5-Minute Virtual Team Building Activities

Mar 6, 2024

11 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • Using 5-minute Zoom activities to break up the daily grind has a positive impact on your team’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
  • A regular schedule of 5-minute fun team building activities for work not only builds camaraderie, but it helps improve team performance and is good for the company’s bottom line.
  • Virtual team building consists of more than just a few 5-minute games on Zoom.  An intentional schedule that includes activities like Texas Hold’em poker tournaments with live dealers will bring the best results. 

Make Time for Teambuilding with These Easy 5-Minute Team Building Activities

Hey there, team leaders and culture cultivators! Have you ever found yourself staring at your computer screen, wondering how to zap some life into your virtual team meetings? Well, you’re not alone. In today’s remote work world creating a vibrant and cohesive team culture is more like rocket science than a walk in the park. But fear not, because virtual team building is the secret sauce to keeping your team connected, engaged, and, frankly, sane.  We will show you several 5-minute team building activities for work that will energize your coworkers and pump up the jam. And as a bonus – I’ll tell answer the question: What is the best virtual team building game? Let’s kick it off with my Top Five in Five. 

5 Fun Games That Play in 5 Minutes

One Minute Story Builder – One participant starts the story with an opening line and then the next participant adds the second sentence.  The goal is to tell a complete story with action, drama, or romance, and finish in one minute.  This is a great 5-minute team building activity for work if you are in advertising or other creative fields.

Would you rather…? – This is an oldie but a goodie because it works.  Simply pose the question and see what weirdness is lurking beneath the surface.  Would you rather be able to fly, or hold your breath for 20 minutes and explore the sea? Be cursed with slow internet forever or always hit the traffic light red? (I totally know what I’d pick here.)

I Would Rock/ I Suck At – Participants are given three different skills or jobs and explain why they would be amazing (or not) at them.  Example:  Lumberjack, DJ, Wedding Photographer.  How would they do and why?

Pineapple – My family called it that, but this word goes by other names.  Pick a category like “cars” and then try to name one for every letter.  A=Audi, B= BMW, C=Corvette.  After a set time, compare lists.  Points are scored for each unique answer. 

Show and Tell – Bring back kindergarten with one of the easiest 5-minute team building activities for work that you can do. Pro tip – let your team know well ahead of time so they can grab something interesting or else you will spend 5 minutes learning about someone’s nearby stapler. 

three images of people who are smiling and happy because they are participating in virtual team building.

Everyone Needs 5-Minute Team Building Activities at Work

Work From Home Shouldn’t Be Lonely

Here’s a bit of context to show you’re riding the wave of a major trend, not just dabbling in a passing fad. According to a report from Gallup, the number of companies with remote staff has skyrocketed, with over 62% of companies in the United States now having at least part of their team working remotely. That’s a huge leap from the pre-2020 figures. Furthermore, the percentage of people working remotely in the U.S. has doubled since 2020, indicating a seismic shift in how and where we work. This data not only highlights the growing prevalence of remote work but also underscores the critical need for effective virtual team building strategies to keep these widespread teams cohesive. There are entire positions now dedicated to fully developed team building programs. These include 5-minute virtual team building activities for work and for in person events.

But it’s not just about fun and games (though, who doesn’t love a good virtual poker tournament?  I know I do). It’s about weaving the fabric of a work culture that supports, understands, and uplifts every member. It’s about transforming the “I” into “We,” even when your team is spread across time zones and continents. If you want to learn more about the why behind the game check out our article on Best Practices for Virtual Team Building. Here are five more 5-minute virtual team building activities for work to help keep you connected. 

Five More Fun Team Building Activities for Work

Chubby Bunny Challenge – How many times can you say that phrase in 30 seconds?  It’s harder than you think! And yes, I know you’re saying it in your head right now.

Desert Survival – Team members must create a pack list of five items they would want with them if trapped alone in the desert and defend their choices online.       

Fact vs. Fiction – Participants make three statements about themselves, one of which is false, and participants try to decipher fact from fiction.

Favorite Photo – Tell people to share their favorite photos in their gallery. It could be anything they find interesting; landscape, people, etc.

Fill in the Map – Use a blank map of any continent and see how can fill in the most countries, states, or provinces, correctly. 

