
  • A small desk plant to brighten up their home office 🪴
  • A $5 voucher towards their lunch 🥪

Even the smallest prizes keep people active during your team building activities.

Plus, if you’re not doing a competitive activity, then you can reward everyone for being a part of the team! Buying lunch or allowing teams to take a half day after the activity is finished are great ways to show your teams that you care.

3. Incorporate team building into your everyday workflow 🤸

You don’t have to wait for big, special occasions to host team building activities. In fact, you can use team building activities for conference calls, and as a part of your everyday work! If your team has a daily stand-up meeting, then start each one with a trivia question or a quick poll. You can also:

  • Have a “pet of the week” competition, where everyone sends in photos of their pets and you showcase one each during your weekly check-in meeting 🐕
  • Ask icebreaker questions at the beginning of each meeting 🧊
  • Play conference call bingo during longer meetings 🌟

There are tons of options to make team bonding a central part of the way that your team operates and interacts with one another.

4. Welcome new hires with fun 🎉

Being the “new kid” can be especially awkward and lonely. You don’t know anyone and you’re trying to figure out your role in the company through Zoom calls and onboarding documents. 

But you’re excited about your new hire, so why not make it an occasion for everyone to have fun and get to know one another?

Welcome new team members with a virtual team building activity to make them feel like an instant asset to the team. Plus, existing team members will be grateful for the chance to learn more about their new coworkers in a low-pressure environment. It’s a win for everyone!

5. Be open to feedback 👐

If you’re asking for feedback on your virtual team building activities, then be prepared to listen to it! You might find that there are certain activities that your team members love, and ones that they feel aren’t beneficial. Take your group’s feedback into consideration and plan an even BETTER event the next time around.

Listening and applying feedback is an important tool to have in the workplace, so consider this a practice round. Your team members will be grateful that you listened when they’re taking part in a bonding activity that feels like it was created just for them

6 types of virtual team building activities 

In case you haven’t noticed, there are pretty much an unlimited amount of virtual team building activities that you can try with your staff members. The ones that you select are entirely dependent on your company, your team, and your preferences. 

Here are a few of our favorites that we know your employees will love:

1. DEI 

Remote work allows for more diverse workplaces, but it’s important to make sure team building efforts are inclusive, too! Activities like Understanding Juneteenth, Hispanic & Latinx Trivia, and Exploring Asian Art can help employees feel cared for, as you’re centering their culture and heritage! Plus, it’ll help everyone connect on a much deeper level as they immerse themselves into cultures outside their own. 

DEI Team Building Activities

2. Games 

Everyone loves playing games every now and again. Plus, when you host virtual team building games, it’s a great way for your staff to work together and have a friendly sense of competition in a low-stakes environment. Playing a game like Guess Who or Taboo will get everyone talking and working together in no time. 🕹️

team building games

3. Team building activities for meetings

Even with an agenda, you can still fit in a few quick team building activities! In fact, starting or ending the meeting with a quick game or trivia question is a great way to help your team members stay active and engaged throughout the meeting. 

For your next meeting, try a fun icebreaker question, a quick game of “guess the song,” or a fun “praise circle” to kick it off. 🕺

Team Building Activities for Meetings

4. Educational experiences

Educational experiences, like lunch and learns or a self-help class are great for every company, especially those whose company values center around employee growth and expansion. 

A remote setting is actually the perfect place for an educational experience because your team members get to learn a new skill from the comfort of their own home! 🧠

Educational Team Building Activities

5. Health & wellness classes 

Sitting at a desk all day can really do a number on our physical and mental health. So, why not incorporate a health initiative into your next bonding activity? 

Get your team together (remotely) for a pilates class, yoga class, or kickboxing class. Then, keep the initiative going with employer-sponsored health initiatives like healthy lunches or gym memberships. 🏋️

Health & Wellness Team Building Activities

6. Hosted classes and workshops 

Classes and workshops are a great option for teams that prefer to roll up their sleeves and learn a new skill. 

You can host cocktail classes, cooking classes, or craft workshops for teams that want to learn something new and unleash their creative side. 🧶

Hosted & Hands-on Team Building Activities

Team build with Confetti

Don’t let the new landscape of distributed workplaces lessen your team's connection. Ready to reach past the computer screen? Start implementing regular team building activities in your office to encourage communication, creative collaboration, and empathy in your remote company culture. 

Browse our collection of entertaining and engaging experiences to foster community with your team today!

faq

Frequently Asked Questions

What is virtual team building?

Virtual team building is bringing your team together for an activity, class, or game in order to strengthen the bonds within your team. 💪 These activities have shown to increase employee productivity, boost morale, and help employees gain a deeper sense of belonging in the workplace

How much do team building events cost?

Team building events don’t have to be a huge expense! If you are simply hosting something like a trivia night or conference call bingo, it has the potential to be completely free.

Though, if you want to sit back and enjoy the event without the pressure of hosting, you can let the experts plan and host the workshop or event. In that case, the cost can vary depending on how many people are partaking in the event. 👯

How do you build a team with remote employees?

It can seem difficult to create a sense of bonding and connection between remote employees. The best way to do so is by hosting regular team building activities like virtual scavenger hunts, game nights, and virtual classes and workshops. 🤝

What are good virtual activities?

There are many great virtual activities to choose from. 👀 Your teams can join in on a cooking or crafting class, take a virtual fitness class, or play a game like a virtual escape room or trivia.

How do you make online team meetings fun?

Online meetings don’t have to be boring. By starting each online team meeting with an icebreaker or quick game, you’ll get your team members involved, engaged, and ready to get the meeting started! 🙌

What games can you play virtually on teams?

There are many games that you can play virtually on teams. 🧩 During a meeting, you can play conference call bingo. Or, you can do trivia or a murder mystery party!