Team building games. You either love em’ or hate em’.
When the word team building gets brought up in conversation, there are generally two types of responses – ‘yay’ or ‘nay’…
The yay-ers are excited to share time with their co-workers and are energised at the thought of showing their competitive streak. They are optimistic, love teamwork and genuinely enjoy getting to know their co-workers.
The nay-ers cringe at the thought of planned games with their co-workers, most often caused by a previous poor team building session. Eek!
Whether you love it or not, the reality is that team building games can do wonders for productivity, engagement and happiness at work. The challenge is ensuring that you manage expectations of everyone involved.
So, when you’re faced with yay-ers and nay-ers, and a new virtual environment for your team building activities — what do you do? Or, what can you do?
How can you ensure a positive team-building experience for everyone involved?
Before we dive in, let’s go back to basics and share some #realtalk.
What are team building games?
Team building games can be defined as fun activities you can do with your co-workers to improve how everyone works together.
Team building games are designed to encourage teamwork, collaboration and creativity within your company — a benefit that, in any company, would prove essential to a high-performing team.
Did you know that 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as very important in the workplace? With this statistic front of mind, it’s important that managers carve out time in everyone’s calendar to take part in team-building games.
How well your employees work together can be make or break for your team.
That’s easy to do in the office, I hear you say… But what about when you have remote teams located across the country or the world? That throws a team-building spanner in the works.
What are the benefits of team building in a remote working environment?
Strong team work is at the heart of every successful and high performing team.
At the end of the day, you want your team to do their best work and often this involves working as part of a team. If you don’t have a culture where your team is working towards one common goal and ready to help others, that’s where it can start to fall apart.
Although remote teams are physically apart, it doesn’t mean that you can’t organise virtual team building games.
Whether it’s a short activity at the start of a virtual meeting to flex your remote teams strategy brain, or a Friday night happy hour trivia session, there are many ways you can bring the team together online so you can reap the benefits such as:
Everyone getting to know their team
Encouraging everyone to work towards a common goal outside of the work environment
Allowing your team to be more creative
Encouraging your team to step away and have a break from work which can lead to increased productivity
Let’s face it, the future is remote. So when your team is located all over the country or world, it’s important not to lose sight of those fun activities you’d normally enjoy in the office. Whether you’re looking for an activity to get your creative juices flowing at the start of a brainstorming session, or simply a fun activity to unwind after a long week, read on as we share 39 virtual team building games for remote teams.
If you’re looking for a fun activity that will bring everyone together, Skribbl.io is your go-to drawing game. The rules follow a similar approach to Pictionary and it’s a fun way to get your entire team involved and laughing.
How to play Skribbl.io
Each user logs on and joins the designated team room. From here, each player will take turns being the artist. When it’s their turn, they will have to choose a word from three different options provided and draw that word in 80 seconds.
The other players will then have 80 seconds to guess what the player is drawing. The fastest player to guess the drawing gets the most points, and the player at the end of the game with the most posts wins!
One of our very own heroes Skribblo masterpieces 😄
When working remotely, it’s normal to miss the office buzz and morning coffee runs with co-workers. Donut is a great way to bring back that general office chat amongst your team with virtual coffee catch ups, even if it’s just for 15 minutes!
Donut is an app designed to integrate with Slack. On a separate Slack channel and on a recurring basis, Donut will randomly select people within your company as pairs. The app will send each pair a direct message encouraging them to meet up for virtual coffee. If you have a larger team or have new remote hires, this is a great way to get to know teammates you might not have previously crossed paths with.
Don’t use Slack for communication? Create a simple spreadsheet each week and pair up co-workers.
Take a look at Donut below. 👇
3. Tea and coffee tasting
When we’re in the office, it’s only natural that many office conversations will happen over morning tea and coffee. But what happens when we take away that social element?
Chances are, your workplace is filled with tea and coffee enthusiasts.
Send out a calendar invite to gauge interest for a tea and coffee tasting. From here, finalise numbers and starting hunting for interesting tea flavours and exotic coffee blends. Round up 5 – 10 different individually wrapped tea bags and coffee sachets and place them in an envelope.
Once you’ve got your coffee and tea kit, address them to those taking part and head off to the post office.
