Looking for free virtual team-building activities? There’s a LOT of need right now.
USA Today recently reported that 75% of workers surveyed would rather continue to work from home or work in a hybrid home/in-person model. Only 25% of workers actually want to return to the office full-time. Whether your team has been remote for years or transitioned during the pandemic, it seems that remote work is here to stay. As a result, many leaders are seeking out budget-effective and free virtual team building activities to keep employees connected.
While remote work can come with many benefits for both workers and companies, it can also lead to feelings of disconnection and isolation. Virtual team-building activities can help break up the day and create moments for meaningful social connection. If you’re trying to keep your remote employees engaged on a budget, look no further! These free virtual team building activities will help your remote or hybrid team stay connected and engaged.
TLDR: in this list, you’ll find:
- free virtual team building activities and ideas
- free ways to keep remote teams connected
- quick and easy ways to boost employee morale and camaraderie
- free ideas to help build corporate culture and connectivity
1. Start Meetings with a Personal Check-In
This tip might feel like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget. Especially when juggling work duties alongside chores, errands, and family time, it can be easy to skip personal connections and get straight down to business. Instead, try starting your team video chat with a personal check-in. Ask each person to share a highlight of their past week as well as a challenge they feel comfortable sharing about. This sharing of “highs and lows” is a time for your team to learn more about each other as well as offer support and encouragement.
To keep meetings focused, limit this sharing to 2-3 minutes per person unless extenuating circumstances merit more discussion and support. You can set this limit in a friendly way by creating a casual team agenda. Allot the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting for personal check-ins, followed by team business.
2. Try a Virtual Street Art Tour & Treat Box – One of Our Favorite Free Virtual Team Building Activities
Learning about street art is a fun, unexpected way to tap into your team’s creativity. One of Unexpected Virtual Tours’ most-loved activities is the street art-themed virtual team building experience. Now, you can sign up to try it for free! You’ll get a 5-minute peek at the virtual tour, plus a box of delicious goodies and fun activities to enjoy. Includes cookies with edible paint, crayons, and street art coloring pages.
This is a free gift that Unexpected Virtual Tours offers to you to show what we can do for your team. We know that once people get a taste of our experiences, they can’t wait to learn more and book a full session!
Click here to sign up for your free experience and treat box! No purchase required and no strings attached. Only one per company provided. We may connect with you afterward to hear about your experience, but we promise to be respectful of your communication preferences!
3. Create Vision Boards Together
During this free virtual team building session, your employees can spend a video call discussing their personal and professional dreams while creating vision boards together. You can make a vision board by cutting out photos, words, and phrases that reflect your aspirations and goals. Then, glue them onto a poster board or construction paper. Embellish your board with washi tape, glitter, stickers, colored pencils, and more. At the end of the session, ask each team member to share their vision board with the group.
Go free and eco-friendly: create vision boards using materials you already have around the house, such as old magazines. Or, use Google Slides or PowerPoint to create a digital vision board! The aesthetics of the final product are less important than the self-discovery of exploring your hopes and motivations.
4. Plan a Show-and-Tell Session – One of Our Favorite Free Virtual Team Building Activities
We’re borrowing this tried-and-true idea from elementary school: host a show-and-tell session! This idea might sound a bit childish at first. But, it’s basic psychology that everyone loves talking about themselves and their interests. Grown-ups are no exception. Plus, having an object to focus on and show off can help camera-shy people feel more comfortable. Your team members can show off their pet, an art project they’ve been working on, or even the latest household gadget they ordered online.
Pro tip: during your show-and-tell session, focus less on the object itself and more on your curiosity about your coworkers’ interests. For example, you could ask how they became interested in running, or ask how they feel when they’re in the “flow” of playing a song on the piano.
5. Plan a Virtual Game Session
A good old-fashioned game night or game session is a great way to get your team laughing and bonding together. These days, there are plenty of free online multi-player game options. One option is Skribbl.io, a drawing and guessing game. During each round, a member of your team will have to draw a random word while others guess in the chat box to see what it is.
Create a private Skribbl.io room with up to 12 participants. Choose your number of rounds and the allotted drawing time allowed per round. You can even choose custom words aligned with your company’s purpose or goals!
6. Learn Each Other’s Strengths and Weaknesses – One of Our Favorite Free Virtual Team Building Activities
There are plenty of costly personality assessments out there. But, one of the most common tests is completely free! At 16personalities.com, you and your team can take a free personality test to discover more about who you are. Learn whether you’re an INTJ, ESFP, IFTP, etc. If you’ve never heard those acronyms, have no fear – the website walks you through detailed explanations. The test is available in 37 languages – perfect for international and diverse teams.
Share the personality test link with your team members. Then, schedule a virtual meeting for everyone to share their results. You and your staff will benefit from knowing how to best communicate with each unique member of your team.
7. Have a Virtual Dance Party
For some employees, a quick virtual dance party might be a welcome break. For others, it might be an exercise in vulnerability and getting out of your comfort zone. Either way, your team is sure to get a boost of endorphins! You could schedule this during a “slump” time – for example, 3 pm each Wednesday. Or, celebrate the start of the weekend on a Friday afternoon. Hop on a video chat and shake it out for 3-5 minutes together. You can take turns picking a song and playing DJ each week. Make it a communal experience by encouraging everyone’s kiddos, spouses, and roommates to join in the fun!
8. Add Some Fun to Your Virtual All-Staff Meeting
When done right, an all-staff virtual meeting can keep your crew connected, informed, and engaged. The trick is to make these sessions interactive and entertaining. Don’t just read a list of company updates that could’ve been an email. One idea: ahead of each meeting, designate one employee to present a 5-10 minute PowerPoint on a topic that’s personally interesting to them. The idea is to pick something niche and unusual. This adds an element of unexpected fun to meetings. For example, you could walk everyone through how to poach the perfect egg, or the intricacies of the card game Magic: The Gathering.
Believe it or not, “PowerPoint parties” have actually become a social trend! Check out Business Insider’s guide to hosting a PowerPoint party – either as its own event or as a fun way to start your staff meeting.
9. Have a Virtual Team Movie Night
Use a free web browser extension like Teleparty to host a movie-watching party with your team. Your videos will stay perfectly in sync with each other, and you’ll be able to discuss the movie in real-time using the chat box. You can vote on movie ideas using a free survey tool like SurveyMonkey. If you have some money to spend on a team building activity, consider sending each employee a surprise kit with their favorite treats to enjoy during the movie! (Pro tip – ask everyone their favorite movie snack when gathering movie suggestions!)
This idea requires employees to have a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+. Set up a poll to see if there’s a streaming service everyone on your team has access to. If not, consider free ad-supported movie sites like Crackle or IMDb TV.
10. Connect in a Fun, Game-Like Virtual Office – One of Our Favorite Free Virtual Team Building Activities
To break out of the video call meeting format, try using Gather. It’s an online meeting platform with an interface that resembles an 8-bit video game. First, choose a virtual environment. Options include cozy office, space station office, mystic library, coffee shop, rooftop party, and many others. Then, choose an avatar and pick your character’s hair/clothing combination. Using your computer keyboard, move around a virtual room and interact with coworkers’ avatars! You’ll still be able to use your webcam and mic to chat.
Gather’s free plan allows for up to 25 online users. You can even create a password for your virtual workspace and use an interactive whiteboard feature.
However you choose to engage with your remote workers, the most important thing is to make an effort to stay connected. Creating opportunities for dialogue, communication, and friendship can help your employees feel comfortable, connected, and motivated to do the best possible work for their team.