2020 & Virtual Teambuilding Activities
Until early 2020 we at Making Teams, like most team building companies around the world, were focusing on live action events. The most popular of these generally being Amazing Races, Treasure Hunts and Cultural Discoveries, with the beaches in Thailand also being popular destinations. However, when COVID-19 became a global reality and travel being severely restricted, all companies looking for team building started to consider the possibility of virtual and online events. After analysing the types of activities that people were considering doing online, we quickly decided that Virtual Amazing Races and Virtual Treasure Hunts would be popular, and we also realized that Virtual Escape Rooms would be ideal for the online format. We’ve quickly found that many companies from Singapore are interested in running their team building and social bonding events in a virtual online environment, and now clients from Australia The USA and South Africa are joining in.
What are online teambuilding activities good for?
Most of our clients are looking for online team building activities that can enable them to get together in a virtual space and socialize online. Many of them haven’t been able to meet up at work for many months and are doing all their operations from home. They also often want to inject some fun into the virtual working experience. In addition, there are now many existing or new teams that have never really had the chance to meet their new colleagues and often work in different countries.
Online activities also compensate for the loss of travel that people and organizations are now going through. This makes the Virtual Amazing Race and Virtual Treasure Hunt particularly appealing activities as they combine team bonding and teamwork in a virtual setting with the ability to ‘get out’ into the online world and substitute virtual traveling for actual traveling.
Apart from fun and social interaction, teams are also looking to improve the skills that may be useful whilst working remotely and virtually from home. Activities that focus on communication, decision-making, planning and leadership in an online setting are also attractive options at this time.
We have had many universities, polytechnics, schools and government agencies working with us over the last few months taking virtual events; often these schools and universities are starting a new academic year and the students have no way to meet each other except on the internet.
Types of virtual activities
Firstly, we have the short games, warmups or ice breakers. These online games are normally only a few minutes long and work well with groups anywhere up to about 100 people. We also include many of these warmups before our main events. These games are aimed at having fun and we tried to leverage the features of meeting applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. For example, we conduct virtual ice breakers using the whiteboard feature in Zoom to play drawing and word games, emoji charades, tongue twisters and simple scavenger hunt games using the video features.
Main activities or longer virtual activities include Virtual Escape Rooms, Virtual Amazing Race, Online Treasure Hunt and Virtual Murder Mystery. For these activities we split people into smaller teams of between 5 and 10 participants in breakout rooms.
How long should a virtual team building session be?
It is quite easy to run online team building events with groups of anywhere up to two or three hundred people online using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We find that the most clients are looking for sessions anywhere between one and three or four hours. An ideal package would include 30 minutes to 1 hour of warmups followed by one of our main activities of about 1.5 hours, giving a total activity length of two to three hours.
We find that breakout room activities are best with somewhere between 5 and 10 participants in each breakout room, with 6 to 8 being perfect.
The best platforms for online team building activities
We normally run activities either on Zoom or Microsoft Teams depending on the client’s preference, although Google Meet and Cisco WebEx are possible alternatives. Our main activities are conducted using a web app so that there is nothing for any of the participants to download.
Virtual event best games
Our most popular online team building activities are the Virtual Escape Room, Virtual Amazing Race, and Virtual Treasure Hunt. As mentioned above most customers do one of these activities starting with around 30 minutes of warmup games.
Virtual activities outcomes
The takeaways and outcomes that people have been enthusiastic about with our online team activities include having some fun online with their colleagues at the end of a hard week or month and realizing that the virtual environment can be used for cooperating, playing and developing team skills. Activities are focused on achieving results online with your colleagues, solving problems, having fun together and getting to know people you might otherwise not get to meet regularly.