When it comes time for the tasting, you can talk through the flavours, the background and whether or not it’s hit or miss. It’s a great way to unite the team over their love of tea and coffee!
Want to go one step further? Include a numbered tasting card with your team to write their thoughts!
Price: Low ($ – $$)
4. Wine tasting
Similar to tea and coffee lovers, chances are you have a few wine enthusiasts in your company!
When it comes to organising a wine tasting, there are few options available. The easiest to be organised is to use a service that already has the tastings and tasting cards included.
Not sure where to look? Wyflo is an Australian based company that has teamed up with cellar doors to create tasting kits. Simply order these for your team and get them delivered directly to their door. Easy!
On a budget?Create tasting cards for your team and a shopping list so they can get involved. Tip: Before you set the wine varieties, make sure they are available in smaller bottles.
Price: Free to Moderate ($ – $$$)
5. Gin tasting
Tea, coffee and wine are all obvious winners, but what about gin? Gin tasting takes a similar approach to the tasting sessions above and is sure to unite those who love a good G&T.
There’s nothing like a few rounds of trivia to get your team working together!
Everyone loves a fun round of trivia, especially when there’s prizes involved. Trivia not only encourages teamwork, but is also a chance for your team to find out more about their co-workers interests.
Depending on the size of your company, you could split the groups up into different teams, e.g. marketing, sales or finance. Alternatively, you could mix it up and randomly assign people to teams.
Got the budget?You can use an external service trivia provider like Oz Party Events to organise your trivia night!
Did you know that with Employment Hero you can reward your team with Hero Dollars? With Hero Dollars, your team can access Discounts, our online marketplace with access to thousands of everyday items at a reduced price.
Price: Free to Low ($ – $$)
7. Book club
Book clubs are a great way to get those in your team together who share a love for reading.
To get started, nominate someone who will be the leader for the month. They will choose the book and lead the discussion when it’s time to meet.
Not sure where to get started? Start a Slack channel or WhatsApp group for your book club so people can ask questions as they’re reading through the book.
8. Run club
If your team is working from home, chances are they’re enjoying all of the benefits associated with remote work — like more time to spend running!
Use an app like Strava to create a running group. In this app, you’ll be able to see everyones times and routes, and keep each other accountable.
You could have a competition for the fastest time or furthest distance, and entice your team with fun prizes to keep everyone moving.
Price: Free to low ($)
Bingo is a great way to get the team together online for a bit of fun. Nominate one person as the bingo caller and the first person to mark off all of the numbers is the winner. You’ll be surprised how fun virtual Bingo can be, especially as a Friday drinks alternative!
To make it interesting, why not add some fun prizes like a day off work, a free lunch or even a gift card?
Looking for something fun? Take a look at Drag Queen Bingo.
A fan favourite at Employment Hero is our cutest pet competition. With many remote workers looking for companionship in all of the fluffy places, chances are there’s a few pet friends in the team.
At the start of the week, share the competition with the closing date and the prize and ask your team to submit away!
If you have a company-wide staff meeting at the end of the week, use this opportunity to announce the winner and share a pic of the cutest furry friend.
Buddy, the winner of Employment Hero’s cutest pet competition
11. Can You Hear Me Now? Game
This game is a great virtual team building activity to be played remotely. It involves everyone being in the same virtual meeting and one person given the responsibility of being the ‘speaker’.
Everyone else in the room is known as ‘artists’.
The speaker must pick a random image and describe it in a way that the artists are able to draw it. The speaker must only describe the image using geometric shapes, making it challenging for the artists to understand.
Example: The speaker says draw a long skinny vertical rectangle with three little horizontal rectangles of equal width of the vertical rectangle coming from the right side of the vertical rectangle to the right, with one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle’, but not ‘write the letter E’.
Remember, with this game effective listening and articulating is key!
This fun game requires a little preparation, but the possibilities (and laughs) are endless!
To get started, you will each take turns at being the creator. The creator must come up with a sentence, but only communicate the answer in emojis.
For example, if the topic is ‘favourite movie’ you could write this to your team.
5️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ 📆 ☀️ ⛱️
The answer? 500 Days of Summer.
To keep track, you can assign a scribe and keep track, or use the format of trivia.
It can be related to your company, news events, favourite movies or anything pop culture!
