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25 Best Virtual Team Building Activities For Conference Calls

Virtual team building is a critical aspect of managing a remote team. The collaborative environment helps your team create deeper bonds similar to an in-office setting.

It requires deliberate action and carefully designed strategies and activities. As a manager or team leader, this might seem exhausting.

Regardless, the rewards are worth it. It keeps remote workers from feeling unsupported, isolated, or lonely.

What’s more, conference calls make the execution easier and super effective.

According to Remote.co, 87% of remote workers feel more connected with other employees through video conferencing.

So, grab any free video conferencing tools available and tighten your remote workforce with this list of 25 team-building activities.

Best Virtual Team Building Activities For Conference Calls

1. 50 States Challenge

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Let’s start with something simple, the 50 States Challenge. It is a team-building game where the first player to name all or most of the 50 states wins. Pretty straightforward, right?

It is fun, relaxing, and deeply engaging. You can play it with a team of 5 or 100, and the game doesn’t require a lot of planning. All you need is a map and a message in the work chat to inform everyone.

Is your remote team international? Simply turn it into the World Map Challenge.

The best thing about this game? It is a chance for your remote team to learn more about each other’s geographical history.

2. Quiz Breaker

Quiz Breaker is an online team-building platform explicitly designed for team building. You can invite your team to answer fun ice breaker questions.

The application sends out quizzes based on your chosen schedule, and team members must guess who said what. It is a fun little way to create deeper connections among coworkers.

Even better, as the manager, you don’t have to allot a specific company time for it. Workers can play in between work (it takes five minutes per person), making this activity a helpful way to make work fun.

There are also comment threads with emojis to continue the conversation and make it dynamic.

3. Something in Common

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Something in Common is another inexpensive virtual team-building activity worth trying on your next conference call. It is a challenge that encourages your employees to learn more about each other.

Here is how it works.

Divide your team into small groups, then have each group identify three unique things they have in common. It could be anything from a shared love for Shakespeare, disdain for pop music, or experience with childhood violin lessons.

Wanna make it more challenging and thoughtful? Remove answers from popular categories like food, books, and movies.

Feel free to play as many rounds as possible. Remember, it might take a minute for the team to settle into the game. Don’t end it before it gets great.

4. Virtual Murder Mystery

People love murder mysteries. There are plenty of shows on Netflix and movies that prove that. You can leverage that for your remote team by organizing a virtual clue murder mystery activity.

Different services offer this team-building activity online, so there are plenty of options.

To set it up with your team, send the link to everyone that plans on playing. Then split the team into groups and let everyone pore over the case files while channeling their inner detectives.

Why is this worth trying? Asides from the fact it is pure fun, solving the mystery involves close collaboration and effective communication.

5. Tiny Campfire

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How about an activity that introduces some physicality wherever your team members are? Tiny campfire is one of the most popular virtual team-building activities for that reason and more.

You can buy and send a s’mores kit yourself or use a service like Team Building to set it up.

Then, on the virtual “camp day,” have team members log on to the video conference call for camp games, trivia, and ghost stories.

The best thing about this team-building activity is it works for all team sizes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s ten or 300 people, scattered all over the world.

And if your employees don’t love it? At least they get free chocolate out of it. Everyone loves free chocolate.

6. Virtual Team Building Bingo

Whether in person or virtual, team building is about learning more about coworkers and fostering collaboration. While based on an old-school game, Virtual Team Building Bingo is good for that.

Download a game board template and distribute the cards to your team members. The card should contain prompts about facts about colleagues.

Image source: Teambuilding

To play, divide your team into small groups (if you have a medium-large team) to develop and encourage smaller group dynamics.

Make it even more exciting by awarding prizes to whoever finishes a row or has the most correct answers.

What’s more, kids can play it too if you wish to add a family night dynamic to the activity.

7. Pancakes vs Waffles

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The debate between pancakes and waffles is as old as time itself, and it is perfect for virtual team building.

Perhaps after completing a massive project, you can make it a simple, friendly debate to decompress together.

Wanna get more out of it? Make a game out of it. To play –

  • Introduce the debate, pancakes or waffles have to disappear from existence, and your team has to choose which one.
  • When the team reaches a unanimous decision, have anyone nominate a contender, like cabbage or crepes.

Pancakes vs. Waffles is a great team-building activity because it engages introverts. Everyone has opinions about trivial debates.

8. Two Truths and One Lie

Two Truths and One Lie is an activity you should try if you want something free and easy to master since it is very common. It is also perfect for conference calls over Zoom or Duo.

Here is how it works in virtual team building. First, give each participant a couple of minutes to prepare two truths and a lie about themselves.

Have each person share all three facts and let others guess which is the lie.

