Virtual Event Ideas For Team Building: 16 Winning Concepts

Virtual Event Ideas For Team Building: 16 Winning Concepts

Virtual event ideas for team building is important for 4 reasons - check out the guide for the answers.

Audience Engagement

Gui Boechat

Gui Boechat

September 19, 2022


Virtual event ideas for team building are critical to bringing your entire team together. Whether you have a fully remote team, hybrid teams or something else, team building matters. To set the stage, let’s take a quick look at why virtual event ideas for team building are worth your time.

Why Is Virtual Team Building Activity Important?

Taking time out of your day to organize virtual team building games or other virtual team events might not seem productive at first glance. So, why does it matter? Several reasons why more companies invest time and money into virtual team events. The remote team building activities we'll cover in this guide should all help advance the following intended goals.

Increase Trust

Working together quickly and efficiently requires trust, especially in high-pressure situations like project management. Social interactions, like games and socializing, help your team members to connect. As a result, trust will increase, which means faster and higher quality work.

Grow Communication Skills

Communication skills are vitally important whether you rely on video meetings, have occasional video chats, or use other virtual platforms. These skills are important in sales and marketing roles where strong communication means more closed deals. Stronger virtual team camaraderie is vital for disparate teams like operations, human resources, accounting, and engineering. 

Deepen Company Culture

Your entire company should be concerned with company culture. For example, your values might emphasize the human element in business. Taking time out of your day to reinforce your values is smart. This objective is essential with larger teams that have grown quickly over time. As you add more people to the organization, company culture can crumble if it is not deliberately reinforced.

Improve Employee Retention And Employee Happiness

Whether you call it employee happiness or focus on cutting turnover, employee recognition at events matters. Recognition and appreciation can take different forms. It might include giving out awards to your remote employees. Or you might send an employee gift card to mark special occasions. Without these efforts, feelings of isolation will deepen, and employees may resign in more significant numbers. Many industries are struggling to hire and retain employees today. In addition to interesting work and competitive compensation, the right mix of online team-building activities can make a big difference.

Virtual Event Ideas For Team Building: Simple Events To Start

When you first offer virtual events for team building, it is wise to start small. This simple and small approach is essential if you have limited time and budget. After organizing a few small events, look at this handy list of simple ideas to start. 

1) Add A Virtual Icebreaker To A Standing Meeting

The most straightforward starting point is to adjust an existing virtual meeting. For example, you might have a weekly team meeting with your direct reports. When the team goes through significant changes (e.g., more than two new people joining), organizing some quick icebreaker activities with the rest of the team can be fun. You don’t need to have frequent icebreakers to be effective. Instead, using them a few times a year is all you need to bring a light comedic tone to your team.

Here are a few ideas to add an icebreaker to your next video conferencing session:

  • Two Truths and a Lie: Invite each participant to tell others three things about themselves and then have people guess which statement is a lie.
  • “Would you rather” decision. This is a simple and quick way to encourage people to open up. For example, you might ask, “Would you rather watch Netflix or Disney+?” or “Would you rather take your next vacation to Europe or Asia?” Sharing these dreams helps to ease the feelings of isolation that comes from long-term remote work.
  • Other hypothetical questions. Get creative here like asking staff what they would bring to a deserted island aside from a satellite phone! This kind of virtual icebreaker is a good way to kick off a virtual meeting.

This type of small event works best when you have real-time interaction with video conferencing so that people can connect with the human element of the game.

2) Plan A Trivia Competition

Trivia games are some of the most popular today with millions of people playing smartphone apps or playing in live sessions. Like other team-building event ideas, this idea can be scaled up or down depending on how much time you have to prepare. For now,  let’s start with a small version.

To make your first trivia competition accessible to everyone on your team, consider starting with company news. For example, a sales team could run a “guess the logo” trivia competition where a logo is displayed, and the winner had to identify the company. 

Your trivia question list should have at least ten questions for the main round and then another round of 5-10 questions for a second round. When you see colleagues surprise you with unexpected knowledge, it helps to build connections among participants.

If this event idea is a hit with your team, encourage your staff to organize a weekly trivia gathering to keep playing. An ongoing game, especially if it involves people from different teams, is a powerful way to build remote employee culture. 

3) Organize An At-Home Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts aren’t just for children and students anymore. This virtual game is fun to encourage people to open up about their homes and hobbies. The open-ended nature of this virtual game means that people can choose how to reveal themselves.

If you offer this experience to a larger group (i.e., a team size of 10 people or more), it is best to organize people into groups. Even with digital communication, smaller groups are best so that people have more time to interact with each other.