Looking for a fun activity that will build memories and give you those deep belly laughs? Jackbox could be the perfect game for your team.
Jackbox is a series of video party games and requires one person to download the app and stream to their video call. Players can use their phone or tablet to enter their own game room via a website and their device becomes their controller.
Please note, this game is only available for up to 8 players.
Werewolf is a game of manipulation and deceit, making it an interesting game to play with your co-workers!
Werewolf is more complex than other games on this list, and requires the rules to be explained beforehand.
The game starts with a deck of cards that has a role on it. These roles will include:
Werewolf – eat other players
Villager – vote on who they believe is the werewolf
Medic – can rescue a player from near-death of the werewolf
Seer – reveal if a player is a wolf or not
Alternatively, you can use a random generator tool that will assign everyone a role and send it privately in a direct message.
There will be one person in charge of running the game, known as the master.
Once the master has assigned everyone a role, they will state that night has fallen. Everyone will close their eyes and gently tap on their desk or floor to cover up and sounds happening in the background of other players.
The master will make a call for the werewolf to wake up, select their prey to kill and then go back to sleep. The werewolf wants to remain anonymous the entire time, so this is where the deceit and deceptions come into the game.
From here, the master will call for the medic to wake up and point to a player to save from the werewolf and then go back to sleep.
Next, the master will call for the seer to wake up. The seer will point to one person to uncover whether or not they are a werewolf. The master will nod yes or to confirm or deny.
After this, the master will call for everyone to wake up in the morning and let the players know if a wolf ate any villagers.
The survivors discuss who they believe the werewolf is that killed a villager, and then vote together to eliminate someone. This process is continued until only villagers or werewolves remain in the game.
Note: those who are eliminated become a silent ghost. They can still play the game, however are not allowed to discuss their opinions.
Watch a quick 2-minute video on how to play werewolf here.
15. Evil apples
WARNING: This game is not for the faint-hearted. This game is suited for the more risky, rowdy and raucous workplaces.
Chances are, many of your team have played the infamous ‘Cards Against Humanity’ card game.
Evil Apples is a similar version, just online — making it a fun game to play with your teammates in a video call over a glass of wine!
Each player will use their phone or tablet as their device and use their cards to make hilarious sentences or combinations.
The game works with one topic card being selected and each player given cards to select from. Players will be required to choose the funniest or most outrageous card to present to the judge. The judge will then choose what they believe is the funniest card and the first to 7 winning cards, wins!
When working at a computer day in and day out, chances are, many people in your team consider themselves a fast typer. But who is the fastest?
This is a great one to test your typing speed, accuracy and also a great way to bring out the competitive streak in your employees.
Typing Test is a free teel you can use to challenge your remote team. Share it beforehand and get everyone to share their results.
17. Exciting sponge game
The exciting sponge game is a simple concept to grasp and a fun game to play virtually. It requires creativity and for players to flex their storytelling ability.
To get started, players will need to reach for one item they can grab within the room. From here, they will be required to create an exaggerated story about the item. If they can’t find anything in their room, they will have to default to creating a story about a sponge.
This game works best when everyone exaggerates their item and adds their own weird and wacky flair.
Things is a great way to get your team together to get their creative juices flowing. You can use it as an icebreaker or a quick game at the start of a brainstorming session.
This activity works by everyone submitting topics to one person via email or instant message to create a pool of topics. Examples include:
Things to take to a beach
Things to consider when moving house
One person reads out the topic and you have to go around the room and each person says their answer. You could play this as an elimination game or create a point system to decide the winner.
19. 2 truths and a lie
This team-building game is a great activity to start off a virtual meeting with. Whether that’s a team meeting or brainstorming session, it’s a great way to get your brain thinking. This game can be played in as little as 15 minutes!
To play, each person online will come up with two truths and one lie and communicate it to the team.
The team must then vote on whether or not they believe the lie or truths. Simples!
20. Guess the image
This game involves one person being nominated as the host and taking photos of 5 – 10 different objects up close. The trick to this game is to choose objects that are obscure or are difficult to decipher.
The players will need to guess the objects and submit to the host. From here, the host will announce the objects and the person who guessed the most correct items.
This is a fun game to play at the start of the week and post in a virtual chat channel. At the end of the week you can reveal the answers and winners. For the players, it will only take five minutes.
