Team bonding activities strengthen relationships among co-workers. They help release stress and boost communication within a team. They become even more crucial during a crisis like the current pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced most businesses to switch to remote work. While it is the most effective way to contain virus transmission, remote work has its own challenges. For one, it is socially isolating. Add to it the stress of living through a pandemic and a prolonged lockdown, and it may adversely affect the mental health and productivity of remote workers. Staying connected becomes even more important at such a time.
Video conferencing can’t make up for the daily interaction in a physical workplace. But it is the next best available option to stay connected and increase employee engagement.
We’ve put together 10 team bonding activities that you can do over group video chats. You could either devote the first 10-15 minutes of a virtual meeting to one of these icebreakers. Or start a Friday Social tradition where co-workers could get together and catch up with each other.
Movie night: Netflix Party
So this is not a game, but a relaxing team bonding activity. Netflix Party is a free extension for Google Chrome browser. With this tool, a group of people can watch a Netflix show or movie remotely at the same time. All you need is a Netflix account to host or join a Netflix Party. What’s more, this tool has a group chat feature so that you can discuss whatever you’re watching just like you would if all of you were in the same room.
Ask your team members to share three personal facts with the game organizer. These could be statements like, “I am fluent in five languages” or “I am terrified of spiders” or “I love cilantro”. Put them together on a shared Google document with an empty column on the right for keying in names. Every team member has to guess the identity of the person making each statement. You can then share the key. The person with the most correct guesses is the winner.
Write a story
In this activity, the team collaborates to weave a storyline. One person starts the story with an opening sentence and leaves the next sentence incomplete. The next person finishes the second sentence and adds another incomplete sentence. This continues till everyone has had a chance to contribute to the story. For example, “Phil woke up one morning to find Doctor Who’s TARDIS parked in his kitchen. He opened the door and…”
Go around the world
If you have a team with members from different parts of Canada and the world, this is a fun game to play. Using Google Maps and screen sharing, each team member can pin the city they are from. They must also share two interesting pieces of trivia about the city or state they are from. Not only will this game help you get to know your colleagues and their cultures better, you’ll also learn some geographical trivia.
Share and tell
You could create a Slack channel or a Microsoft Teams chat (or whichever collaborative software you use) solely for the purpose of socializing. Make it a space where team members can share memes, GIFs, interesting news articles, stories, photos. This will help initiate conversations between the team and help them bond over common interests.
A trivia quiz is an ideal activity for a Friday Night Social. Though this may require a little work. You could request for volunteers from the team who would like to organize it. The quiz could have multiple rounds based on different topics such as pop culture, music, history, celebrities, etc. You could play it on a group video chat using Google docs or create a multiple-choice quiz on an app like Kahoot.
This is self-explanatory. You play charades but on a group video chat. You can split the team into smaller groups or every team member could act out a movie/TV show/song or book title and everyone else could guess. The person who gets it right, also gets to act next. In case you’re playing as teams, use private chats to decide on and communicate the words or phrases to act out to the rival team’s player. It may be a good idea to set down a time limit for guessing and rules for categories and hand gestures.
Back to the future
Which period of history would you visit if you had a time machine? Ask your team to put on their creative hats and answer this question. Make it fun by asking questions about who they would visit, what modern object they would like to take back with them, how would they survive in that period, and so on.
Two truths and a lie
This again is a guessing game that can be easily played over a video conferencing app. Every team member shares three personal facts — two truths and one lie. The rest of the team then guesses which ones are true and which is a lie. You could declare the person with the most correct guesses as the winner.
Request your team members to share one childhood photograph. You can then compile all pictures on a shared Word document. During a video chat, everyone can view the document and try to guess which team member is the baby in each of the pictures.
Have more questions on driving employee engagement?
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