Currently, only around 16% of companies worldwide are fully remote. Even though that number seems small, it is important to note that this is a significant increase from just a few years ago. However, the remote work trend has slowed down. Recently, some companies even require their employees to return to work (i.e., Tesla, Apple, Google) due to the many benefits of working in the office.
In an office environment, people instinctively and naturally communicate with each other, which facilitates team bonding. In a remote setting, this is usually not the case, and due to the lack of team bonding, companies are now deciding to revert back to the traditional office space.
However, not every company is switching back. For those offering remote work, most aren’t planning on requiring their employees to come back anytime soon. The companies that chose to stay remote decided to do so due to the many benefits of working remotely.
If you have decided to let your team stay remote, you may have stumbled upon this article because you want to improve team bonding in your virtual office.
As you know, the biggest downside to remote work is the decrease in interactions between co-workers. However, there are solutions for you. Using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to hold team bonding meetings can help spark interesting conversations and bolster collaboration in the process.
If you don’t have the resources and time for full-day retreats or hour-long activities, we have gathered a list of 9 five-minute virtual team building activities just for you!
9 Five-Minute Virtual Team Building Activities
1. Virtual Icebreakers
Talking to someone you’ve never met can be daunting, both offline and online.
In fact, connecting with someone over a Zoom call can require more effort. When meeting in person, you have the pleasure of reading the body language, picking up on facial expressions, and understanding personality, which can be difficult in a virtual setting.
Five-minute virtual team building activities like ice breakers help your team members end the awkwardness that most of us feel while communicating with someone for the first time.
To ensure that teammates get more comfortable, start your team meetings with virtual icebreakers!
Ask questions like:
- What were your favorite shows growing up?
- What is your favorite movie genre?
- What do you love to eat for lunch?
These are open-ended questions that will allow your team members to begin communicating confidently. These questions will put them at ease and encourage fun interaction among teammates. Five-minute virtual icebreakers are excellent for teams that meet infrequently.
2. Virtual Dance Party
This five-minute virtual team building activity might seem a little unconventional, and it is. The idea of a five-minute virtual dance party may excite some while making others anxious. But that’s why you must give it a try!
Being vulnerable and stepping out of the comfort zone are both necessary for growth. Plus, if your team can maintain professionalism after five minutes of being goofy around each other – it’s a good sign.
Moreover, starting your meetings dancing to a pump-up song can get your team’s creative juices flowing. Also, since it’s a ‘virtual’ dance party, there aren’t other teams in their physical vicinity that can be bothered by your party.
However, if it bothers their family, give them the option to use headphones. And if they are too anxious, allow them to turn their cameras off. This five-minute activity can also help you identify the extroverts on your team, which can be helpful when assigning your team tasks!
This team building activity will undoubtedly lighten the mood, improve office wellbeing, and it’s a great way to bond with teammates.
3. Two Truths, One Lie
Employees are asked to say three things about themselves in this virtual team building activity. Two of them are true, and one of them is a lie. This is an ultimate stress buster.
The teammates take turns to state one lie and two truths, while others guess which one is a false statement. It’s a quick, fun-filled team bonding session that won’t take more than five minutes.
However, those five minutes of laughter will recharge them for the next five hours. Since remote employees may feel isolated from time to time, such team building sessions are crucial to help them feel a part of the team.
Not to mention, they learn things about each other they never knew before. Fun – like we said!
Email me your two truths and one lie at email@example.com, and I will try and guess which one is your lie! Also, try and guess mine:
- I have been on a TV commercial.
- My biggest fear is spiders.
- I have memorized 71 digits of pi.
4. Share Your Favorite Memes
Sharing your favorite memes is another laughter-inducing, five-minute virtual team building activity.
Ask teammates to share memes in the Slack channel (or any other preferred communication platform) representing certain events in the company or the company itself!
Allow them to discuss the memes for not more than five minutes. You can even ask the rest of your company to vote for ‘meme of the week’ and make the session more engaging.
The meme culture is highly popular among Millennials and Gen Z.
Here are some statistics to support the fact that memes are the future:
- 36% of Gen Z and Millennials use memes to express their feelings.
- 53% of them share memes as a reaction to something.
- 74% use them to make others laugh – a noble cause, we might add.
- 38% of Gen Z and Millennials follow meme accounts on popular social media pages like Facebook and Instagram.
If a large chunk of your workforce comprises younger generations, you must try meme chat.
Of course, the memes should not be offensive or derogatory to any gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, physical disabilities, etc.
5. Virtual Trivia Quizzes
If you have a team of competitive individuals, then this is a perfect virtual team building activity for them. Virtual trivia quizzes are quick, entertaining, and informative. If possible, offer some form of reward to whoever wins the quiz.
There are two ways to play virtual trivia quizzes. Employees can either participate individually or form groups. If you have a large organization, the latter is recommended. The best part of trivia quizzes is that there are unlimited topics to choose from!
For instance, the trivia quiz can be about your organization.
The questions can include:
- Who’s our company’s founder?
- How many departments/teams do we have?
- How long have we been operating?
- Who’s our marketing head?
You get the idea!
6. Show and Tell
It’s the easiest yet one of the most effective virtual team building activities you can try, and it doesn’t require any investment other than five minutes of your time.
Try this in your next meeting – ask teammates to share something they are enjoying, happy about, or proud of lately. It can be tangible items like a new mechanical keyboard, a new dress they bought, or a dish they made.
The idea is to celebrate achievements, however small, with teammates. It gives remote employees an incredible chance to learn about their colleagues outside of work. Moreover, it helps them connect over shared interests. Interests that they would have never known otherwise!
7. Daily Photos
When working in an office, employees have plenty of chances to interact. It could be over lunch, coffee breaks, or small talks in the common area. Asking what a coworker got for lunch, where they got their new haircut, or talking about how terrible the weather has been lately is something that inevitably happens in an office.
Unfortunately, you have to be creative when your employees are scattered across various geographic locations, and their only means to connect are through virtual calls.
In this activity, ask employees to share one picture daily of their surroundings or themselves! The pictures can be of their pets, plants, workstations, a snowy morning, brand new shoes – anything related to their lives.
It allows remote coworkers to destress, connect, and talk about something that’s not directly related to their work, even if it’s just for five minutes. This activity encourages casual, friendly interaction similar to working in an office.
Besides, photos are an excellent way to initiate conversations about anything, from cooking to gardening to traveling!
During this five-minute team activity, allow employees to tell an embarrassing story about themselves. But there’s a twist!
Instead of each coworker telling their story, ask them to write it down and give them two minutes to do so. The host (likely a manager) will then read each story out loud, allowing everyone to take a vote on who they think wrote the story. After everyone votes, you will then reveal the answers!
Sounds fun, right?
You’ll be happy to know that sharing embarrassing stories and laughs can facilitate collaborative, open, and productive meetings.
9. Object Memory Game
You can play the object memory game in many ways. One way to do this is to paste 30 stickers of different objects on a whiteboard (or on a PowerPoint) and allow teammates to memorize them. Give them 30 seconds to do so.
Now, ask them to list as many objects as they saw. The one who recalls the most items wins the game!
Again, this game can be played as individuals or in groups. To save time, you can also Google ‘Object Memory Game’ and select a picture with different items.
Which activity was your favorite from the list?
For more inspiration, check out Time Doctor’s virtual team building guide!
These nine five-minute virtual team activities are great for bringing your remote employees together. Thanks to these quick, fun activities, they will stay enthusiastic, productive, collaborative, and engaged in their work thousands of miles apart!
Now that more companies are expected to go either hybrid or fully remote, virtual team building activities hold more significance than ever.