9 Virtual Team Building Activities and Apps That Boost Morale and Inclusivity

Successful remote managers keep employees connected and communicating with a mix of the latest technology and virtual team building activities

When you’re managing an in-office team, you usually aren’t thinking much about whether or not your employees are communicating properly. You see them sending e-mails, picking up their phones, dropping by cubicles, having meetings, and chatting by the Keurig in the kitchen. Of course communication is happening—you can see it with your own two eyes.

However, when you’re in charge of a virtual team, keeping the lines of communication open can become a source of worry. How can your team communicate and be productive if they aren’t in the same location together?

Virtual team building activities and apps for remote teams can work wonders—in fact, they can often mean the difference between a successful and a struggling team.

“Dispersed teams can actually outperform groups that are co-located,” wrote the researchers behind an MIT Sloan study. And the proof is in the pudding. According to a study of 2,000 employees conducted by Cisco:

  • 69 percent of employees cited higher productivity when working remote
  • 75 percent of those surveyed said the timeliness of their work improved
  • 83 percent of employees said their ability to communicate and collaborate with co-workers was the same as, if not better than, it was when working on-site

Remote teams can’t take communication for granted—there’s no tapping a co-worker on the shoulder to ask a question—and must force themselves to be deliberate in how they communicate with each other if they want to be successful. Various apps and virtual team building activities are what allow your remote employees to connect, collaborate, and communicate. If used correctly, your team will never feel disconnected.


A virtual manager’s work is never done! As technology and the world of remote working continue to change, you need to keep up with best practices. Sign up for our Virtual Manager Membership and get access to all of our professional courses, ten sessions with a virtual coach every year, plus more. Learn more about becoming a member.


Apps to unite your virtual team

Managing a remote team doesn’t have to feel like a monumental task. In fact, technology is on your side and ready to help you bring your employees together in a meaningful way. Once you start thinking beyond the usual suspects—phone and e-mail—a whole new world of communication will open up to you. Help your whole team feel connected by using:

1. Slack – Billed as “team communication for the 21st century,” Slack is a communication hub for virtual teams. You can organize conversations in different channels (both public and private), send direct messages, initiate a video or voice call, and share files. You can also create a virtual water cooler in Slack where your team can meet up to talk about anything they want—work-related, or not. Slack is compatible with all types of devices, both mobile and desktop, so your team can always stay connected.

2. WorkingOn – WorkingOn is a minimalistic progress-tracking platform. Your team can quickly share what they’re working on without being interrupted, the work calendar shows you the progress your team is making (and how productive they are), and it integrates with a ton of different platforms that you may already be using.

3. GoToMeeting  – GoToMeeting makes connecting incredibly easy. Launch one-click meetings, schedule recurring or one-time meetings, and use HD video conferencing. GoToMeeting works on desktop and mobile, so even if someone isn’t in their home office, they can still call into a conference. There’s also a virtual whiteboard, you can hand over control of a meeting (including keyboard and mouse) to anyone, and calls can be recorded and shared after a meeting is over.

4. Tettra – If you’re using Slack, Tettra is a wiki for Slack teams. It provides a centralized place for the company to document everything—chat logs, e-mails, documents—so nothing gets lost in the shuffle of daily work life. You can use Tettra to house manuals, lists of guidelines, handbooks, onboarding docs, and anything else your team members could need.

5. Dropbox – Dropbox is a file-sharing service that makes organization so much easier. You can share files, documents, images, and videos—without worrying about the size of the file and whether or not it will transmit via e-mail. You can also create all types of project folders and subfolders so you’ll never have trouble finding what you need. Dropbox also integrates with Slack.

No matter which apps you choose to get your team working together, remember that there’s another big factor in making these apps effective: creating guidelines and enforcing them. You must create a framework and policies for using these apps, including when you expect them to be used and how you expect them to be used. Employees shouldn’t view the productivity and communication apps as fun “extras”—they need to understand they are tools that should be used every day, and in the ways that you deem necessary.

Virtual team building activities to create connections between solo workers

Virtual team building activities don’t have to be cheesy or boring, and they also don’t have to take up huge portions of your day. Here are a few fun ways to boost morale once in awhile:

1. Host a weekly trivia game on a Slack channel. At the end of the month, the person with the most points gets a prize, like a 3-month subscription to VNYL or an extra vacation day.

2. Use a collaborative mind mapping software, like MindMeister, for creative work. It lets you capture, develop, and share ideas visually.

3. Do virtual workspace tours. Once a week, have one employee do a video tour of the area they work in. It helps your team connect visually, and also encourages employees to create real, dedicated workspaces they can feel proud of. Encourage employees to invite guest stars into their tours, like their dogs or babies.

4. Set up occasional virtual polls or quizzes. These are quick, fun team-building tricks that can break up the monotony of the work day and get team members chatting.

If you’re having trouble coming up with virtual team building activities, turn a brainstorming session into team building! Encourage everyone to chat and come up with team building activities they think would be fun.

Solid communication is probably the most important component of a successful virtual team, so once you’ve established guidelines, chosen apps, and scheduled regular team building sessions, you should be prepared to watch productivity soar.

Does your virtual team use an app that you can’t live without? Tell us about it below!


A virtual manager’s work is never done! As technology and the world of remote working continue to change, you need to keep up with best practices. Sign up for our Virtual Manager Membership and get access to all of our professional courses, ten sessions with a virtual coach every year, plus more. Learn more about becoming a member.


Photo by Perry Grone