Indoor venues around the country and the world are closed. Then they’re open. Then they’re closed again. Due to COVID-19, team dinners, happy hours, and in-person team building activities have screeched to a halt in a time of uncertainty.
Instead of rounding up the whole office for a night out at the local, companies and businesses now have to keep up team morale and teamwork through virtual means.
Keeping your team members engaged through online team-building activities can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible if you start thinking outside of the box.
Here are the 18 best activities you can do with your team today to get through COVID-19 together:
- Weekend Mini Campfires
- Murder Mysteries
- Trivia Nights
- Lightning Scavenger Hunts
- Sweatpants Challenge
- Pass It around the World
- Get Yourself a Pen Pal
- Office Olympics
- Two Truths and a Lie Games
- ABC Hunts
- Typing Speed Competitions
- The Healthy Lifestyle Challenge
- The Pushup Challenge
- The Go-to Bed Challenge
- Play Show and Tell
- Weekly or Monthly Book Clubs
- Virtual Cozy Coffeehouse on Monday Mornings
- Happy Hour on Friday Afternoons
1. Weekend Mini Campfires
This team-building activity requires three hosts. One host should bring a few stories to share, one should get some team trivia, and the other needs to play the delivery man’s role.
It’s a great event to get to know your teammates a bit more.
Have one of the team managers bring some stories to the Zoom call. Maybe it’s a story about how the company was born or something personal or silly.
The team trivia host can ask each team member a few questions about themselves at the beginning of the week. Compile the answers, and you’re able to play a team member trivia game.
“Who was Cupid for Halloween last year?”
The delivery man will send each of the team members some mini marshmallows, a few Hershey’s chocolate bars, and a mini candle complete with a few toothpicks.
Turn off the light, and you’re ready for your virtual campfire.
2. Murder Mysteries
Get everyone together and hire a company to run a virtual murder mystery for you. Similar to escape rooms, virtual murder mystery events bring the team together to solve a common goal.
Search through the crime scene to find clues to unlock the next step.
This increases communication throughout the team and allows you to have fun while doing it! Who is the perpetrator?
3. Trivia Nights
Trivia is a classic game that can quickly be conducted from the comfort of your home, bedroom, or kitchen. Have one person be the host, and the rest of the employees split into two or three teams.
There are a few different ways you can formulate the questions. Have the game be themed around your company or a specific show, or create a Jeopardy-like game with various categories.
Split into your respective Zoom teams and remember, no phones!
4. Lightning Scavenger Hunts
Traditional scavenger hunts can quickly get boring and lack engagement, but not when it is a lightning round.
Once everyone logs onto their computers, send out a company-wide email with a list of 20 household “scavenger” items.
Your team is likely relatively diverse. Remember that a recent female graduate may have different items in her house than a retirement-age senior executive. Make sure whoever is making the list levels the playing field.
As soon everyone has confirmed they have received the scavenger list, it’s time to hunt!
Take a photo of as many items on the list and compile the pictures into an online document.
The one with the most items wins!
5. Sweatpants Challenge
So, you work remotely?
Join the club.
As you may have already noticed, there are few reasons to put on fancy slacks during the workday when you are not in meetings with potential clients or business partners.
The sweatpants game allows anyone within your company to say sweatpants at any time during working hours.
Everyone on the video conference stands up, and those wearing sweatpants get the point. Those not wearing sweatpants can take pictures of their sweatpant counterparts for later blackmail.
The one with the most points at the end of the month has to have their most ridiculous photo from the month shared in a company-wide email and posted in a prominent spot within the office once it opens once more.
6. Pass It around the World
Start with a blank piece of paper. The first person in the chain draws something on the piece of paper and records a video of the paper “traveling” throughout their home.
The next person has to mimic the first person’s drawing while adding his/her own to the paper.
Continue the chain to all the employees on your team or in your small business and make sure you frame the final result.
Have someone at the company with video skills combine all the clips into an around-the-world paper journey.
7. Get Yourself a Pen Pal
We live in a digital world, and the printed word is quickly becoming obsolete.
Couple up employees from different parts of the building or different departments and make them pen pals. The requirement? One handwritten letter at least one page in length each way per month.
Who knows? You might have just gained a new lifelong friend.
8. Office Olympics
Office Olympics is a mashup of fun competitions for remote workers. The games are meant to forge relationships between everyone at the company while building skills and inspiring strong teamwork.
The games are collaborative and competitive for team-building and include scavenger hunts, number games, typing competitions, multiple-choice questions, and even a physical fitness competition.
You’ll have to make sure you bring your thinking hat, as the game is fast-paced between the two teams. You’ll have one referee (make sure it’s not the boss) and two teams with the same number of players.
Award a point to the winning team in each of the seven events and let the best team win!
9. Two Truths and a Lie Games
I’ve been to London.
I’ve bungee jumped in Africa.
