Virtual community-building activities are remote team tasks that help nurture meaningful connections. For example, peer counseling, Donut calls on Slack, and volunteering. These ideas aim to build a community whereby team members can have fun together and enjoy a solid support system.
This list includes:
- virtual community building ideas
- community building ideas for Zoom
- virtual learning community-building activities
- online community-building activities
- ways to build community remotely
Here we go!
List of 11 virtual community-building activities
Virtual community-building activities and ideas will help transform remote offices into a haven of companionship and belongingness. Here is a list of our best virtual community-building ideas.
#1: Special Boxing Day
The original traditions of Boxing Day involve giving gifts to the less fortunate. This twist on Boxing Day uses a similar gesture to build communities.
Special Boxing Day is among the best community-building ideas for Zoom. In this exercise, members exchange gifts based on personal needs. The exercise works best for hybrid and remote teams, where members know each other well.
- The team leader will set a day for Special Boxing Day, and collect names of participants.
- The leader will then divide the members into groups of five to eight and assign them a breakout room. The team leader will issue a list of coworkers’ names to each group.
- The groups will discuss and agree on appropriate gifts for members whose names are on the list. These gift suggestions should reflect receivers’ interests and needs. The best gifts should be interesting and affordable.
- Before swap, group members will source and send out the chosen gifts by mail. The package should include the instructions “do not open until Boxing Day.” The groups will conduct the entire exercise in confidence so that each gift comes as a surprise. As much as possible, the gift senders will remain anonymous so that receivers presume the present come from the entire team.
- On the set special day, the team leader will convene an online meeting where participants will unwrap their packages and share reactions.
These Special Boxing Day gifts act as a symbol of care, which enhances a sense of community.
#2: Peer Counseling
This peer counseling exercise supports stressed team members. A recent research study showed that 83% of workers claim to have work-related stress. Therefore, peer counseling is a timely activity due to the heightened need for counseling services at the workplace.
Peer counseling is a community-building activity where teammates hear and look out for each other. Counseled colleagues will get reassurance that peers value and care about them and will learn healthy coping skills. Required:
- The HR or the team leader will first identify team members with skills like active listening, empathy, patience, and confidentiality. Then, these members will become peer counselors.
- The leader will brief the peer counselors on their roles and duties. Then, the leader will assign two to four members to each counselor.
- The leader will brief the members about the process and introduce those members to their counselors.
- Members will present their problems to the counselor, who will offer possible solutions. For issues too tricky, the peer counselors may consult each other or escalate to the HR office for further intervention.
This community-building exercise enables employees to manage counseling issues better and cost-free. Peer counseling is also helpful in reducing the chances of stress developing into depression.
You could also run the sessions like support groups where team members talk as a group instead of meeting one on one.
#3: Donut Calls on Slack
The Donut feature on Slack enhances community building by pairing remote team members. This feature shares conversation and activity prompts that encourage mutual participation.
This Donut app uses automatic intros to pair two members within the Slack channel. Usually, Donut will connect members who rarely or have never chatted on the platform. The app delivers conversation starters and nudges coworkers to schedule a video call to chat casually.
The app is flexible, and leaders and members can control the frequency of Donut intros.
Donut lets employees have virtual calls while engaging in other activities. For instance, members can call when having lunch or doing leisure walks. Thus, the activity does not have to be very formal.
Donut calls are among the best online community-building activities for new employees. The mini-meetings help introduce newbies to existing staff or supervisors. Donut calls are also great for making office friends with a low chance of meeting, for instance, remote colleagues who do not collaborate or interact regularly.
#4: Virtual Volunteering
Virtual volunteering opens up opportunities for employees to serve the wider community. In addition, this community-building process involves social interaction among colleagues.
Virtual workers can engage in volunteering programs in-person or remotely. The volunteers choose activities or services to offer. Teams that deal with a particular service can volunteer to provide that service. For example,
- A career coaching company can offer career advice to college students.
- An insurance company team can set up an online event to educate the public on selecting appropriate insurance and policies.
- A team of teachers can offer free tuition services to needy students.
