Whether you’re kicking off a virtual team collaboration session or need to lift the energy of a group that is falling victim to post-lunch drowsiness, it’s handy to have a few 5-minute team building activities up your sleeve.
With workplaces operating largely in remote or hybrid work structures, we figured it was about time for a dedicated list of 5 minute team building activities for virtual teams. So, without further ado, here are five team building activities that you can do in 5 minutes or less. Enjoy.
5 minute team building activities
Word of the Week
We’ve mentioned this one in a previous article of ours, but we couldn’t help but include this one again. ‘Word of the Week’ is a winner, especially on Monday morning meetings when you need to kick the week off with a bang. It’s also a great reflection tool to allow your people to share how their week has gone, and potentially bring light to any challenges they’ve faced along the way.
When it comes to 5 minute team building activities, this one is pretty straightforward. Give your people some time (potentially even prior to the meeting) to think of a word that best describes the intention they’d like to bring to the week ahead or, in the case of a reflection, a word that best describes how their week has gone.
When the team all have their respective ‘words of the week’, nominate one person to share their word with the group and the meaning behind it before then going on to nominate another person from the team to share theirs.
Next up, we’ve got the ‘Scavenger Hunt’ team building activity. This one is great to play as a virtual team as it gets your people up and moving while also potentially uncovering new or interesting information about your coworkers.
For this 5-minute team building activity, you’ll need to decide on a list of 2-3 items for your team to collect. They should be fairly vague to allow your people the best chance of finding something in their home (if working from home) or office (if hybrid working) that fits the description.
Here are some virtual scavenger hunt items to add to your list:
- A mug with writing on it
- Something blue
- A book (of any kind)
- Something that smells nice
- A spoon
- Something that keeps you warm
You might want to create a fun slide with your scavenger hunt list on it to display via screen share in your team video meeting to give the activity a more professional look. Once you’ve shared the list with your team, give everyone a countdown to go ‘hunt’ and then roughly 2-3 minutes to find their scavenger items.
Get them to bring their items back to their computer and then, once everyone is back, go around and let everyone share their scavenger items. If you’ve got a team of 10+ people this team building activity might go over the five-minute mark, but we think it’s a worthwhile mention given the benefits of getting active and encouraging your people to share something about themselves in a casual setting.
The Great Debate
For this 5 minute team building activity you’ll need to create another list of three items, but this time you’ll be challenging your people to a friendly debate. This activity will get your people thinking on their feet and you’re sure to have a few laughs along the way.
To prepare for this activity, make a list of three things people can either be ‘for’ or ‘against’. The things that you choose should be controversial (in a funny way) and allow people to come up with somewhat absurd reasons to support their position.
Here are some examples of debate topics you could use:
- Pineapples on pizza
- Cats vs Dogs
- Ugg boots
Once you’ve got your topics, create a slide in PowerPoint or some other software (you could even use a digital whiteboard) that you can reference when revealing the activity to your team.
Share that you’ll be running ‘The Great Debate’ and for this activity, your people will either be placed into breakout rooms or 2-3 people. In these breakout rooms, your people will each have 1 minute to share their side of the debate. After everyone has returned to the group you can facilitate a quick convo about the activity, see if anyone shared any particularly hilarious points in their debate, and then move on to your main meeting agenda.
Our final 5 minute team building activity is called ‘Time Machine’ and it’s a H.G Wells inspired rapid game that works well for teams gathering virtually. To make this activity as engaging as possible, we’d recommend using a virtual whiteboard and inviting the participants on your video call to join the board in preparation for the activity.
To begin, ask the group ‘If you could travel in a time machine, what time period would you go back to?’. Give participants some time (say, 2 minutes) to think of their preferred time period and search the internet for images to represent their choice. They’ll upload their images to the specified digital whiteboard and when the timer is up, everyone will go around and share with the group their choice and why.
An alternative version of the activity can be played, with the focus question being ‘If you could meet anyone from the past, who would you meet and why?’.
So there you have it, four creative and conversation-starting team building activities that you can do with your virtual team. We hope you found these ideas useful, if you end up putting them into practice we’d love to hear from you.