Team building activities for conference calls help workers who never see each other in person build important personal connections.
Remote teams may have become necessary due to COVID-19, but it is clear that they are here to stay. The arrangement has its share of benefits, but it also introduces new challenges. For example, how can remote team leaders encourage people to connect when they rarely see each other in person?
Virtual team building games are an excellent way to accomplish this goal. This blog describes 10 team building activities for conference calls that coworkers everywhere can enjoy.
1. Show where everyone is from
A huge benefit of remote work is that it removes physical barriers and allows people from all over the world to work together. One fun team building activity involves simply asking each person on a conference call to point their camera out the window. Not only is this team building game a simple way to travel without leaving home, but people will have a better understanding of where each person lives and get to know them better.
2. Grown-up show and tell
Team leaders can help promote closer relationships by asking a few people to volunteer to display a personal item and discuss it over a virtual meeting.
Virtual team bonding can take place when people truly know each other. Team leaders can help promote closer relationships by asking a few people to volunteer to display a personal item and discuss it over a virtual meeting. Managers may want to offer to go first to get past the initial awkwardness, but remote employees will soon enjoy the stories and laughs so much that they should not require much coaxing to sign up.
3. Two truths and a lie
The team leader should set this game up in advance to have the camera focus on one employee at a time. When each person’s turn comes up, they tell three facts about themselves. One should be deliberately untrue, and the rest of the team needs to guess which one. The facts do not need to be anything too personal for a fun virtual team building exercise.
4. Modern pen pals
Most people enjoy receiving non-business-related letters. However, virtual team members may not feel comfortable disclosing their home address. A simple way around that is to assign each person a pen pal from the group whom they exchange emails with each month. The only rules should be no discussing work or anything inappropriate. People may just find someone else who loves ancestry research or gaming through this virtual team building exercise. They can augment the bonding with conference calls.
5. Virtual team building word association
When remote employees are working together on a project that requires creativity, the word association game can help them flex their cognitive muscles. The video call leader starts the game by giving an easy prompt and asking each person to give a one-word answer associated with it. To help get their creative juices flowing, they should say the first thing that comes to mind without editing themselves.
What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve
Answer to see the results
6. Summarize a career in 60 seconds
Virtual team members should already have a good idea of each person’s job duties, but they probably do not know their career background and goals. Encourage each team member to share as much about their career as they feel comfortable with and whittle down the description to one minute or less. The activity is challenging but should also produce a lot of laughs and bonding.
7. Virtual team building lunch
Eating lunch with coworkers in the cafeteria or going out to a restaurant is an excellent way to get to know one another outside the immediate demands of work. Just because your team members all work from a different, remote location does not mean you have to skip this activity. Have everyone agree on a time for lunch and then each person eats at their desk during a conference call while enjoying conversation with the rest of the team. Virtual happy hours after work are an alternative take on this idea.
8. Reframing the past
The team leader should start this game by dividing the group into breakout pairs. Have each person describe a negative experience to their partner. When the group reconvenes, each person will describe their partner’s experience in a fun way or using only positive terms. This exercise can give the team new ideas while also helping to build motivation and optimism.
9. Team building activities for efficiency
Although virtual meetings are necessary, they can be a waste of time if the leader does not prepare an agenda or people arrive unprepared. One way to encourage team bonding and personal responsibility is to have each participant tell the others what they hope to accomplish during the meeting before it starts. For example, one may want to take detailed notes while another wants to discuss their ideas for improving sales this quarter.
10. Silly questions
Virtual team building often takes place during activities that have nothing to do with work. To encourage team bonding, the team leader should assign one person the task of starting each meeting by asking each person to answer a silly question. For example, ask people to describe which superpower they would choose and why. Try to keep the activity lighthearted to serve as an icebreaker for the team meeting ahead.
To encourage team bonding, the team leader should assign one person the task of starting each meeting by asking each person to answer a silly question.
Learning about team members should be fun
The coronavirus pandemic dramatically changed the way people work. Although they still work together in teams, the way people collaborate has changed. Getting to know the person behind the screen on conference calls makes for better group cohesiveness, which results in better productivity. However, managing an online team is not always easy. Zenefits — the HR, benefits and payroll experts — can help.