I’ve seen the Taj Mahal.
In two truths and a lie, your teammates rattle off three statements. It’s your job to figure out which one is the lie. In the above example, my lie is that I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
This is a great team-building activity to learn more about what is important to your colleagues and learn more about their likes. You can even start up a conversation based on what you learn from this game. It has the potential to bring the whole team closer together.
10. ABC Hunts
The ABC Hunt is another rapid-fire virtual game you can accomplish within your video conference call. The person selecting chooses three letters of the alphabet.
The other teammates’ goal is to be the first person back to the screen after retrieving items that start with the chosen letter.
For example, if the chosen letters are B, D, and F, acceptable items could be a beer, a dog, and the book Fahrenheit 451.
Think you got what it takes to become the ABC Hunt champ?
11. Typing Speed Competitions
If you think you can type fast, I’ve got news for you: many people can.
With your colleagues, login to a speed typing test and see how many words per minute you are currently whipping out.
Contests like these can give the winner some bragging rights and show who has the best typing speed and accuracy.
If your team ever needs an email sent out to a client ASAP, you’ll know whom to assign it to.
12. The Healthy Lifestyle Challenge
This team-building challenge tries to get your employees excited about health and wellness and morning routines.
The company can choose an activity to track for the next calendar month and track it on a spreadsheet.
Because virtual team-building challenges are necessary because of remote work arrangements, your colleagues and yourself will have to adhere to the honor system when tracking your results.
The winner of the healthy lifestyle change should get some recognition or award for their dedication to wellness, and those who don’t come out on top, well, there’s always next month. Keep up your newfound healthy habits!
13. The Pushup Challenge
Like the healthy lifestyle change noted above, the pushup challenge aims to get you up and move daily. It’s a great team-building activity as well.
There is a slight change to the pushup challenge: video recordings.
Set up your phone on a chair or table and make sure you get those elbows down to a 90-degree angle. Tummy touches don’t count.
There are a few different ways you could do the pushup challenge.
First, you could put employees into self-proclaimed groups (advanced, regular, novice) and crown the person who does the most pushups during the week or month.
You could also mandate a certain number of pushups per day, and everyone who reaches the plateau gets a big gold star for the day.
Whatever you choose, it’s sure to get some friendly competition going in your business.
14. The Go-to Bed Challenge
This might seem relatively lame, but sleep is an essential ingredient in a happy life recipe. When your teammates or colleagues pull an all-nighter or go to sleep at 3 a.m., it inevitably affects your production.
By setting a company-wide light out time, you can take care of your employees’ mental, physical, and psychological well being.
This team-building activity will be a hard sell, so make sure the company sets a worthy winning prize!
15. Play Show and Tell
Most of us reading this article are not five-year-olds in the first year of school.
That being said, show and tell is a great way to learn a lot about your colleagues and their likes.
Let’s face it, going to a show and tell for adults is a lot more exciting than seeing blankets and stuffed animals.
Bring something that means a lot to you and talk about why it’s near and dear to your heart.
Everyone likes talking about themselves, at least a little.
16. Weekly or Monthly Book Clubs
Reading a book every week can help you become a better writer, leader, and example for your children. It can increase your reading speed, your worldview, your ability to dream big, and your discipline. Not bad.
Working for a team is a collaborative effort. What if your entire company could gain the benefits above? Would it be a net positive for your business?
Choose either a classic piece of writing, a business-focused novel, or a collection of short stories to keep your employees engaged.
Have a conversation about the book every few weeks and break down what makes the book worth reading with your colleagues.
17. Virtual Cozy Coffeehouse on Monday Mornings
For this team-building activity to work correctly, the people making the big decisions will have to give all employees two hours off at the beginning of the workweek. Turn off your email notifications and turn on some chill music.
Just talk with your co-workers. Make some side Zoom calls with your specific team. Sip on coffee. Talk about what you did during the weekend, what you are looking forward to in the week ahead, or hang out.
The beauty of virtual coffeehouses is that there is no structure. You get out of work, have an excellent way to enter your work week, and get to connect with your colleagues.
18. Happy Hour on Friday Afternoons
On the other side of the spectrum, happy hour on Friday allows your team to wind down after a hectic week “at the office” and loosens the tongues a bit.
Often during the week, it’s all business.
But when it’s closing time on Friday afternoon, you’re able to untuck your shirt and relax. Crack open a beer, pop a bottle of wine, or pour yourself a few fingers of whiskey and enjoy the last hour of your workweek to avoid work-related burnout.
- 11 Creative Virtual Christmas Party Ideas From Real Remote Work Teams
- The Benefits of Corporate Team Building
- Why Team Building Should Never Be Just a Formal Checklist?
- 5 Team Building Activities for Improving Team Morale
- 6 Team Building Activities That Don’t Suck
- 7 Ideas to Enhance Your Team-building Efforts