Virtual team-building is favoured by many companies because it is appealing from a financial standpoint. Virtual team-building allows employers to send their employees through training and bonding exercises without travel expenses. This reduces a new employee's time away from the office. In some cases, new hires can complete virtual training from their home computers and return to work as early as the next morning. Games for virtual team-building have their limitations, however, as employees cannot physically interact as they would in person.
Virtual team-building games should focus on cooperation and collaboration. Begin a virtual team-building session with simulated face-to-face interaction via webcam. Using this tool to bridge the virtual gap is essential for team members to begin communicating and collaborating face to face, even if it is initially through simple discussions. Users can connect and meet up online to play virtual games on major search engines. Playing word-based games allow individuals to collaborate with their team members. By adding webcams, teams work together rather than against each another to earn a high collective score. The key is to select a game that allows for team collaboration. Employees' overall scores are less important than the process of interacting together online and getting to know one another in a virtual context.
"Apollo 13" Game
In the film "Apollo 13," the spaceship's crew faces an explosion that results in damage to the ship. Technicians from NASA must use video and audio communication to talk the crew through the repair process using only the materials the astronauts have on hand. The exercise involves making a filter fit into a different-sized hole using only limited materials. Give teams a similar exercise using household items and only limited tools. They must work out a solution without the ability to give hands-on advice. Virtual teams must communicate, as NASA did, through their computers to solve the problem in the allotted time. Give all team members the exact same task and materials, without guidance from management. An example task is to suspend a paper clip 12 inches from the floor without touching the ground. Give each group a few feet of string, several inches of duct tape, scissors, clay, a thumbtack, a blank CD, a toilet paper roll, a rubber band, four toothpicks, a foot of cling film and a paper clip.
Companies like Spy Inc create a fully-customisable virtual team building experience, working with companies and corporations to include relevant training materials and simulations. The game itself puts a team together with a specific objective that must be solved within three hours. Users can log on from any computer with an Internet connection, making this game quite appealing to employers who wish to run a virtual team-building game.