Virtual Team Building for Remote Companies
At the center of every successful remote company is a community of engaged, connected and happy employees. For virtual teams, achieving this dynamic can be incredibly difficult, especially if you don't have the right tools. This is where virtual team building games come into "play..." See what I did there? :)
The benefits of virtual team building games
Virtual team building games help replicate some of the in-office bonding experiences that remote teams can't have. They also create bonds between remote employees in a creative and dynamic way. When I introduced virtual team building games to my team, my employees reported feeling:
- Excited about bonding with coworkers over similar interests
- Motivated to tackle new challenges, especially alongside other teammates
- Challenged and stimulated in new, refreshing ways
- A decrease in overall stress levels
- More connected to other remote workers in the company
What I discovered was that virtual team building games played a huge part in elevating the overall employee experience for everyone in the company. As a result, I saw a huge increase in productivity, employee engagement, collaboration, motivation and more. After more than seven months of experimentation, I discovered the following games to be the most fun and rewarding for both my remote employees and my overall company.
Jackbox Party Pack Fibbage (3-12 people)
The Jackbox Party Pack is a fantastic pack of gaming goodies which was originally designed for face to face groups using mobile phones.Out of this pack of virtual team building games, my team loved Fibbage. It's similar to Balderdash (if you’re familiar). Essentially, you make up seemingly plausible, but false answers to a trivia question. If another player chooses your lie, then you get points.It’s a great way to boost creativity and morale, and a hilarious way to try and stump your coworkers.
How to play
Get your team together in the same online space and have one person host the game on their computer. The host will then share their screen (we recommend using Remo for this) with the rest of the group. Everyone can then participate visually and through chats. Before the game begins, the host will receive a 4 letter code. Everyone will use this code to get into a private game room together, either on their phones or desktops.
My employees loved having the opportunity to learn about their remote teammates in a more natural and fun way. Plus, the silly nature of the game allows employees to break out of their shell and just have fun. There were, however, some minor logistic issues with the app being unresponsive and sometimes slow. A couple of times we experienced issues with the video cutting out (meaning you could hear but not see what was happening).
Fibbage is great for building quick thinking skills. It’s also a great way to bring out the creativity in your employees and get them to think outside of the box.This particular game also gives remote coworkers an opportunity to build new relationships and bond over common interests. And it even provided a lot of conversation starters prior to meetings. Download the Fibbage virtual team building game here.
Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Steam/PC, Apple TV/iPad, and Mac App. Price depends on the platform.
Zombs.io (1-4 players)
Zombs.io is a team-based tower defense game. Essentially, you and your remote colleagues band together to build a base that fends off zombies every night. It's a great team building game when it comes to collaboration and cooperation. For fully remote teams, I would recommend pairing up employees who don't generally interact with one another on a daily basis. This helps remote employees learn how to collaborate with new people. It's also great as an icebreaker. Personally, I used to use this game as an icebreaker to introduce my marketing team. It’s a really simple game that helped them learn to work together in a low-stakes environment.
My team has reported enjoying the strategy behind the game, but they all say it can get boring after the 4th or 5th play. That being said, it did give my remote employees a better understanding of how to work in a more collaborative setting while working toward one shared goal.
In my experience, this is the perfect virtual team building game to remedy issues pertaining to team or individual miscommunication. It also helps remote employees learn how to work better with one another. Play it here!
Web browser game, free
Zombsroyale.io (1-4 players)
This is basically a 2D version of Fortnite or PUBG. It's a Battle Royale style game, meaning you parachute into a map, pick up weapons and gear and try to be the last man standing. You can also create a team of 4 work together. In my opinion, being able to play as a team is the best part. The collaboration part is a great virtual team building exercise for improving strategy, communication and collaboration. Plus, it's a great way to bond with your remote coworkers. I also like it because the simple and casual graphics style makes the game approachable to those who don't regularly play online games.
The accessibility of this game is a huge plus since it only requires a browser. Our team has had great success with the game, saying that it’s a thrilling adventure, and that they love that it’s allowed them to tackle different challenges.I’ve often introduced this game to my customer happiness team to give them an opportunity to partner up and work toward a common goal.
Verbal communication is key to this game, so it’s best for employees who need to improve on giving instructions more clearly. It’s also a great way to enable employees who are used to working individually, to work in a more collaborative environment. A solid virtual team building game to boost team camaraderie. Play the game by visiting the homepage here.
Web browser game, free
Taboo (two teams of 6+ players)
This is an online version of the classic Taboo guessing game. To play, you need a least two teams with 3 or more people (total of 6 people or more). Each person takes turns describing the word at the top (in the above case, in red) without using the words below (in white).If your team guesses the word correctly you get a point, and at the end of the round the team with the most points wins. Surprisingly, playing Taboo online is just as fun as it is in person.
