If the last two years have taught us one thing, it’s that the traditional rat race was a waste of energy. The long commutes, endless meetings in uncomfortable shoes or claustrophobic ties, cold coffee, and the top-down management structure didn’t always recognize the value that true teamwork brings.
We were catapulted into the corporate future and quickly learned that remote work was possible and, in many cases, boosted productivity, job satisfaction, and work-life balance.
One of the challenges that employers initially faced was ensuring the team was still connected and managed to work together with the same comraderies and enthusiasm built through face-to-face connection.
And the only way to get it right was to embrace the virtual team and adapt team-building strategies to fit the new normal.
So here we are – and virtual team events have become the ultimate, modern alternative to team building.
And it is very different from the old approach, where most employees cringed and did anything to avoid it. Passing tennis balls from neck to neck, carrying water buckets full of holes, and three-legged races are so pre-2020.
Here is a list of virtual team events that will keep your team connected and future-proof your company culture.
They are fun, encourage communication and bonding, and often teach other soft skills and technical skills.
1. Tiny Campfire
Recreate your childhood days of campfires, s’mores, and ghost stories. Each team member gets a tea candle, s’more ingredients, and some marshmallows on a stick.
Then they settle in around their tiny campfire, share stories and jokes, and perform some ice breakers. If you feel especially nostalgic and cheesy, someone can break out a guitar, and your team can erupt into song.
2. Movie Night
The days of heading off to the movie theatre in a large group seems like a distant memory. But there was something special about excitingly sharing thoughts and opinions after seeing a film together.
Host a movie night as your next virtual team event. The team can agree on a film and watch it in their own time. Then, when they reconvene, they can share their thoughts, discuss the themes, or create parody ‘Rotten tomatoes’ reviews.
Members can pair up for this and share their parodies with the rest of the team, which can get hilarious if they are creative enough. Make it competitive and vote on the best one.
Another option is to use a platform like Houseparty, where teams can watch the film together.
3. Personality Quizzes
There are several personality tests out there that help you figure out what makes your colleagues (and you) tick.
Choose the one that tickles your team’s fancy, uncover some quirks, understand some habits a little better, and gain new respect for diversity and what makes us unique.
4. Mario Kart Tour
This one is for the gamers. Mario Kart Tour is a great virtual team event, and it is available for iPhones and Android. This makes it ideal for quick breaks slipped in throughout the day.
The game can accommodate seven players at a time, and a video chat will boost the competitive aspect, making it even more fun.
5. Quarterly Christmas
Who says you must wait 12 months for Christmas to roll up again? The Christmas Spirit can be spread any time you like. So, why not host a Quarterly Christmas for future virtual team events?
It’s simple – every few months, surprise your team with a care package in the mail. Then, in their next meeting, they can share what they received and even enjoy a festive treat or drink together.
Throw in some tinsel and Santa hats, and you are all set.
6. Virtual Bookclub
Book club used to be the ultimate excuse for overworked soccer mons to get some (well deserved) downtime, enjoy some wine with their friends and maybe take five minutes to swap books so that they could officially label it book club.
But there is something to be said about coming together to discuss opinions on literature or media. There is no rule saying it must be a book. It could be a podcast, a YouTube channel, or a movie club.
7. Online Catchphrase or Charades
It brings the team together, opens the lines of communication, and allows them to get to know each other better.
This easily facilitated virtual team event improves team communication and fosters bonding.
There are many online charades games and word generators that will make it effortless. It is a light-hearted activity that breaks the ice and will garner a few good laughs.
Form two teams, pick a theme, and connect everyone on a video call. Each team member will have a chance to act out what their card instructs. The game can last as long as you like.
8. Surprise Virtual Happy Hour
Why not surprise your team with a Virtual Happy Hour.
Rockoly’s extraordinary virtual team-building event takes Happy Hour to the next level.
Boost morale and encourage connection as a trained mixologist guides your team to create a series of traditional and bespoke cocktails while teaching them a thing or two about the art of Mixology.
It’s a hit with any and all teams!
9. Guess the Emoji Board
Emojis have firmly taken their place in modern communication. Once an informal addition to family chats and texts with your buddies, it is now widely accepted in most forms of written communication.
Teams screenshot their list of most used emojis and share them with the team. It’s a great way to create inside jokes as we can often associate someone with their overused emojis. There is always the guy who responds with a deadpan and the faux pas queen who regularly sends the facepalm.
“Guess the Emoji Board” can be adapted into a virtual board game. Create a list of emojis and give the team a set time to list the five most used emojis of each team member.