Use these ideas to help you plan your next virtual scavenger hunt:

  • Color Theme: Ask people to hunt for household items that are a specific color (e.g., make a list of how many blue items you have in the next 5 minutes).
  • Kitchen Theme: Ask your teammates to see how many kitchen accessories or ingredients they have (e.g., check out your spice rack: how many of these ten spices do you have?)
  • Tech Theme: For your gadget-loving employees, this version of the concept is sure to win. For example, ask people to list all their WiFi-powered items or how many USB cables they have. 

To organize more complex and engaging events, you might want to use a virtual scavenger hunt app like Let’s Roam or Scavify. These apps make it easier to organize an adventure in multiple cities.

4) Play An Online Game With Your Colleagues

What if you need a team-building idea and have less than an hour to prepare? A virtual game is an excellent choice for these situations. Take a few minutes to sign up for an online platform like one of the ones highlighted below and test a few of the available online team building games. Once you find one you like, offer it to the rest of your team.

This list of games is a great resource to keep on hand when you need something simple and quick. 

  • Skribbl: Pictionary for the digital era - this game is best for drawing and guessing what the drawing means. Make sure you create a private room for your team.
  • CardsMania. This website offers a variety of card games like Bridge, Poker and Rummy.

Taking the time to play and test the virtual games yourself is crucial. You want to minimize the risk of inappropriate content at the workplace. It’s also important to determine if the online team game design makes sense for your team. 

The best team building games have plenty of communication touchpoints and a robust communication tool. If your preferred team game doesn’t have a social or interactive element, don’t despair! Instead, use Arena Live Chat! You can set it up on your website in a matter of minutes. 

5) Recognize Employees With Virtual Celebrations

Celebrations are a great way to support your existing recognition programs. In its simplest form, set aside 10 minutes during a more extended meeting to highlight critical moments. For example, invite new hires to introduce themselves to the broader community. If possible, make this 

No rule says you must limit celebrations to work matters either. If an employee has a child, gets married, or buys their first home, all of these life moments are worthy of celebration.

To organize virtual celebrations effectively, keep your time limit in mind. It’s better to effectively recognize and celebrate a handful of people and make that event meaningful.

6) Bond With Virtual Happy Hour Gatherings 

Sharing a glass of wine, beer or another drink with coworkers is a time-honored tradition in many workplaces. A virtual happy hour is a bit different - each person joins from their home. To encourage participation, consider sending out a gift card so that each person who signs up can buy their preferred drink.

This type of virtual team event works best when it is at the end of the workday. Therefore, if you have employees in multiple locations, keep timing in mind. If it is the middle of the workday, some of your colleagues may not feel comfortable drinking if they have additional work meetings.

The main advantage of a virtual happy hour event is that it can be arranged quickly. It also doesn’t require much structure. The downside is that some people may feel uncomfortable with what they see as an alcohol-themed event. To address these concerns, don’t rely on virtual happy hour events as your only team building activity.

7) Offer Virtual Executive Coffees and Lunch Hours

Fun and games are great - they’re a key part of offering an engaging virtual team building experience. Yet, there are other approaches to keep in mind like building a human connection between your leaders and your employees. That’s why offering virtual social gatherings with your leaders is valuable.

This type of virtual activity is intended to be casual and open-ended. Even better, it doesn’t require special team collaboration software. Instead, you can simply use a phone call or video chat. Technology is less important than fostering real-time interaction.

To put this team building concept into action, reach out to your executives and see who is interested in the idea. Offering even a few meeting slots per month is a great way to improve your culture. Your executives will learn more about the talent in the organization and your staff gets the opportunity to deepen their networks.

8) Share An App/Resource/Book of The Week

In addition to virtual team building challenges, sometimes you need something simpler. This virtual event idea is tiny - it takes just 5-10 minutes and you can easily add it to one of your team meetings.

This team building activity is simple: invite one person to share a resource with the team each week. They can present their screen and show how the resource works. It’s a powerful way to add to your list of tools and discover more reliable technology.

Here are a few ways to launch this type of activity:

Share Your Favorite Business App.

For example, your creative team might be interested in a new convenient Slack app that helps them to get more work done. You’re probably used to running polls in Slack, but there’s much more to the messaging platform than that. 

Share Your Favorite Business/Productivity Website

Discovering a new website can make life much easier for your team. For example, you might need to schedule meetings across time zones. In that case, using an app like TimeTemperature might help.

Share Your Favorite Business Book/Podcast

Learning new perspectives is one of the best ways to get better at work. That’s why sharing business books and podcasts can be so helpful. For productivity, you might share “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. For a podcast, you might share “Business Wars.”  

Encouraging your employees to vet ideas and share what they find useful is smart. It lets every person be of service to employees even if they are new to the organization.

