Who said bingo was for grannies?
Ever heard of virtual team building bingo? It’s the latest craze that companies are using to build teams in a virtual environment rather than in-person old-fashioned meetings.
Virtual teams can face some challenges as they work together on a project: With so many people working across different locations, it may be difficult to really get to know one another and form team cohesion. One way around this is with virtual or online versions of traditional board games like bingo!
This blog post will give you our top tips on how to organize a virtual team building bingo (say that 10 times fast) for your next meeting and what you can do during each round to make it so much more enjoyable than just sitting around a conference table with everyone staring at their smartphones or laptops.
So get your bingo cards ready, look out for the patterns and let’s get this game started!
The Basics of Online Team Building Bingo
What is the game of bingo?
Bingo is a traditional game of chance, usually animated and played by people in the same room, where each person has a paper bingo card.
Each bingo card has 24 numbers, which can be from 1 to 75, displayed on a table with 5 lines and 5 columns. The center case is usually a Free space. This means this space is already crossed, like a bonus.
A few numbers are called randomly one by one. Your job as a player is to listen out for your numbers. When a number included in your card is called, you mark it off with a bingo dabber or checkmark to indicate it has been covered, and wait for another number to be called.
The objective of the game is to get a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line of numbers. The first one to cross an entire line of their bingo card – or their full card – wins. With these newly acquired bragging rights, they get to scream “BINGO”!
Note that for advanced versions, you might need to complete specific patterns, or cross the entire board to win.
How do you play bingo virtually?
If you want to play bingo online, you can forget about your bingo cards and bingo dabber!
All you need is a virtual online space where everyone can discuss and have fun together. It can be a gaming web platform if you want to connect with other unknown players or a simple video call if you want to play online with your family, friends or your remote team.
The bingo board cards and markers have to be virtual: It can be on slides (or printable files) for instance that players keep updating as the game goes on.
How do you play virtual bingo with coworkers?
Virtual team building bingo is one of those fun and informal virtual games that you can play during a virtual meeting with your coworkers.
This enjoyable activity can be organized during a dedicated virtual team building activity or before starting a team meeting as an ice breaker for example!
The rules are the same, but to make the most of this team building, you should definitely personalize the bingo board template to the remote employees and company.
Instead of crossing numbers, the participants can cross actions, statements, inside jokes that will help animate your conference call like never before!
Why should you use virtual team building activities like bingo in your next meeting or event?
Organizing an online team building bingo for your remote workers could have a few benefits:
- Get to know each other better (especially if they are working remotely)
- Have fun as a remote office team across different time zones or continents
- Improve their communication skills in a virtual setting
- Improve the employee engagement in remote work
- Energize random or boring conference calls
Organize Your Team Building Bingo Session
Team building bingo instructions
For the game to be fun and easy for everyone, a few rules need to be determined beforehand.
What file will the participants use for playing? Will you be using an online platform or some online slides saved on the cloud?
Will the remote employees share their screen as they play?
How long will the game last? Will you send them several bingo cards or a unique one?
How will the winner be defined? Shall it be the first participant to cross one entire line or the full bingo board? Will you build a system with points?
Will you give out prizes to the winner(s)?
Create bingo questions or statements
The first step in organizing your game is to think about 24 actions or statements you want to put in the bingo card.
Like we suggested before, let go of the classical numbers and instead have some fun with surprising statements that fit well with your remote team.
It can include statements such as “wears glasses”, “deleted an email without opening it today”, or “works in the finance department”.
We’ll let you think about those, but remember, the more it is adapted to your team, the funnier the challenge will be.
Make & send the bingo card
Once you write down your 24 statements, the next step is to build the personalized team building bingo card.
Just create a large table with 5 columns and 5 lines with even square spaces. Remember, the center case is the free space.
On top of each column, type the letters of “BINGO”, one letter per column.
Now in each case, type in a single statement.
Once you finish your virtual bingo board cards, the next step is to save it as a picture and insert it in a Powerpoint or Google Slides landscape format document. On the right side, create 24 color stamps / forms that the participants will be able to move to the statement they want to cross off.
Send this document to all remote coworkers participating in the team building or share a personalized version of the file on the Cloud/Drive, so that each employee can directly modify it online.
Set up the online team building bingo
It’s almost time to play, but first:
- make sure everyone can access their bingo online board file
- has correctly joined the video conference that you previously set up and shared
- and has a stable internet connection
Ask them to share their screen so that all players can check how the game evolves – or not, that is up to you! Finally, remind everyone of the rules and ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of the activity.
Call out the statements
Now, let’s start this game, shall we?
As the organizer of this virtual team building bingo, you will be the moderator.
One by one, call out the statements on the virtual bingo board. Each time a statement is called out, if the participants recognize themselves in it, they must cross it off their virtual bingo card by moving one virtual stamp on top of that statement.
Let them have a few seconds to check their full board before calling out a new statement.
Ending of the virtual bingo and claiming of the winner
Usually, the winner of bingo is the first person who successfully crosses off a full column, vertical or diagonal line.
We recommend you include a few incentives such as remote work prizes to challenge the group a bit more.
