Virtual Team Building Through the Arts

Virtual team building can actually be both fun, creative and productive. Hear are a few ideas.

Build Your Virtual Team with a Playlist

Research shows that employees can be more productive when listening to music, so why not create music playlists for your virtual team? You can build your team by creating musical playlists for the week, based on a theme or mood. There are lots of ways to do this, but here is a link on how to do it using Spotify and Apple Music.

Discover Art Together

Did you know you can go on a virtual filed trip through some of the world’s best museums. Explore a museum together and find out what art resonates with your team, or maybe what kind of art coincides with your virtual team building mission!

woman in white tank thinking about virtual team building

Write a Song with Your Virtual Team

It would be remiss if I didn’t plug my own virtual team building program – Sing Your Story. In this remote team building program remote teams come together to write a song. Usually teams won’t know what they are up to until they get to the meeting and it always ends up a very pleasant surprise.

As a songwriter I take it for granted how easy it is to write a song, so I’m always pleasantly surprised to hear when participants say, “Wow, I’ve never written a song before!” or “That was so easy!”

And it is easy. It literally only takes 45-50 minutes for a team to write a song that lasts a lifetime. I have never failed in getting a song written in hundreds sessions around the globe [knock on wood] Once a song is written it can be recorded, mixed, professionally, turned into a lyric video, business team theme song or more. The sky is the limit. So if you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Remote Team Building vs Virtual Happy Hour

I get it. You’re looking for a remote team builder that is easy, accessible and cost effective. But building a highly talented remote team should focus more on the unique abilities of your team instead of the ability to “Bring Your Own Beer.” So let’s consider the following questions before you hit that invite button…

Does everyone on your remote team drink?

I have met many talented professionals who do not drink at work as a rule. Sure, you can bring any drink you want, but the ideal remote team building activity brings a team together. If someone on your remote team doesn’t drink than this is an easy way to make someone feel isolated. Does drinking help everyone let loose? Absolutely, but sometimes it’s the social filters we hold on to that keep our team productive and professional.

remote team building vs virtual happy hour

Does virtual happy hour reflect your remote team’s values?

Unless you work for a distillery, I imagine drinking was nowhere on a list of your company values. In fact, you recruited a remote team that would reflect your company’s highest values. So your remote team building activity should build on those. Remote teams, like any team, get a sense of pride from working together, problem solving and creating something new. Give them something to brag about.

Does your remote team really want to wear silly hats?

This is possibly a resounding, “Yes! Corporate team building always requires silly hats!” That’s because some teams are absolutely “all in” when it comes to costumes and themes. That is awesome. But I’m going to guess there is a large contingency of talented professionals who do not want to dress up to a theme for a virtual happy hour. They are motivated to perform and connect for the talents they bring to the team. Not for their ability to embarrass themselves in front of their colleagues.

So…no happy hour for remote team building then?

I’m not one for absolutes. I think there are plenty of ways to get together and enjoy each other’s company and many of them can involve drinks – (like a wine and canvas party) But if drinking is the focus, then your team building activity falls short of actual team building and you may want to take stock to see if you are measuring up to your team building goals. You can also sign up for my email list below for tips on how to build your remote team through music and art.

If you have made it this far and still have your heart set on virtual happy hour for remote team building then I implore you to at least try some of my virtual team building icebreakers that can still get your creative juices flowing before “last call.”

The Best Team Builder I’ve Ever Seen

So the best team builder I have ever seen is bittersweet because I wasn’t a part of it in any way. I  found out about recently when a colleague of mine posted it into our Slack channel.  I have posted the video of their awesome project below…but first I need to give a lead in…

The creative folks at Figma hold a maker fair twice a year where everyone on staff gets the chance to work on any Figma-related project they want. First off, that’s awesome.  Creative flexibility is a HUGE motivator for recruiting top talent. It even inspired me to look at their career page to see if they had any openings for remote team building musicians. Unfortunately, they did not. But I digress…

Figma’s most recent maker fair produced a 20-minute musical that was created remotely and under the constraints of Quarantine. They call it, “Figma in Quarantine: the Musical.” But I call it…”The Best Team Builder I’ve ever seen!”

I would say I’m jealous but I’m too excited for the team that created it.