How to Play Together
One person enters the game and shares his or her screen with another remote employee. The rest of the team just listens. We like to use our online office space Remo where everyone is already together in an office map like environment.
This is a team favorite. It makes for great laughs and even better stories. I mean, who doesn’t already love Taboo? The team likes to switch things up once in a while — sometimes playing with no video to focus on their verbal communication. It really brings out everyone's competitive edge.We did find that the words would start to repeat after about 10 games, and you need to share screen so keep in mind the host will need to do some logistical organizing.
It goes without saying that Taboo is excellent mental work for vocabulary recall and verbal communication. Employees enjoy the competition while being kept on their toes and learning their individual communication styles.The pure focus on verbal communication without any physical gestures is perfect for remote working, as voice is the most effective and most often-used communication medium other than text.If you’re having trouble with miscommunication between team members or you feel the team’s creativity needs to be recharged, this virtual team building game can be the perfect solution. Play it here!
Web browser game, free
Charades (Two teams of 3+ players)
Charades, like Taboo, is just as fun online as the classic, in-person version. What I love about playing Charades online is that people really get into it. Everyone is engaged and having crazy amounts of fun!Below is aweb tool you we use to provide clues and keep track of score.
How to Play Together
One person on the team opens the game and shares his or her screen with the clue giver only. The rest of the team just listens.
Naturally, this game has some great feedback. People love getting into character, making hand motions and using non-verbal communication. However, there are team members who can be a bit shy. This game has brought some of my team members out of their shell, allowing them to really feel comfortable in a non-threatening space. Everyone's playing the game, so everyone's on the same level. Logistically speaking, the website above will save a ton of time, but unfortunately if you don’t use the app it can be tough to organize. The camera is also limiting — as you’re not able to see outside the square and some people aren’t going to be as expressive.We loved it so much we actually built our own video charades game, think of Appear.in but with a clue, timer, and score.
Communication is mostly non-verbal, so having the opportunity to express yourself through movement can be somewhat of a relief when it comes to this virtual team building game. It brings people out of their shell and gets them feeling comfortable in a group setting. I’ve actually personally had interview candidates play, and even potential collaborators and they usually find it unexpected and refreshing. Get silly with Charades now!
Web browser game, free
Miniclip Pool (one-on-one)
Miniclip has a fantastic browser based billiards game. Our team has played this virtual team building game during our one-on-one catch ups or even during our virtual happy hours. We’ve even had quarterly competitions.
🎱A great mindless game, can have a conversation and play at the same time
🎱Casual enough for all levels of players
🎱Good for people who are not into hardcore games.
How to Play Together
Each person opens the game on their own browser and opens a room. From there, just following the on screen instructions. It's mostly just click and drag movements with a mouse.
This is a simple game that everyone has good fun with. It’s usually a good way to ease into a one-on-one meeting or to enjoy a casual online “lunch” together.
This virtual team building game is ideal for bonding. And when you don't have as much time to bond, this game is a great ice breaker. I would suggest introducing your teammates to one another through this game as a casual way to get to know one another. Make sure you have Flash downloaded before you begin. To play, visit this page.
Web browser game, free
Gartic.io (2-8 people)
This is your online version of Pictionary. A great virtual team building game for any department. The game is simple and straightforward, where one player gets a word they need to draw and the rest of the team tries to guess what their sketch is supposed to be.You don’t need video, which allows remote employees to keep their privacy, but typically you do play with audio. We use our office collaboration space Remo where one person shares their screen and everyone else can nliste.
This is another team favorite. My remote employees like the fact that they can draw casually and don’t feel they have to be precise. Drawing is a great form of communication for a remote team because we use whiteboards online and drawing is one of the best ways to share ideas. This game gives them an open, fun space to release their creative side. We even found some hidden artistic talents on our team. During one particular game, we found out that one of our female teammates was amazing at drawing - and she ended up designing our annual retreat logo!
This virtual team building game has opened the door for better collaboration between teams and remote employees. It's especially fun for the graphic designers and artists on the team, but it’s also good for people who haven’t broke out of their comfort zone yet.I personally used to hate drawing, but after so many rounds of the game, I’ve found myself more comfortable drawing diagrams on the fly and sharing information via pictures more than words, leveling up my white-boarding skills. Level up your drawing skills here!
Web browser game, free,
Over to youFor the best game-playing experience possible, we recommend bringing your team into the Remo space. Real-time audio, video and chat makes gameplay seamless and high-quality. Additionally, Remo has multiple different "rooms" for gameplay, allowing employees to break off and play whichever game they want while still being in the same virtual "office."
We're so excited about it that we're offering limited FREE Trials to new users who sign up. Click the button below to try out your virtual team building games in Remo, our web-based platform. Plus, it's free, so there's really no reason NOT to try it. Let us know which games your team loved playing the most by leaving us a comment below!