Would you like your company to be 22% more profitable?
There aren’t many businesses that would say no to that. But that is the kind of benefit having engaged employees brings, even though only 33% of employees say they feel engaged at work.
Team bonding and engagement exercises are relatively simple to organize when you work in the same office, but how do you do the same thing with remote teams? The answer is virtual team-building games.
How Do You Improve Engagement Virtually?
It can be hard to tell how engaged your remote team is. Much easier to tell when you share an office and can get a feel for the vibe in the room.
When you’re working with a remote team, you need to work harder as a manager, to get a sense of how things are going. Regular check-ins with the team as well as individuals should give you an idea of how invested your team is.
Increasing engagement with a distributed team takes conscious effort, keeping everyone informed about what is going on, and bringing your team together for both work and social reasons. Remote working engagement ideas include:
- A virtual water cooler – dedicated chat channel
- Rewards and recognition – an employee of the month or the Kudos slack app
- Perks – gift cards or home deliveries
- Shared experiences – a team Spotify playlist or virtual tours of employee homes
But of course, you clicked on this article because you were interested in online team-building games. So here they are.
Virtual Team Building Games
Looking for a virtual game to play with coworkers? Here’s our list, which includes online multiplayer games as well as team engagement games you can add to any meeting to help bring the team together.
1. Two Truths and a Lie
It’s a classic ice breaker for a reason, two truths and a lie is a great way to get people talking. It encourages people to share unlikely events from their past and test their creativity as they come up with things that could be believed but aren’t. Guessing is a lot of fun too.
A quiz is a great way to get your team focused, and Kahoot offers multiple ways to do that. You can select one of the pre-created quizzes on a wide range of subjects, or you can create your own. You could make it work-based, checking to see which of your team has the most comprehensive knowledge of a project or the company or get everyone to send in facts about themselves and ask the other to guess it.
Kahoot is a multiple choice quiz, and you can share the questions via Zoom or Teams in presenter mode, with the team using an app on their phones to give their answers. There’s a bonus for speedy responses!
3. Photo Challenges
If your team is spread across the country or even the globe, then you have a great opportunity to learn more about where you live and the culture of each area.
Photo challenges can be good for this. Give everyone a week, for example, to take a photo that captures the area they live. Another way to use photos is to get everyone to post a photo and make it a challenge to match the photo to the owner; baby photos are an old favorite for this, but photos of desks, houses or even the inside of your fridge are popular too.
4. Virtual Escape Room
During the lockdown, many escape room companies diversified and took their business online. There are many different options available, so pick the one that best suits your team from ideas like Alice in Wonderland, the Potterverse, Minecraft, and of course, the good old murder mystery.
5. Scavenger Hunt
Pull together a list of items that your team needs to find and set a timer – then see what they come up with. Keep some items vague so your team can respond creatively, and others can be specific to judge their commitment – will they fill up a mug with pasta for you? You can give a prize to the person who finds the most objects from the list in the allotted time.
6. Virtual Walking Challenges
You don’t have to all be together at the same time to bond; working towards a common goal can help with that. For example, there are virtual walking challenges, like The Fellowship where you and the team can walk the equivalent distance to that traveled by Frodo et al. in The Lord of the Rings.
Take time out to celebrate with each other – you’d do it if you were in the office, whether it was bringing in donuts for someone’s birthday or heading out for a beer or soft drink at the end of the working day. You can do the same virtually, with staff either bringing their own drinks or getting a party pack delivered to them in time for the celebration.
This Slack app helps to bring the team together by randomly assigning members to have a chat. With 15 minutes to talk, it helps strangers become friends as they take a little time out to find out about each other. Help everyone get to know each other by getting the pairing to share information about each other with the wider team afterward.
9. Virtual Book Club
We all know how a book club works, and these translate really well to online platforms. Share a monthly or quarterly title with the team, and meet regularly to discuss how you’re enjoying it. You can keep it all business by choosing a book that will bring new knowledge to the team, or make it a social occasion and keep it strictly to fiction.
10. Form a Guild
There are many online multiplayer games (MMORPGs) that allow you to form a guild and work together toward a common goal. Examples include Neverwinter, Star Wars Online, World of Warcraft, Torn City, Clash of Clans, Travion, and many more. Whatever genre of the game your team is likely to go for, there are guild options available.
11. Gift Exchanges
Everyone loves getting presents – what’s not to like! These can be a great way to break the ice and bring your team closer together. Some teams have a ‘quarterly Christmas and do a Secret Santa-style exchange. Others will pick a seasonal or themed gift exchange, for example, sending your favorite candy. Keep in mind postage costs for those who send to participants in another country.
A timeless classic, there’s something engaging about a game of BINGO, and it’s easy to arrange online. Just email out the cards, and have one person act as a caller on a Teams call. The prize doesn’t need to be massive, and in fact, white elephant prizes can add to the tension of the event. Of course, you don’t have to stick to numbers. How about video calls bingo with squares like, ‘someone forgot they were muted’ or ‘pet joins the call’?
A classic game since the days of paper and pencil, these days, you can play Battleships online via Google Sheets. For between two and ten players, you just need to follow the instructions in the template sheet to set up the ultimate grudge match and a chance to recreate the classic advert.
Have a look at this Youtube videos for some ideas to try out with your team!
14. Five Clicks Away
The idea behind this game is similar to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but instead of using actors, you pick any two arbitrary topics and try to connect them via internal Wikipedia links. You might start with Hedgehogs and have to end up with Maple Syrup – the challenge is to find the right pages to get from one idea to the other quickly.
How Do You Engage Employees With Games?
If your team doesn’t know each other very well, then it might be difficult to get people to engage with the idea of virtual team-building games, at least at first. Having a prize can be a good incentive, and it doesn’t need to be a cash prize. You could let the winner finish early on Friday!
Whichever route you think is best for your team, we hope we’ve given you the inspiration you need to support better employee engagement with a little fun and games.