21. Virtual dinner party
Many remote teams often share dinner after work, however, with a remote team it’s a lot more difficult, especially if there’s a need for social distancing.
With a virtual dinner party, send around an email invite and ask everyone to join a video call over a meal and beverage of their choice. Don’t forget to come prepared with a list of icebreaker questions!
Alternatively, if you’ve got a budget, why not get pizza delivered for everyone to enjoy?
Price: Free – Moderate ($ – $$)
22. Recipe share
Chances are you have some keen cooks and bakers in your team, so why not get them all together (virtually) to share recipes?
With workplaces more diverse than ever, the opportunity to learn more about different cuisines and food has never been easier. Food can bring everyone together, even if we can’t physically be together.
It can be as simple as setting up a virtual messaging channel called #foodiefinds or #recipestoshare and getting your fellow foodies to share their delicious creations.
If you’ve gained enough interest, you could go one step further and introduce different cuisines every week and even have a virtual cooking demonstration!
23. Scavenger hunt
You might be thinking, how do I get involved in a scavenger hunt online? But there is a way!
Depending on the size of your team, you can play the scavenger hunt individually or as part of a group.
To get started, the host will need to create a list of random objects to get the players to look for. You will spotlight each group or player on the call and they will need to go and find the specific objects in under a minute.
This game works well when you get creative with your objects. The more random the object request, the better! Some examples include:
An egg cracked into a wine glass
A cup of tea with 2 spoons of sugar
Sunglasses on a soft toy
A piece of clothing with fruit on it
A pile of toilet paper taller than the person looking building it
Keep track of who can complete the requests and the one with the most points wins. If the leaderboard is tight and you want to make sure a clear winner is crowned, why not add two requests?
24. Guess the refrigerator
You can probably guess what this game entails…
Each member of your team will take a photo of their refrigerator and submit to one person. From here, the photos will be shared in a document and each player will have to put a name to the fridge.
This is a fun, quick game to share throughout the week.
25. The Words Game for Slack
For those using Slack as your primary instant messaging tool, The Words Game is a fun and easy way to get your brain going.
To get started, simply invite your team to the channel and start the game by typing ‘/wordsgame’. You’ll be given some random letters and all players will need to form as many words they can with those letters.
Each game lasts for 60 seconds and at the end of the game, they will notify the channel of the results.
This classic game is a take on an ol’ pub trivia favourite and is a great way to bring out the competitive streak in your team.
To play, simply drop an invite in your team’s calendar and ask the trivia host to start preparing a list of songs. During this game, the trivia host will play a few seconds of each song and the players will have to write down what they believe it is.
Have a larger team? You can split your team into breakout rooms and make it a team contribution!
27. Speed sudoku
Sudoku is a well-known game, but have you ever challenged anyone else to a speed race? Speed sudoku can bring out the competitive streaks in your team, whilst encouraging some brain training in the process.
To get started, share an online sudoku game with your team and ask them to complete it as fast as they can. Once they’ve finished, ask them to screenshot their result and post it in the group chat or share their screen via the video call.
The question game is as simple as it sounds, and it could bring a flurry of childhood memories rushing back to you. In your video call, you will nominate someone to start by calling out one person and asking them a specific question. From here, the person who the question is directed at must answer the question with another question, whilst directing it at another person on the call.
To score the question game, you can do elimination rounds or work on a negative point scoring system for those who can’t answer the question with a question.
Tip: make sure you have your video call on tile mode so you can see everyone!
Scattergories is an old favourite and one that always brings people together. It’s an easy concept to pick up and online generators make it easier than ever to get involved virtually.
Each player will be sent their own link and you’ll be ready to get started.
The game involves one letter being chosen, coupled with a list of categories. You have one minute to come up with a word that falls within the category and starts with the specific letter.
It sounds simple, but it’s more challenging than you think!
This is a quick and simple game to bring your team together online.
To get started, ask your team to submit a picture of their workplace to one designated person. From here, the person will post the workplaces in a company-wide communication channel and your team will have to guess who’s desk it is.
Tip: Use Slack? Use the Polly integration to create a poll!
31. Get to Know Your Team
Let’s face it — joining a remote team is a different experience, and one that many may not be familiar with. Without the everyday social interactions in the kitchen or the morning coffee runs, it can be hard to learn about your team.