For your next Poker Team Building Event


Why Virtual Team Building at Work is Critical

Facing the Challenges of Building a Remote Work Culture

Navigating the digital workspace is not just about overcoming technical glitches or time zone tangles; the real challenge lies in fostering a sense of belonging and community when face-to-face interactions are off the table. Throwing in a 5-munite team building game here and there is simply not enough.  Working remote brings up many challenges including struggling with:

  • Isolation. Working from home might have its perks (hello, pajama bottoms!), but it can also lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from the team. Without the watercooler chats and impromptu lunch outings, remote workers can sometimes feel like islands, floating solo in a sea of spreadsheets and Zoom calls.
  • Communication. Sure, we have emails, messaging apps, and video calls, but let’s be real—sometimes things get lost in translation. Misunderstandings can sprout like weeds, leading to confusion, frustration, and the occasional “Sorry, you go first” dance during video meetings.
  • A lack of trust.  Trust is the glue that holds teams together, but in a virtual setting, building and maintaining trust requires extra effort. Without the ability to see what everyone is up to, it’s easy for doubts and insecurities to creep in, making it all the more important to foster an environment of transparency and accountability.

But here’s the game-changer: a regular schedule of virtual team building activities! That’s right.  The benefit you get from 5-minue team building games added to your meetings is certainly tangible, but you can multiply that impact by creating a regular schedule of virtual team building activities and reap the rewards. So, buckle up as we embark on the journey to make your virtual team as tight knit as the Brady Bunch?

Stay tuned, because we’re about to dive into the best game for virtual team building.  It does take more than 5 minutes, but it is well worth investing the time into your team. Let’s dive in and discover the best 5-minute virtual team building games to turn your remote work culture from meh to marvelous!

three images of virtual poker.  One is a dealer, one is the table, and one is of happy players

The Best Virtual Team Building Game is Poker

A Truly Level Playing Field Anywhere in the World

Okay, I know you came here for 5-minute team building games for work but hear me out.  We already discussed that any real team building program has to include both quick easy 5-minute activities AND longer games where players can relax and get to know each other beyond who was prepared for Show and Tell and who had to talk about their stapler, again.

Poker is the best virtual team building activity because everyone has a level playing field.  You can watch a game in action and see what I am talking about. Our games have live dealers in every breakout room and we make sure that no one is left behind.

Like most card games, participants can talk while they play poker so there is room to relax and communicate.  Since everyone plays in turn the game doesn’t favor the person who yells the answer the loudest or knows the most 90’s movie trivia.  (That is totally me, by the way.) There is action and luck and excitement that makes the game interesting no matter how often you play.   Playing poker with your team can foster a unique blend of individual decision-making and team interaction, where every player, regardless of their experience level, has a chance to win thanks to the element of luck.

But wait…. There’s more.  Poker mirrors many aspects of the business world, making it an excellent tool for developing and honing skills critical for business success.  Here are three overlapping skills between poker and business that can be developed through the game:

  • Strategic Thinking and Decision Making.  Just like in business, poker requires players to assess situations, calculate risks, and make decisions based on incomplete information. Players learn to anticipate opponents’ moves and strategize accordingly, a skill directly transferable to strategic business planning and decision making.
  • Emotional Intelligence and Bluffing. Poker teaches players to read others’ behaviors and manage their own emotions, akin to the emotional intelligence needed in the business world. The art of bluffing in poker, meanwhile, can translate into the ability to present confidently in situations where you may not have all the answers, a common scenario in business negotiations and presentations.
  • Risk Management. In poker, players must decide when to bet, hold, or fold, based on the risk versus the potential reward—a direct parallel to making investment decisions or taking calculated risks in business. This helps in understanding the importance of balancing risk and reward, a critical aspect of financial management and strategic business planning.

Incorporating poker into virtual team building not only provides a fun and engaging activity but also offers a platform for developing skills that are valuable in a professional context. And, if you know nothing about 90’s movie trivia, you can still play.

For your next Poker Team Building Event


More Virtual Team Building Activities for Work

Not as Good as Poker but Still Fun

I did say that a robust virtual team building program included not only 5-minute team fun team building activities for work like those listed above but also more involved games like poker.  But maybe you only have 20 minutes to tag on to the end of a meeting and there is not enough time for a poker game.  Here are a few games that can take 20-30 minutes.

Fun Activities For When You Have More Than 5 Minutes

Branding Battle – Each participant or team has five minutes to come up with an exciting marketing campaign for mundane or boring common items.   This is a great 5-minute fun team building activity.

Camera Off – One person turns off their camera and must describe an object one word at a time.  The group must guess the object based on the description.  Fewest descriptive words wins.

Charades – The classic “acting out” game works great as a remote team building activity.

Finish The Story – Teams are given a fake headline and have five minutes to come up with the accompanying article. 

Five Clicks Away – Link two seemingly unrelated topics through Wikipedia internal links.  Obama and Cheeseburgers.  How many clicks inside wiki will it take to connect them?

Geoguesser – Players are randomly placed somewhere in the world on Google street view and must figure out where they are based on their surroundings.  Excellent for remote workers in different parts of the world. 

