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What is Virtual Team Building, and how can it benefit your remote team?

7 top tips for Virtual Team Leaders to build Engaged Teams

Virtual Team Building

How to build a strong team spirit when working apart

Happy teams with a strong team spirit are more productive and work better together. But how we can build a strong team spirit when we are all working apart? With remote working here to stay, this series will explore the unique challenges faced by remote leaders and the best strategies for success in building a happy, productive, and engaged virtual team.

The value of team building activities for remote team leaders

Researchers at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory found that the best predictors of a team’s performance were the levels of energy and social engagement between team members outside of work meetings. During the study, the team saw a significant increase in productivity and morale when the manager synchronized employee break times so that they could socialize.

Remote working makes sociable team building activities more difficult to run successfully. But there are more resources to support remote team leaders than ever before, from virtual reality meeting rooms to 3D-mapped Escape Rooms. But with so much to choose from, how do you know what works best? And how do you do it well?

Employee Engagement Experts

7 top tips for virtual team leaders to build happy, productive, and engaged teams

Our team at Green Hat People is trusted by thousands of businesses every year to bring positive energy to remote teams. We have learned a thing or two about virtual team building over the last decade, and our guide will help you achieve positive results with your team while having fun along the way.

Virtual Team Building

1 Overcome challenges together

Sometimes it’s nice to relax and have a chat together, but aimless conference calls can become tiring after a day of meetings and deadlines. Give your team something to achieve together. Whether it’s finding their way out of an escape room, catching the culprit in a Murder Mystery, or saving their company files from Green Hat People’s notorious Hacker, overcoming a challenge cooperatively will bring your team closer together.

These objectives shouldn’t be so tough that they become dispiriting, but they should involve a degree of difficulty large enough to test your team and draw out the diverse skills of its members. Scoring small successes together in games and social activities breeds confidence, and can establish successful habits that cross over into the team’s daily work.

2 Introduce some friendly competition

Running races and arm wrestling might be a bit far, but some friendly competition can help to motivate your virtual team!

Our new All-Star Challenge game sees teams race through a series of mini-games and fun challenges in a bid to score points and climb the leaderboard, and even the least competitive players rush to see if their team made the final podium. This kind of healthy competition can promote a greater sense of cohesion among teams, and encourages collaboration among different characters and personality types.

We recently helped a client run a game in 14 different languages to encourage participation from their staff across multiple countries, and the global leaderboard helped to bring a multinational team of tens of thousands of employees together for some friendly competition. Like a Remote Olympic Games! Virtual team building at its finest!

Virtual Team Building
Employee playing virtual escape room game, taking part in virtual team building game with remote colleagues

3 Start with Ice Breakers

Ice breakers are a tried and tested method to start your virtual team building event, sparking conversation among your groups and encouraging them to get to know each other’s personalities outside of work. Used as facilitation exercises, ice breakers help a group begin the process of forming themselves into a team. As they get to know each other better, team members will start to relax, gain confidence, contribute, and cooperate more effectively as a team.

Here are a few examples you could use with your team:
– What is your hidden talent?
– If your country needed you at the Olympics, what sport would you compete in?
– Where will you book your first trip post-lockdown?
– If you had a time machine where would you go?

4 Empower your team with peer-to-peer learning

Studies have confirmed the value of peer-to-peer learning, which can provide a powerful tool to overcome some of the most common obstacles to skill-learning. Virtual team building activities provide an ideal environment for this type of learning to take place.

Our games do not require any facilitation – teams set up the games themselves while in shared video calls, adding another important dimension to the peer-to-peer learning experience. Social scientist and bestselling author Joseph Grenny notes that high performing teams resolve problems between themselves rather than requesting help from leaders, avoiding time-consuming micromanagement situations. Virtual team building is about empowering rather than leading.

All-star Challenge - Virtual Team Building
Virtual Team Building

5 Encourage contributions from everyone

A great team draws from the diverse talents of all of its members to be successful. Virtual team building games should therefore be as varied as possible, demanding a variety of different skills. Our resident Hacker has devised a wide range of challenges to put teams to the test, including number games, visual patterns, anagrams, audio challenges, and word puzzles. The ideal team to Beat the Hacker is diverse and cooperative, with a wide of skills.

It is important to create an environment where all players feel that their contributions are welcomed and valued. These experiences can help to foster an inclusive culture in the workplace.

7 Do something different

There is a time and a place for a good quiz, but thinking outside the box can make virtual team building more interesting. Why not try a Karaoke competition, digital Pictionary, a virtual dance class, an Escape Room, or a Murder Mystery? Keep your team on their toes and you’ll be rewarded with energy and positivity.

Virtual Team Building All Star Challenge

Our Virtual Team Building Games

Beat the Hacker

Virtual Escape Room Game

Game Time: 45 mins

A hacker has locked your company files. Can you unlock them in 45 minutes? ‘Beat the Hacker’ is a fun, virtual Escape Room Game.

  • Fun and Challenging
  • Promotes Team Collaboration
  • Story-driven game
Find out more

All-Star Challenge

Virtual Team Building

Game Time: 45 mins

A whirlwind of fun and exciting mini-games and challenges that takes your team spirit to a new level! This game brings positive energy to everyone!

  • Fun energy boost
  • Have a good laugh together
  • Get to know your colleagues better
Find out more

Icebreaker Game

Game Time: 15 or 25 mins

Have a great time and get to know your colleagues better with our fun and friendly Virtual Energizer Game.

  • Short and snappy Energizer
  • Get to know each other
  • Have a great time
Find out more

Beat the Hacker II

Virtual Escape Room Game

Game Time: 45 mins

The world’s friendliest Hacker is back with even more wicked challenges! Can you outsmart him and save your company once again? The sequel comes out in Q2.

  • 15 new challenges
  • Even more Team Collaboration
  • The story continues
Coming in Q2

Our Virtual Team Building Games

Beat the Hacker

Virtual Escape Room Game

A hacker has locked your company files. Can you unlock them in 45 minutes? ‘Beat the Hacker’ is a fun, virtual Escape Room Game. It can be played online, anywhere. Perfect for remote teams!

  • Fun and Challenging
  • Team Collaboration
  • 45 minutes
Find our more

All-Star Challenge

Virtual Team Building

A whirlwind of fun and exciting mini-games and challenges that takes your team spirit to a new level! This game brings about an All-Star feel as teams race to score as many points as possible.

  • Fun & Motivational
  • High energy
  • Get to know each other better
Find out more

Beat the Hacker II

Virtual Escape Room Game

The world’s friendliest Hacker is back with even more wicked challenges! Can you outsmart him and save your company once again? The sequel to our best-selling game goes live in Q2.

  • Fun and Challenging
  • Team Collaboration
  • 45 minutes
Coming in Q2

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