Easy & Complex Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams

Easy & Complex Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Remote work has been prevalent even before COVID-19 broke out. Yet, many concerns about this work arrangement have been raised, analyzed, and documented in a number of fields. Small talks in the corridor, working beside a coworker, and having lunch together are just some of the things that virtual employees are missing. Although remote work has helped many professionals survive the pandemic, it has also prevented others from accomplishing significant personal and career goals. One of these is team building, which depends on bond development among employees (Kellogg et al., 2008).

Forbes recently reported that socialization, interaction, certainty, and visibility help the online workforce perform its jobs well (Luna, 2021). Organizations have since then turned to online games to make working in isolation more bearable.

Look into the definition of online team building, its importance, and several free online team building games for remote teams in this article.

Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams Table of Contents

  1. What is online team building?
  2. Why is online team building important?
  3. Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams

What is online team building?

Online team building is a means to gather online teams together and establish a work atmosphere that depicts the workplace. It can comprise numerous approaches, activities, and games that are devised to promote human connection to online work (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 2020).

more organizations are investing in online team building to deal with Covid-19

Why is online team building important?

The physical distance caused by the virtual space can transform into the emotional distance. Thus, setting up a healthy office culture that online workers can depend on is of utmost importance. Online games for remote teams make employees highly functional, form pleasant relationships with each other, and feel more relaxed. These sessions can facilitate collaboration, work productivity, and positive business results.

In the January 2008 ResearchGate conference paper “Games for virtual team building,” Wendy A. Kellogg et al. dug deeper into the challenges of online teams. “Early research on virtual teams focused on differences between face-to-face and virtual interactions, finding a variety of difficulties when teams rely almost exclusively on CMC to communicate. For example, virtual teams have been shown to communicate less effectively than face-to-face teams, even as they communicate more frequently. A greater volume of communication is not necessarily an indication of better communication; on the contrary, it may indicate a lack of clarity. Having more messages and more information to handle can itself lead to confusion and poorer understanding, creating a vicious cycle. In addition, conversations in virtual teams have been shown to be more task-focused, to the exclusion of social interaction, although this effect lessens over time. Paradoxically, an extreme task focus may lead to less effective communication, as it results in weaker relational links between team members. A lack of social communication is also associated with lower trust and cohesion in the team, and with difficulties in establishing a shared knowledge base. A lack of trust, low group cohesion and identification, and difficulties in communication are, thus, characteristic of virtual groups.”

Online Team Building Games for Remote Teams

Working from home is not an excuse to skip training sessions, applicant selections, meetings, workshops, seminars, or conferences. Get the team in the mood with the following online team building games for remote teams.

Source: Find Stack, 2021

Fast and Easy

Opening Chit Chat

Opening Chit Chat is regarded as one of the easiest team building activities for conference calls. It is a no-preparation team building game that can be joined by three participants and only spans five minutes.

Before your meeting, let employees have a chit-chat with each other. This game can allow them to be familiarized with each other. It can be better done using video conferencing. Icebreaker questions can be also entertained while performing this game. See how entertained, friendly with each other, and more comfortable your employees are after their chit-chat.

Word Association

To play Word Association, choose a prompt that is associated with your meeting. Then, ask participants to share what word they can think of first with such a prompt. For instance, if the meeting is about explaining the company’s mission and vision, ask them to share words that perfectly describe the organizational mission and vision. After the game, you may discuss the outcome with them.

This game can be conducted in five to 10 minutes, and three or more participants can join. A list of prompts must be also prepared beforehand.

feedback is easier with online team building games

Online Coffee Break

In-office employees typically hang out with each other over coffee or break rooms. Have them recreate these fun moments online.

For 10 to 30 minutes, three or more participants can have their online coffee break over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other video conferencing mediums.

Mirror Image

This two-minute game asks participants to view themselves in gallery mode, where the entire team can be seen in a tile layout. They will sit in the same neutral spot in their camera angles. They all must look at whoever pops up in the top left tile on their view and copy their movements quite exaggeratedly. As this game goes on, you will find that their gestures are becoming wilder.

Via Email

Reply All

Four or more participants divided into smaller teams (if bigger) can play Reply All for 10 to 15 minutes. Ask questions to the team via email before the meeting, instructing them to “reply all” to the thread to make their replies visible to everyone. Then, let the team explain their replies during the meeting. You can also give the answers yourself.

If you want to play this game a little longer, ask the team to guess who gave what reply and then have the senders explain their choices once they have been discovered. But answers must be anonymous for this option and participants must not hit the “reply all” button.

Who Is It?

Who Is It? is another 10- to 15-minute email thread game that can be performed by four or more participants. Prior to the meeting, ask each of them to email you one fact about themselves that is yet unknown to many. Read the emails during the meeting, but the senders are still to be kept anonymous. This is when the rest of the team guesses whose facts were mentioned.

Not That Easy

Throwback

In this game, a playlist consisting of 10-year-old songs must be prepared. You can also use playlists available online. Play the songs and have the participants guess the song titles via chat.

Play Throwback for 10 to 15 minutes and with three or more participants.

Shark Teams

A paper and pen or a computer drawing tool, four or more participants, and 25 to 30 minutes of the team’s time are needed for Shark Teams. Based on the Shark Tank show, participants can either: give ideas to be used in their own businesses, team up with a charity and donate, or have endless ideas about what they want to do.

Each group will go through product creation, process enhancement, and marketing. They have to impress the sharks by putting in much effort into their presentation as their creation. Funny creations are also allowed. If possible, invite the big bosses during their presentations.

The Most Boring Award

For a change, ask everyone to compete over who has the most boring life during the COVID-19 lockdown. Commence this game by stating a boring fact about yourself, challenging the next one to come up with a more boring one.

Team Building

Kahoot!

Kahoot! enables you to make your own and free trivia sets and quizzes.

First, create an account on the website. Then, make your own trivia or quiz game. During the meeting, share your screen with the team. Everyone can join using a certain code and pinning their names. Lastly, have fun playing the game.

Name, Place, Animal, Thing

Instruct the team to check their chat box first. Next, mention a letter that everyone can think of a popular person’s name, place, animal, and thing that starts with such a letter. The first participant to answer all the required categories gains a point.

Name, Place, Animal, Thing is one of the best remote games for teams there is as it is a fast-paced game that can be played for several rounds.

PSYCH!

PSYCH! was created by the minds behind Ellen DeGeneres and Heads Up! To play this game, pick a number of interesting categories in which each participant answers trivia questions with false answers. Points are given to those who get the correct answer and for each one a participant psychs.

Online Team Building Games: A New Phase in the Remote Work Era

Remote work is not new to many—fully remote team building games are—and they are even more complicated due to time and distance differences. That’s why many of them still have plenty of room for improvement, but workers do not seem to mind. More than the games themselves, workers play them because they want to connect with their friends, share happenings in their lives, and feel engaged at work (Kellogg et al., 2008).

 

References:

  1. Hivemind. (n.d.). Online Teambuilding Activities. Hivemind.
  2. Kellogg, W., Bessière, K., Luther, K., & Ellis, J. (2008, January). Games for virtual team building. ResearchGate.
  3. Luna, S. (2021, October 28). The 10 Best Online Games for Remote Teams in 2021. Cozymeal.
  4. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. (2020, April). Virtual Team Building Ideas. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

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