Everything else.. 7 Virtual Team Building Activities to Drive Engagement.

7 Virtual Team Building Activities to Drive Engagement.

2020 Jun 2

The aftermath of COVID-19 has brought unprecedented changes as to how organizations conduct business operations, as they are forced to swap “brick and motor” operations to more of a “digital workspace”. 


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However, it is important to realize, that while a virtual team has its own advantages, the physical distance involved in remote work could easily become emotional distance leading to isolation manifesting into demotivation and disengagement. Remote work creates a set of challenges that every virtual team should address cautiously to ensure that the entire team is committed and engaged. 

Here are 7 exciting and insightful activities that any virtual team would love! 


1. Take turns in educating the team


As the name itself implies, team members could take up the role of a tutor to teach others a skill, string of knowledge or competency that they have expertise in. Half an hour to one hour could be allocated each week for tutoring sessions, followed up by another 15 minutes for a Q & A session. 

Topics of discussion could range from public speaking tips, writing a board paper, composing a business analysis, tips for creative writing, video editing and many other areas that are relevant and fit the needs of all team members.

The key is to ensure that such sessions stay informative and engaging. Which makes the activity much more interesting and improves different skills and competencies of team members. Not only does member presenting sharpen their presentation skills, but others also get the chance to brush-up their skill arsenal by listening and asking questions from a pro. Educational activities like these offer an opportunity for team members to identify and bridge gaps in their own skills, collaborate with one another and improve practical skills that could come in handy for their own job roles as well. 


2. “Guess who” figuring out who’s who?


“Guess who” is a game designed to reveal the personal interests of different team members this offers the team an opportunity to get to know each other at a more personal level. A team leader gathers hobbies from each member of the team and compiles a list, thereafter he/she displays the same on a video chat screen asking team members to match each hobby with respective members. Once all members submit their picks, the leader displays the correct match revealing whose who! 

This fun-filled game helps encourage team interaction and camaraderie among members while helping to build insightful member personas. 


3. “Perfect snap” the photo-sharing game


Every team may not have the time to take part in time-consuming puzzles and code breaker games, for them a simple exercise that involves sharing a photo might do the trick. This particular game involves requesting each member to post one of their favourite photos to the group chat, and asking them to talk about the occasion, there is no restriction on the type of the photo as it could be anything ranging from “a train ride to Jaffna”, “casual day at home with a pet dog” or anything that has a fond memory to the person sharing it. 

The pictures could even be work-related memories shared with your colleagues. 

Allowing a person to talk about their experiences, brings out the way they perceive different things. This brings team members closer as they get to experience each other’s memories when a member shares a photo story. This game creates a perfect building block for trust and understanding that fosters respect and collaboration. 


4. Sharing the “Bucket list”


What better way to learn about others rather than going through their bucket lists, hence why not use this neat trick amongst the team members? Team leaders can restrain the list to a certain amount of items and designate the members who are supposed to publish their list at the beginning of a week. 

Members can be encouraged to spend some time collectively to discuss, ask questions and share their own experiences with one another. A bucket list once shared with others provides other members to understand personalities and to realize how similar they are on their tastes and expectations from life. 

Who knows, there may be someone from your group who has gone bungee jumping, snorkelled in Hikkaduwa or camped at knuckles that might help you cross it off your list. 


5. Let’s “Build a story” together


This is as old as it gets. When it comes to team building activities, taking a story-line and allowing others to build on it, is a great way to get the team alive. First one member starts a fictional story line leaving it incomplete for the next one to chip in, for example, “Sunith came out of his quarantine from Kandakadu quarantine center to find out that his fiancée has broken up with him, upon learning this he first trembles with anger but then he …”. 

Building a story-line with a team allows each member to contribute with their creative imagination, creating suspense and thrillers with no one knowing how it will turn out at the end. Apart from the fun and excitement, this activity improves a blend of skills including creative thinking, listening and collaboration skills of a virtual team as everyone needs to be focused on the story while it rolls on.


6. Do a “show and tell”


Most of us have taken part in a “show and tell” competition in our primary grades, where we have to bring a possession of ours and are asked to explain it to the class. Why not use the same concept in sharing information on things that your virtual team members hold dear. Each team member can be asked to bring something to their virtual conference or to a video chat, where he is given 5 minutes to explain what it is to the group. Thereafter the rest of the members are given another 5 minutes to ask questions about it, the time allocation can vary based on nature and composition of different teams. 

This allows members to come up with different items such as stamp albums, a cricket bat signed by Sangakkara, a tap rugby trophy, something bought from overseas or anything that has an interesting story behind it. This way people get to see others passions, ways of life and could obtain better insights about each other, allowing better team bonding and developing mutual trust. 


7. “Two truths and a lie” anyone? 


This game is a classic when it comes to ice breakers among a group of people, which could be successfully used to introduce fun and excitement in a virtual environment. Each member of the team is given a chance to come up with three statements, which are submitted to the leader with answers, then they are displayed on the screen asking others to spot two truthful statements and the single lie.


Prior to the game, the leader has to inform the team to come up with not too obvious statements that others would easily figure out. Statements like “I have never had two girlfriends at once”, “I’m still a fan of the soora papa cartoon” and “I just hate junk food” can be used to make it more interesting. As three statements are displayed, others guess to pick them out correctly, and once all of them submit their guesses leaders announces the actual answer.


To add a further twist to the game, team leaders can employ a point system that is digitally displayed or kept manually to intensify the competition and member engagement. 


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It is important to ensure that your virtual team is motivated and focused while enjoying and balancing work and life. Simple activities, like the ones explained here, will allow companies to foster an environment filled with engaging dialogues, mutual respect and understanding together with fun and excitement which aids in smoother operations of virtual teams with a win-win. 


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