Guess the Emoji Song – A player or team selects a song from their playlist and conveys the song title or key lyrics with the use of emojis in the chat. Players continue to add emojis until the song is guessed or time runs out. 

Museum Tour – Take a virtual museum tour with your coworkers.  Add an extra element by including a scavenger hunt.

Remote Office Cribs – In this team building activity willing participants share a video tour of their visible workspace in this MTV Cribs knock off.

Reverse Charades – A twist on the original.  Only one player is unaware of the word and the remaining players must act out their clues on camera at the same time. 

Rock, Paper, Scissors – Tournament – The rules are the same. The rock beats scissors, scissor beats paper, and paper beats the rock. Randomly select different remote employees to square off against each other and see who progresses through the bracket to victory.

Shark or Tank – Participants are randomly assigned a mundane item in their home like a lamp or toaster and must pitch the product to the rest of the team who rate their presentation and the product’s potential.  Feel free to pair up two remote workers for this virtual activity and have them pitch as a team.

Tour Guide – Each participant is randomly assigned a location in the world and has five minutes to prepare their “tour” of that location.  This is a great team building activity for coworkers from different countries because it also promotes diversity and cultural education.

We Didn’t Start the Fire – Team must add another set of lyrics to the Billy Joel classic. Singing optional.  

three images of employees giving feedback on their team building experience.

Getting Feedback is Key to Success

Do Your 5-Minute Team Building Activities at Work, Work?

According to a study referenced by Saviom, regular virtual team building activities are not just a means to foster team cohesion but also lead to tangible benefits for organizations, including a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 21% increase in profitability. These activities help in minimizing the negative impacts associated with remote work, such as feelings of isolation and blurred work-life boundaries, by promoting a sense of belonging and improving employee morale​​. That is why it is key to include things like 5-minute team building activities for work, virtual, or otherwise. These lessons can apply to hybrid offices too.

Evaluating the effectiveness of virtual team building activities for work is essential to understand their impact on team morale and productivity. It helps you refine strategies, ensuring your initiatives truly benefit the team. Be sure to check in with your team and make sure that your efforts are having the desired effect.  Find out if your efforts are successful by:

  • Using surveys and feedback forms. Utilize anonymous surveys or feedback forms post-activities to gauge how team members felt about the experience.
  • Adjusting event frequency and timing. Find the balance between spending too much and too little time hosting 5-minute team building games or longer activities.  Participation should be enthusiastic, not begrudging.
  • Taking a step back and watching.  Before starting a comprehensive virtual team building schedule that includes 5-minute games, poker tournament and other activities take stock of your team.  Document the dynamic and areas that need improvement.  Then reevaluate at regular intervals to observe changes. 

No team building plan is perfect.  Every group and every group dynamic is different but by giving your team the opportunity to interact in a casual and fun way they will have the best chance to develop genuine work friendships and build those key trust elements. 

In conclusion, innovative virtual team building activities like poker are more than just games—they’re a dynamic way to develop critical business skills, foster team unity, and inject fun into the remote work environment. As we navigate the challenges of virtual teamwork, embracing such activities can be a game-changer for building strong, cohesive, and high-performing teams.

Frequently Asked Questions About Team Building at Work with Poker

These FAQs underscore the value of poker as a virtual team building activity, offering insights into its benefits and practical tips for successful implementation. Poker not only serves as an enjoyable pastime but also as a tool for enhancing team dynamics and interpersonal skills in a remote work environment.

Why is poker considered an ideal game for virtual team building?

Poker offers a unique blend of skills beneficial for team dynamics, including strategic thinking, risk management, and understanding different personality types through gameplay. It’s accessible and engaging for participants with varying levels of experience, making it an inclusive option for virtual team building games at work.

How can virtual poker tournaments facilitate team building?

When you are looking for 5-munie fun virtual activities you can consider shorter games but we prefer poker. Virtual poker tournaments can encourage friendly competition, help team members weigh calculated risks, build relationships, and increase self-confidence. These events can be customized to include elements like live dealers and the option to add company branding, making the experience unique and tailored to specific team needs​​.

What are the benefits of integrating poker into virtual team building activities?

Playing poker as a virtual team building activity can enhance communication, collaboration, and foster stronger relationships among team members. It provides an enjoyable way to break up the monotony of daily meetings and reduces feelings of isolation by bringing team members together in a fun and interactive setting​​.

Are there any special considerations or tips for hosting a successful virtual poker team building event?

When planning a virtual poker event, it’s important to consider the timing to accommodate different time zones, set a budget, and choose a platform that is easy for everyone to access. Follow-up after the event is crucial to gather feedback and make future events even more engaging. Additionally, ensuring the activity is inclusive and avoids forced participation is key to a positive experience​​.

For your next Poker Team Building Event