Point scoring is okay, but it is not necessary. The fun here is learning about each other. Plus, you can play the game over drinks on virtual TGI Fridays.

9. War of the Wizards

Image source: War of the Wizards

Here is something unique you can try, War of the Wizards. It is one of the most engaging and unique virtual team-building activities for a remote team.

The game takes about 90 minutes, and it uses a combination of puzzle-solving, storytelling, and world building. Other elements include RPG and escape rooms.

So, how does it work? You and your team members role-play a group of wizards who have been at war for eons. No one remembers why.

Each group completes challenges to earn points, cast spells, and whatever else is necessary to achieve peace.

Sounds like fun? Even better, you don’t have to be an RPG expert to play.

10. Typing Speed Race

Feel like fuelling those competitive fires in your remote staff? Typing Speed Race is a virtual team-building activity that costs you nothing.

In fact, you can start it right now. All you have to do is visit typingtest.com or a similar website and complete the test. Then post your result on the company’s Slack channel or whatever message board your team uses.

The competitive heads in your team will consider this a challenge and pick up the gauntlet, and a game ensues.

Set up squads among members and host a typing speed relay if you wish to take things up a notch. The team with the highest cumulative score wins.

11. Virtual Pub Crawl

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In the real world, work teams deepened their bonds during a pub crawl. Everyone went out for drinks and learned who was great at karaoke or was a ladies’ man.

You can capture the spirit of this activity virtually. A fun equivalent would be asking everyone to get a drink wherever they are while they chat about the content of an interesting website.

Every 15-20 minutes, move to a different website. There are a lot of fun websites perfect for this.

You can try this one, The Deep Sea, a site that explores the ocean, or this cool NASA website, Astronomy Picture of the Day.

12. Call of the Champions

Alternatively, you could simply embed the team-building activity into your daily virtual office meetings and interactions.

Here is how Call of the Champions works. The team leader or manager assigns roles during meetings to different team members.

You can get creative with it, but here are some roles you can assign —

  • Cheerleader – job to keep the meeting fun
  • Photographer – to take screenshots and photos
  • Scribe – take minutes of the meeting
  • Shade Thrower – the anti-cheerleader to boo others (every team has this person)
  • Mover & Shaker – keeps everything moving

Giving everyone something to do in the meeting keeps them engaged and ultimately makes your conference calls more fun.

13. Virtual Pub Trivia

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Even if a sizable number of your team members is local, pubs are not always big enough to contain everyone comfortably. This makes this activity worth a try whether a team is fully remote or not.

The execution is similar to Virtual Pub Crawls. First, invite everyone along with their favorite drink.

Then, divide everyone into smaller teams and read out questions. These can be themed trivia questions across different categories and you can find a list of examples here.

Each team member has to answer as a team, with points for correct answers—no individual participants.

This activity boosts collaboration and eases introverts into team dynamics.

14. Never Have I Ever

Don’t skip this yet. Yes, I know this game tends to turn into NSFW topics, but it has a Rated E version deployable in an office setting.

This broadly means curating the topics in advance or having team members submit topics and filter as appropriate.

The game is primarily about team members sharing facts about themselves, but it can also be competitive.

Using a knock-out format, each player starts with five fingers up, and they lose a point for every topic you do.

For example, if the prompt says, “never have I ever worked in a restaurant,” everyone who has worked in a restaurant will have to put a finger down.

15. Virtual Escape Room

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Because they combine social elements, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, escape rooms are popular activities for team building. You can replicate this online with virtual escape rooms.

There are several of them, some free, some paid. You and your team can try different stories like figuring out how to pull an art heist successfully – or escape prison.

The ability to switch and customize stories and concepts is why this team-building activity is great for virtual teams on conference calls.

It is fun, but the problem-solving process also allows you to learn more about your team members’ personalities outside the rigidity of office talk.

16. Five Finger Showdown

Five Finger Showdown is a similar activity to Never Have I Ever. However, it is a better fit if you want your team members to share unique and current facts about themselves.

In this version, everyone on the virtual conference call holds up one hand, extending all five fingers.

Then, the host or team members take turns listing specific and recent life experiences.

If you are worried about losing topic moderation, you can share acceptable topics beforehand in the office group chat.

When a team member has mentioned a life experience, they can put one finger down. Whoever has the most, or least number of fingers down if you like a twist, wins.

17. Virtual Book Club

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Virtual team building, especially in remote teams, is also an opportunity to tighten bonds between like-minded people. It helps physically isolated workers feel connected to their colleagues, even though they are miles away.

A virtual book club is a way to achieve that. The setup is no different from the real-world version.

