You are probably working from home now. Just like millions of other workers affected by the global crisis that changed the world forever. Many employees and leaders have settled into this new paradigm as they lead remote teams. Finding ways to connect with your team, build trust, establish rapport and ensure productivity stays on track can be challenging. Here’s 5 virtual team building ideas to keep things fun while keeping your team focused!
5 Virtual Team Building Ideas to keep things light and fun while working remote
Managing a remote team can be tricky. Nothing substitutes face to face interaction or builds trust better. However, today’s workplace is flatter than ever with more and more employees preferring to work from home.
Now, thanks to the global crisis, more people than ever are working from home. This has created unique challenges for employees not used to working remote and leaders not nearly skilled enough to leading remote teams. Heck, half of them are still trying to figure out how to get their home offices properly setup!
Keeping spirits up, your team loose and productive is a real challenge. Sometimes fun is the prescription. Finding the best virtual team building ideas could be a key part of accomplishing that goal.
We’ve gathered a list of 5 of our favorite team building ideas with a twist…they are specifically designed for remote teams. You. Are. Welcome.
Wear funny hats
This virtual team building idea works surprisingly well. On a very early call the other day I didn’t have time to take a shower so I tossed on a baseball hat. My team decided to give me a little crap about it. Challenge accepted! The next day I went with a different hat. And then it escalated into any zany hats I had laying around. Including a pink cowboy hat (don’t ask me) and a gigantic sombrero. Epic!
If you want to instill a little fun in your team consider having a crazy hat day and watch the hilarity ensue and your team’s spirits rise.
Get creative with your Zoom backgrounds
Did you know Zoom lets you create a custom background? Amazing. I realized this the other day when a colleague of mine joined a call from what looked a fallout shelter (ironic, I know). He had customized his background image. Turns out this is a thing!
Let your team loose on this and see where it goes. I bet it will be fun.
Here are 31 Zoom Backgrounds that will blow your coworker’s mind!
By the way, here’s how to change your Zoom background.
This applies to more than just, Zoom:
Bring your pet to work day – probably the best mood lifting virtual team building thing you can do
Our dog jumped in my lap the other day on a video call. Everyone laughed, which was cool. Because most of us are now working from home our pets are making a lot of noise in the background. Barking during a call? Heard that about 47 times last week. No big deal though! These are unique times we live in. In fact, lean into it by letting your team bring their pet with them too the call.
Could be a dog, a cat, a snail, a fish a llama, whatever. Have fun with it. Meet your remote colleagues pets and build some team spirit.
PS…don’t make people who don’t have pets feel bad and give them a way out. For example, let them bring a stuffed animal or use a picture of a sloth on their phone or whatever. BUILD the team, don’t crush ’em.
Virtual Happy Hour – a surprisingly great way to virtually motivate your team
The virtual happy hour is sweeping the virtual place right now. In my company alone I counted at least 8 VHH’s this last Friday alone and I’ve seen numerous tweets about this phenomenon as well. Even the former US Attorney from NYC, Preet Bharara got in the mix.
So after ten days of not leaving home, I had my first Zoom virtual happy hour with some dear friends. Highly recommend.🍸 pic.twitter.com/LVqLIBnL2Z— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 23, 2020
I highly recommend you institute a VHH with your teams to build a team spirit and camaraderie. It will be some of the best team virtual team building you can do.
Pro tip: be sure to give those who don’t drink an out (e.g. their favorite soda, etc).
Best Meme of the week contest
My boss and all of my peers did this the other day and absolute hilarity ensued. As a prize, our boss offered up 5 United Airlines Drink Tickets (the irony…) to the person who could submit the best meme. Each person could score the other memes with a 1, 3 or 5 (five being the best). As we went around the room showing everyone our favorite pandemic meme we were dying laughing the entire time. For the record, I won. Just saying.
We actually mixed #5 with #4 having some booze AND memes. A dangerous combination. But so much virtual fun.
One thing to consider, especially if you do this now, is to make sure you are being sensitive to whether your team has been personally impacted by the crisis we are presently facing. I would strongly encourage you to make sure you stay in compliance with HR rules. Memes can stray all over the place…
Summary of Creative Virtual Team Building Ideas to Keep Things Fun
Richard Branson is quoted as having said, “Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
Not a bad idea, right? Use the fun virtual team building ideas and tips we’ve shared here to keep your virtual team motivated, loose and ready to work. Here’s a quick review of what we covered:
- Wear funny hats
- Zoom backgrounds
- Bring your pet to work day
- Virtual Happy Hour
- Best Meme of the week contest
I suspect you, like most of us these days, are stuck at home and trying to find more things to do or read. Here’s a few ideas:
Thanks and stay safe
How about you? How are you keeping it light and fun with your team? Has your boss done anything neat that really kept the motivation up? Or worse, brought it down? Drop us a comment below or tweet us. We want to hear your story.
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Keeping it light and fun at work is important to having a close team, especially when working virtually. Thanks for sharing.