Whether you've been a remote worker for years or are just getting started, it can be difficult to figure out ways to have fun over video calls.
After a while, happy hours get stale and you feel the need to switch it up. You can only stare at faces on a screen for so long! Trust me, I feel your pain.
As a remote-first company, Formstack is always looking for ways to have fun over video chat. We're constantly on Zoom, so discovering fresh, fun ideas on how to spice up calls every once in a while is a normal topic of conversation.
All the ideas below are virtual team building activities Formstack employees have tested and approved. Some are pretty wild, so get ready to laugh at some of the antics we get into over video calls.
How We Define Team Building
For us, team building is all about building relationships. In fact, relationships matter is one of our core overarching values. We believe that to be better workers, we must know each other on a more personal level. This allows us to build trust, become more vulnerable, and better relate to those around us.
Some of the activities below might not be what you consider traditional team building activities. But for us, these are all ways we're able to easily connect over video to have some fun and get to know each other better.
From more traditional activities, like personality workshops and trivia, to the more creative and innovative ideas like hosting our own television series spin offs, there's something for everyone in the list below.
Remember how cool it was to get a peek inside of celebrity homes on the MTV show Cribs? We decided it would be just as fun to do the same with willing Stackers. Hence, Formcribs happened.
Employees took us on a tour of their homes over video chat, showing off everything from their house plants to their kitchens. It gave great insight into some of their hobbies, interests, and tastes.
The highlight of my Cribs episode was showing off the hand-made blimp my father-in-law made us for our Steampunk themed basement.
Show and Tell
The main goal of team building activities is to get to know your teammates better. An easy way to do this is by having them share personal stories with the team. Getting a better understanding of who your coworkers are outside of work is key to working better together.
When the COVID-19 pandemic put our team into quarantine, my boss Abby could tell we were all feeling a bit down. So she added a unique show and tell segment to the beginning of our team huddle each week. It was simple and easy, but gave us all a moment of fun and a gateway into learning more about each other. Simply choose a theme, like your favorite item in your workspace, and have everyone do a quick explanation of their item.
Related: The Future of Remote Work
Sometimes the simplest of things can bring a team together. If you want to infuse some nostalgia and silliness into a normal week, consider hosting a spirit week for your team, department, or company.
I'd totally get behind a Mean Girls themed day like our CX team!
Come up with a wacky and silly theme for each day and encourage people to dress up within the theme. It's a simple and quick activity that's sure to start some funny conversations. It can also inspire some funny Zoom backgrounds and costumes.
Bonding over food is always a good idea! If you have coworkers who enjoy a similar food group, consider hosting a tasting party. Whether it's coffee, beer, cheese, wine, or chocolate, it's a great way to share in great conversation over a like interest.
This virtual activity can go two different ways. Each employee could pick their own flavor or type of food/drink and share their thoughts, or you could all taste a set of 3-5 items to compare and contrast on together. Either way, it's a video call full of good food and great conversation.
Learn More: How to Build Company Culture on a Remote Team
This is a tried and true Formstack team bonding activity. For the last few years, it's been a part of our Halloween tradition. Employees are asked to submit a form with 3-4 random facts about themselves. On Halloween, we all dress up in costumes, fill out the official trivia form, then hop on a video call to review the answers together. It's a great way to learn some really interesting facts about coworkers that might not come up during a run-of-the-mill work conversation.
Spoiler alert! I have indeed broken my pelvis twice. Wasn't fun either time it happened.
We had a very special host for the Kitchen Nightmares event. Support Engineer Nick took us to flavortown with this great Guy Fieri impersonation.
Our CX team sure does know how to have fun. They created their own version of the hit show Kitchen Nightmares by having Formstackers submit videos of themselves cooking their very own crazy, disgusting concoctions. Five employees took on the challenge, with the prize being a $50 donation the winner's charity of choice.
The winning meal made by Customer Success Manager Ryan was supposedly inspired by the Scotch Egg. His version includes pickled eggs on top of a lime jelly crust.
This activity gave the CX team lots of great memories, laughs, and even some legendary quotes. All you need to do is have employees film a short video creating and explaining their meal, then everyone watching can vote (with a Formstack form of course!) on who they think made the "best�� meal.
If you need inspiration, some of the most noteworthy ingredients included flash frozen raw egg ganache, balsamic ranch glaze, and rocky road infused mac and cheese. Yummy!
Personality or Leadership Assessments
This is the foundation for building a team that works well together. Whether you're into StrengthsFinder, the Enneagram, DiSC, Myers Briggs, or another type of assessment, this is a great team building activity, especially for new teams.
It can be fun to have everyone take the same assessment, then come together as a group to discuss the findings. Our internal book club enjoyed guessing everyone's Enneagram then having a discussion about each type and how each person fit (or didn't!) into their given number.
Read Next: Remote Communication Deep Dive - Cultivating a Successful Distributed Workforce
The Masked Singer
Here's another show spinoff we have thoroughly enjoyed hosting over video chat. Gather a few employees to record themselves singing karaoke using a funny video filter to hide their identity. The key is to have employees record the videos before the event, since many Stackers noted that they would never have the guts to do this type of thing live.
When it's showtime, the host can share their screen to play the videos for the audience. At the end, have viewers submit their votes for who should be crowned the winner. Once voting is finished, be sure to reveal each masked singer!
Hosting a book club is an incredibly easy activity to transition to virtual. It's a great way to have open, honest, and fulfilling conversations about any type of topics that interest employees. This remote team building activity can be especially helpful if you're reading books that correlate to your work or current happenings.
Check It Out: How to Bring Fun to a Remote Team
When we came to the realization that quarantine was going to become a normal part of life in 2020, our Formstack Fun committee decided to put a unique spin on this unfortunate event. An ask was put out for employees to submit a 30 second video that represents what their quarantine life looks like.
The videos ranged from funny to scary, and provided a glimpse into employee lives during this difficult time. It was a lighthearted, fun, and creative way to start some conversations. We watched the videos together over a video call, then voted on the fan favorites for categories like most creative and best overall.
But wait, there's more! Building Relationships Virtually: 10 Fun Games to Play Over Video Chat
Are you going to try out any of the team building activities above? Do you have a fun virtual activity to add? Tell us about it on Twitter! We're always on the lookout for more fun ways to engage employees and build strong relationships.
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