Participants can also partner with organizations to do more general projects online, for instance, reading stories to children on Zoom or helping vision-impaired folks do errands through an app.
Virtual volunteering enhances one’s ability to plan and manage time and resources. In addition, through volunteering and engagement with society, team members refine their skill sets.
#5: The Staff Bulletin
The staff bulletin activity is about coworkers getting to know what goes on in each other’s lives. This activity captures daily occurrences and significant events in team members’ lives.
- The leader will create a duty roster, where each member will play the news reporter. For example, the leader may assign each member a day for this bulletin task.
- Each player will become the reporter on the duty day and should gather information about every other team member.
- Players should strive to build rapport with each other to help them earn the most points. For every member’s familiar story, you will get a point. For failing to capture a member’s story, you lose a point. For breaking news, you will earn five bonus points. An example of breaking news would be major events like:
- getting a new pet or a car
- moving into a new neighborhood
- christening a baby
- birthdays and anniversaries
This bulletin activity offers the teams a chance to celebrate or console one another. In the long run, the team members achieve a community in themselves.
#6: Remote Team Dinner
For most folks, dinner with family is the recovery time after a long day of work or school. However, remote teams can borrow this idea and have dinners together to improve their togetherness.
Since remote team members may be farther apart, it may not be possible for teams to eat from the same spot. Therefore, members will have a virtual dinner.
- Each member will prepare a meal.
- The leader will set the dinner time when every member will join virtually. At that time, every member should have a plate ready.
- As with regular house rules, members can decide not to have any work-related chats.
- Members will then eat as they chat and are free to invite their significant others.
Participants can either cook meals or order from a restaurant. Offering a stipend to cover the cost of ingredients or takeout is a nice touch.
Team dinner is a fun activity where team members interact during meals in a family-like setting. Furthermore, sharing meals online is a good conversation starter for members.
Pro tip: If you want to improve your culinary skills, then the remote team dinner can be an excellent resource for learning that skill. You may get ideas and tips on food variety and cooking styles.
#7: Teacher For The Day
A teacher for the day is among the best virtual learning community-building activities for sharing knowledge. In this activity, members will teach one another personal areas of expertise.
- The leader will let the team members choose the topic and approach.
- The leader will schedule the learning activities and assign topics to the volunteer teachers for the day.
- The teacher of the day will cover the relevant topics. The learners will take notes and ask questions to enhance understanding.
This activity can take two approaches. In the first approach team members will list the subjects they wish to learn. The knowledgeable members will volunteer to be the teachers on the mentioned topics. In the second approach, knowledgeable members list the subjects they wish to teach. The rest of the members then select the topics they wish to learn.
The best topics for this activity should include real-life topics that pique most folks’ interests. Learning topics do not have to be limited to the office, as long as the topics engaging the audience.
The following are examples of good topics:
- how to apply productivity techniques
- how to deal with a disagreeable coworker
- how to manage distractions when working from home
- how to clean your computers at home with improvised tools
Sharing knowledge lets members discover how resourceful they can be as a team. The discussions It helps deal with issues and build a strong community.
#8: Skill-sharing Fest
A skill-sharing fest activity enables employees to create a self-sufficient community. Having a community means employees have folks who can support them when in need.
- Members will create two columns on Word, Excel, or a piece of paper. The members will list the skills they need in the first column and in the second, the skills they wish to share.
- Members will share the list with the appointed leader via email or similar means.
- The leader will compile and assess the needs, then match those needs to the skill providers. The leader should ensure that each member has a skill to offer and another to receive for fairness.
Here is an example of how to pair members.
If one member says that they are a talented hairdresser, and another says they need a haircut service, the leader will pair them. Then, partners will discuss further details and help each other.
If members come from the same geographic area, then they can meet up in case of real needs like house painting. However, there is no need to meet if members can do tasks online. For instance, installing computer programs, where members may use apps like Anydesk and Teamviewer.
This skill-sharing fest enables members to pool their talents and help one another. Some interesting skills include poster making, event hosting, and photography.
#9: Setting Team Norms
Setting team norms supplements company rules. The norms create additional regulations for the team members’ benefit.