If you’re looking to introduce your new team members to the wider team but not sure where to start, why not create a list of icebreaker questions and send around calendar invites. You can make these sessions over morning tea with coffee or tea, or at the end of the day and invite everyone to grab a beverage of choice.
Need some question inspiration? Check out these.
Which movie have you seen recently or what are you watching on Netflix / Stan / Binge?
Do you have a pet? What’s he/she like?
What’s your favorite video/board games and why?
If you had a yacht, what would you name it?
What’s your most-used emoji?
Which fictional family would you want to be part of?
Show us the most recent photo you have in your phone.
What was your first job?
If you could only eat one dish for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What’s one totally irrational fear that you have?
What’s the first concert you ever went to?
What’s your favorite TV show—the one you’re always watching on repeat?
Don’t want to single out one person? Why not make it a quarterly event and invite all of your new starters to join in for a panel discussion of icebreaker questions.
If you don’t have new starters, you could also invite members from certain remote teams to be in the spotlight each week.
32. Guess the virtual background
Everyone loves a good Zoom background, so why not turn it into a fun guessing game? Ask your team to choose somewhere they would rather be right now and go around and ask people to guess.
With these activities, they can be done during a meeting or over a virtual event. Remember, the more crazy and obscure, the better!
33. Have a Virtual Pottery Night
Have you ever thought about bringing the team together for a virtual pottery night? Neither did we, until now that is….
You might be thinking, but how would this work?
You can purchase pottery kits from Crockd and send them to your teammates for a creative and memorable crafternoon!
Netflix watch parties are a nice way to unwind virtually with your team after the working week. They’re an especially fun way to unwind for the tv series and movie buffs in your workplace!
Everyone has different tastes when it comes to movies and TV shows, so why not set a schedule? Think scary movies, comedy nights or Disney classics. You could send out a poll and set sessions up based on the poll preferences. This way, anyone can drop in whenever they see something they’d like to watch.
With a Netflix streaming party, you can add participants and all chat together to discuss what’s happening.
During these times of isolation, it’s no secret that everyone has a newly found passion for cooking. Whether that’s baking or making a gourmet feast, why not ask some of your most keen foodies to share a cooking demonstration?
Prior to starting the cooking class, give your team the list of ingredients, the recipe and the opportunity to follow along. For those who’d rather just watch from the sidelines, invite them to pull up a chair with a glass of wine or soft drink.
36. Critical thinking with Flex Mami
Want to learn more about your co-workers, but not sure how to do it virtually? Pencil in some time for a virtual critical thinking session and your team will instantly know more about their co-workers. This hilarious and thought-provoking conversation card game
If you’re stuck for ideas, FlexFactory have some fun games you can purchase and share with your team.
On a budget? Create your own questions!
Price: Cards start from $39.99 or free if you DIY.
37. Online Escape Room
Escape rooms are an extremely popular team building activity and with great reason. They require skill, logic and above all, team work.
But how do you recreate an escape room virtually, I hear you ask…?
On a budget?Why not try designing an online escape room yourself or with a group of people in your team?
Price: Moderate ($$)
38. Virtual Drawing Class
Over the past few years, drawing and painting classes have gained huge popularity. They’re fun, creative and hilarious.
You can have one person demonstrate how to draw a specific image, or give your team free reign to draw whatever they’d like within a certain topic.
Looking for a fun Friday happy hour event? Turn it into your very own wine and drawing night!
If you’re looking to add more personalisation, send out a bundle to your team members home with a sketch pad and some pencils. If budget allows, why not find a professional art teacher to lead your session.
Price: Free – Moderate ($)
39. Team Debates
When you think of debates, you probably cast your mind back to your school days — whether you have good memories or not so, having a debate is a fun way to get your team working together.
Remember, you want your virtual team building games to be fun, so avoid bland or boring topics. Set a broad or silly topic and divide your team into 2 groups, affirmative and negative.
Need some inspo? Try topics such as:
Pizza vs. pasta
Miley Cyrus vs. Kim Kardashian
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
Learn more about Employment Hero
If you’re looking for an all one HR and payroll system that can assist with improving communication, Employment Hero can help. Employment Hero can help your team stay engaged, motivated and strategically aligned with our range of features including: