Virtual Background Contest

Here is our guide to virtual background contests.

We put this guide together after running thousands of successful virtual team building activities for remote teams.

The virtual background contest is an engaging activity where team members compete to create and showcase the most creative and captivating virtual backgrounds during video calls. Playing this game with your team sparks creativity and innovation while encouraging team members to express themselves and share a glimpse into their personalities. This exercise fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie in the virtual workspace.

Ideal group size:

6 to 15 players

Activity duration:

20 to 30 minutes



What you’ll need:

  • Video conferencing platform with virtual background feature (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams)
  • Virtual background software for additional customization (e.g., ManyCam, OBS Studio)
  • Props or costumes for creating unique and creative backgrounds

How to play:

Step 1: Set the Theme

First, decide on a theme for the virtual background contest, such as “dream vacation” or “favorite movie scene.” After you pick the theme, communicate it to all participants in advance to spark creativity and inspiration.

Step 2: Explain the Rules

Next, clearly outline the contest’s rules, including the time limit for each participant to showcase their background and any criteria for judging. For instance, creativity, relevance to the theme, and presentation.

Step 3: Provide Technical Guidance

Before the exercise, offer guidance on how to set up and use virtual backgrounds within the chosen video conferencing platform. It is important to ensure all participants are comfortable with the technology before the contest begins.

Step 4: Share Tips for Creativity

Team members can offer tips and suggestions for creating engaging virtual backgrounds, such as using high-resolution images, incorporating props or costumes, and experimenting with lighting and angles.

Step 5: Conduct the Contest

Each participant can take turns showcasing their virtual background, allowing them a brief moment to introduce their background and explain its relevance to the theme if desired.

Step 6: Encourage Engagement

Participants can engage positively and enthusiastically with each presentation, offering compliments and encouragement to foster a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

Step 7: Facilitate Voting

After all participants have presented their backgrounds, facilitate a voting process to determine the winners, either through a democratic vote or by appointing a panel of judges.

Step 8: Announce the Winners

Once you tally the votes, announce the winners of the virtual background contest and celebrate their creativity and ingenuity with the rest of the group.

Examples of games or activities:

1. Travel Trivia Tour

Participants showcase virtual backgrounds of famous landmarks or destinations while others guess their location.

  1. Each participant selects a virtual background depicting a famous landmark or destination.
  2. Participants take turns presenting their background while others guess the location.
  3. The presenter reveals the correct answer, and points are awarded for correct guesses.
  4. Repeat steps 2 through 3 for each participant, tallying scores to determine the winner.

Encourage participants to share interesting facts or personal experiences related to each location.

2. Time Machine Tale

Participants create virtual backgrounds representing different time periods or historical events.

  1. Assign each participant a specific time period or historical event to represent their virtual background.
  2. Participants design and set up their virtual backgrounds accordingly, incorporating relevant imagery and details.
  3. Participants take turns presenting their backgrounds, providing context and explaining the significance of their chosen time period or event.
  4. Encourage discussion and exploration of each time period or event’s impact and relevance.

Consider awarding points for creativity, historical accuracy, and storytelling ability.

3. Fantasy Fun

Participants design virtual backgrounds depicting imaginative and whimsical fantasy scenes.

  1. Provide participants with a theme or concept for their fantasy scenes, such as “enchanted forest.”
  2. Participants design and create virtual backgrounds that capture the essence of their chosen theme, incorporating fantastical elements.
  3. Participants present their backgrounds, describing the various attractions and features of their environment.
  4. Encourage participants to engage in playful banter and creative storytelling as they showcase their virtual backgrounds.

You can invite participants to vote for their favorite fantasy fun based on creativity, originality, and entertainment value.


  1. Be Clear on Themes: Clearly communicate the theme or concept for the virtual background contest to participants.
  2. Test Technology: Ensure participants are comfortable using virtual backgrounds on the chosen video conferencing platform before the contest.
  3. Encourage Creativity: Inspire participants to think outside the box and explore imaginative and unique virtual backgrounds.
  4. Provide Inspiration: Share examples or ideas for virtual backgrounds to spark creativity and help participants get started.
  5. Consider Timing: Set a reasonable time limit for each participant to showcase their virtual background during the contest.
  6. Promote Engagement: Encourage participants to interact and engage with each other’s virtual backgrounds, asking questions and sharing feedback.
  7. Maintain Inclusivity: Remind participants to choose backgrounds that are appropriate and inclusive for all viewers.
  8. Offer Prizes or Recognition: Consider awarding prizes or recognition for the most creative, humorous, or imaginative virtual backgrounds.
  9. Foster Positive Atmosphere: Create a supportive and lighthearted atmosphere during the contest to encourage participation and enjoyment.

Final Thoughts

Playing a virtual background contest is a creative outlet that fosters connection and collaboration among remote teams. Through imaginative backgrounds and playful interaction, participants can showcase their personalities, spark laughter, and strengthen bonds. These contests are fun competitions that showcase creativity and camaraderie.

Want more ideas? Check out our post on remote team meeting ideas.

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