- Team members will raise concerns .
- The members will then brainstorm the solutions and set norms.
- Members will then vote to endorse suggested rules on the basis of the majority wins.
Team concerns may include bad habits and common mistakes like not muting your device during virtual meetings. In this case, the team members may set a reward and punishment system to regulate those habits. This way, members will not have to complain about noise from certain members.
This activity is a perfect community-building exercise for a team that has:
- complaints regarding one another
- a new activity that needs rules
- a need to create new policies and practices
Setting your team’s norms will take care of team issues not covered in the regular company rules, and help maintain respect, enhance workflows, and reduce inefficiencies.
Pro tip: Easy to follow norms are both effective and fun. However, since each team is unique, do not impose copied norms.
#10: Virtual Fitness Class
Virtual fitness classes lead in the list of virtual community-building ideas that promote a healthy lifestyle. Teams that enroll in fitness classes are likely to build a community to draw encouragement and strength.
- Participants will discuss and agree on the most appropriate time to start a virtual fitness class. This step is crucial in ensuring that the team enrolls as many team members as possible.
- The team will then choose from a wide variety of fitness program subscriptions. This step helps in creating a common goal for the fitness community.
- The team leader will schedule the fitness class and organize for a fitness trainer.
- Finally, the leader will communicate the info to team members.
By choosing similar fitness formats, teams attain similar strengths and gains. In addition, virtual fitness classes can cultivate a healthy culture and time management skills. Besides, the team members get support on keeping fit.
#11: Virtual Games
Virtual games provide exciting challenges for remote workers to have fun, share ideas, and learn. Therefore, employees who play these games are more connected and engaged in work.
- The team leader will guide members through the community building games, which include ice breakers like Never Have I Ever, puzzles such as the scavenger hunts, and timed virtual races like typing speed challenges.
- The games come in a wide variety and so teams can play individually or as a team.
- Participants will compete to outsmart one another and possibly win prizes.
Virtual games players need team coordination, critical thinking, and tolerance. These are crucial community-building skills for members to learn. Furthermore, players become better time managers and creative in overcoming work/life challenges.
Building a community at work helps create a strong sense of camaraderie. In addition, operating as a community makes employees perceive their team as a family and the workplace as a home.
For remote staff, community-building activities are vital in reducing employee disengagement, building a solid team, and instilling company values and culture in team members. These benefits make work more enjoyable and enable the team members to work more productively and confidently.
A good community-building exercise should be fun, simple to conduct, and impactful. The staff bulletin and the boxing day activities are excellent beginning community-building ideas.
Check out ways to improve engagement on online teams.
FAQ: Virtual community-building activities
Here are answers to questions about virtual community-building activities.
What are virtual community-building activities?
Virtual community-building activities are challenges that enhance bonding and increase the sense of belonging within a virtual team. For example, a virtual fitness class and peer counseling. These two ideas, for instance, allow employees to practice healthy lifestyles and ease one another’s worries.
What are some good online community-building ideas for big groups?
Good community building ideas for big groups include:
- volunteering programs
- teacher for the day
- virtual games
- skill-sharing fest
When planning community-building ideas for big groups, consider software that facilitates interactions. For example, if you need breakout rooms to enable teams to meet in smaller groups, then choose software like Zoom, which has a breakout room feature.
For big groups, community building has to be fun for all to gain maximum impact. Choosing activities based on personal interest is a good way to go. You can obtain this personal information from the human resource department or respective heads of departments.
How do you build community remotely?
Community-building for remote teams requires good communication. Here are tips for successful communication.
- Choose appropriate video conference software. Some of the best software for online meetings and activities include Google meet, Microsoft teams, Webex, and skype.
- Select a suitable platform for written communication. Emails, Slack, and Discord are popular with teams worldwide.
- Make follow-ups. Ensure to get feedback from team members to ensure that you are all on the same page.
- Plan and execute ideas effectively. You will need time management and organizational skills to conduct community-building activities.
Communicating the activities’ goals and expectations facilitates remote community-building. This step is also crucial to the success of the activities.