Why is Figma in Quarantine: the Musical so awesome? Well, even though I’m super excited about the artistic, organizational, and collaborative skills needed to pull this off, what I’m most excited about is the connections that it had to have formed amongst the team. There is no doubt in my mind that this project built a stronger and more cohesive team than before.

You can tell by watching it how much fun it was to make. It is so enjoyable to watch. It’s clever, funny, relevant, and does all the things you would want out of a team builder. It builds connections through collaboration, encourages innovation, and hones collaboration as a skillset. Most importantly, the team created their own joy. I mean, the closing number “Fig Family” literally made me teary-eyed thinking about how good this was for them as they danced and sang together -choreographically synched and in harmony even!

Regardless of the quality of music and talent, this kind of connection is an absolute team-building goal. You want a team that is willing to try something new together and support each other towards a vision that isn’t always clear. You want your workplace to be a place that inspires joy in your workers. You want that inspirational magic.

I have no doubt that a team that can create something this fun is indeed absolute magic.  They will look back on this in years to come and forever be connected through their creation. The company that leaves room for this kind of work has really harnessed the power of the remote team. Awesome job, Figma.

Video Demo

I could use a lot of words to describe my favorite remote team building program…or I could just show you!!!

Ready to Book?

1) Click here to book an available session on my calendar.

2) Schedule your team to meet under something vague – “Team Meeting – no prep necessary” and invite me to your meeting (info@fernandotarango.com.)

3) I’ll send an email to confirm with a suggested script for an intro.

4) We have fun creating our song in our scheduled session.

5) After our session I’ll email you an mp3 of our professionally recorded song along with an invoice payable by credit card.

Got Questions? Email me at info@fernandotarango.com for more ideas on how to bring virtual team building activities to your remote team!

Team Building with my Top 3 Icebreakers


Remote team building activities can be tricky to master but with these three top ice breakers you can lighten up any team meeting with a fun team-building exercise. These icebreakers are nothing more than conversation starters where the process of answering is more important than the answers. A well-phrased question will not only tell you about the person and the team but also set the stage for genuine conversation and enjoyment. So here they go…in no particular and phrased as I normally use them…my favorite icebreakers for team building.

“Name Your Brand” Team building ice breaker #1:

“My challenge to you…is…to invent a brand of cereal. What is its name? What is it made of? And what is the prize that is in the box?” 

Okay, this is not fair because it’s designed for kids – but it’s lots of fun – even with adults.  With adults, I like to add something like, “What is your marketing ploy?”

But the aim isn’t just to get the person to answer, it’s to build group excitement as you build on the idea of a person’s brand.  You know you are doing well when the group is chiming into someone’s idea with “ooh and you could do this!”

“Would You Rather?” – Team Building Icebreaker #2:

2) Would you rather?

My question to you is…Would you rather swim through a swimming pool of jello wearing jeans or run through sprinklers in front of the workplace in your pajamas” 

The more ridiculous the question the more room there is for a creative answer. You can think of a few stock questions ahead of time or you can pull them from the actual board game, “Would You Rather?” My favorite answers are usually quite telling about a person and will naturally spur conversation.

For example, someone might answer, “Well I can’t swim in jello because I’m allergic…” at which point conversation could ensue, “…so I’m going to have to run through the sprinklers.”

Somebody alternatively could answer…”Well…I sleep in onesies, which would be really uncomfortable wet so …I’ll swim in the pool!” If that doesn’t spur conversation then I don’t know what will!

“The Nonsequitur” -Team Building Icebreaker #3:

“You live on a boat. Your best friend is a talking banana. What do you name your pet dog and why?” 

These nonsequiturs are just plain old fun, but they can get the team thinking WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX. The questions are illogical so there is absolutely no right answer, which means a person reveals their personality with how they answer. This is something you would want to have prepared unless you can come up with these under pressure. Alternatively, and with the right personalities in the remote meeting, you can have individuals come up with their own nonsequiturs for the next person. This is always good for laughter and connection.

Which Icebreakers will you try?

So there you have my go-toes for icebreaking! If there is any irony here it’s that I don’t use these for my Sing Your Story workshops because I just go straight into the team’s work, but I do use these for building longer-term relationships, virtual classrooms and breaking up the usual workday!

I look forward to hearing how it goes if you try them out!

Team Building Workshop Through Music