It can be as simple as “start one hour later tomorrow morning” or “receive tomorrow’s lunch at your door” or “skip this specific meeting” for example!
On the contrary, you could also motivate the employees not to lose with funny dares such as “the loser will have to sing a song in the next team meeting”.
Those ideas should engage the group and give it an extra dose of fun!
7 Ideas to Spice Up Your Online Team Building Bingo
A fun way to make your virtual team building bingo attractive to everyone could be to give it a theme.
Pick from the 7 following ideas to build your own bingo template!
Team members bingo
In this first theme, you can make all the statements based on your team members.
Choose from physical characteristics, job positions in the company, projects they were involved in etc. Whenever a participant recognizes themselves, they’ll need to cross off that space.
Here are a few statements to help you get started:
- Has blue eyes
- Wears glasses
- Arrived last or first on the team
- Has a beard
- Is part of the Marketing Department
- Has had a romance in the office
- Has worked on the project XX
- Has a hands-on job
Remote work team building bingo
We know that working from home has created some pretty unexpected situations. That’s why another original and fun virtual team building bingo theme could be to make the statements about remote work.
They could be based on specific skills remote employees developed while working from home, fun facts that happened during a video conference or how your remote team organized itself.
- Learnt to cook a new dish
- Once – or more – wore a PJ’s bottom attending a conference call
- Did yoga while sitting on her/his chair
- Drank a beer while finishing up a work thing
- Worked from the sofa
- Created a “working from home” music playlist
- Had a meeting interrupted by a relative or a pet
- Took a call while walking around the house
Video conference bingo
This video conference bingo template can be used during live conference calls, without a moderator.
Set this up at the beginning of a virtual conference and let the game be played during the full team meeting. At any time during the meeting, when someone does or says something, you have the right to virtually cross your bingo card.
In this case, bingo card screens should not be shared, but all team members should have their cameras on. It’s not about luck anymore, it’s about about attention to detail and speed on screaming “BINGO!”
Here are a few ideas for your template:
- Someone says “Can you see my screen?”
- Someone gets up
- Someone says “We can’t hear you…”
- Someone drinks a sip of water
- Someone starts yawning
- Someone says “Sorry, I was on mute!”
- Someone says “I’m gonna share my screen”
- Spotted a pet in the background
The statements of ‘Tastes Bingo’ are based on personal tastes of all employees, allowing the team members to get to know each other better.
This bingo theme is ideal to play online if you want to incite virtual team bonding. If your remote teams just started to work together, we recommend this specific team building bingo game to help employees discover tastes and spark conversation.
Here are a few statements you can use for this type of bingo:
- Has every single episode of Friends
- Would eat horse meat without hesitation
- Likes to search for hidden gems or jewels in their spare time
- Can’t stand the taste of tequila, vodka or any other hard liquors
- Loves to practice sport at least once a week
- Is a fan of James Bond movies
- Only eats vegetarian food
- Has been to Disneyland and loved it!
Travel the world team building bingo
This next theme is based on traveling the world, so let’s escape for a few minutes!
This virtual team building bingo game will be triggered by different locations, countries, activities remote workers have been to or have done while traveling.
Here are a few ideas:
- Has already been to Europe
- Can speak a second language
- Spent the night in a tent on a beach or field
- Has been to Asia
- Has been on a religious trip
- Has crossed the United States by car or train
- Has been scuba diving or snorkeling at least once in their life
- Met someone while traveling with whom they’re still in touch with.
Thanksgiving team building bingo
Organizing seasonal and fun virtual team building activities are always a great way to welcome back your remote teams after a vacation break. It allows everyone to discuss their time off and start on the right track!
An example of a seasonal bingo could be a Thanksgiving themed bingo. Here are a few statements you could use:
- Did not have turkey for Thanksgiving dinner
- Played a board game
- Traveled to another state for Thanksgiving dinner
- Was the one who gave thanks before sharing dinner
- Played a football game
- Went to church
- Volunteered to help others
- Ate pumpkin pie
Summer holidays team building bingo
For this last virtual team building bingo theme, another seasonal activity to welcome back remote workers after summer break or meet new company incomers: The Summer Holidays Bingo!
Here are a few statements to inspire you:
- Went to the Pacific Coast
- Went Scuba diving or Diving
- Ate some raw fish
- Got a sunburn
- Went to a different country
- Flew on a plane
- Picked up sea shells or stones while walking on the beach
- Visited a water park
As you can see… bingo days aren’t over! Bingo has been around since the turn of the century and it is still a popular pastime.
It has recently made its entry in the world of business to challenge remote teams in 2021 into building a nice and collaborative atmosphere. It’s an ideal team building activity which gives employees the chance to discover each other, spark conversation or learn new facts about their virtual colleagues.
Considering its benefits, adaptability, easiness to be understood by any generation, and flexibility to play online or in-person, bingo will quickly become one of your best virtual team building activities!
Zoom Scavenger Hunt, trivia, ‘Who am I?’, fun icebreaker questions, ‘This or That’ questions…
At Woyago, we have plenty of other ideas for online team building games! Browse our blog to find what you need or ask our team to organize a tailored-made virtual team building!