Mastering Team Building: A List of Free Games
In this article, you will learn how to optimize interactions between members of a remote team in a game format.
Why is Team Building Important?
Team building is a great way to build relationships within a group; this is especially true in cases where some or all of the team members work remotely.
After successful events in a game format, it is easier for employees to interact on work issues. There will not be hesitation to ask someone for something once again, and forced overtimes will not be perceived categorically but as an opportunity to confirm their loyalty to the team.
Team building for Remote Workers: Nuances
Team building is difficult for teams with remote employees. It is understandable because how would one organize gatherings at a bar when someone lives in another city and, possibly, in another country?
However, there is a way out in such a situation: you can arrange an entertainment event online that is completely free. Before organizing it, it is worth taking into account several nuances:
- do not push introverts. Some people choose the remote work format deliberately. They do not like to communicate with other people; therefore, it is not worth insisting on participating in online team games with this type of employee. Allow them to choose, subtly tell them how fun it will be, and leave time to think. Remember that the main thing is not to violate the boundaries of others;
- optimize work chats for team building needs. For informal conversations, it is better to create a special chat in the messenger. It will be better this way because mixing work conversations with jokes is not the best solution;
- use non-standard communication methods. In addition to communicating via the Internet and telephone, you can entertain your employees with much more archaic communication methods – for example, via regular mail (of course, this is appropriate for messages whose delivery is not urgent). It is fun and creates a certain brand of your approach to communication with the team;
- meet more often than you would meet in person. The lack of live communication between employees within the framework of work processes should be fully compensated by their interaction within the framework of online team building games. Since they do not have the opportunity to meet often live, you must correctly calculate the frequency of remote meetings;
- do not forget about real meetings. If possible, try at least on the eve of the big holidays, in addition to building games, to arrange informal offline meetings, for example, in a bowling alley, cafe, or on a quest. Still, even the most inveterate introverts at least occasionally need to be pulled “into people”.
Top 13 Free Online Team Building Games
And, now we suggest that you familiarize yourself with our top free building games that you can play over the Internet.
Tea versus coffee (Pancakes vs. waffles, Cats vs. dogs, etc.)
Are you looking for free office games? To take part in this game, you need to divide all the players into two teams and organize a group call via Skype, Zoom, or any other messenger with a video broadcast option. You, as the host, offer both teams two words to confront. Usually, it is something like: “Tea or coffee?”, “Cats or dogs?” or something like that.
Each team makes a well-reasoned choice in favor of one word or another, and the winner (you choose them as the leader) gets a point. As the game progresses, the dilemma should get more complicated; it is better to move gradually from objects to concepts. The first team to score the marginal number of points wins.
Analog of MTV’s “Cribs”
This game is adapted for team building analog of the cult show on MTV – ‘Cribs’. Here, the team members will show their rooms in which their workspace is organized (in fact, workrooms).
The main thing is to warn employees about such an event so that they have time to put their workplace in order. After all the employees showcase their workspace, you can arrange an anonymous vote with the subsequent “bonus” to the winner.
ALIAS is one of the most popular office games that has been available online for a long time. Most of its variations require preliminary installation on a smartphone. The essence of the game is simple – the players are divided into two teams, the presenter makes up a word, and the person who knows it must explain it to their team using synonyms. In this case, it is prohibited to use words of the same root.
Bingo can be attributed to the progenitor of all online building games. You will need to find a bingo template. You can use both standard (with numbers), and like the one in the picture below (each player has their template).
The presenter chooses an arbitrary card and announces what is written on it. Those who have a space on the template that matches that of the presenter crosses it out. The first player to have a crossed out cells wins.
It is another one of the most popular online team games. It will also require a leader who will distribute all team members into two teams – the mafia and civilians. Every round, the mafia kills one of the civilians (this player is eliminated), and everyone has to determine who the mafia is.
Interestingly, representatives of the mafia also take part in the discussion process – they try to convince everyone around that the mafia is one of the civilians. As a rule, about 2-3 mafia representatives are selected for a team of ten people.
It is one of those online collaboration games that everyone knows about. The presenter chooses some compromising event that is absent in his life experience, and says: “I have never …” (for example, I have not swum naked). Those who swam usually drink something alcoholic. The right to be next passes from player to player in a circle. There are no losers here; there are those who get drunk first.
Everything is simple here: the presenter sends each team (or each player) a set of five or six emojis (randomly selected), you need to make a mini-story that matches them. The one who has the most interesting story wins.
Pets (Slack channel)
On an ongoing basis, you can create a Slack channel (usually the most used messenger for work), where your employees can post photos of their pets with funny captions.
Donut Calls (Slack channel)
Donut.ai is a Slack extension that lets you simulate real-life coffee conversations in a real office. There are a few rules you can implement here, such as not discussing religion, politics, and work. Within the channel, group calls up to 30 minutes long are also available.
When making a video call, you can also arrange a short questionnaire so that your team members get to know each other better. These can be questions about a hobby, about your favorite genre of music, about some events from the past. In general, about anything that can demonstrate the life experience and habits of each of your colleagues.
By the way, here is an excellent video with 50 icebreaker questions for those who are too lazy to come up with something new.
Alternatively, you can choose a non-traditional cuisine and invite each of the employees to prepare a dish related to it. And on camera, you can organize a joint tasting. It is especially interesting if your hangout will include an appropriate dress code.
Do your employees love to read? Okay, you can arrange a remote meeting and ask everyone to prepare a five-minute story about the last book they remember. By the way, the same can be done in a team of moviegoers (there are usually more of them in our time).
Brain-ring by songs
Here you can arrange a real brainstorming session for employees by preparing interesting questions about world pop or rock culture. Just remember how dashingly Bridget Jones answered questions about Madonna’s albums and understand how exciting it can be.
As you can see, it is not that difficult to make the team more united even in conditions of remote work. And most importantly, this can be done without any unnecessary costs.
Do you have any experience in organizing an online team building? Did you keep in touch with employees during quarantine outside of work? If so, share your experience with our readers and us in the comments below.