Zooming into new cultural norms

By Crystal Wilson


When so many businesses went virtual by force this past spring, it was seen as a temporary situation.  For some it was, and for others it has been more long term, whether for their full team or just parts of it.  One of the possible side effects of this is reduced engagement and a detachment from team culture and connections.  This is, of course, undesirable for any workforce which places a high value on their inter-team relationships and their established culture, and it doesn’t actually have to be a side effect of working virtually!  

 Go Team


Team Building games and activities are something that we have come to rely heavily on, since we have been foregoing our monthly all-hands meetings since the spring.  Finding ways to engage everyone on Zoom has been a challenge, but not an impossible one!  Here are 5 engaging team building activities that can be executed over Zoom or in a physically distanced setting!  Enjoy!


1.  We Are Not Really Strangers

This is a card game that one of our team members (the marvelous Laura-Lee) purchased as a gift for the team and we use it a lot.  It asks questions that dig progressively deeper into the “good stuff” and is a great tool in building relationships and getting to really know one another. It is great if you have only a limited time, but want to make a significant impact with it.  Learn more about it here.


2. Scavenger Hunt

This is a way to get people moving, laughing, and thinking.  It’s a three-for-one!  For this game, you have to keep everyone in one (virtual) room, so no breakouts here.  Create a list of items that your team needs to go find within their physical space - you could make this exclusively indoor OR stretch to outdoor items as well.  Choose specific items like a baking sheet, a pencil, something purple etc  or choose cues that folks can interpret for themselves and then share, like an item that could inspire people, your favourite book, and other things that might naturally cause conversation to happen and help your team get to know more about one another.  You could choose to list these items one at a time, assigning a point to whoever returns to their camera first for each one, or give the full list up front and the first one back with all items wins! Be sure to allow time to share about the found items.   This is one which could also be geared to an outdoor setting - just assign a rendezvous spot where distancing is possible, and make sure the items you ask folks to find are accessible in the chosen location. Bring Sanitizer! 


3. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a classic, and depending on the time you have available and the size of your team you can choose to do this as a single room or breakout room style game.  Each participant should note three facts - 2 which are truthful and 1 which is a lie.  These get read out to the group, and the others guess which statement is the lie! Our team has learned a lot of fun stuff about each other through this game -  like that one of our staff was a foster mom to raccoons!  Can you guess who?


4. Themes!

This one is straight forward but requires some forewarning.  Who doesn’t love an opportunity to dress up?  Themed meetings for the win!  Maybe it’s characters from The Office, maybe it’s Disney Villains, maybe it’s….. Beach Day!  The options are endless with this one, and it holds the great benefit of not really taking up precious time during a meeting, but allows each team member’s creativity and personality to shine through nonetheless.  


5. “Cribz”

Remember this MTV show?  The one where a celebrity of one degree or another welcomes a film crew in for a tour of their home?  Zoom has, in a weird way,  given us the opportunity to get more up close and personal with one another, and this is a fun way to capitalize on that.  Assign one or two people each meeting to give a tour of their favourite parts of their house!  This of course, works best when a laptop, tablet, or other mobile device are involved.  It’s an oddly intimate way to get to know a bit more about the similarities and differences between all of your teammates.