9) Virtual Coffee Randomizer

Want to focus on 1-on-1 connections in your team? You don’t need sophisticated technology and virtual team building tools for this event idea. A coffee randomizer is a virtual event that simulates the random encounters that make office life interesting. You take a list of participants and randomly mix them together. 

This virtual team building idea is designed to boost internal networks at your company. Here’s how it works:

  • Schedule the event a month in advance. This gives you time to market the event to employees and get signups.
  • Ask your friends to sign up for the event. Nobody likes to sign up for an event when the signup sheet is blank. Therefore, ask at least three people to put their names on the event list before you publicize the event.
  • Promote the event with managers and employees. Once you have a signup sheet - like a shared spreadsheet - promote the event internally. In larger companies, consider reaching out to your human resources teams to support you.
  • Randomly match people together for a virtual coffee chat.
  • Survey participants after the event. Gather feedback from participants to see what they liked about the event.

Virtual Event Ideas For Team Building: Larger Scale Options

Small team building ideas like adding icebreaker questions to team meetings help. Yet those events also have limitations - they don’t scale. Also, relying on the same kinds of events over and over again can get boring. Add these ideas to your team building hub so that you can keep engagement high!

10) Fitness Challenge

Summer is the perfect time to encourage your team to go outside and compete. A virtual fitness challenge, often run over the course of a calendar month, is a great way to encourage people to pursue their fitness goals. 

To keep the event flexible, use the honor system and report on the number of minutes spent on fitness. At the end of each week, invite each participant to report their activity. It’s a great way to

To run this type of virtual team building activity, ask for volunteers. Once you have a few people excited about the event, get ready to run the event! 

At the end of the competition, schedule a virtual event where you share photos, videos and celebrate the people who achieved the most. 

11) Virtual Bike Rides

This virtual event idea is similar to a fitness challenge but focused on cycling. Organizing this type of event is effective if your company is in a city with cycling events or clubs. In that environment, set up one or two virtual bike events. For example, you might invite a cycling coach to give a talk to your cycling enthusiast employees and then lead an event afterward.

12) Virtual 4th of July / Virtual Summer BBQ

There’s nothing like sharing a beer or glass of wine with friends at a summer BBQ. The next best thing is to organize a virtual event! Consider the following questions to help you decide how to approach this type of event:

  • Vacation schedules. July and August tend to be popular times for employees to take vacation. Before scheduling an event, check with your colleagues and HR to select the event timing. For example, if you plan to tie your event to the 4th of July weekend, consider having the event a few days before.
  • Employee locations and time zones. Be mindful of where your employees live. For example, a company with a large number of employees in Europe might not be interested in attending a 4th of July event. In that case, you’ll need to find a different approach.
  • Theme the event. If an existing holiday like the 4th of July isn’t a good fit, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with calling your event “the summer virtual BBQ”

This virtual event is intended to be relatively unstructured. If you want to add a few discussion prompts, ask people to share their favorite recipes, foods and drinks to celebrate summer.

13) Virtual Vacation Sharing Session 

Do your employees love to travel the world? If so, that passion might be a great theme to build a virtual event around. The concept is simple: invite employees to share a few photos from a vacation they’ve taken in the past year and share a few thoughts about it. 

14) Hire A Game Master To Run A Roleplaying Game

Did you know that tens of millions of people play tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons? This hobby, which has moved to the online world, is now becoming more popular as a team-building activity. The reason is simple. A fun and successful role-playing game session which close collaboration, learning new environments, and solving problems. 

The downside to this type of virtual event idea is time and complexity. A typically roleplaying game session lasts two to three hours - comparable to watching a major league sports game like baseball. Working with a professional game master like Dungeon Master Direct can shorten the learning curve and make the event fun. 

15) Virtual Language Learning Club

Many people have a goal to learn another language. If your company has employees in multiple countries, this virtual event idea might be a great fit for you.

This event idea can be structured as a one-off idea like organizing a Mandarin practice day on Chinese New Year. Or you might set up an ongoing weekly conversation practice session with a qualified teacher to learn French vocabulary. Learning a new language is far easier when you have the chance to practice with other people.

16) Virtual Company Book Club

Many companies run book clubs to reinforce their company culture. For example, ask employees to send in a list of their favorite business books. Once you have a list, reach out to the author and see if they are willing to make a virtual appearance at your event. Inviting a famous author to speak to your employees is a great way to create a memorable experience.

Even if the author cannot attend the event, you can still run an engaging virtual company book club. In this case, it’s best to choose a business book that focuses on actionable insights like “Fanatical Prospecting” (a great sales book) rather than a story-based book.

Support Your Virtual Event With The Right Technology

Running a successful virtual event for team building starts with choosing an idea from the list above. Once you have your idea, then put together your event technologies like Arena Live Chat for larger events and video conferencing. Try out new team building event ideas every few months to keep things fresh.

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