There can be a prize for the most correct guesses and a bonus for anyone who puts them in the right order.
10. Exciting Sponge
Exciting Sponge is an easy storytelling activity that gets people to think quickly and be creative. Each team member finds a random object near them and uses it as a story prompt.
A generic sponge is also a great option where members need to be creative and think of something unique based on the same prompt. Exaggeration is key. Ham it up and make that object the most incredible thing known to man.
11. Pancakes vs. Waffles
Pancakes vs. Waffles is designed to encourage problem solving and collaborative decision-making. Pancakes vs. Waffles can easily be renamed to anything that involves an ‘either/or’ – tea vs. coffee, burgers vs. hotdogs – it’s entirely up to you.
The team must choose what the world can keep and what will cease to exist in the first round. Team members can advocate their choice, list pros and cons, consider each other’s input, and vote to make a final decision.
Once the decision is made, a new competitor is added. So, if waffles won the first round, they now need to decide between waffles and chocolate, then chocolate vs. dogs, then dogs vs. cats, and so on.
The game starts off simply and very straightforward, but as options get eliminated, and new things are brought to the table, it becomes more challenging and fosters more brainstorming and communication.
12. Call of the Champions
A bit of tongue-in-cheek role play brings some fun and spontaneity to meetings. Each team member is assigned a specific role, such as cheerleader, pessimist, pun thrower, mover, and shaker (to break awkward silences or unnecessary tangents), etc. You can make the roles as random or pragmatic as you like.
13. Arm’s Reach Show & Tell
Show & Tell may seem like a grade school throwback, but your elementary school teachers actually knew a thing or two about encouraging engagement.
This virtual team events version of Show & Tell can have a humorous spin that makes your team think on their feet and be creative while eliciting many laughs.
Participants have precisely one minute. They must grab something random within arm’s reach and talk about it without any gaps.
They can embellish, give its history, purpose, and anything to keep the rhetoric going.
14. Virtual Pub Crawl
A good pub crawl was always a great tradition that got the team out and about, having a great time together and enjoying food and drink.
There is no reason we cannot harness the merriment and do so in a virtual space. Virtual pub crawls are fantastic virtual team events adapted to fit the digital realm.
Before you start, the organizer can find some unique and exciting websites. The team will visit the websites in a virtual meeting and chat about their virtual adventure over a drink. Then, mix it up a bit by moving on to a new website every 15 minutes or so.
Kahoot! is a fantastic tool for learning, assessing knowledge, and having some fun. It is entirely customizable, and users can create their own quizzes, polls, and games.
Used in a light-hearted way, it can be an amazing virtual team event, with quizzes and games based on company culture, personal traits, or anything you feel like. The activity can be created and shared for users to do in their own time, but results are collated, and final scores are given after a set time.
16. Recipe Swap
Food is the ultimate bonding tool. Breaking bread together encourages us to let our hair down and be more authentic.
Get your team to share their favorite recipes and have weekly cookoffs. Select one of the recipes, and team members recreate the dish and share their results. Then, the following week, pick another one.
A team recipe book can be collated at the end in either a digital or print format.
(P.S. A nice touch is to have each contributor give a little bio to accompany their contribution.)
17. Online Cooking Workshop
Consider an online cooking workshop if a simple recipe swap doesn’t quite float your boat. If you want something cooking-related, yet facilitated and organized, this is it!
This virtual team event is a fresh, fun approach to a cooking workshop and offers many meal options that suit all tastes. Regardless of where your team is scattered, they can come together for a fun interactive workshop. The preparation and admin are painless and convenient, with all ingredients delivered to the participants upfront.
Rockoly is an excellent option and offers various inspiring virtual team event menus that are customizable to fit the company’s budget, cuisine themes, and dietary requirements.
(Other services offered are hybrid and in-person events!)
18. App-Based Word Games
There are so many addictive app-based word games out there that can be turned into a virtual team event. It unleashes the competitive spirit, keeps the brain alive, and your staff may even learn a thing or two (Did you know that ‘sthenia’ is an accepted Scrabble word? It means to have abnormal strength – now you know)
Scrabble GO, Words with Friends, and Scattergories are traditional favorites that have been moved to the digital world. Schedule some time to play via a video conference to ramp up the competitive spirit.
19. Song Pop
There is always that one team member whose brain is 90% song lyrics, and they can put a musical reference into every conversation.
Song Pop is an excellent head-to-head game that tests your music knowledge, improves your mental song bank, and has you racing against the clock to identify songs based on a short clip.