Have participants read the same material at a similar pace and discuss their thoughts and feelings about it.

If no one has shown themselves a bibliophile, you can start with a novelette or an essay. The material should be long enough to contain interesting points but short enough to read in one or two sessions.

18. Weekly Trivia Contests

People love trivia. That has been true for at least five decades now. A weekly trivia gives your remote team something fun to look forward to, and the result sparks conversation.

You can develop the questions across different categories yourself. Better still, use Water Cooler Trivia.

The platform sends automated weekly trivia quizzes to team members every Monday morning. Responses are due the same night, and everyone gets the results the following day.

Image source: Water Cooler Trivia

You can change the schedule if you want, the difficulty levels, and exclude US-centric questions if your team is global.

Think of it as pub trivia without the logistics and sweaty patrons.

19. Share Bucket List

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It is more personal than any other activity we’ve mentioned so far. But sometimes, the way to virtual team building is through sharing quiet desires.

It is also a direct way to get to know your team members. All it takes to start is sharing your own bucket list.

Then each week, choose one person to share their bucket list ideas. They can freestyle it, or you can specify the length of the list and whether it should include completed ones.

After sharing, everyone can now discuss the bucket list or compare notes. Plus, team members can help each other bring an idea to life, which is great for team cohesion.

20. Build a Storyline

Instructors and friends have always used stories as team-building exercises on camping and hiking trips. You can do the same on video conference calls.

Set up a video conference via Zoom or any other application to build a storyline with your team members. You can call this forming a virtual circle.

The first person starts the story, an opening stance and an incomplete one. For example: “Betty saw a bright circular light in the sky. It looked like the moon, but …”

The next person completes the last line and adds another incomplete sentence. On and on it goes.

The goal is for every employee to contribute and have a comprehensive story structure at the end.

21. Aliens Have Landed

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How about making that storyline activity more engaging? In Aliens Have Landed, you and the team’s imagination can help you bolster your bonds.

To play, divide the whole team into smaller groups. No more than three or four members in one group.

Now, you can always craft your own story. Still, this team-building activity generally goes thus: aliens have finally landed on Earth, but they don’t speak English.

The goal is for each team to pick five symbols or pictures that best describe the company.

As the manager, advantages include learning and understanding how your remote employees feel about the company culture.

22. Name That Emoji Song Title

Everyone in a remote team has their work playlist. It is a window into your team members’ personalities and the fuel for a fun team-building activity.

Here is how it works —

  • Start a messaging chain on your company’s message board. This could be anything from Slack to Skype.
  • Choose the first participant and set a timer on your phone for three minutes.
  • The first person has to use only emojis to give hints to the title of their last played song.
  • Whoever guesses correctly scores a point. If no one does, the first person reveals the name and why it is in their playlist or last played song.

23. What Would You Do?

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Scenario-based games like this let you see how your remote employees think, their motivations, and priorities. It is also an engaging exercise that suits video conference calls.

Besides all of that, it is easy to play. Here is how.

  • Split the remote staff into teams. If they are small, one big group is fine
  • Pose your hypothetical questions
  • Let employees figure out a solution or course of action

It is a game that works as a weekly exercise over happy hour drinks or a wind-down activity after each workday.

Here is a list of fun hypothetical questions to help you get started.

24. Praise Train

Giving praise at work is an efficient team-building exercise, especially for teams who might be wondering if their work is valued. Since it is doable via conference calls, it makes this a beneficial activity.

Plus, you get to learn how each team member responds to praise. We all know there are about three ways people generally respond to praise.

  1. Those who lap it up and bathe in the glow
  2. Those who accept the praise but keep it cool
  3. Those who deflect or diminish the praise.

Regardless, they all love receiving praise, and a praise train will surely bring everyone together.

It will undoubtedly make team members feel accepted and comfortable interacting with each other.

25. Virtual Ambassadors (Guess the Country)

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Virtual Ambassadors is a game where each team member acts as a country’s ambassador. In this virtual team-building activity, geographic knowledge is an advantage. It is also played over multiple rounds.

In each round, a team member picks a country and describes it without saying the name. Other team members guess the country, and the employee with the correct answer earns points.

In the end, the person with the most rounds wins.

That’s the basic idea of the game. Feel free to customize it according to the skill level of your team members.

Conclusion

That makes it 25. It can be tough managing remote teams, but it is not impossible.

These virtual team-building activities make your meetings fun and bridge distances between team members to form a cohesive unit.

Other benefits include increasing employee motivation, sense of value, and efficiency.

You can pick one or combine different activities. The only limit is your imagination.

For complete effectiveness, make virtual team building part of every meeting, and you actively include introverts.

Follow this, and you won’t have trouble getting everyone on board.