The best part is that you get to choose your genre when you challenge your partner. So, if death metal is their thing and you crash and burn, at least you can retaliate with some 80s pop or lovesongs. It is addictive, super competitive, and a total blast.
Keep top scores on a leaderboard and see who has the most impressive total each week!
20. Virtual Office Olympics
This virtual team event is not as outrageous as it sounds.
Teams can compete in a sports trivia section and then ramp it up with a paper javelin throw, paper plate discus, and rubber band archery – at home while keeping track of distances –and name the flag/anthem quiz.
In addition, medals can be awarded in a closing ceremony. Because, of course!
21. Virtual Wine Tasting
Wine lovers can become connoisseurs with an authentic online wine tasting-workshop.
Rockoly‘s wine tasting workshop is run by expert sommeliers and is a relaxing and engaging virtual team event. Your team can experience some of the best and most powerful red wines from Spain or Italy.
It’s not just about the delicious vino. Participants learn a little about how wine is made and famous wine-making regions. A charcuterie board can be included, transforming the event into an authentic cheese and wine event.
Things is an easy game that gets people talking. Participants contribute a topic to the pool and can be as serious or creative as they like. The only rule is that the subject must start with ‘things.’ For example, ‘Things that Billy Joel mentions in We Didn’t Start the Fire,’ ‘Things I wish the canteen would offer,’ or ‘Things our team can do to have fun.’
A name is drawn to select the host who draws a topic from the pool. Next, answers are submitted privately to the host via text message. The host reads the responses, and the team then guesses who said what. For the next round, switch hosts and continue.
23. Learn the NATO Phonetic Alphabet
Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot – The NATO alphabet can be used to create some exciting word games and is excellent for memory challenges too. The team can study the list of words and then take turns reciting. As soon as someone repeats a word or gets one incorrect, the next person takes over, and the winner is the person who managed to continue for the longest. Mix it up and let them work backward. Or give words or phrases to spell out. It is entirely flexible.
Mystery messages can also be dictated to a partner, and the pair that cracks the code the quickest gains points.
Here are the NATO phonetic alphabet code words.
Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.
24. Five Finger Showdown
Out of all the virtual team events, this might be the most straight-forward. It is excellent for large groups and requires little preparation — a perfect icebreaker to get people talking.
Each team member holds out their hand with five extended fingers. The host then calls out a lit of unusual bucket-list type experiences – for example, ‘has been to Bali’ or ‘has been skydiving.’ If a participant has done what is called out, they put a finger down.
The winner is the first to put all fingers down or the most fingers at the end of the game!
25. Name the States
No matter how good your geography skills are, it’s amazing what you forget when under a bit of pressure.
There are many ways this virtual team event can be done. Players must list the US states in alphabetical order within a set time. To accumulate bonus points, including the capital city of each state will add to the challenge. Some online games and apps take it further by showing the outline of a state or a map of the US, where the names have to be placed in the correct location.
The games can be adapted for any country or even a world map.
26. True Lies
This virtual team event has nothing to do with Arnold Schwarzenegger and everything to do with ice-breaking and getting to know each other.
Each team member has to give three statements about themselves. Two must be accurate and one completely false (but plausible).
Team members must vote on which statement they think is a lie. Results are shared, and points are awarded to those who guessed correctly. The poll will showcase how well the team knows each other. It’s a great way to learn new things about each other and have a laugh at the same time.
27. Online Game Shows
Make your next set of virtual team events like that of traditional game-shows.
Jeopardy and Family Feud are the usual go-to’s, but a little digging online will give you countless other options. Jeopardy is a quiz game broken into many categories. The contestant is given the answer and must supply the question. There are free online versions of Jeopardy, an app, and a template that you can customize to fit your team.
Family Feud is slightly different from straightforward trivia. Players must guess what they believe the most popular answer to a question is amongst a group surveyed beforehand.
Some examples include “Name things you would find in an office” and “Name a place where you need to buy a ticket to go inside.” This activity is excellent for encouraging empathy, stimulating critical thinking, and team building.
28. Online Card Games
There is evidence of card games being played as far back as the late 1300s, but it is believed to have started way before.
There are hundreds of games based on the same 52 card deck, and the tradition lives on in the virtual realm. So why not make one of your next virtual team events an old-fashioned cards night – remotely, of course.
There are plenty of online options that make it possible to connect with players worldwide and allow private rooms to include your team. Some sites also offer other traditional games like checkers, backgammon, and chess.
Hope you enjoyed this list of virtual team events and now have something to do with your own team!